What season of life are you in? How is your stress level? What is your schedule like? How are your 24 hours used? Where is your mind at, your spirit at? What is your life OUTSIDE the gym currently looking like?
It all matters and it all has an effect on your training. Unless you’re a competitive powerlifter or bikini/fitness competitor of some kind, getting to the gym is just something you do because you enjoy it, you know you need it, and it’s good for your health. And maybe you want to look better naked or lift a few more pounds. Hey, I’m with you. Now that we’re on the same page, let’s align our training with our life.
Your time in the gym is 4-6 hours a week…The rest of hours in a week go to the rest of your life. This is why I say life comes first. We align our training based on our season of life.
Below are some of my life seasons and associated training seasons. This should put into perspective what we’re talking about.
Full time college student, two internships (25+ hours per week), training a few clients, and coaching competitive cheerleading. I had a 40 minute break between two of my classes. Enter crossfit style high intensity circuits with low risk for injury. The goal during this time was just to get my heart rate up + use moderate weight so that my muscles were still reminded that they had a job a to do. I drank pre-workout in the class before the my lift, and chugged my protein while walking to the next. It’s what worked for that season: 20-30minute AMRAPS (as many reps as possible) in the dungeon of a gym at Concordia University. Getting strong AF would just not have been realistic at that time. I needed something mindless and quick, with low need for a warm up.
Post college – don’t know what I am doing with my life, coaching competitive cheer and a few in person clients. Low stress, minor depression, and ALL THE WEIGHT LIFTING. I had time to meal prep, be insanely consistent and get all the sleep I wanted. I was in the gym six days per week on a very dialed in program to get STRONG. My food intake was close to the same thing everyday and I was thriving in my training. This season of life allowed for an intense and very focused season of training.
House flood + choreography season. Living in a hotel with no kitchen for 2.5 months during summer, when I teach routines from 8 or 9am to 4pm and then coach my own teams from 5-9pm. Staying among the living is a struggle in itself. Training happens exclusively on off days during this season of life. Eating out every meal did not help my scenario, nor did the added stress. A season of life like this requires your workouts to be a relief. You’re not trying to make any gains here.
So, what season of life are you in now? What does that mean for your training? Be realistic. You have enough stress in your life. You don’t need to add the guilt of missing workouts that don’t align with your current state. That just doesn’t make sense. Look at your life and all it entails these days. If there is room to create more space, DO THAT. If not, then plan your training sessions accordingly.
Your training should enhance your life. Yes, it is and can be a grind. It should push and challenge you. But it doesn’t need to bring you down. Don’t beat yourself up for not reaching a goal that wasn’t realistic in the first place. You feel me? There isn’t anything wrong with you or the goal. It just might not be the best timing. Help yourself out and align your training season with your season of life my friend.
Long term mindset. It’s just a season. Work with it so you can thrive through it and reach that goal in the future that might not be realistic in your current state. But it IS realistic in the longer term picture.
How much sleep can you get? Recovery is a big consideration when designing a training season. Can you recover optimally to get the most out of your training?
Where is your stress level at? Are you studying to pass the MCAT and get into med school? You have four kids and you’re in the process of getting divorced? You have all the time and life is balanced? Maybe you need yoga, maybe you need powerlifting. Your life season tells you if you look at it.
What do you want? Because what you want also matters my friend. Make sure you’re doing what you enjoy. In every season I touch weights because that is what I love. It is the frequency, the movements and the intensity that change.
Please not that your life season is not an excuse to not workout, but to direct what your workouts look like.
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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