Once upon a time, much to everyone’s surprise I became a serious gym bunny. I’d been going through a difficult time and was struggling with a toxic company culture in a previous job so had turned to exercise as a means to improve my mental health. I hopped on the new year, new me bandwagon that January and started working with a personal trainer regularly – to this day she remains one of my favourite people. As a creature of habit, the routine combined with knowing I was investing in my mental and physical health, became addictive (in a positive sense). I had my routine down to a tee – left the house at 7am, parked, warmed up and in the gym by 7:30am, showered, dressed and buzzing with endorphins by 9am, ready to start my working day with a coffee and a protein shake in the indie coffee shop next door. The lack of office can be explained by the remote nature of my role at the time, something that also afforded me the freedom to switch up my gym timings to avoid peak times if necessary.
The toxic work culture previously mentioned meant that by March of the same year I had walked away from that role and was thrown into freelance life. It’s safe to say budget cuts meant, unfortunately, cutting the luxury of a personal trainer at the time but I maintained a flexible schedule that allowed me to continue with my gym routine religiously. Then summer came around, various trips interrupted my fitness routine, healthy eating habits went out the window and by October 2018, I happily found myself in a full-time role again (thank you, The Style Edit). Among the excitement of a new role and other life changes, those gym routines took a more permanent back seat.
Maybe it’s the call of the notorious summer bod or the delight of longer, warmer evenings but lately, I’ve found myself missing the ‘me time’ afforded by regularly working out. Plus the satisfaction of knowing you’re taking care of your body through healthy habits can be compared to no other form of self-care. While the stress of peak times didn’t affect me before, I’m now forced to be more strategic in re-introducing gym visits and preparing healthy food so while temporarily frozen out of my gym membership (long story), the next few weeks involve getting more creative with fitness.
This is how I’m planning to maintain a fitness routine I enjoy while working in a full-time role. Give these tips a go and you can too.
I was introduced to this app while trialling a new yoga class earlier this year. It works as a booking system for fitness classes and wellness services. Think of it as Eventbrite specifically for health and fitness. It’s helpful for looking for specific classes you want to try with everything from yoga to barre to group fitness available and if you’re looking for something new, hit up their explore section. It’s perfect for those who aren’t tied to a gym or are more restricted in their free time as their various filters will help you to find classes within a certain radius of your location and at specific times.
Commit to the preparation
You’re busy, we get it. We’re all in the same boat. But nothing changes, if nothing changes, you know? So if you’re serious about committing to a workout routine around your 9-5, you need to put in some prep work. That means packing your gym bag the night before, meal prepping either for a few days in advance or at least the night before and definitely don’t forget about your plan of attack upon arrival at the gym. Take time to outline your workout plan. Although simply getting to the gym may be half the battle, arriving without a plan will leave you feeling unproductive and unmotivated, neither of which are helpful in pursuing your fitness goals. Further to this, commit to your designated workout time like you would any other meeting or task and schedule it in your diary. This will remind you that your health is a priority so you can commit to it.
Find an accountability buddy
Those first few sessions will be the hardest and until you’ve established your new fitness routine as a consistent habit, temptation to ditch will be right around every corner. To prevent this from happening have a pal adopt you as their accountability buddy. I’ve had a few gym buddies in the past and speaking from experience you want someone who is already a gym regular but not so intense that they’ll exhaust you and put you off ever stepping into a gym again. Again, from personal experience, while you’ll still be able to cheer one another on if adopting a gym buddy who is also just starting back at the gym, the commitment is not intense enough to avoid flaking on one another.
Squeezing in that early morning workout before a day of work is challenging enough as it is and will be even worse if you stayed up late scrolling, sacrificing precious shut-eye. Anytime I’ve reintroduced a workout routine to my life, I find myself sleeping like a baby so if you combine your physical exhaustion with mental strains from work, you’ll need plenty of sleep to continue functioning as a healthy human being. Plus your body needs adequate time to recover in order to fully reap the rewards of healthier eating habits and regular exercise.
Give yourself a break
There will be days when you just can’t be bothered. There will be days when fitting in a workout just isn’t possible. There will be days when you can push through that and you know you’ll feel better for making the effort but on the days when your body is saying no, it’s ok to listen to what your body is telling you. In the long term, taking short breaks may help your productivity, in more than just your gym life. For most of us, pursuing a fitness routine is about making ourselves feel better in some way, looking after our bodies and our health both mentally and physically and sometimes that means skipping a session once in a while. Like all things in life, remember your why and keep bringing it back to that when you feel motivation slipping away more permanently.