Whether you’re a professional athlete or simply a recreational fitness freak, life sometimes gets in the way. Plenty of people enjoy working out on a regular basis and following a progressive programme. For many this may mean training on a daily basis or even twice in one day on some occasions. But what happens when life gets in the way and we are unable to stick to the plan? Training time becomes limited and it can become a real challenge to stay on track. How can we best manage these times to avoid stress and remain on track?
Priorities: Must Do vs Nice to Do
If getting training done becomes more important than everything else in life you may need to re-assess your life balance! However, for many, training is an important part of who they are and their daily routine. The health benefits of exercise are well documented. People who exercise regularly feel these benefits and certainly miss them on occasions when they cannot train. In turn people can make irrational decisions when training on limited time.
The key is to prioritise training activities. Do the important stuff first. Many training sessions are divided into obvious blocks of work. Groups of exercises that compliment each other and develop the athlete towards their training goal. Some ‘chunks’ of training are highly related to an individuals training goal, whereas others compliment it but perhaps exert less influence. When there is limited time to train the non important training needs to go. That means any supplementary exercises and accessory work must go. If in doubt perform the explosive work and the compound lifts. Doing so will keep the basic structure of a programme on track.
Get comfortable with doing enough
Its very easy to view training as some kind of ‘arms race’ or competition in itself. Being drawn into constantly doing more, whether you are competing with yourself or others. We see this a lot at NK Fitness – a mentally of more is better, and doing more than last week is progress. This is not the case for most, and is often a fast track route to injury or boredom. Those who regularly train know that improvements in fitness are hard to come by. For some a 2.5kg pb over a year in their deadlift represents a significant success! The odd day or week of reduced training volume is not going to derail plans.
Plan for weeks when you have other things going on in life and need to tone down the intensity and volume of your training – what is the minimum amount of training that is needed? Doing enough is ok. One of our important roles as experienced personal trainers in Ascot is to help our clients and athletes manage their training through busy periods in their lives. During these times training is stripped back to the bare essentials. As a result, fitness remains on track and clients are able to put their energy where its needed most – the rest of their life!