Tips for Balancing Work and Workouts

Literally everyone is busy. Constantly stressed, always busy. However, the weird humble-bragging about being busy has got to stop. Please, Millennials, stop bragging about how “busy” you are – none of us are that big of a deal. Everyone is busy; busy is the new normal. But, if busy is the new normal, how do you fit in your fitness goals with your career goals? 

1. Work out before work 

I cannot harp on this enough. And I know it’s a struggle. But you know, and I know, that morning workouts are the best way to ensure you get the workout done before the day gets too crazy. A workout planned after work has a much higher chance of getting derailed due to happy hour, or, more likely, your workaholic attitude.

2. Schedule your (long) workouts like you’d schedule a work meeting

You can take your crazy Type-A workaholic ways and use them in your fitness scheduling. Schedule your workouts in the same calendar as your work calendar, and you’ll assign the same value to the workout as you would to a work meeting. It’s something you can’t miss, just like you can’t miss that client call at 4:30.

3. Have your week of workouts planned beforehand

This is something I personally struggle with. I find myself being lackadaisical when it comes to weekly workout plans. I know I need to fit in three swims, two rides, four runs, and a few weightlifting sessions, but I rarely am successful at planning out my week and sticking to it. I tend to go more on feel, which is important when it comes to listening to your body, but I consistently fall short on workouts when I don’t stick to the plan.

4. Use Sunday afternoon as personal time, cleaning time, and meal prep time

I’ve realized (the hard way of course) that using Sunday afternoon as meal prep and cleaning time has exponentially increased my available time during the week. Now, do I always get a chance to have a free Sunday afternoon? No, absolutely not. But I try my hardest to give myself a couple free hours on Sunday to chill out, cook some food, and clean my apartment. There’s something so relaxing about organizing your workouts and food for the week beforehand. The Type-A planner in me adores having everything laid out, even though my follow-through leaves something to be desired.

5. Set work goals and keep them visible at all times

I have a few work goals I’m constantly working towards, either proactively or passively. I have them written on a coffee-stained, Post-It note on my desk. It’s not glorious, it’s not beautiful, but they’re there, constantly in my view. I neglect them frequently, but because they’re always visible, I constantly am reminded of what I’m striving towards. Just like a race date countdown, it gives me something to focus on. It stops me from unnecessarily wasting time on work projects that don’t further my goals.

6. When workout time is limited, make the most of it

None of us have unlimited time for working out. There’s only so many hours in the day, and a lot of that gets dedicated to work and sleep. If you find yourself with your workout time cut short, make use of interval training! Intervals, fartleks, and HIIT training have been proven to deliver as much of a fitness punch as workouts that are twice as long. However, big caveat, you can’t train for a triathlon using solely interval workouts. Your body needs to endure long hours under work. If you constantly use intervals to workout, your body won’t become an efficient fuel burning machine, instead racing through your glucose quickly without concern for fueling three hours down the road.

7. Spend, and earn, your money wisely

We all have savings goals – or we should, so get on that! Be it a rainy day fund, college tuition, or quite honestly, race registration fees, we  only have limited resources that help us live comfortably and accomplish our goals. When you’re faced with the decision to spend money, question whether it helps your professional and fitness goals. You won’t find me out at happy hours, or spending money frivolously on clothes. Every purchase is geared towards triathlon training or, honestly, food.

On the flip side, earn your money wisely. Try to not get stuck in a job that you hate, and I know that’s easier said than done. The amount of stress from working a miserable job will drag you down! And, if your job (like mine) doesn’t pay as well as you’d like it to, try to find a side gig that you love. I’ve been contemplating becoming a physical trainer at a local gym to 1) earn a bit more cash and 2) force myself to spend more time in the gym. Plus, I love fitness, and would love to earn some spare change from it!

8. Tell everyone about your fitness goals

Be it racing a triathlon, squatting 250 lbs, running a marathon, or completing a Spartan Race, tell everyone about your fitness goals. That may sound annoying, like a fitness snob, but bear with me. If you share your goals with people, they’ll be much more understanding of you not attending happy hour, or going for that run over lunch. My boss ran the Marine Corps marathon a few years ago, so she 100% has my back regarding my marathon training. She still fully expects my work to get done, but she understands that I can hustle at work while hustling for my fitness goals.

9. Find a partner who shares similar goals as yourself

If you’re at my stage in life, you have the flexibility to pick and choose someone who shares the same interests as you. Whoever you date should push you to be a better person: professionally, mentally, physically, or, ideally, all three! I’m currently dating a guy who is into fitness exponentially more than I am, and it’s great. He pushes me to workout more, we’ve hiked together, and we’ve even done a triathlon together.  And that combined interest enables you to make double-use of your time. I’m all about multi-tasking!

10. Humbly, remember who pays you 

I love my job severely. I also love triathlon. My life is a pretty constant pull between “do I stay at work longer?” or “do I go for a ride on this beautiful day?” But, I work in politics, and 2016 has been a heck of a busy year for us in the political arena (as you can imagine). So, unfortunately, my workouts take a backseat to my work sometimes. And that’s ok! I’m not a professional triathlete, I’m not sponsored by anyone. My job pays my bills. Don’t feel bad about occasionally neglecting your fitness goals in favor of work. You need to make hay while the sun shines!

Now, does anyone have any tips for me on how to make waking up in the morning easier??


2 thoughts on “Tips for Balancing Work and Workouts

  1. amylja-fitness says:

    This is such a good post! I agree with everything you’ve written. Waking up earlier is super hard for me so I’ll be popping back to see if anyone does leave any tips for that 😊


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