Sweatworking...Can you work while you sweat?
I tend to find myself in a constant battle between wanting to exercise, but getting caught up in work or feeling too tired. Honestly, sometimes the thought of having time to train seems like a long lost luxury. I also happen to be one of those people who's pretty much all or nothing, so if I'm working, I'm working. If I'm training, I'm at it 5-6 times a week because I want to achieve my next goal, whether that's a "bikini bod" (horrible phrase, but yes obviously I want to look good on the beach), or an obstacle course race.
Problem is, I can't accept that I have to let either ball drop. I want to run a successful business, get my work done AND keep myself as fit as I know I can be. Too much to ask? I think not. And no, and I'm not about to sacrifice any more sleep thank you very much.
The premise of The Fifth Project was to figure out a way of having a successful career while being physically and mentally well (and I don't just mean not sick, I mean really and truly healthy). So how do we do it?
There's no way to magically add an extra hour into the day
There's no magic skinny pill
It's not ok to let your relationships and social life slide.
So for me, it starts with your mindset, and then finding PRACTICAL steps to balancing the two.
First thing, is to change the way you think of exercise and you'll make time.
Before you stop reading, I don't mean it in the normal cliched "fitspo" kinda way, because that's never really worked for me either. An inspirational quote on instagram ain't cutting it any more.
Why? Because telling someone to just "make time" isn't practical. Here's some practical ways to change your attitude to exercise so you can really fit it all in.
1. Figure out your most productive time
For me, my brain fires best in the morning, but 3pm I'm often struggle to string a sentence together. Some people are the other way round, some people are night owls. Find your magic time, and do your work then.
At your fluffy brain time (my 3pm slump), it's time to switch gears. Use this time when, let's face it, not much is getting done anyway, as your hour of exercise time. You'll come back feeling refreshed and ready to crack on being productive again rather than pushing through the rest of the day. Cut your losses and focus your work time when you're most productive.
Stop thinking of that hour in the gym as an hour your missing out on catching up on emails, and start thinking of it is brainstorming time. Just because you're not in front of your laptop doesn't mean you're not being productive.
Some of my best ideas, breakthroughs and brainstorms come when I'm out running or in the squat rack.
I don't mean that I'm actively thinking and brainstorming through problems...if I did that I'd never get through my workout and would come back feeling as drained as before. What I mean is that you will often find that your subconscious is still turning over problems in the background. With a change of scenery, blood flowing and fresh air, you're essentially pressing the reset button...and we all know what happens when you switch a broken bit of tech off and switch it back on again. Yep, it works again!
Is your physical and mental health more or less important than that email? Will you feel like you've accomplished more with your day if you exercise or you don't? Ask yourself these simple questions, and see if you feel like training now.
4. Tell yourself you're not exercising today
This does two things. One, it takes the pressure off and stops exercise feeling like a compulsory chore, meaning you're more likely to want to do it. Two, reverse psychology can work on yourself too... People want what they can't have, and you're no different. I find if I tell myself I'm not training today, I feel like I want to. Suddenly, I want to make time because actually I WANT to take care of myself. I want to exercise just because I CAN, and I want to appreciate the healthy body I have...just the way it should be.
...and if you still don't make it to the gym every now and then- don't beat yourself up. Life happens, you were NOT put on this planet to be a perfect human being. Forgive yourself, make sure you're eating well, and plan how you can make it tomorrow instead. If you really are too tired, listen to your body. Never exercise out of guilt, and instead try treating yourself the way you'd treat your best friend - AKA like a Queen.