It won’t take long on social media to find taglines like, “Everyone has the same 24 hours, so you have no excuse!” or “No days off” used by people who make it look like it should be easy for everyone to have their shit together juuuust like they do! Most of them will sell you a step by step guide to their embodied perfection too… I feel like a lot of people feel like that there is something wrong with them or that they are failing at life if they’re not as perfect as what they see in social media posts or reality television. The real reality is that not everyone has the same 24 hours. Most of the people you see who have perfect bodies either have a team of people helping them live the rest of their lives, like nannies, house cleaners, cooks, trainers, and/or personal assistants, or their might be several areas of their lives that are completely failing as a result of their so-called dedication to the gym. The fact is, if you have kids, a spouse, a job, and a home, there’s a good chance that your free time or your available energy is more limited than fitspo would like to admit.
Even my 24 hours are not realistic for most people who work 9-5 jobs. I am a full time personal trainer, so I spend eight hours a day in a gym whether I want to or not. This allows me to work out without having to create free time to spend at the gym or have to arrange additional childcare for the time I spend there. So for most people, working out the way that I do is not necessarily realistic, and I understand that. Although I chose my profession intentionally, there is a trade off to working in a gym environment. Personal training in the economy in which I live is not a very financially lucrative job, but it allows me more freedom to exercise than other jobs would, even though other careers would have given me more financial success. In regards to living with depression, it’s difficult to say which would be more beneficial: more financial stability, or the ability to use exercise every day as an anti-depressant. There is no definitive answer for that for me. But all of that is simply part of my journey. My journey isn’t necessarily one you want, and for you, that’s the way it should be! Everyone has their own journey and their own path to follow. You should be passionately pursuing your own journey in life! Comparing your journey to the journey of someone else you know is not beneficial. That energy you use on comparison would better serve you if you harnessed it to pursue your own goals and ambitions.
When it comes to fitness and health, I find that people tend to be either all in, or all out. Navigating the middle ground and finding the balance between pursuing fitness and pursuing the rest o your demanding life is always difficult and there are far too few examples of how it can be done well. So having that all or nothing mentality can sometimes hold people back from pursuing half steps towards their fitness goals. Half steps still take you forward! And sometimes just not regressing can be enough. I tend to be a perfectionist or all or nothing attitude as well. I have to consciously tell myself that it’s ok to to half ass something as long as I try. It’s ok that my attempts are far from perfect, because the more I attempt to do it, the more I’ll learn how to do it better.
We all have good days and we have bad days. On my good days when I’m feeling sassy and energetic, I increase my weights in the gym and see how much I am capable of that day. I take on household projects that I’ve been too drained to tackle. I go the extra mile for a stranger at work. Because I never know when that good day will end. Hell, I never know when I’ll get another good day. So, as an act of gratitude, I go full send on those good days. At the gym, at home, at work. I use my good days to the best of my ability. Every time. It helps the bad days not feel so dark.
So when your 24 hours gets too hectic to make time for the gym, you can still do something, Still take those half step towards your goal and pursue your goal. If going for a walk or a run isn’t realistic or appealing, you can structure your own workout inside your home! Structure to a full body workout doesn’t have to complicated. For a full body workout, you only need to pick four movements! you’ll want to pick a movement for the lower body (squats, lunges, bridges, etc…), upper body (pushups, rows, shoulder press, etc…), core (crunches, planks, etc…), and cardio (burpees, jump squats, thrusters, etc..). Then, choose a repetition scheme. A really simple scheme could be twenty repetions of each. Then you can do the circuit, working at your own pace, to see how many rounds you can get in ten or fifteen minutes! Working out can be complicated at times, but it can also be very simple when you need it to be.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to help you on your fitness journey is to figure out what is realistic for you and consistently sticking with it. Consistent effort, even if it’s imperfect, will take you further than waiting for convenient or perfect circumstances. Now read that again. Imperfect effort will be more beneficial to your life and your fitness journey than waiting the rest of your life for perfect effort. Find an approach to your goals that is realistic for your 24 hours. Focus on your journey and where you want to be. It’s easy to compare journeys, but that can be toxic and may trip you up in what you could be pursuing your own journey. It’s important that you surround yourself with people who will inspire and encourage you to keep consistently working towards your goals. Some people may tend to influence you to compare yourself to them or others or straight up discourage you from making good decisions for your goals. The circle of people that you keep is very important in how your 24 hours plays out day to day. Having good people around you who are chasing their goals and dreams will naturally be encouraging to you while you pursue yours.