This article is one I’ve been meaning to write for a long time, and one I feel strongly about. It will present the reasons why I feel it is key to find a sustainable balance between the gym and your personal life for 99% of recreational gym users.
Let me ask you a few questions:
Are you as contented with your lifestyle as your friends?
Do you hate your diet and training, and its limitations?
Can you see yourself – happily – sustaining your diet over a prolonged period of time?
Your answers should be yes, no, yes (for the majority of the year). Unless you’re dieting down for a competition or a holiday – then these answers may change a bit!
Here are some of my own personal tips I’ve learnt over the years, which have helped keep me motivated (and sane) year round:
- Don’t eliminate ‘bad foods’ and your vice foods; incorporate them and practice moderation- not binging. Eating purely ‘clean’ foods does get tiresome, dry and leads to binging and breaking of your diet. A more flexible approach will mean you can eat out with family and friends without logging into MyFitnessPal in the loos, and having to stop eating half way through a £20 main course as you’ve surpassed your meal macro targets or through fear of ‘unclean foods’.
- Enjoy your training; if you’ve fallen out of love with (or were never drawn to) traditional bodybuilding training (hypertrophy) then mix it up! Train for strength, add a new goal, re-introduce a sport you enjoy, just make training enjoyable again for you.
- You can miss a gym session! It isn’t the end of the world, and can often do you some good. If you’re presented with a rare opportunity, take it- you’ll regret it at some point otherwise when you realise you were doing HIIT & forearms when your mates were at a secret day festival getting wavey as f***.
- Don’t eliminate people from your life just because they have no interest in health and fitness. We are all entitled to our own opinions, and being non-fussed by diet and training does not make someone a ‘negative person that you must immediately banish from your life!’ As some people will encourage you to believe.
- If you have no foreseeable plans to compete, or have no financial/commitment ties that require you to focus your days, weeks and months around the gym and eating, then work out for yourself. Aim for a physique you desire; be it large and bulky, or lean and vascular, but most importantly have fun with it and around it!
When you get to the point where you cannot go to a restaurant, pub, cinema, and events or holidays with friends because it may affect your gains – especially if you have no plans to compete – evaluate your lifestyle, and consider what you’ll think when you look back at yourself in 10 years time.
Practicing balance, and sacrificing equally from all areas of your life to incorporate training and nutrition in a healthy way can be tricky, but is well worth doing to keep things sustainable and positive. In summary:
- Consume all foods that you like, but practice moderation and incorporate them into macros effectively and tactically.
- Enjoy your training, go back to basics, and realise you can play and train for a sport alongside resistance training.
- Allow yourself to miss gym sessions from time to time, social events, festivals and holidays being a good example- but by all means train on these occasions if you desire!
- You can have friends outside the #FitFam, so don’t mistake disinterest for negativity and cut people out of your life altogether!
- Train for you, aim for goals and aesthetics you prefer and keep it fun.
If you found yourself hating life during your cut or bulk, shovelling down mountains of brown rice, plain chicken and broccoli florets, then please check out our Cutting, Bikini and Bulking guides, which are designed by four working guys to be as realistic and user-friendly as possible- whilst not reducing the effectiveness! As you can see from the hundreds of results and testimonials.
Our guides employ flexible dieting and macros, alongside structured and effective training weeks/sessions to facilitate sustainable and continuous progression towards your goal- rather than a zero-carb, sub-1500 calorie diet with 2-3 sessions a day and the same repeated training week; where you will make great initial progress before stalling, plateauing and losing motivation.
I hope you found this article useful, and share it with friends and family who may find it a good read!