A few weeks ago, Charlotte and I visited some family in Florida. We were there for nine days, anticipating many days of playing in the pool with Quinn, a few date nights, and regular workouts at the local CrossFit gym.
We spent the first night in the hospital with Quinn (he had norovirus – he’s fine) and subsequent nights of 2-3 hours of sleep and a cranky baby left us feeling anything but rested. #parentlife
We were still able to get a date night in (albeit the waitress was rushing to get us the check as he had a meltdown) and escaped to Orlando for a great evening hanging out with friends. But, if I were to look at my workout log for the week, we visited the gym twice and did one 10-minute at-home workout…all while consuming more wine and worse food than normal.
For a creature of routine (yep, that’s me), this can really difficult! I crave consistency, and with fitness such a big part of my life, being out of a workout routine leaves me, well, cranky.
I was chatting with a friend about this recently, and I was describing a “season” mindset that I’m doing my best to adopt. As the seasons literally change from fall to winter, I thought it might be helpful to share with all of you!
Ups and Downs
I remember the first workout I did after Quinn was born:
40 Thrusters (50#/35#)
40 DB Walking Lunge
40 Jumping Air Squats
It sticks out because A) the thrusters were horrible and B) I felt like death. Despite us both getting virtually no sleep for the past week, my amazing wife give me the thumbs up to get in a workout. “How great this will feel!” I thought. Wrong again, Jeremey. It felt great to move, but I struggled.
Thinking back, I had no reason to believe the workout would go well! I was primarily running off coffee. I wasn’t eating properly. I was stressed. Did I mention I wasn’t sleeping? Yet, I still told myself to go with the Rx weight and just push through. No shortcuts!
Maybe you don’t have a baby at home keeping you up at night. Why does this all matter? It matters because we’re all moving through “seasons” in a way. We all have periods of high (and low) stress.
One month you might be maxed out at work with relatives visiting from out of town and a hot water heater on the fritz. That’s probably not going to be your best month of fitness.
Another month, you might have a lighter workload at the office, every weekend free to go hiking, and seemingly not a worry in the world. You have time to stay after class and work on your weaknesses every single day. You’re making monumental jumps forward. That’s a great month!
The trick is to recognize the season you’re in and adjust your expectations accordingly.
My current “season” involves a full-time job, the gym, and enjoying time with family. It’s busy! Does that mean I stop working out? Not at all. I just re-frame my expectations. If I can get to the gym 4-5 days a week and eat great 80% of the time, that’s all I can ask for. Am I still hitting PRs? You betcha – just at a slower rate, and I try not to beat myself up if I don’t beat 25-year-old me that had all the time in the world.
Why share all this? Because we want fitness to be a part of your life forever.
Inevitably, you’re going to hit busy periods where you’re struggling to keep up your normal routine. That’s okay – we all hit that point. Heck, even elite athletes have seasons in their training – periods of high and low volume around competition. The trick is to stay as consistent as possible and know when to push it.
Be realistic, stay consistent, and do what you can (at least, that’s what I tell myself!). Success is built in months and years, not days and weeks.