Is Exercise Addiction Costing You A Balanced Lifestyle?
'Hey Jared, I’m really happy with the way I look, but I feel like I am missing out on some day to day life experiences. Can you tell me how to balance your life? '
You’re absolutely right, there are going to be things you sacrifice to be in shape. That’s a good thing; sacrificing Cheetos for chicken breast is a wonderful sacrifice. Sacrificing your son’s tee-ball game due to exercise addiction is a not-so-wonderful sacrifice.
It’s easy to be obsessed with fitness, I get it. I lived that lifestyle for most of my adult life. It helped me in a lot of ways; it taught me discipline, delayed gratification, and pursuing a goal through to the end.
Fitness was my gateway drug to self-improvement, I am a completely different person today because of my fitness lifestyle.
At one point in time it was my fitness addiction - when things were 100% all the time. I prioritized my workouts and diet over everything else in my life, even time with my family and friends. When I opened my mouth I spewed fitness and more fitness, only wanting to tell people about my diet, my workouts, or my upcoming competition.
That’s not a balanced lifestyle by any means.
The fact of the matter is that if it requires endless cardio, extremely strict dieting, and hours per day at the gym - you’re not going to be able to maintain that and experience the life that should be important to you.
So first, accept that if you’re a fitness addict you’re going to have to let some of that go.
Trust me, it will be just fine in the end.
Next you will need to figure out how to make your fitness lifestyle fit YOUR LIFE, and not the other way around.
You shouldn’t need to construct a full life scheduled around your fitness goals to be able to achieve them, and doing so will only lead to a high level of burnout later on.
Think of it this way: What are the most important things that need to be in place for you to be happy with how you look, or how you’re progressing in the gym?
Likely it’s just a few small things that can fit into your life.
1. Weight Training
You might be surprised to see it doesn’t require as much time at the gym to get the results you’re looking for as you might think. To do that we have to look at it in a different way. Rather than looking at what is most ‘optimal’ for the results you’re wishing to have, look at it as what is most optimal for you to be able to live your life and still find time for the gym weekly.
That may end up being three days at the gym, and that’s just fine. Think about what you would need to accomplish on each gym day to be able to get the most out of your workout in the shortest period of time. Typically that means switching away from the single-joint exercises to the multi-joint ‘compound’ type of movements. Perfect. Stick to what you feel is maintainable long-term and absolutely crush your workout every time you hit the gym.
This is where most people think they are ‘missing out’ on life, as if not getting to enjoy a specific type of food was an ‘experience’ that you missed out on and won’t be able to ever have again. No meal is nearly as big of a deal as you think it is, but let’s examine how we can work this into your life as well.
Just like last time we’re going to look at what you are able to do:
How many meals are you able to eat per day and when will you be able to eat them without feeling like ‘all you do is eat’?
There, now we’ve established what you can do consistently.
The next step is simple: prepare your food for the week in grab-and-go containers. This eliminates the need for convenience or the excuse for eating something ‘off-plan’ as a way for you to balance your life.
The balance in your nutrition comes simply from knowing when and how you’re going to allow yourself some leeway.
When you are eating your diet day-in and day-out, it gives you a lot more freedom to decide when you need more balance rather than feeling you always have to get back on your diet.
Balance with your nutrition comes from spontaneity with friends and family. The choice to go out and eat a meal versus having your pre-planned meal allows for balance.
Going on vacation and forgetting about your fitness lifestyle completely is a form of balance.
Sure, there are going to be a lot of things you still can’t do if you want to be healthy and happy with how you look.
We cannot experience everything, so choose wisely and decide what is worth your time - but experience it NOW.