I sat on the deck of a restaurant in Colorado in March, looking at the snow capped Rocky Mountains people watching, and thinking this is where I want to be. In the process exercise and work life balance took a hit. On the three day road trip with a two year old, wife and two cats, we made ok food choices, but definitely ate junk food too because convincing a two year old to eat cut vegetables is exhausting and sometimes a cinnamon roll at a rest stop is easier and delicious. After we arrived, slept on our air mattress and ate carryout for a week, our things came and we were home. As anyone who has ever relocated knows, the business doesn’t stop running just because you’re moving; so balancing a massive rebuild of a business, moving into a new apartment and adjusting to a completely new area and way of life was stressful.
After some time I settled into a solid workout routine, established some new relationships and was steadily rebuilding our flagship club to its former glory. As luck would have it, the General Manager who hired me transferred, my mentor in our corporate office left the company and my role as a national program manager dissolved. The world spun on and simultaneously my club finally exceeded its budget and had its best month in two years. I continued to go through my own training and hit some big personal bests in my lifting.
The club continues to succeed and grow and the team here continues to get better. My new manager has more energy than I’ve ever seen in an adult, which is inspiring and sometimes tiring. And through all the transitions it has become hard to maintain a regular workout and meal schedule. I don’t say this for sympathy, but to let everyone know even people who work in fitness struggle with consistency and balance. Yes, I strive to practice what I preach daily but sometimes life happens.
Life is not simple, nor easy. Too many fitness professionals make statements like “life is about choices and YOU need to choose to make fitness a priority.” I want to ask these individuals if they have children, spouses, high stress jobs, deadlines, career aspirations or if they have short comings they act out on like sweets, salty snacks or alcohol. Many fitness professionals have shaped their entire lives around their workouts and expect their clientele to do the same. This is not realistic for the average person. The gym should make the rest of life easier, it should not be an additional stress, and for most people it will never be their first priority. And that’s ok. Life is about choices, and sometimes I choose to go home and spend time with my son rather than workout.
The point of this article is to let you know it is ok to make mistakes, fall off your routine, slip on your diet, and have an extra drink from time to time. But you also have to balance that with exercise, some form of spirituality, eating healthy the majority of the time and getting solid rest and sleep. Maybe this past year was your best fitness year ever; maybe it was your worst. It’s behind you, so don’t let that stop you from starting 2016 with a healthy and conscientious start. Make a commitment to yourself and not just a resolution!
Joshua H Buchbinder, M.S. is the Fitness Manager III, 24 Hour Fitness, Aurora Co. He has been working in fitness, rehabilitation and athletics for 2 decades.