Thanks to everyone for support and best wishes over the past couple of weeks as I battle with this shingles thing…I’m not out of the woods yet but kind of feel like I have gotten ‘past’ the worst of it and am looking forward to coaching a few more sessions this week. It has been great to see so many busy sessions in my absence though and I have to say it is a real boost when I talk to the team and they speak with such excitement about a class and share stories with me about what happened…
I have had a fair bit of time to do some thinking about how to avoid situations like this in the future. No doubt my illness has been brought on due to fatigue and stress and even less doubt that I totally burn the candle at both ends and very often neglect my own well-being in order to try and support others – be it at the gym, at the footy club or (less often than I should) at home. But what I kept coming back to was a pretty simple fact – when I am ‘at my best’ I have a great rhythm to my day – I prepare my food and eat well, I get outside for a walk every day, I exercise every day, I play my guitar every day and I take time out to connect with friends 3-4 times each week. When I think about my life lately, not too many of those things have been happening (all because of that great word, ‘WORK’) and I am where I am…
I have been thinking about this with myself in mind – of course – but I have also been thinking about it in terms of the rest of ‘our’ Round 1 community. I mean, there is no doubt that now more than ever time so often seems like a precious commodity – so many of us really are 24×7 tied to our jobs with out of the office communication more the ‘standard’ than the norm and the whole ‘working from home’ system blurring the lines between when you are at work and when you aren’t even further. I mean, I feel like I write about this stuff every second week. But because of this – and I guess I’m talking about my ‘out of the gym’ friends, family and acquaintances as well – so many people are in this revolving door of wake-up, work, come home, take the kids to after school activities, watch tv, sleep, rinse and repeat. And weekends – well, that’s time to get some sleep and prepare for the next Monday-Friday nightmare. It’s not cool and there is NO WAY you can be at your best.
Non-work stuff is good for the soul…and makes you better at work. Non-work stuff is good for your body…and makes you better at home. What is non-work stuff? Well, to me, it is some kind of ‘outside’ relaxation time (walking the dog), some kind of ‘mindful’ relaxation (playing an instrument, reading something you need to CONCENTRATE on, doing some woodwork etc) and something ‘PHYSICAL’ that gets you ‘out of yourself’. Now, if I was operating a music school I would be about to tell you all about the benefits of that ‘mindful’ relaxation stuff that FORCES YOU to think about things other than work and in so doing, recharges your batteries. Because I own a gym, I’m instead going to focus on the importance of doing some structured exercise and how that will help you be happier and healthier.
Now – there is no doubt that the prospect of beginning a fitness regimen during periods of high “busy-ness” (I mean, that’s not a word but you know what I mean) can be daunting. However, counterintuitive as it may seem, diving into some kind of structured training routine – especially one involving intense activities like boxing or some other kind of HIIT style training – can offer numerous advantages when your schedule is at its most demanding. I mean – maybe saying that the BEST time to start your fitness journey is when you’re busy might be stretching it – but given that structured training 100% helps reduce stress and therefore enhances your ability to manage the demanding rigors of work it probably still falls into the category of ‘stuff that is a good idea’.
Embracing Adversity: Don’t worry about ‘OPTIMAL’…just GO!
When life gets hectic and the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities start piling up, it just seems like the ‘easy thing’ to do is put your personal well-being on the backburner. I can tell you right now that I’m living proof that THIS APPROACH DOES NOT WORK. Here’s why your structured training plan will help you when your schedule is the ‘busiest’:
Enhanced Time Management: Necessity breeds efficiency. When your days are filled to the brim, you’re forced to manage your time with precision. Incorporating a workout into your already packed schedule can help you become a master at optimising every minute.
Stress Relief: Exercise, especially vigorous activities like boxing, releases endorphins, the body’s natural stress relievers. Engaging in physical activity during busy periods can provide a much-needed outlet for pent-up tension and anxiety.
Improved Mental Clarity: Regular exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive function and boost creativity. Engaging in physical activity can help clear your mind, making you more efficient in managing your work tasks.
Physical Resilience: The demanding nature of a busy schedule can challenge your mental endurance – starting a fitness regime during such times not only gives you a PHYSICAL outlet, it helps build your stamina and resilience, enabling you to cope better with the demands of your schedule.
Long-Term Habits: When you cultivate healthy habits during high-pressure periods, you’re more likely to integrate them into your daily routine even when life slows down. This ensures that your fitness journey is sustainable in the long run.
I want to lean into the boxing elements of training right now. I’m not disputing the benefits of lifting weights and our Functional Fitness sessions for providing that ‘mental break’ we all need – I just find when my life is at it’s ‘busiest’ the pure ‘mayhem’ of the boxing sessions gives you that ‘total’ freedom of thought…once the session starts it really is go-go-go until the end whereas in the strength sessions I can find my mind wandering during that downtime between sets. So when I’m stressed, that’s when I turn to boxing.
Stress Reduction and Mental Clarity
Boxing is not just a physical activity; it’s a mental discipline. The focus required to master your punching technique and footwork can really help you (at least temporarily) shift your attention away from work-related stressors. The sessions also have a rhythm to them – you punch with a rhythm, you move your feet to support that same rhythm – your consistent movements and that intense exertion trigger the release of endorphins, promoting a sense of euphoria and relaxation that can combat stress and anxiety.
Busy at work? Time to train simply MUST be ‘efficient’. This is why structured sessions are so critical when you are ‘BUSY’ – you don’t have time to waste time…you need to get in, train hard, get out. And a boxing is nothing if not a highly efficient workout. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a core component of many boxing routines, where short bursts of intense activity are followed by (VERY!!!) brief rest periods. This approach burns calories effectively, improves fitness, and builds muscle strength in a fraction of the time traditional workouts might require.
The demanding nature of boxing builds not only physical strength but also mental toughness. The perseverance required to push through intense workouts and face challenges head-on translates into a heightened ability to tackle work-related difficulties with determination and resilience.
I feel like I’ve been banging on about our boxing sessions and the ‘mind-muscle connection’ all year. And what can I say – boxing demands a strong mind-body connection. Every punch, every slip, every weave, every movement requires coordination, balance, and focus – which means you MUST CONCENTRATE…and you need to develop the mind muscle connection. As I have mentioned before, this connection spills over into other areas of your life, enabling you to navigate tasks with greater precision and mindfulness.
Balance isn’t everything…but it surely helps!
So – am I crazy in saying that when you’re busy you need to ‘lean in’ to the balance in your life? Well – if you use me as an example, I have developed this stress and fatigue related illness that has knocked me out of action for large parts of the last two weeks…what do you think that THAT has done to my plans and schedule? Perhaps a little more forethought and balance ‘BEFORE’ I got sick could have prevented it? Who knows…I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have hurt! I mean, it might seem counterintuitive to encourage ‘BUSY’ people to add some structured training (and some walking outside etc) to their lives when their plate is already so full…But if doing so can lead to enhanced well-being, improved time management, and a greater ability to manage stress, then why wouldn’t you get on the front foot? Again, to me the 45-minute in-and-out boxing sessions with their blend of physical exertion and mental discipline really do seem to serve as an ideal outlet to achieve these benefits.
Lastly, I think it is important to remember that balance in life is not achieved by eliminating challenges/minimising your commitments but by finding effective ways to navigate them. Embracing a fitness regime during busy times is a proactive step towards optimizing your physical and mental health, enabling you to face work demands with renewed energy and resilience. So, grab your wraps and gloves and let’s go!
See you in the gym,
We know this can be a daunting time. You’re probably wondering if we really are the right fit for each other. And it’s OK! Many people before you, have felt the same, and that’s why we want to offer you something special – our $29 Health Check.
Let’s work out together to see if we’re the right fit. Just hit the button below to let me know if you’re ready to see what’s included.