Managing work life and healthy lifestyle – mastering being Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

This is one of my first posts and somewhat a very broad topic on my blog. It is my first post, so bear with me. To start a blog was suggested to me last night by one of my coaches (I dare to call him my coach, even though it is very early days since he started to give me input into my training). He convinced me that I should record and share my experience with achieving my fitness goals through leading healthy life style while working in a full-time job and still living a busy Londoner’s social life (even though that is a topic on its own). So, I took his suggestion on board and started TODAY.

I often get approached on the topic of weight loss (in my dictionary fat loss) by my female colleagues who as much as I, work long hours 8am till 6pm and commute to their workplace over 30 minutes each morning and evening. Our jobs are stressful. We are working for a young, dynamic financial company (FX brokerage) with 3+ year super plans for growth which requires our 110% committment not only during working hours but also after and before.
So, they ask, how do I manage to work on my personal fitness goals while I have to perform in my job and continuing to build my career in financial world as a young female ? Where do you find the time and energy to do everything?
I’ve noticed in past years that this is not only my few female colleagues  who question this but many other friends and anonymous posts on social media.

I don’t think that these girls lack motivation; and I would be too harsh if I said that girls who want to be fit, strong and healthy often don’t have motivation or real drive. In today’s information overload there are plenty of motivational images, messages and marketing out there in the ether that will help you get your bum off the sofa and do something about your health and aesthetics.
The problem is that many girls often start encouraged, self-motivated and with the right intention but give up after 7 days! They don’t even make it to-day 5 in some cases. This has nothing to do with lack of motivation but actually a lot to do with not knowing HOW TO manage busy life style and prioritse the correct activities. Believe me, the fitness models on the websites and Facebook which are used by media to motivate us to do something about our bodies and our health are not full-time employed girls in the office or shops or even restaurants. Often enough they are sponsored athletes and can train more than once a day! Training in the gym is their job!

On the other hand…
Office girls (like me), as I refer to many girls I see on the tube or buses with their gym bags and hand bags, in suits and trainers often start their week with a resolution to go to the gym at least 3 times in that given week, but they often end up going once or not at all.

In my view we fail after a few days because we are not taught how to manage change in our lives. Even in business when there is a major change we appoint an interim change manager – a person that is solely responsible to manage unexpected reactions to scheduled changes within business.

How to manage early days changes in your lifestyle and go beyond 7 days of healthy life style and exercise:

Here I am assuming that you’ve decided on your goals and you are motivated to work on your these fitness goals.  Below is a simple guide on how to stick to your plan in early days and not give up in early days:

  • Establish whether you are exercising in the morning or evening or you are mixing it up (as I often do due to my work commitments)
  • Plan your week at least 7-9 days in advance (i.e I know on Friday what I will be doing for next 7 days and I stick to my plans and schedules – don’t beat yourself up if you have to cancel or change, but treat cancellations and changes to your plan as an exempt to the rule)
  • Ensure that your work diary contains your evening  or early morning commitments (I book my crossfit and weightlifting sessions up to 9 days in advance and I always put these into my work diary, so no one books me into late meetings)
  • Pre-pack your gym bag and prepare your work clothes the night before – a good way to commit to taking a gym bag to work with you and go to the gym after work
  • Learn to say “no” to tempting social activities if they are not happening on your rest day or suggest that you will join the crowd later on. I used to have a huge “Fear Of Missing Out”, but I’ve managed to overcome it by seeing the results of my training and improvement in my performance. One drunken night can be missed if I can lift 5 kg more by not attending one of many drinking sessions.
  • Learn to synchronise your friends and social life with your training commitments. This is the hardest bit and many fail, but we already know how to synchronise work and social life, so why not gym and social life? I train on Saturday morning, allowing myself to spend Saturday afternoon and evening with friends. I often go for nice dinners or host girls’ nights in on Friday so that I am not too tired for an early morning training session, but still manage to socialise.
  • Keep a diary and record your sessions and performances. Every time you open it and see it, it will be a reminder of what you achieved and what you could be achieving in the future.
  • Financial committment i.e. paid for PT sessions are always a good way to get yourself out there, but make sure it is the right session for you. No point in paying somebody for mediocre session which doesn’t suit your goal. Crossfit gyms might seem expensive at first, but you are being coached in a class with attention of a professional, so they actually work out to be cheaper than gym + PT (which I used to spend a lot of money on).tumblr_m4qthg5uiM1rnpszno1_500

GYM and 2hrs of PT per week cost in Central London: avg per month £49 + £240 = £289

Crossfit in SW London: 5 sessions per week plus free gym session: cca £160 per month

Gym only fees (but will you attend at least 4 times a week??) in London from as low as £19 per month

  • Nutrition and food intake need to match your goals. Are you looking to run faster, get stronger, lift more or lose fat in certain areas? Food is the most important part of your journey. Starving is not allowed! You must eat healthy food. I am not a nutritionist but I can give feedback on some changes I’ve made in recent years to my nutrition. Some worked better than others, but I don’t eat any wheat or gluten. I am controlling everything I eat and I plan my foods at least a day in advance. Personally, this always has been an area where I failed and was challenged by. But, I never gave up!

I am currently completing my first WHOLE30 programme which has brought results I strived for. I am on my 24th day as I write this and I feel pretty good. (if you are interested in trying it out then I suggest you also get a book “It all starts with Food” to find out why clean eating is important)

When you can’t train professionally or have gym training as your job then you will have to become Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as I have.

I am a girl and I lift heavy! What is your excuse?

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