How to Balance Your Life and Your Workout, Part 1
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by Emma Inkester

Balance your life the Barry’s way- Part 1 (The Physical)

We live in a 100mph society, with dozens of aspects of life constantly vying for our undivided attention. There’s family, partners, friends, work, hobbies, remembering your Great Aunt Mabel’s birthday and friend’s sister’s little darling Freddie’s Bar Mitzvah… it’s enough to give you a headache just thinking about it all. Then there’s the ever-mounting piles of ‘life admin’ we all hate so much, and people actually expect us to leave the house not looking like a pug-eyed Groucho Marx?! Seriously, do they know what they are asking of us?!

It’s very likely you also put a lot of pressure on yourself to navigate the above maze of life whilst also keeping up a healthy lifestyle, exercise regime, and even fit in a little sleep somewhere. Sometimes it can all just seem so much like hard work, and all too difficult to retain a happy medium. Sure, you don’t want to skip every planned workout because of a hangover, work deadline or social engagement. But equally who wants to be the person that misses their best friend’s birthday because they just have to attend their usual class time and are scared of coming within 20ft of a carb?

At Barry’s we believe in balance – yes hard work and discipline are key, but so is FUN. Life is for living. It’s about helping you shape your own lifestyle and happiness, your way. So how to grab hold of that elusive “balance?” Here are a few tips. It’s a big topic, so we’ve split it into two bite-size chunks: the physical and the mental. This week we discuss the Physical.

Make your workout work for your life

The first step to making sure you fit in that all-important workout is picking the perfect timing to make it happen. If you’re up with the lark every morning at 6am don’t book in for a 9pm class, because you’ll be less than enthusiastic by the time the evening ticks round. Equally, if you’re a night owl don’t promise yourself that you’ll get up at sunrise for the first class of the day, because you’re much more likely to put the pillow over your ears when you hear that alarm ringing than jump out of bed and pull on your training shoes.

Both morning and evening exercise have their bonuses. A morning workout kick-starts your calorie burn and metabolism and makes you feel fab for the rest of the day, leaving you the evening slot to fit in something else. An evening workout allows you to de-stress after a long day, and clear your mind so that you can go to bed calm and relaxed. And of course, if you have the luxury of flexibility and can train during the middle of the day, go for it! The class sizes will be smaller, and the queue for the showers much more palatable. So pick the one that fits your lifestyle, your body-clock and routine best. Work with, not against, your natural inclinations, and you are setting yourself up for long-term success.

Hang out in dreamland

If you’re going to be bright as a button ready for that early workout or day at work, then that Revenge/24/How I met Your Mother marathon until 2am the night before is just not going to work. Sleep is absolutely key to a healthy balanced lifestyle, no excuses.

Get those 7-8 hours to give yourself a fighting chance of hitting the next day with any kind of energy and productivity. If you’re not convinced, did you know lack of sleep has been linked to belly fat gain? We rest our case.

Listen to your body

If your body is screaming at you that it is exhausted and doesn’t want to be put through what you’re doing to it, then do yourself a favour and LISTEN. This isn’t about about working hard in a class – that’s essential – it’s about the moment when you’ve gone too far and you know deep down that you’re doing more harm than good.

Pushing through and running yourself into the ground is doing no one any favours, least of all yourself. There are no prizes for stubborn stupidity, only injuries and stress. If you keep going through slowly worsening pain you’re more likely to end up with six weeks of limping and nil-by-treadmill than a new sprint PB. We know you don’t want to see this, but check out our article on why you need a rest day.

Combine fun and fitness

Fitness is more fun with friends. With a workout buddy you can exercise AND hang out- socializing doesn’t always have to involve greasy food or alcohol. And at Barry’s you won’t be short of potential candidates! When you’re having fun with your exercise regime you’re a lot more likely to keep it up, and you are a lot less likely to roll over and press ‘snooze’ when you know someone’s there saving you a bench.

Come back next week for the other, and sometimes even more difficult side of the coin, the mental aspect of a balanced life.

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Emma Inkester is a full-time lawyer, part-time fitness junkie and blogger. She is passionate about sharing the journey to a healthy and happy lifestyle with others, and would love to hear from you with comments, questions and article requests. She can also be found on Twitter: @emmaink