How to Prioritize Training When Life Gets Crazy

Sometimes life can get a little crazy and that can make getting training in more difficult than before. This doesn’t mean that we can’t get training in, just that we have to make some adjustments to do so if it’s a priority in our lives. If training isn’t a priority then it will get dropped. This isn’t a good or bad thing, it’s not right or wrong, it just is. For some people, life getting crazy is an indication that training isn’t actually a priority and that can cause some extra psychological stress but here’s the deal: it’s okay to take some time off if you need to. Even when training is a priority, sometimes you just need a break. But there is a difference between taking a needed break from an abundance of training and being inconsistent in your pursuit of training goals because you let other areas of life negatively impact them. The degree of health, fitness, and physical performance you want in your life is your own personal decision and if it’s something you are committed to, here is how you can get it in even when life is crazy:

Just Do Something

There are a lot of different ways that life can get crazy. You could have some type of life event happen (like having a child like I just did), you could get injured, or you could be going through a tough season of work (like an accountant during tax season or someone who works outside during a hot summer). When this happens, it’s important to think of training as a dimmer switch as opposed to an on/off light switch. Many times, people think “If I can’t train like I used to or how I want to, I’m just not going to train at all.” If you really care about training and getting better (and as stated above, you might not), this is a really dumb way of viewing things. Training is variable, it is dynamic. This means that sometimes you get to do it under perfect circumstances and sometimes you just need to make do. If you’re a powerlifter who isn’t around any weights, go for a walk, do some bodyweight movements, do something. If you need to build your cardiovascular health up but have two broken legs, go sit on a tire with a battle rope in your hands and cardio away. Get creative, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and do something.

Reduce Your Volume

In my experience, volume is harder to recover from than intensity. Meaning a 30 minute workout building up to a triple on deadlifts at an RPE of 8 doesn’t take near the physical tole that a 90 minute workout with that same set of 3 plus a bunch of accessory work does. If you’re stressed, not getting enough sleep, not getting the best nutrition, your recovery is going to be hampered so don’t try to place the same stress on yourself as if none of those were a factor. Be smart with your training and keep in what really matters and drop the rest. If you need a bit more volume than just a triple on a heavy strength movement, remove the eccentrics to reduce tissue stress and soreness. Figure out what you absolutely can’t improve without and methodically take out everything else.

Schedule Your Training

When you have a busy schedule you have to schedule your training. If it’s not in your schedule you are far more likely to move it around. This has been an issue for me ever since owning a gym. Being surrounded by work related needs while trying to get a training session in is very difficult for me. Having a scheduled training time and someone who is expecting you to be there can make all the difference between getting a workout in and postponing it until it is too late. Joining CrossFit has made this much easier for me as there are start times that I have booked into my calendar. This keeps me from scheduling something over it. If this is something you have struggled with in the past you shoulder consider working with a trainer, joining a group, or at the very least getting some training partners that are going to hold you accountable to training at a specific time. If it’s important, if it’s a priority, put it in your calendar like all your other priorities.

Pretty basic stuff? Yes. But when it comes to health and fitness, too many of us mess up the basics. This is one of the reasons we are headed off the edge of the cliff health wise as a country. If you really care about your health and fitness, you’ll utilize these tips to help you get your training in even when life is crazy.

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