What’s fitness got to do with it?

I imagine most if not all of us reading this spend a significant portion of our daily lives seated, facing a screen, going without fresh air for numerous hours at a time. We complain about gaining pounds, lethargy and dwell on the past when we were fitter, healthier, did the activities that brought us joy and generally moved more. A lot of us reminisce about the days when we were free of the responsibilities of parenting and were members of sports clubs. Being an avid observer and keen listener, I deciphered patterns in behavior around me and asked myself – how can we a strike a balance to get fitter in the parameters of our professional and personal lives?

Scenario 1: You work from home

Congratulations! You’re in a very luxurious position and shouldn’t take it for granted. You may even be able to choose your hours if you’re in an international team and the boss approves. Even if not, you gain extra hours every day from omitting commute time. There is absolutely no excuse not to factor in an early morning run or yoga session or a spinning class over lunch. Be creative with your time but don’t let work suffer. It’s not one at the expense of the other.

Scenario 2: You are office based

Congratulations! You have a job. As for fitness, your options are certainly limited, but I believe where there’s a will there’s a way. Can you discipline yourself to work out at 7am and still make it to work on time? Does your employer have a gym (with showers!) where you can squeeze in a sprint workout during lunch? Is there a fitness studio near work so you can grab a workout en route home? I myself have found the journey to be the deciding factor. Is it en route work/home? Can you make the journey to and from the gym a little easier for yourself?

Scenario 3: You have family responsibilities

I once had a colleague who had the discipline of an athlete. She had two young boys and an extremely demanding job that included business travel. We shared a bus to work in the mornings and she would hop out mid-way to drop off her kids to school. Some evenings, she worked out. I was always amazed how she managed to do this. Her approach? She took her boys to karate class with her. While she worked out, the boys waited. When it was their class, she waited. After that they went home together. It meant bed time was a little later, but they made it work and kudos to her for that!

Scenario 4: Your job demands travel

When I was an Events Manager in Amsterdam, I was on the road a lot. At the time, I was still in procrastination phase and never once used the gym of any hotel I stayed at. Travelling with another company during my London days, I watched another colleague who traveled a lot more frequently than I did go through a complete physical fitness transformation. He hit the treadmill every morning without fail followed by a healthy breakfast. I regret not having the same discipline at the time.

Scenario 5: You treasure weekends

Weekends. Two short days to sort out our lives. Family. Friends. Chores. Rest. Travel. Sleep. Am I really about to suggest that you work out in these precious days? Yep. Do it. You’re investing in yourself. It needn’t be the gym. Go for a long walk instead. Make it an activity. Reward yourself with a smoothie at your favorite café after. It will give you more energy in the week to follow and prepare your mind and body.

Scenario 6: Your health speaks

Our health isn’t always up to par. I have to admit this one plays on my mind more so now than it did in my 20’s. A combination of losing elders, watching those older than me suffer from ailments, or my own health demons creeping their head around now and again has made me acutely aware of the fact that we won’t have health forever, and without health none of the other stuff matters – not the job title, not the next big promotion, not the travel plans, nothing. Find what works best for you. Listen to your body. Health first.

I haven’t reached nutritional nirvana yet. Once I do I promise to blog about it. Watch this space.

2 thoughts on “What’s fitness got to do with it?

  1. You give very good advice! I am very much Scenario 2. I have a question. I am not a morning person. I now admit that to myself. Do you think I can speak to my seniors at work about going to the gym for an hour and half (45 min of work out, shower, travel there and back) during the work day and then coming back to the office and staying longer? I feel that this focus on fitness is something that our generation worries about and our seniors don’t often understand… How can I go about such a conversation?

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  2. Thanks for your feedback! I’d say something like this is down to company culture. If the requirement is to be visible at your desk at all times this could be a challenge. If priority is performance and there’s scope for flexibility in choosing your hours, a quick workout over lunch (which is intended for your health and well being and boosts productivity) “should” be doable? I did this many years ago and had a late lunch at my desk after a 30-min workout. Good luck!

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