Half-term training - GO!
With next week being half-term week, for most parents that means either an opportunity for a bit of family R&R or a week-long scramble juggling entertaining the kids, work and all the usual chores thrown in for good measure!
Sadly, I suspect the second category is probably the more likely scenario and given those challenges, where does that leave your regular gym visits, runs, exercise classes and health and fitness focus. Well I won’t deny that even more constraints upon your time can make fitting everything in difficult but as I always maintain with our Personal Training Clients, if you really want to do something, you’ll make the time for it somewhere, somehow. Only this week (due to family half-term commitments myself), I had to disappoint one of my Clients and tell him that I would be unable to make one of our usual sessions and he came back to me quick-as-a-flash; “how about Thursday at 7 o’clock” (in the morning that is!).
The time was absolutely no problem so we changed the session time and whilst seven in the morning might seem like very early to work out for some people, if you really want to do it you will. Think back to those times when your children were just babies and you found yourself up during the small hours, short of sleep and with mountains of washing to do, yet you still managed to carry out all the other things in your life – you just became efficient, made the time and importantly, made the commitment. And that’s the magic word – commitment.
The key is to commit to the task and this week the task that I’m focusing upon is keeping on top of your exercise, irrespective of little hiccups in your schedule, such as half-term!
1. The early bird . . . It’s an old saying but it still holds true, ‘The early bird catches the worm’. How often have you started work early, before everyone else and achieved so much more due to lack of distractions from other people, e-mails, the telephone, etc. Well the same applies to your exercise. If you get up that bit earlier, you can get it done, feel virtuous (!), have no worries about when you’re going to find the time to fit your workout in and feel energised for the entire day. Your early rising strategy only needs to run for a week – unless you find it so successful that you want to continue with it and you’ll find that you can still look after your health and manage the rest of your life whatever the challenges that half-term brings! So set that alarm clock a little earlier and reap the rewards!
2. Something for the weekend? The half-term is spliced between two weekends and it’s the weekend when everything should be running as per normal. So if those domestic responsibilities really make it impossible for you to get any exercise through the week then the weekends are your chance to focus upon you and your training. You’ve got four days, which in my book equates to four opportunities to get your exercise in so plan ahead, cram in those sessions and carpe diem! Do remember that just because you’ve missed your exercise through the week, back-to-back hard sessions isn’t suitable, so alternate between hard and easy to ensure that you don’t overload yourself and end up fatigued, injured or just fed up with training.
3. Miss the X-Factor! Now I realise that a statement like that could be deemed close to sacrilege given that Simon Cowell’s flagship juggernaut is one of the most popular programmes on television but I always think to myself, ‘I won’t be lying on my deathbed wishing I’d watched more TV!’ Okay, I’ve picked out the X-Factor as an example but my strategy is applicable to any TV programme. Sadly watching TV doesn’t get you fit, exercise your heart, tone your muscles, maintain your strength, improve your flexibility, flush out toxins, improve your complexion, keep the pounds at bay, generate endorphins that make you feel amazing and contribute to your health and fitness. So, try forsaking a little TV and substituting a workout in instead. Gym members frequently tell me how they struggle to find the time to exercise yet a little probing questioning on my part often reveals that they’re a fan of the soap operas or similar. Now whilst I’ve nothing personally against soap operas (or whatever TV takes your fancy), my focus is on doing something positive with my time and achieving something worthwhile and long-lasting (and having seen Eastenders myself – it’s all negative angst and all the characters seem to have forgotten how to smile!).
4. Quality, quality, quality. When you’re pushed for time yet still want maximum results then your focus should be one way and one way only. A quality workout. Now there is a place in your training week for recovery workouts and easy sessions – in fact they’re very important but to help you save time, during half-term week your easier sessions are actually going to be no sessions at all. What constitutes an easy session will now be a day off – to cram in all the other things in your life. That leaves the workouts that you can do as quality all the way. These sessions aren’t social sessions, where you’re chatting with your friends throughout the run, at the back of the exercise class or to your training partner in the gym. No these sessions are challenging workouts. The rationale here is whilst you can’t manage your full volume of training, you can maintain the quality of your exercise and hence your fitness levels won’t drop. Then when it’s back to school, you can revert to your usual system. You’ll then find that there’s no drop in fitness and you can push on for greater fitness without taking a fortnight to catch up again. What a win!
5. . . . and finally, So does a minor blip in the calendar such as half-term have to curtail your health and fitness plans? Absolutely not. Simply get organized, get planning and reap the rewards! As for me, it’s an hour earlier each morning so that my feel-good factor lasts for the rest of the day! Enjoy your half-term training from all the body4life health & fitness Team – that’s me, Duncan, Dave, Alison and Tony (The mega-organisers!).
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