As a trainer and entrepreneur, I have a non-traditional work schedule; I wake up early and start work most mornings at 6:30am, work several evenings, a few hours on the weekends, and almost always have afternoons off. No two days look the same, and yet sometimes I feel like it is Groundhog Day. I don’t have the typical calendar boundaries that decipher work (weekdays) and rest (weekends), where I hustle and rest. But that’s okay, because I am pursuing my passion and absolutely love the life and schedule I have designed for myself.
Some days I’m hustling: writing programs, driving back-to-back to client appointments, getting my own workouts in, marketing, doing admin and bookkeeping, writing, creating content, etc.; and have other days that are more restorative where I have the day off or just one client, and spend most of my time catching up on errands, practicing yoga, seeing friends or going on a nature walk. I enjoy both of those kind of days; both are necessary to my business’s vitality and the health of my mind, body and spirit.
But to be perfectly honest, I adore my yang (busy) days more than my yin (restorative) days. I thrive on being busy, productive and having a full day of commitments. It is part of my DNA: back in high school, university, and even when I was working in the corporate world, I would always fill up my schedule with gym workouts, sports, dance, continuing education, etc. Being productive and leading a full life contributes to my happiness and emotional well-being. And by the same token, in order to thrive there needs to be a game plan to make sure everything is executed in a high performing manner.
Yesterday was one of those plentiful days, jam-packed with
personal, fitness and work commitments:
6:00am wake up, meditate, journal, set my intentions for the day
[7:00am my workout: hill sprints]
12:30pm hatha yoga (me-time)
5:00-6:30pm training call for the JDRF 5k walk
The night before, I was contemplating whether or not I would do hill sprints because of my eventful day ahead. I didn’t even write it in my agenda (the diligent planner in me only wants to write down on paper what I can commit to; I was not going to commit to running if there was a good chance I would forgo it). I told myself I would make a game day decision morning of.
Surprisingly, I woke up at 6:00am that morning with gusto (my body knew I had to bring my A-game to conquer my day) and genuinely wanted to run. I decided to run my hill sprints for three reasons:
- I had so much gratitude that I was healthy and able to run this week.
Last Wednesday, I got what it seemed to be a 36-hour sore throat spell and lost my voice. I consciously decided not to run, so I could save the energy and my lung capacity to coach clients that day. This was a big deal because as of late I rarely miss a Wednesday 7am sprint session (as it fits perfectly with my client schedule and my own workouts and recovery schedule at the moment). Hence, I was keen on running.
- I did not want exercise FOMO.
I thought to myself, I’m assisting five clients access the gift of exercise and endorphins today, I should gift myself that treat too.
- The most important reason (this is specific to how I’m feeling that day – mood, energy, health, etc.): I knew I would be a better coach that day if I got my sprints in.
I had the same perspective as last week:
Will this serve me?
Will this help me show up better in the world?
Last week honouring my body and my commitment to being the best coach I can be meant skipping the workout. This week, it meant getting my anaerobic and endorphin fix in. I knew doing sprints that give me energy and endorphins prior to my hectic workday would make me better serve that day: I would be happier, more engaged and calmer during all of my day’s activities. That’s the primary reason why I ran.
Same mindful approach as last week, but different execution as I’m in different circumstances this week.
Do you see the paradigm shift? Coming from a place of exercising and feeding yourself healthy foods to be of better service – not making it about you (e.g. dropping a dress size, getting rid of your cellulite, etc.) – and how these healthy habits can positively affect you and allow you to be a better mother, spouse, employee, friend, sister, etc. can be a more effective motivation and strategy in pursuing your fitness and health goals. Because exercise and mindful eating should enhance your life and your daily responsibilities, not withdraw from it.
And you know what? It worked. Those hill sprints, yoga time and healthy eating allowed me to show up fully and be an effective and engaged trainer. By the time I made it to my 8pm session, I was still energized (and invigorated, actually). My client asked me how was I not tired after my busy day. I immediately said, “I ate healthy food, I did hill sprints and I really love my job.”
Next week on the blog, I’ll have Part II with strategies on how to dominate your demanding days.