Being active has been a part of my life since I was a kid running around on the beaches of my hometown on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I have played community sports, school sports, high level club sports, university sports as well as competed in multiple triathlons, marathons, and cross-country mountain bike racing. I am now in my late 30s and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different my fitness routine is now compared to the years that came before it.
A lot has changed in these 38 years and I don’t seem to have as much time as before to dedicate to exercise. I work in 4 different studios, I am in a relationship, and I have many new cute little humans in my life that matter more to me than my workouts. No longer can I dedicate 25 hours a week to training, which was normal in my 20s. I still exercise, and I still push myself daily, but it looks a lot different now and comes with a different purpose. These days my workouts offer me an hour to escape the other stresses of my day. I am currently not working towards a finish line (except the finish line at the end of my spin class) and that is ok, for now, but I hope one day my life is in the place where I can.
This is important because as our lives and priorities change our workout routines also change. A friend may challenge you to run a half marathon and you may spend most of a year training for it, putting other priorities on the back burner, but once the finish line has been crossed and a few months pass, you may wonder how you ever ran that far as a 5km run has become a challenge. That is ok. You may be getting ready for a beach vacation or wedding and working towards peak fitness but when reality sets back in and things get back to normal that peak might change. That is ok.
We only have so much time in a day and to give time to one thing means taking time away from something else. If exercise is important to you, or you want it to be, you have to sacrifice somewhere else and how much you are willing to sacrifice will determine how fit you become and stay. A busy working mom probably sacrifices time away from family (or sleep) to get in her workouts. A busy entrepreneur most likely has a gym bag at arm’s reach at all times because who knows when a time slot will open up to allow for a workout. Lately my life has become so busy that I bought a commuter bike and I ride my bike to and from work as I was struggling to find time to exercise. And I work in a gym! I have sacrificed the comforts of my car for a bike path to make sure I am staying fit.
So, as we navigate through life, keep redefining how you are challenging yourself physically and understand that every day is a new day and brings new challenges. Sacrifice where you can and make those sacrifices worthwhile by making the most of the time you have. Don’t take time away from other things to half-ass a workout. If you are clearing your schedule to sweat, then sweat as much as you can regardless if it is only for 15 or 30 minutes. A short sweat is just as rewarding as a long one.
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