Training During Life Stress

By: Sylvia Lokollo

Should you train when your life is taken over by stressful and busy times?

I’ve heard the same complain so many times now about how your hectic, stressful and busy life is affecting you physically and mentally and how this all affect your training.  How can some manage to incorporate their training during life stress, while others give up training easily?

How and what is the best way to incorporate training during stressful life moments? We all have stress in our lives.  I’ll share how I’ve done it below with the help of two essential factors: stay committed and keep consistent. We all need the following reminders:

Don’t Let Anyone, Especially You, Talk Yourself Out of Training! 

Let’s use this analogy…what’s harder? The last argument you had with your parents or the 50 Kettlebell swings you had to do in class?  Life stress is so much more brutal, it crushes you. Most people can handle the physical stress from training. So, what you want to do during stressful times in your life is to never stop training. 

It’s not about training more either. You might only fit 1 session a week for a full body day. You might even fit 2-3 sessions a week, which is where I am right now. I promise you…it changes everything, it makes you a better human, a stronger person and it’s the best form of self development you’ve got during stressful times.  

Be Flexible and Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

You missed another training session…so what? Make it up, be flexible and attend another session. Going back to the beginning when we first started Core Strength, I was pretty much living in the gym, you’d think I would have all the time to train right? Wrong! I went from 5 days a week of structured training to 2 days a week of somewhat structured training. One of those days was a Sunday morning ritual to the gym with Andy, I found those two days and I made it happen. 

Now, with a more structured life running a business, taking care of 2 dogs and making time with Andy and my own self development, I need to be flexible and not beat myself up if I cannot train 3 times a week. If I miss a day and it becomes 2 sessions for the week, then be it. I just need to monitor my nutrition and not feel shit about missing a lift. Just don’t make ‘no training’ a routine, be consistent and be committed in your training.

Make it Simple

Training during life stress is all about the mindset. Our brain loves simplicity, so, keep your training format simple, don’t over complicate the simple things. If you only have 20 minutes, you may only do 1-2 movements. Example: Deadlift (15 mins including warm up) and 4 min of Tabata burpees or 4 minutes of maximum calories on the rower.

Stop Comparing Yourself Against Others

This is the most important thing about training for life, you cannot compete against what other people are doing or how they’re training. Unfortunately the world of social media can distract you from what is most important in YOUR life. We are our own unique individual, our stress level, the way we handle stress, our sleep, how we recover are all different to others. You have to train according to how your own body is coping and recovering from stress. If you’re not getting enough sleep, lower the intensity and volume. It’s not that you’re not challenging yourself, it’s about training smarter. Don’t kill yourself in the gym, short and quick workouts can be just as effective. Think STRONG, not injured. 

Bottom Line

We’re all busy, but we shouldn’t be too busy to take care of our own physical and mental health. Stress can make you feel like you cannot afford to spend time committing to your training. However, the truth is, you really cannot afford not to! Keeping up with your training routine gives you more energy to accomplish a lot of things, including how you handle stressful events in your life. Be efficient with your training structure, be consistent and be committed. 

One last thing, training is not the only thing that will help you manage your life stress, consider getting quality sleep, cutting down on food that is not beneficial for your body (sugar, alcohol). Finally…it all starts in the mind, have a “KICK ASS CAN DO” attitude, because you can do this!