I had a request to talk about what to do when your schedule doesn’t allow much time to hit the gym. These times come up in people’s lives all the time. I hardly have a client or friend that goes through back to back months without a really stressful or busy week or two. Whether it’s finals week in college or travel for work, things come up.
And things always come up, so we can get over the mythical idea right now that “next week” is going to be perfect and stress free in every way. Now that we’ve excepted reality, we can move on to adjusting to it. So how do we deal with keeping up with workouts when we know we have a business trip next Tuesday and won’t be back till Saturday. My professional opinion would be to, instead searching the internet for hours for a hotel with a “fitness center” (read: vacant room with the bed replaced by a cheap treadmill and the Bible replaced by a pink dumbbell weighing less than the Bible), just roll with the punches.
We’re leaving Tuesday, so let’s get a workout in on Monday. And then we get back on Saturday, let’s workout Sunday. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.
If we’re working out at an intense enough level to make working out worthwhile, we can get or at least maintain results with one session per week. If your workouts are so bad (read: walk on elliptical for an hour followed by a crunch circuit), that you need to do it 7 times a week, let’s not blame your busy schedule for your lack of results. There is far too much information out there (where I steal my information from) to let that excuse hold any weight.
Then we ramp it up the following week if we have the time. Maybe get in 3 or 4 workouts. Now I’m not saying go hog wild on business trips. At least do yourself the favor of eating healthy and if you’re really dedicated, to foam roll and stretch daily. And possibly perform a few corrective exercises prescribed by your trainer who should be fired if he doesn’t screen you for possible movement pattern issues, but I digress.
The truth is, if times are stressful and busy, we’re not going to be able to recover from intense workouts anyway. The nervous system can only take so much stress (Exercise = stress). So just roll with it and know that not getting in 3 perfectly timed workouts during the week is probably going to help you in the long run during those times of stress. It’s better than forcing yourself through bad workouts that don’t stimulate any change and create more of a time deficit that adds to your stress and further decreases your ability to recover properly.
So there you have it. My great advice: if you’re busy or stressed out, just do what you can and know it’s for the best.