I’ve worked in the Financial Services sector for a Bank the majority of the last 5 years. That can be pretty much translated to being office bound. The last two+ years I have been training again. And not half heartedly … I’ve been training a lot. Usually twice a day, sometimes 7 days a week. Over time, I’ve tried to find the best work / training balance to get the most out of both. I hope some of these will help you too.
- Train during your lunch hour. Find a gym nearby, or even a park, go for a run … there’s always something you can do. Most offices and of course all gyms have showering facilities. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way.
- Don’t mess around. When you leave for training move quick, get changed quick, have a cold shower so you’re in and out (besides there’s a ton of benefits to cold showers so do it anyway …)
- Plan your session beforehand. It might be cool to rock up and plan something on the spot but with a full time job it’s definitely not a good idea. Have a plan and set times and stick to it. Think about how you can get everything done e.g. you might superset movements, or do exercises as a circuit.
- Have a back-up plan. You’re going to squat. Great. You get to the gym and all 3 squat racks are in use. Don’t stand around waiting, have a back-up plan already figured out.
- Take every opportunity. You have a free slot in your diary. Take it! Don’t hang around because you would prefer to train at 3pm instead of 11am. If you wait around something might come up and then you’ve lost your slot.
- Speak to your boss and see if you can take your hour lunch anytime in the day or between a bigger window, say 11 – 2. Then you have more options. Even more so if you’re located in a busy city centre like I am because gyms are always packed during lunch hour.
- If you don’t have enough time, ask your boss if you can get in half an hour early or leave half an hour later to get a longer lunch break to train. Then eat your lunch at your desk. Most companies won’t mind. For many of you this may not working as in this industry there’s a kind of stigma that people work longer than their contracted hours anyway but if you can make it work then you should definitely do it.
- Try to plan your weekly sessions in advance. You don’t need to plan everything but at least plan the structure for the week e.g. You might squat Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This will help to make sure you are fitting in all the right training and not missing anything out. It also helps to avoid overtraining.
- Plan work around your training. I’m not saying your job doesn’t come first because unfortunately for most of us it has to but there’s things you can do to help. Don’t schedule meetings at the time you would usually train unless you really have to.
- Get everything done up front. Don’t leave stuff sitting in your mailbox / “to do” list until the deadline. Get it done early. This will also help to reduce stress which is crucial for your recovery, and it will avoid a backlog of tasks meaning you can’t train at all for a week whilst you play catch up!
- Be proactive. Is there anything you can do now to make next week easier? Ultimately, giving you more time and an open hour to train?
- Don’t talk to people. Bit extreme? Not really. You’re there to train. Tell people you can’t talk as you’ve got to be back at work soon. They will understand. They know your time boxed. Don’t underestimate the time wasted talking to people.
- Most of you probably do this already but food prep is key. For obvious reasons food prep is crucial to ensure you get the right nutrition to train and recover but it also saves time at work. And money! Do it Sunday night for the following week.
- If you don’t get a chance to train, don’t worry about cramming it all into your evening session (if you have one). *NOTE: 2x DAY TRAINING ISN’T FOR EVERYONE!!*. If you want to and can then fine, but understand that it may hinder the intensity of the rest of your session and try not to let it impact your schedule. A schedule for us workers is important. If training extra means cutting into your sleep, or you’re not going to get time to eat properly then it’s really not a good idea. Also, if it’s going to create too much stress then it’s also probably not worth it.
- Get up and move. Don’t sit at your desk typing with your hunched shoulders all day. Stand. Move around. Swing your arms, twist, whatever. A healthy body is one that moves. Not one that sits still all day in a crap position and then jumps into hard training. That’s how you get injured! I know lots of people that have back problems and need special chairs, have to get up and do certain movements throughout the day.
- Drink water. Drink more water. And then drink even more water. Water is great. Drink a ton of it. You’re sitting at a desk so you have absolutely no excuses. Get a big bottle or a jug or whatever … just drink it!
- After work arrange so you can go straight to the gym. Leave your gear in the car. Whatever you need to do. Same rules apply for after work training. Don’t talk too much. Get it done. More time for food, family and sleep.
- If you are training early in the morning before work, firstly you are a better person than I am … I suck at doing this! I’m really dysfunctional that early in the morning. Make sure you get a good amount of carbs before bed so you have energy in the morning, unless you plan to eat breakfast first, but again that doesn’t work for me.
- Have a quick go to breakfast in the mornings that doesn’t take much time and you can eat quickly. Also, get ready quick in the morning. Have a cold shower (again!). Less time faffing in the morning means more time in bed which mans more recovery.
- Don’t be a moaner. There’s always an excuse. Everyone has their own problems. Life isn’t easy. Get over it and make it work!!
Let me know your thoughts and any tips and tricks you have as I would love to add them to this post and use them myself.