Finding Time to Train as a Busy Woman by Crystal McCullough

“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.”
– Jana Kingsford

For most of us, we have obligations outside of the gym. Some of us work out simply for our health, while others of us are training at a high level for our sport (i.e. weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit). There is only a very small percentage of athletes who have the ability to treat training and recovery as their full time job without distractions. Obligations can be work related, school related, or family related. We can make a million excuses about not having time to go to the gym (and many of these excuses may even be valid). The bottom line is that we make time for things that are important to us. No matter how busy we are, if we prioritize our health and fitness as important, we will find a way. Balance is key!

THE PLAN

Whatever combination of busyness you have, goal setting, prior planning, and time management are key components of successfully staying active in the gym and training. I am a wife, mother, coach, business partner, and elite athlete. Each of my days are spent doing a combination of these things:

  1. Spending time with Wayne and Morgan – My husband and I find time throughout the busy day to go on walks or go to breakfast so we can have couples time. Morgan and I spend time together watching silly TV shows and talking on the way to and from the gym. THIS is my number one priority, but I know that I can always do a better job.
  2. Coaching – I coach our morning adult fitness classes at L.E.A.N. two to three times per week as well as coach weightlifting with Travis each afternoon. I also travel to the National meets with the team to help Travis coach.
  3. Managing a gym – I am the general manager of L.E.A.N., and I have daily obligations of answering emails, marketing, membership recruitment and retention, programming, cleaning, etc.
  4. Training – I compete in powerlifting and train five to six times per week.
  5. Programming for online athletes – I have 30 online athletes who I program for through our Silver Level program. I have weightlifters, powerlifters, and CrossFit athletes.
  6. Customer service – I am the person you email when you need anything at the support@mashelite.com email.
  7. Podcasting – We spend three to four hours every couple of weeks talking to guests on the podcast.
  8. Homeschooling Morgan – We are on a break right now (thank goodness!), but when we are in session, I grade his daily work and issue his tests to him.

This may look like a lot – and if I’m being honest, it is. However, I wouldn’t give up a single one of them! I have an amazing support system with my husband, Wayne, and my son, Morgan. Wayne has taken on two to three mornings of coaching adult fitness classes at the gym for me, and he coaches when I go out of town with our weightlifters. He will also start helping me with marketing and membership recruitment. He brings Morgan to the gym to train on the days I can’t come home mid-day. He cooks dinner, does housework, and helps Morgan with school. I couldn’t do all of this without him. Morgan keeps me accountable with my training and pushes me to always be the best version of myself. Both my husband and my son help me to stay balanced.

I say all of this, not for you to feel sorry for me or to brag, but to prove to you that with the goal setting, prior planning, and time management, it is possible to stay on track with your health and fitness despite all of your obligations.

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Overwhelm

Women in the roles of wife and/or mom sometimes feel even more overwhelmed than men. We feel like there are certain things we are supposed to be doing. Giving up our own time for fitness is the first thing to go. We put others’ needs before our own. We identify as someone’s wife or someone’s mom, and we can lose ourselves if we don’t learn to find balance and prioritize.

I have found through trial and error that I have to go through a set of simple steps regularly in order to be successful. There are some weeks I am more successful than others. These are a few steps that I try to work on each week:

  1. Set aside time to go to the gym and train. Make an appointment with yourself!
  2. Set training goals. This can be as simple as getting in the gym x days a week or as specific as a meet or competition to train for. I personally find that I do better when I have a meet I am training for. When you have goals, you are more likely to keep the appointment you made with yourself. Be realistic with your goals.
  3. Make a list and prioritize all the tasks you have to complete throughout your day. Check off tasks as you accomplish them. Block out specific time blocks for each task.
  4. Lose the excess baggage. If there is something or someone bringing you down and keeping you from reaching your full potential, lose it. This can be as simple as getting off social media if it interferes with your productivity.
  5. Have open communication regularly with your family and friends to let them know what you need from them as a support system to be successful.

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Here are a few additional pointers for moms and wives especially out there having a hard time balancing everything and on the verge of losing themselves:

  1. Work toward an integrated life. Perspective is crucial in order to create harmony in your life – by having a balance of time for yourself and time for your family. If you have these two things, there won’t be guilt over all the other things. Only you will know the formula that works best for you.
  2. Don’t feel guilty for finding a better version of yourself. What I mean is don’t stay home from the gym or fail to pursue dreams because you feel guilty for taking time for yourself. As my husband says (via a Rich Froning quote), “A happy wife is a happy life.”
  3. Realize that following your dreams only encourages your children to follow theirs. You teach your children a valuable lesson of how important health and fitness is in their lives by including them.
  4. Life will knock down even the best of us at times. Learn how to get back up, brush it off, and continue forward!

Creating balance in your life isn’t going to happen overnight. There are times you will feel overwhelmed. I still have my moments of being overwhelmed. Don’t let yourself get to this point if you can help it. Regularly go back to the steps and make sure your goals are realistic, the way you manage your time is working, and you have communicated your needs with your support system.

I hope this article gave you something to think about and can provide you with some simple strategies to maybe make your life a little less hectic without giving anything up you love!

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