What’s the plan?

In December 2022 / January 2023, Trucker's Health7 MinutesBy Laura HulleyJanuary 16, 2023

Some people have more to deal with in their 24-hour day than others, making it challenging to maintain a health and fitness regime – it boils down to whether training and eating healthy is a priority to you or not. We make time for the things important to us – so exercise and looking after yourself need to become one of those priorities.

People often ask me how I get the motivation to train as often as I do (sometimes 15 times a week). My answer is always the same: where motivation ends, discipline begins. Don’t think for one minute that I bound out of bed every morning excited to work out.

Exercise is just part of my daily routine. I feel flat or out of sorts if I haven’t done anything active. It doesn’t mean doing a strenuous activity 365 days a year. There will always be an excuse why you can’t work out. It’s about pushing through those excuses and knowing that you’ll feel a million bucks and glad you got it done in an hour or so when the workout is done and dusted.

At this stage of the year, it’s easy to write it off and think, ‘I’ll start in the new year’ or ‘I’ll make a new year’s resolution’. We still have a good chunk of this year left – far too much time to let the year just trickle away beneath us. Here are some ideas to help keep you on track:

Plan your training for the week

Every Sunday afternoon, I sit down and quickly jot down what training I need to do each day. I find this gets my head in the game for the coming week, and I know that when I wake up on Monday morning, it’s straight into my first day of training. I find that if I wing it and wake up each day and do random stuff or skip workouts because I don’t know what I’m doing or can’t be bothered that day – I don’t achieve as much as when I have carefully planned out my week.

Stock up the fridge and pantry

I like to ensure I have all the food I need for the week. If you like doing meal plans, write out what you’d like for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the coming work week. Otherwise, just make sure you have a broad range of fruits, vegetables and healthy foods so you can grab and go through the week knowing that you can make good food choices. Often, if there are no healthy options, you gravitate towards unhealthy bought options at the bakery, or takeaways when you get home from work. Stock up the cupboards and avoid convenient temptations.

Know what you have on during the week

As well as having a game plan for your training, it helps to know exactly what you have on through the week and when you have to tackle it. If you work irregular hours, plan your meals around your shifts. If you have a busy calendar outside of work hours, it’s important to know what you have on so you can plan your training around any hobbies or events popping up throughout the week. I use a diary system, so I know exactly when and where I will be through the week and adjust my training times accordingly.

Get to bed at a reasonable hour

This is heavily dependent upon your schedule and work hours, but it is important to go to bed at a decent hour and get a good night’s sleep – otherwise, training and healthy eating will be a struggle. There’s nothing worse than waking up feeling flat and tired and trying to push through a mediocre workout at the gym. For example, I get up at 5am most days for training, so getting to bed at about 9pm is a big priority. I try to ensure I’m sitting and in a relaxed mode from 8pm so I can wind down from the day. If you are tearing around the house until bedtime, it can take time for your body to relax and fall asleep.

Book in your classes or workout buddies

If you are going to group training classes, ensure you have booked all your sessions for the week on a Sunday. That way, you are organised and have committed to showing up at designated classes throughout the week. If you have a workout buddy, ensure you organise all your sessions together before the week starts. Otherwise, the week can snowball, and you both get too busy or forget to organise exercise.

Enjoy downtime

It’s important to make relaxing a priority throughout your week and not just on the weekend – even if you just grab 30 minutes to yourself each day to relax in the way you enjoy. Ideally, when you relax, it would be without a screen or device, but I understand that many people enjoy watching telly after a long day and before getting ready for bed. If it makes you feel relaxed, go for it.

As the cliché goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Being organised is so important in maintaining a health and fitness routine – and in anything in life. It doesn’t matter what method you use if you find it helpful, and it keeps you focused and on track.