THE BALANCE – Trying to get results in the Gym whilst still being able to enjoy Life!

This in my opinion is what everyone involved in health & fitness is trying to achieve, whether its Personal Trainers like myself or someone just trying to lose a bit of weight for his or her summer holiday. Everybody’s balance is different depending on what your goal is, if you’re trying to prepare for a bodybuilding show like me, unfortunately my ‘balance’ has to be a little more extreme than somebody wanting to look nice for a holiday. But this shouldn’t take anything away from that sort of goal; I’m merely suggesting that you can get away with doing a few more social things e.g.-(nights out, nice meals, missing the odd training session or even just generally having a bad week!)

I’m man enough to admit I’m still working on getting this balance right and I personally think nobody gets it right the first time. For example last year I entered my first BB competition and felt that I went too extreme with diet, training and generally not allowing myself to enjoy life enough for 5 months. I’m very much a family man and felt like I let mine down last year. This year I will change this, I’m doing another competition but I will make sure my fiancée and daughter don’t suffer.

I see people getting this balance wrong in 2 main ways.


The first type of person I see the most is people coming into a consultation showing you a picture of the airbrushed celebrity that they want to look like in 6 weeks but not doing nearly enough to achieve this. I always say to my clients “your effort has to match your goal!”- If you want those abs or lean legs you might have to train more than 3 times a week, you might have to skip a few nights out, god forbid you might have to exercise at the weekend.

Family photo
Family time!

Unfortunately this type of person isn’t willing to sacrifice all these nice things for the dream body, you will often hear things like ‘I just didn’t have time’, ‘but it was my mates birthday’ or ‘I was too tired!’

My personal opinion is to suck it up and get the job done but not everyone gets my harsh attitude. Start planning everything out as much as you can e.g….

  1. Look at your social occasions if you have 2 major nights out in a month make sure you stay in and eat well 3 weeks before that so that not only are you earning the night out, you will also be looking better for it.
  2. Look at your work week, when can you get your training sessions in, don’t say you cant because that’s bullshit, everybody has half an hour (100 press-ups, 100 lunges, 100 squats, I wont charge you for this programme! HA HA.) If you work late get up an hour early, black coffee, handful of nuts and get shit done, no excuses!
  3. Know what you’re eating the day before! If you’re what I call a freestyler- (picking up food whenever you can!) You’re destined to fail because they will always be a time when you are too busy to do this. You don’t have to plan every meal but at least have eggs and nuts ready for breakfast, take a tuna salad in for lunch & have some meat & veggies ready to throw in the oven in the evening. Again I wont charge you for this food plan!


The second type of person is the exact opposite, I often encounter this in younger clients 18-30, these guys and girls will put massive amounts of effort into changing their body as quickly as possible- training 8 times a week, avoiding tomatoes due to carb content and hide in their room at the weekend. (I only know this because I’ve done it!)

These lot often get fantastic results in the first 4-6 weeks but often forget about the “tortoise & the hare story”, they make far too many changes to their life and training so quickly that the results they get aren’t sustainable. I find if you go extreme with training, nutrition and lifestyle too quickly you will burn out and find that you no longer enjoy your training, which hopefully is the main reason you got into it in the first place!!!

Cheat day image
Cheat day!

In this situation I like to explain to people that small consistent changes are likely to bring about long-term change that is likely to stick, so they can stay in great shape even if they go on holiday or have a lot of social occasions. What these people need to remember is that the best way to look at Fat Loss is in the eyes of a Magician and their Tricks! You wouldn’t display your best trick at the start; you would gradually build it up for a big finish! For example:

  1. I would start by cleaning all crap out of the diet, drink 2 liters of water a day and add weight training 3 times a week! This should bring about some good little changes in the mirror after 2-3 weeks.
  2. When this plateaus and you stop seeing changes, try giving yourself a protein goal per day, approximately 2-2.5 times bodyweight in kgs= grams of protein you should eat! E.g.- 70kg person would eat 140-175 grams per day. Training wise I would up training to 4 times per week with 2 brisk walks, bike ride, swim etc…
  3. When this plateaus, I would start tracking all your macros (protein, carbs, fats) on myfitnesspal. This should give you overall calories your eating per day and where they’re coming from. Its very dependent on body type but the majority of my clients and myself do well on a high protein, high fat, low carb diet (40%40%20%), warning: this might not work for you!!! Training wise I would add to Interval/ conditioning sessions to your weights workouts, this is where you would sweat your ass off on a bike, run prowlers, pull sleds, hill sprints etc….
  4. Finally when you have nailed all this you may have to drop your calories to force your body into a deficit, only do this gradually 200-300 calories a week, this wont work if you haven’t built your calories up to a decent amount in the first place. Training wise I would try and train twice a day 3-4 times per week still having 3 rest days. You could look to add in some fasted cardio in the morning, I would have a black coffee first thing then do 20 mins steady paced on the bike to cause a sweat. Then I would weight train in the afternoon/evening for 40 mins max.  I wouldn’t suggest this for long as it isn’t sustainable and will make you very grumpy. Good to try before a holiday or wedding!!!



This quote is perfect, I have tried many times to find my “BALANCE” in the training world and I’m pretty sure its still not perfect but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve had stages where I’ve been a bit of a “DREAMER” and I’ve spent a lot of time as an “EXTREMER”, but I’m learning how to get it right each year.

Here’s something to think about: What’s the point in having the ripped up/sexy body if you never give yourself a break to show it off?

But on the other hand don’t be people that say, “I wish I could be that dedicated but I just don’t have the time/my work takes over/I have kids etc…

Find your BALANCE!!!

Sam Roberts (Legacy Training).