Personal Training and Family life, Does Balance Exist?

Raising children and holding down any job has its challenges but when you add in the unsociable hours and inconsistencies of personal training it becomes even more difficult.  We asked LTB members to share their top tips along with some of the issues they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome them.

TOP TIPS

Planning 

  • Schedule in an hour for a diary date with your partner – Granted that it might not be very romantic but an hour a week to go through your diaries to check your childcare arrangements and working week alongside who is taking the kids to the birthday party, the after school activity, picking them up from school or doing the drop off will save you time and effort and a few less arguments along the way. AC 
  • I have learnt to block times when I am able to work. Big blocks of colour on my iCalendar and I keep to those times. Even blocking in family time during school holidays! MA 

 

Prioritise 

  • Juggling work, looking after the children, exercise and eating healthily, running a household plus seeing friends, balancing it all comes down to time. Which means you have to prioritise. So I do enough exercise to stay healthy and maintain the level I’m at now, but have no major fitness goals anymore because I don’t have the time to train that much. Or rather I have higher priorities.  With work, I think it comes up to how is your time best spent? If you can outsource and spend more time with family, then is it worth it? I outsource more now. I prioritise family and time on more valuable parts of my business. VB  
  • Unless you can afford a cleaner and a gardener, your house and garden will look a hell of a lot more messy now that you and your partner both work. You might have to accept that you have a new base standard! Accept it and move on. AC 

Teamwork 

  • Teamwork! We use a childminder 4 days per week for 8 hours for our youngest. A local childminder does a few school drop offs and pick-ups for our eldest. I moved clients on days that I could, to suit me taking the eldest to school and picking the youngest up from the childminders. And finally my parents help out when my wife and I are working our long days. SB 

Find what works for you 

  • Having kids and juggling life and work won’t always go to plan and that’s ok…. My own personal mantra is better than I was yesterday and good enough for today and that works for me. AC 
  • Is it the perfect balance, nope I don’t think there is one, but as long as it works for you then maybe it is. PW 

 

 CHALLENGES

Challenge  – Balance, ability to switch off, stop work and spend time with family. 

  • Term time is manic, my wife and myself don’t actually see each other a lot, we are either at work or tag teaming and passing like ships in the night. We have a hard and fast rule, that when we are both in the house in the evening, older kids are in bed reading and the younger should be asleep (fingers crossed), that we stop at 9pm. Even if it’s just to stop, unwind and watch a series! MA 
  • For me it’s always been a fight and I don’t think I will ever get it right but what I have got at the moment is working for me.  We have an extended family here  which means we are only ever all together every other weekend.  This means that the time we do have with them is more precious than usual. I used to work evenings, weekends and whenever I could to bring the money in but it was causing more stress than anything else, especially at weekends when the 2 of the kids will be playing football, the wife playing netball and trying to cover it all at once and still work.  Realising all I was doing was running myself into the ground and causing more stress and just missing what was going on in the families lives I decided to change things.  I moved all my weekend work to during the week, yes I work from 6am – 9.30pm Mon-Thurs and 7.30 on a Friday but that is just the PT life.  Money isn’t everything and getting a couple of hundred pounds a month more by working on a weekend isn’t worth the trade of not seeing the kids play football or spend time with the wife. PW 
  • I get the work done when the kids are in bed, at school or at childminders. It means they get my attention when I am at home, my wife is not left to do everything, and we work as a team. SB 

 

Challenge – Fitting in everything else that isn’t work or child related 

  • Our family goes from my wife being home with the kids all day long in the summer to BAM. Fall sports and school starts and my wife is gone 2-4 nights a week and I am in charge of the house and kids from August-November.  The solution for when the trifecta of the hours, seasons, and stress kicks in August;  7 day meal plan from Dan John. We picked 7 meals that the family likes but has good variety through the week. Example. every Monday is Taco Monday, Wednesday is Grill night and Friday is Make your own pizza night. With only 2.5 hours to eat, do homework, play, prep for bed, and do bedtimes, having a good meal either ready to go or already in a slow cooker is a life saver. No stressing over grocery shopping week to week, wondering what to eat, or if we are falling into the trap of quick easy meals that have no variety. It’s been a lifesaver for us this fall. DS 
  • We involved the kids in this. They helped with a little “Daddy Job List” that works around the times I am working. It’s about working as a team, which all families should be. And if you go away on a training course make sure you come back with a little gift for your wife and kids. They will learn that it’s a good thing when you go away, as they come back with presents! It’s a win all round. SB 
  • I kind of rotate my focus, like if I work on developing something for my business for a bit I then find I reach a point where I’ve had enough and focus on early nights and training a bit harder for a bit, and seeing friends. Then I might shift focus back to business. Cleaning remains at the bottom of the list always though. VB 
  • Let go and stop doing everything for everyone else  – When you start working you realise that actually the little people that you raised can do a fair bit for themselves! This includes making their own beds, putting their smelly pants in the washing basket, making their own breakfast and snacks and clearing their own dishes. Little things like this take the pressure off when you are super busy. AC 

 

Challenge – Child Care, illnesses, time off school 

  • All my clients understand if illnesses crop up unexpectedly. They accept that family comes first! I guess I attract clients with similar values to myself, often posting pictures of us as a family on facebook etc. So its not really an issue once a client knows that you have kids and at times you may have to cancel short notice.   SB 
  • My advice is to find a responsible teenager that lives nearby. Every working mum should have one. You know the one… the daughter of the lovely neighbour across the road. The girl with the nice manners that you used to say hello to on the school drop off every day for years.  Well she grew up and is now looking to earn a bit of cash before she goes to Uni! She is usually available at short notice, is half the price of a nanny or childminder and she lets your own daughter play “hairdressers” when she comes over. And she can even impress your eldest son with her taste in music and knowledge of all things tech! Look after her, feed her well, pay her slightly over what everyone else on the street is paying her and remember her special occasions! AC 
  • With sickness it all depends on the day and how many clients I have booked in on that day. My wife and I tag team who stays at home. She works close to home so somedays we can do half a day each. MA 

 

Challenge – Time for you and your wellbeing  

  • I book out an afternoon off so I don’t do anything between 11.30am and 5.30pm one day a week and make sure I do switch off and have nothing to do with work. PW 
  • Be disciplined with your time! When they are in bed, school or childminders you can study. You can also involve them – try teaching what you are learning to a 6 year old, when you can do that you understand the subject! Also read together, get your kids reading their books while you read yours. They will learn the value in reading time, even get them to try and read some of your books to you. All the explaining you do will help with the learning! SB 
  • Sometime being busy and flying in and out of the house in the evening, food choices are not the best. I try and eat a bigger meal at lunch knowing I won’t have time in the evening.  We tend not to have a lot of junk food in the house, but when I’m tired I’m always reaching for the kids lunch box snacks or a bowl of coco pops in the evening! Just extra calories I don’t need. I now ask myself am I tired or hungry and remind myself I have eaten today and don’t need it!  MA 
  • Put your training time in your diary like you would any other client. Only give that slot up as a favour for an existing client who needs to reschedule and you are happy to accommodate. SB 
  • Remember the reason you are doing it – When it seems tough and unworkable or just downright exhausting and overwhelming remember the reason why and this will help you focus your energy on getting things done. AC 

 

Adele, mother of 3                                                                          Dustin, Father of 2                                                                    Martin, Father of 4

Pete, Father of 3                                                                             Steve, Father of 2                                                                     Vanessa, Mother of 2