Family, fitness and work; spinning plates.

Do you ever feel like a circus performer trying to keep a multitude of plates spinning? Constantly balancing one thing against another before rushing off to do something else? I know I do. 

For me my life is a constant balancing act between spending time with my family, working and trying to achieve my fitness goals, and there’s a fine balance to achieve within each category. 

Whilst in my heart my family always come first, my life often ends up being dictated by my work rota. As I’ve previously mentioned my job involves long, anti social hours and frequent nights away from home. I’m currently writing this sat in the London flat provided by the hospital I work at for when I’m on call. I was here last night too, and will be again tomorrow. 

The time away from home is what I find hardest to deal with, it obviously cuts down on my family time. I’m thankful to live in an age where things like FaceTime exist so I’m at least able to video call my wife and kids, but it’s not the same as actually being able to see and spend time with them. It’s the little things I miss most, being able to kiss my wife goodnight, read my kids a bedtime story, or cook for them and I find it difficult to sleep without my wife snoring gently next to me. 

As far as fitness goes staying away from home brings its own challenges, for example it takes a lot of effort to eat well when you’re not at home. The canteen where I work is very reasonably priced but they sell very little healthy food and largely seem to cook using a deep fat fryer. This is what led to me gaining weight in the first place when I first started in this job. These days I tend to try and avoid the canteen and bring my own food from home, but this isn’t easy on the occasions when you need to travel with 3 days worth of food. 

I combat this by bulk cooking, I am the king of Tupperware and a lot of the recipes I post on here for 5-6 portions I often cook just for myself. I then freeze them in portion sized containers (filling the freezer much to my good lady’s indignation) ready to be taken to work when needed. Even with this system I still leave for work on these occasions with both my gym bag and a small suitcase that is mostly filled with food. 

Being in London I obviously have a plethora of gyms etc nearby and use one close to my work when I’m able. There’s not always time to fit it in around my work schedule but often I’m able to get a quick workout in either before or after work, although I much prefer going to my local gym back home. 

When I am home the balancing act continues, trying to do things with my kids, spend meaningful time with my wife, bulk cook ready for the coming weeks and train sometimes requires military planning. This Sunday I’m planning on leaving the house for a ride as soon as the sun comes up to make sure I’m back in time for my son to go to his swimming lesson. 

Even my fitness goals in themselves are a balancing act, I’m still trying to loose the last few stubborn lbs of fat to be where I want to be, I want to build some muscle, I also need to train for my upcoming 100 mile charity ride. This makes striking the balance between weight training and time on the bike difficult. It’s tricky to know how to eat, obviously in order to loose fat I need to be at a calorie deficit, but that’s not good for muscle growth and vice versa. 

Mostly I think I do ok, I’m always on the go and down time is limited, but, at least the majority of the time, I think I manage to strike the balance between being a husband, a father, a nurse and staying fit and achieving my goals. Sometimes one thing or the other suffers, but I try to make sure it’s not the family. I know they miss me when I’m away with work, just as I miss them, but my job is how I pay for our lives. Similarly I’m sure my wife would like it if I went to the gym a little less, but she understands it’s necessary to meet my goals, and I do sometimes skip sessions to spend time at home. She too is on a weight loss “journey” and I like to think we support each other in this, even if we do have a little moan now and again. 

All in all my life, like the life of anyone with work and family commitments is a balancing act, occasionally something has to give and sometimes a plate drops, but for the most part you just keep going and keep your balance! 

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