Achieving Balance: A Day in the Life of a Fitness Trainer

"Everything in moderation" is a common phrase. But what does that mean for a fitness trainer?

Credit: Flickr/Bruce Irschick

Living a healthy lifestyle is a balancing act – even for a fitness trainer

The popular image of a fitness trainer is that of a gym rat who only eats steamed veggies with plain baked chicken breast, drinks protein shakes throughout the day and counts the minutes until his next workout

I’m going to shatter that image for you by describing a day in my life.

Morning – Breakfast, Paddleboarding and a Doughnut

Yesterday I woke up around 6 a.m. and made myself a smoothie for breakfast. The smoothie consisted of almond milk, a banana, whey protein powder and ground flax seeds. I also took a couple of fish oil pills. So far so good, image intact.

I trained only a couple of clients as the rest were away on holidays. After finishing with them I did about 10 minutes of soft tissue work with the Stick and did some dynamic mobility work. Then I was off to Deep Cove for a quick session on my stand-up paddleboard.

The water off Cates Park was smooth as glass and the sun was already high in the sky when I paddled from the shore. As it was 10:30 a.m. on a work day there were only a few boats out.

Tension melted from my body with each paddle stroke. I didn’t have a plan on where I was going; I wasn’t trying to exercise, I simply wanted to enjoy being out on the water. I made my way over to the other side of the bay and skirted the shoreline, savouring the fresh air and sunshine. There were no boats in this area and the only sound was the distant hum of cars from the Barnett Highway.

Deciding to really unwind I sat down on my board and just floated for a few minutes taking in the scenery. On one side of me was a rocky shore with forest growing almost to the water’s edge. On the other side, in the distance, I could see the city with its tall buildings. I wondered how many people were stuck inside working away.

On my paddle back I was greeted by seals and jumping fish. A great morning indeed!

A trip to Deep Cove often includes a stop at Honey Donuts for one of their famous fatty and sugar-laden namesakes. Not good for the “healthy, fit guy” image but so good for the taste buds.

After that I went back to the home office to do some work but not before spending some time with my wife and our precious new baby, Carys. I’m so glad I have a job that allows me the flexibility to see her throughout the day. I cherish these moments as time is passing by so fast and she won’t be a little baby forever.

Afternoon – Lunch, Meeting and Patio Drinks

My eating in the afternoon consisted of some nuts, an apple and a homemade salmon and tomato wrap. Nutritious and delicious.

I had a business meeting scheduled with a friend at 5 p.m. and enjoyed a couple of beers and a margarita on the patio at Stella’s on Cambie. We also shared Belgian fries and Stella mussels. Definitely not health food!

When I got home I took our dog for a walk and then had a little more family time. It was a great day and the type of day I try to have every day.

I don’t drink alcohol or eat donuts every day but I will enjoy them on occasion.

I don’t do a regimented, hardcore workout every day and count every calorie. This year I’m not training for any specific race so I’m a little less scheduled with my workouts. We’re adjusting to life with a new baby and this has changed our routines.

But I still aim to do something physical every day, which may just be doing 10 to 15 minutes of flexibility and mobility work some days. Other days it may be an intense 30-minute strength workout or a 90-minute run.

Do I eat a strict diet every single day? Obviously not. If I’m in serious training mode I will get more diligent with my eating but the rest of the time, I go with “everything in moderation”.

Incorporate the Five Factors of Fitness into your life. As one of my friends said, don’t worry about getting fit, worry about having a life.

I’ll leave you with my secret for a healthy, balanced life: Surround yourself with people you love, move your body, feed it nutritious food and indulge once in a while.