Life is too short, so live it!
This is something that I've struggled with over my years of keeping fit and reaching the extremes of peak physical fitness.
In my early days of training, sticking to strict diet plans and regular gym workouts took main priority over my life and to be honest, apart from my self employed sales business and my family, I didn't have much else to focus on. So becoming the vision I had created in my mind was easily achievable and altogether maintainable, compared to the people I noticed around me who were beginning new lives with partners and growing families. These same individuals often questioned me on how to achieve such results but I always knew in the back of my mind, they didn't have what it took and just simply didn't have the time or mindset to make it happen.
I suppose I just wanted it more and didn't let anything or one stand in my way until I achieved my goals. Looking back and after many conversations with my now Wife Amanda, I realise how selfish fitness can be and if not balanced, can have detrimental effects of everything and one around you.
I often use the excuse that my body is my business - being a gym owner and personal trainer but without looking what's under my shirt, would you even know I exercise. And to be honest who cares. Who are we actually trying to look good for, as you only see yourself in the mirror occasionally unless you purposefully walk past shop windows and parked cars to get a glimpse of yourself (been there).
I often get asked to transform clients for their next holiday and get them beach body ready but for who? The random people sharing the same patch of sand, who they will never lay eyes on again? The mind is a funny thing and often plays tricks. Honestly, no one really cares. Each and every person has hang ups and if they feel the need to pick at yours, then they themselves are the ones with the insecurities and are trying to cover it up at your expense.
As I'm sure you've heard once or twice, life is too short and that piece of cake you were dying to eat but didn't because of the guilt and shame of maybe adding a pound of body-weight, will just be eaten by that one person who is enjoying life and feels better for it. Okay, so they're not down to 10% body-fat and showing every vein in their body but who really wants to see that any way? Unless you're planning on being the next top model or parading around a stage for a bodybuilding competition, then you probably don't need to be watching every bit of food which passes your lips, just relax.
Look at it like this. One piece of bad food won't change your body shape, in the same way a good piece of food wouldn't. Everything should be taken in moderation, which goes for life too.
Give yourself a break every now and again, as you'll never get those precious days back. You can catch up with the workout you missed or get back on track with your nutrition but you can't go back to see your child's first smile or steps. Trust me, be there, regret is worse than carrying a few extra pounds (which can always be lost) but if you miss important milestones in your families life, you will be the only one who loses.
After the recent birth of my baby girl, my life has truly been flipped upside down and whilst trying to keep my business running, stay in shape, look after my child while my wife works, try to keep on top of cleaning at home and the gym, prepare my food, feed & change my baby, grow my business, be there for my wife, and the list could go on believe me, I now understand that the excuses I once heard from clients explaining why they couldn't train, were not in fact excuses but real life occurrences which I would eventually have to face. This is where the selfish part of fitness has to change or the things you hold closest will eventually become a distant thought while you try to hold on to the dream of looking like someone you can never be, like that person you saw on social media who are more than likely taking something you would never be prepared to take and getting paid whilst they're at it.
Of course, make time for yourself - it's important but looking like a cover model all year round is not the be all and end all, and to be honest is not that its all cracked up to be. Feeling hungry constantly, not being able to eat out at restaurants and investing unethical amounts of time into something that will never pay you back, is not the most sensible way to live.
After stepping in the foot steps of my father and knowing what it's like to have a child depend on you for everything, things have really been thrown into perspective and life as we know it will never be the same. Obviously after following strict training and nutrition programmes for over a decade, change would never be easy but neither has nothing I've achieved over the same period. Life always throws up a challenge and all you have to do is give it a go.