How To Balance Intense Physical Training With Living Life

I have a friend whose father is partly disabled and has a hard time walking. The last time we were celebrating our way of traditional Finnish Christmas by drinking heavily and eating ham as the Vikings once did I asked him what would he like the most if he could have anything. His answer was “To run like a child once more.” in those exact words. The need for certain levels of physical activity is built to our very cores.

Nowadays I’m probably in the best shape of my life physically, but I still notice that it’s sometimes difficult to find the right kind of balance in my training and other aspects of life. I can’t go drinking two full nights in a row on the weekend and then hit the gym on Monday like when I was 18 years old. But I can bench more and could beat the shit out of the 18-year-old myself.

The key is the balance developed over time.

Go for the balance


It may sound obvious but people too often concentrate on their training per se and forget the other aspects of life that should be factored in. “Is my deadlift volume high enough in this cycle? “Did I miss too many boxing practices this month?” The answer can be “Your deadlift volume was ridiculously low compared to what you are capable of but it was still too way high considering you’re work load has been higher than ever, your dog died last week died, and you just had three days of fever.”

So a certain balance needs to be developed. But how to do it in a turbulent environment where our physicality and surroundings are constantly changing? It’s basically a method of building healthy routines, prioritizing them and adjusting when necessary. That way one is ready for the unknown.

Let’s lay down the two categories where the balance needs to be established.

1. Balancing your life with training

2. Balancing your training

It may seem counterintuitive but I’m going to address the category number two first because that’s the easy part.

Balancing your training

work-life-peace-balance-harmony (1)

1. Weightlifting

Weightlifting touches the very essence of masculinity and gives you all the building blocks for a functional and strong body. Lifting is the core and when adjusted correctly is beneficial to other sports and life in general. Man’s body is made to lift heavy objects.

2. Aerobic training and sports

It can be as simple as running, playing football with your friends or jumping rope. I put “sports” in the name of the category because in my experience the most efficient, useful and fun way to do aerobic exercise is to do an actual sport. I strongly recommend a real life applicable martial art like boxing, thai kickboxing, or wrestling and grappling.

3. Other physical activities

Work (unless a desk job or similar), a walk in the park, general fucking around, other hobbies etc. you name it. Get a group and hunt a bear with just wooden spears. How’s that for a caveman exercise?

So many activities indeed.

So the next question is how to balance the three sub-categories. It’s quite simple actually. You have to compose a training regimen comprised of the three sub-categories and prioritize them.

Let me give you an example from my life. I lift two times a week and do beyond Wendler 5/3/1 type of powerlifting-kind-of strength training based around bench press, deadlift, overhead press and their assistance work. I go boxing once or twice a week either on a local boxing gym’s “official” sessions or do independent exercise on the garage (heavy bag, rope jumping, shadowboxing etc. basic stuff). I also do random walks in fresh air whenever I feel like it. So these are the entities in my training I know and can control at least to a degree. Let’s break it down to prioritized sub-categories mentioned above with ballpark percentages.

1. Priority. Wendler 5/3/1 (weightlifting): 50 %
2. Priority. Boxing (aerobic training / sports): 30 %
3. Priority. Walking (other physical activities): 20 %

You just have to decide what you want to do and how much, although I would strongly recommend that you keep the combined percentages of weightlifting sub-category and aerobic training and sports way over 50%. Otherwise your training may become too random and unpredictable lacking any real results. In fact, you can consider sub-category number 3 your “buffer zone.” The bigger it is, the more reserve you have for surprises. This also serves as a gateway to balancing your life with training.

Balancing your life with training


So this is the tricky part. It’s how much physical activity you can do overall in relation to life’s other activities. I’m going to give you a practical process for finding the balance.

1. Find a balance between training and other life activities first.
2. Then find a balance in your training.
3. Adjust according to your life’s situation when necessary.
4. Go to number 1.

The order is important. You have to establish some sort of basic balance between your training and life in general in order to be able to train in the first place. If life was just going to the gym and other forms of training your balance would just be established by “balancing your training.” So it’s a subtle dancing loop by adjusting your training to your life’s situation and keeping the balance.

So how does one go about balancing one’s life with training? It’s a lifelong process to know one’s limits and be truly wise about it but I can give you some practical advice. The basic principle is to cut first from the lowest priority (other physical activities in my case for example) and work your way up there to priorities 2 and 1 if necessary.

Always use your buffer zone (other physical activities) to basic balancing maneuvers. Let’s say you have a 30% buffer zone and you have a harder time in work than usual. Cut the friend of a friend’s girlfriend’s move you promised to help with without touching your weightlifting and boxing routines for example.

Don’t keep too big buffer zone. It’s more beneficial to cut from priorities number 1 and 2 for a short period of time than not to train heavy enough most of the time. If the buffer zone is not enough just cut what’s necessary from priority number two. Not too much.

Short and brief cuts from priorities 1 and 2 are nothing to worry about. It’s not the end of the world if you have to skip two or three weeks of training. If it happens constantly, your pig picture is skewed and you need to work on the first step of the process.

It all can be summarized in one word. Prioritize.

Read More: 5 Reasons Why It’s Important To Have A Training Partner

48 thoughts on “How To Balance Intense Physical Training With Living Life”

  1. Great article. Balance is the key. The man who finds his balance in all things is indeed a King.

    1. I can’t remember who it was, but I remember a quote I heard in my youth that stuck with me:
      “The ideal day is one third work, one third rest and one third play”.
      Since some days I work 12 hours, others 4 hours, I expand this idea over an entire week. That’s what works for me.

      1. 24 hours in a day. 8 goes to rest, 8 goes to work, and 8 goes to play. All work no play makes Jack a dull boy.

  2. The one thing you really need to keep in balance, is electrolytes. Heck even if you keep your electrolytes in a jar, they have to be balanced, like on a scale or something.

    1. I keep mine on a balance sheet. With neat debit & credit columns written on Kratom scented paper.

  3. No matter what you do keep your times focused. An hour a day (5 days a week). Will help you train sufficiently while still getting the rest and time you need in the work day.
    Training 3 hours a day will drain you mentally and physically.

    1. I can’t do more than 3 times a week or it feels like I never do anything else than work and training.

    1. I know the feeling, what I really miss is the comment sections destroying the article above via trolling. You could almost feel sorry for Mike Chang paying to post shit here then getting laughed out as a charlatan snake-oil salesman.

      1. Don’t worry about Mike Chang. He never reads the comments section and he gets paid like a pirate. He doesn’t give a shit what people think of him.

  4. You know, compared to last year, I think I’ve noticed an increase in how many articles you guys make every day. I love it! There is a good variety of topics being discussed, as well, so a day rarely goes by without something interesting.
    As usual: keep up the amazing work!

  5. So many activities….fucking love Stepbrothers, even if it unwillingly promotes laziness in adults.
    In other news, another ex Bachelorette has committed suicide.
    Also, British man gets on one knee in front of girlfriend. Girlfriend thinks he’s gonna propose. Man instead pulls tea bag and asks for a cup of tea. Talk about getting teabagged.

    1. ex Bachelorette has committed suicide
      All these women that appear on these reality TV shows and the variations of them aren’t serious about getting married or having a relationship with the man. They just want to get their faces on TV and then try to use it as a springboard to some other venture like a magazine spread or garbage career in entertainment. And when they can’t deal with the reality of how cut-throat and merciless the entertainment industry is, the mentally unbalanced among them resort to self harm.

      1. Should read; “A plastic clone of humanity who bought into all the prefabricated lies of fame and fortune deleted her genetic sequence from the matrix’s program.” Bitches are blue pill too

      1. I believe it was just a prank on his part. But in a larger context, it shows how entitled most modern women think they are, feeling that just by being “there” for their man, they deserve their ring and their fairytale life.

    1. GHB ?
      God no. Maybe Marijuana, but no G.
      GHB for those who don’t know is a liquid that you drink that causes a high.
      There is no hallucinations and there is no fog in your brain, your mood and energy go up ridicolously, all anxiety goes away. It’s like feeling that you just won the World Cup for 8 hours.
      The problem is you get 8 hours of high energy and mood and then 8 hours of crash that feel like crap.
      It is not practical, it’s too strong. It’s very hard to use it casually, not only because of the crash, but also because you can develop addiction quickly. And trust me, addiction to GHB is bad, very bad. GHB is a party drug and should not be taken regularly.
      For those who want a weaker substance to use daily look into kratom, phenibut and microdosing of stuff like LSD and whatnot or smoke some pot in the evening before bed.
      Avoid casual GHB consumption, but feel free to take it at a party.

  6. A good article. Personally, I’ve always seen exercise as a ‘second job’. While my first job brings me money, exercise as my second, brings me health, mental stability and happiness. The free time I have after that is channelled however I choose (hobbies, travel, women etc). The more experienced I have become with an exercise regime, the less I tend to focus on goals and see more value in the consistency and variety of the exercise itself. I don’t need to be Mr Universe, I just want to live a long and healthy life, doing what I want until they find me dead on my yacht in the Mediterranean, dusted in Kratom and surrounded by weeping bikini girls.

  7. Muay Thai (what you call Thai Kickboxing) is not aerobic. Not by a long shot.
    Walking is aerobic though.

      1. Those are two of the many aspects to this kind of training. There are aerobic aspects to weightlifting. Is weightlifting aerobic?
        If fucking is anaerobic, you have a problem.

        1. So it’s not that black and white. One can do aerobic style training via muay thai or boxing. I gave an example and rough categorization, find what suits you.
          “If fucking is anaerobic, you have a problem.”
          Not true, my “super high intensity blow cocka sprint fucking” is legendary throughout the north.

        2. Frankly, I am not sure how you would do Muay Thai aerobically. MT is all about intense bursts of energy, which is the opposite of aerobic (think fighting against someone who is trying to beat your head versus using a recline bike whilst reading).

        3. My favorite meme (which is pretty much attributed to everyone) is Cardio? You mean lifting weights faster?
          When people ask what kind of heart pumping aerobic style exercise I recoment I tell them to do 3 Giant sets in the 9-12 rep range with about 60% of their max weight.
          Lets say
          Flat Flyes
          Inclines Flyes
          Dumbbell Pull over
          Dumbbell Bench Press
          Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
          Dumbbell Rows
          Arnold Press
          Front Raise
          Side Lat Raise
          No rest between workouts (duh Giant set) and between supersets do jumping jacks for 1 min (burpees if you are hard core).
          Do all three supersets 3 times.
          If you aren’t dead, consider your cardio for the day done.

        4. I love this Idea.
          Do deadlifts in the 6-9 set range @ 80% and one minute of hard sprint fucking between sets.

        5. The point was not to go into details about what Muay Thai is about. Or to specify at what point weightlifting becomes aerobic or just jerking off with a barbell.
          Most fighters of all sorts need aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. Muay Thai and boxing training for example include different forms of aerobic conditioning as well as anaerobic training. If one wants to one can train boxing or kickboxing from a pure aerobic perspective. For example, most of my aerobic training comes from boxing and different exercise built around it. What do you think those hour and a half long conditioning boxing classes for women are for?

        6. I don’t actually think you need to do specific aerobic conditioning for Muay Thai. You don’t fight that way so why train that way?
          Btw, when preparing for his fight against Tyson, Holyfield scrapped his aerobic training for anaerobic training. We all saw the results.
          Women don’t train seriously so it doesn’t matter what they do.

        7. Yep: i see a chump on a treadmill for an hour. Give me a pair of light Dumbbells and I’ll make my heart race for 25 minutes and make his steady state cardio look like a walk in the park.
          Aside from the African dudes who will win every time, ever see a marathon guys body? It’s terrible.
          I work and go to the gym with guys who will run a marathon in under 3 hours and one guys who puts a serious effort into breaking 2 hours. They look like you can knock them down with a stare

        8. Indeed. An activity that causes the continual shrinking of your body is not a healthy activity.

        9. Most of us don’t have to lift heavy logs. So we shouldn’t do deadlifts?
          I understand your point about efficient training in Muay Thai. I’m just talking about the overall balance between training and life in general. Not competitive Muay Thai or similar that needs a more specific scrutiny anyway. Category in the example is “Aerobic training and sports”. One can also point out the many other ways of doing the categorization but again, that’s not the point.
          So if one wants, one can look to Muay Thai etc. for aerobic exercise. Or not. I don’t care how someone in particular decides to balance one’s training.

        10. There is a world of difference between the word “should” and the word “need”.
          Again, I don’t know how you would train aerobically in Muay Thai. Muay Thai is far more complex than that but anaerobic would be a better description.

        11. On this site I always see weightlifting being described as a habit one must take in order to improve oneself, but I hate gyms. Not physical activity, but gyms themselves. Right now I spend almost my entire day indoors except for an hour or so I get to walk/run.
          I have tried going to the gym before but I always get tired of it, not fond of also having to exercise indoors. I don’t live in a place with a harsh weather so I can pretty much walk outside all year long.
          According to all doctors I get to ask one hour a day of aerobic exercise is more than enough to keep you healthy. I see the point you make with marathon guys, but I am certainly not into that sort of stuff. A friend of mine has a degree on physical education and tells me that weightlifting is a more effective way of burning calories. I don’t care about six-packs or any aesthetical gain, having learnt that women really aren’t about those. Is it still worth it?

  8. Thanks for this. Often I worry and beat myself up for missing training, when in fact with my job it’s to be expected. I need a great deal of rest and recuperation on my rest days, that and to let my hair down.

      1. I feel older…. and although I’ve got a good enough cardio base to focus on strength for the next couple of months I really wish I hadn’t been so stubborn and hit the weights sooner in my life. Thing is as a teenager I was all for it, but wasn’t really directed into it by parents, teachers or other mentors. Goddammit School.

    1. It’s also very good to listen to your body. Sometimes our drive for success drones out the basic necessity to rest, which in fact will help performance not hinder it.

  9. This is an excellent article with solid practical advice. I will say, however, that some people (myself included) tend towards extremes. I don’t drink, I drink myself half to death. I don’t cook, I perfect an art. I don’t work, I work until I am numb. Because I this I am forced to focus my natural propensity for over doing things. Weightlifting is key here.
    Do I over do it? Unless you are CT Fletcher, my guess is you think I over do it. However, if I am going to over do something (not just physically, but thinking about it, eating for it, supplementing, making plans, etc. etc. etc.) then it might as well be this and not something like booze or birds.
    So again, I think there is a lot here for people looking for balance. I would love balance, but I know myself. My extreme nature will come out…I would just rather it came out here than somewhere more dangerous.

  10. Really great article. Long ago both my Yoga and Martial Arts mentors pointed out that animals aren’t playing when they run after things and roll around like cute, little pets. They’re actually staying in shape and maintaining what they are created to be. Kittens are cute when they run around and make chaos, but they’re really preparing for adult life as predators. And my mentors said it’s the same thing with humans staying physically fit: It’s an attitude and behavior for what we are: Creatures designed to “Go Beyond and Push Boundaries.” Being physically fit is essential and needs to incorporated in daily activity.

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