Balancing “Life” and Exercise – A Guest Post from Pro Triathlete Angela Naeth

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Do you struggle to find a balance between exercise and “life”? Eating healthy and “life”? This guest post from pro triathlete Angela Naeth may put things into a different perspective for you. Do you agree? Disagree? Leave your comments at the bottom of this post…

From Angela Naeth:

“In the past couple of weeks I have had a number of comments from people I know about balance. Some feel that I'm not living a “balanced” life and need to step out of the ‘triathlon scene' and enjoy life. Hmmm…..

Enjoy life? I am enjoying life…more than ever! Waking up in the morning and moving my body is exactly what I enjoy doing. I don't think being an athlete is a job and maybe that is what these others are thinking. It makes me assume that these people feel I am not “balanced” may not like their jobs and feel that I'm working 24/7 at a job I don't necessary enjoy. This is NOT the case.

For me, being a full-time athlete (meaning, I don't do much else) is a gift. I love it! I enjoy having the days slip away while I'm out riding my bike, running, swimming or some other form of training. I enjoy going to bed early, waking up early, and staying away from all the hoopla that nightlife provides. I enjoy reading and talking about the sport. What is the harm in doing something you love day in and day out? Is there any harm in it?

Of course there are days that I'm tired and want to get away from the routine of training but these have been few and far between. If I'm tired, I listen to my body and rest. If I'm bored or sick of something I'm doing, I (we: Chuckie and I) are sure to change it up. The beauty of triathlon is that you have three distinctly different disciplines in which to challenge yourself. If you get bored of swimming, you run; if you get bored of running, you bike; and so on.

The best thing about all of this is that triathlon is a game. “Like life,” Chuckie says. This is precisely where the balance resides. I take it seriously but I also know that in the end, racing is a game. And who doesn't love games? Triathlon provides me the ability to challenge myself that I don't believe I would otherwise. I want to do my best and that means living my best each day – sleeping well, eating well, training well…and, well, enjoying it.

The problem I see when people say I need “balance” in my life is that they either:

1. Don't understand what it really means to love what they do 100%.
2. Hate their jobs and want to follow their dreams but are too scared to try…they have a fear of success.
3. Have a fear of failure.
4. Worry too much about what others think—family members, friends, etc.
5. Might be jealous or envious. I would be too!
6. Cut themselves short in everything they do in life—family, work, etc.

I do believe it is important to enjoy other things in life and I do. But what is “balance”? What does having “balance” in your life really mean? Is it not balance in your life when you do the very things that give you happiness? Pleasure is one thing. I could watch movies all days, eat candy and chocolate, hang out with friends at bars…but to me this is NOT happiness. Not even close. I feel like crap the next day or two and that's supposed to give me balance in life?

Attempting to be the best you can be offers the ultimate in happiness. I love triathlon, the challenge, the way I feel after training, during training, and even on those tired days when all I want to do is sleep and not move a muscle. That is life to me….that is why I have the body, mind and spirit that I do. So, the next time someone asks me about so-called “balance”, I'll counter: “Balance to what? Balance in trying and finding the time to enjoy life?”

I've already got that down.

Sadly, it seems some people may just never understand….”

Do you agree? Disagree? Leave your comments at the bottom of this post, and click here to learn more about Angela.

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15 thoughts on “Balancing “Life” and Exercise – A Guest Post from Pro Triathlete Angela Naeth

  1. Ferf says:

    Thanks Angela for your post. The time commitment involved for triathlons requires organization and in essence a 'balance' of all three disciplines. Because of this structure 'other people' may not understand and see this as 'work' vs. play/enjoyment. Forget about other people. If you wake up everyday happy and the people around you are happy, all is well in your 'balanced' world. Suggesting planning other activities around training is essential if you want a happy home. One can do it. It's all about choices.

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  2. Alan says:

    Following a "burn-out" a few years back I took up running (did the London Marathon), then triathlon (about to do Ironman 70.3 UK at Wimbleball) and cannot believe the life changes that have resulted from this decision. The happiness and positive thinking that comes from achieving your training goals and making another PB on race day is a feeling that no drugs and drink will ever match. My family see each race as a great day out and have embraced the sport as supporters. Balance is just that and it is an ever moving weighing machine between family, work and training that needs addressing from time to time. My only regret is I am 51 and wish I had discovered this fantastic sport 30 years ago!

  3. daniel says:

    i fully agree with her. there are many out there you always ask the same questions. we should just ignore them it seems as they are not really balanced otherwise they would not make these comments. i love triathlon although being balanced is an ongoing task for me: family, running my own business and 15 hours of training. not too much space for spontaneous actions, but that is a part of the game.

  4. Big Mac says:

    Priorities is allot about timing and they change over time, For Angela her time is now and bully for her that she is striking while the iron is hot. You need to have peace with yourself and most of us find it on a long grind up a hill, on that 20th 100m repeat, 8th 1K interval, and above all standing on the podium.
    The nay sayers are divided into 2 groups, the ignorant (we pity them and tryand educate), and the lazy people who derive satisfaction and safety in numbers and those who are taking care of themselves are the odd ones in their minds who make them look bad- so we ignor them and press on.

  5. Sara says:

    I totally agree…..I am only an age group triathlete but so wish I was an elite….but I do know I am happy happy happy with what I am doing.

  6. Dave Hunt says:

    Agree totally…spot on

  7. Cindi says:

    Thank you! Thank you! I have just discovered triathlons (in my 2nd year) and I love the training, the challenge, and joy that I get from working out and becoming stronger every day. Some people have said I need "an intervention," but I balance my life by working as a nurse, mother of two grown daughters, and companion to my wonderful husband of 30 years. I hate feeling like I have to justify what I do with my free time. I still travel, enjoy good meals, and being with friends and family. Sitting on the couch, watching movies, and gorging on salty popcorn is not my thing anymore. So thank you for your comments. My life is balanced – for me!

    1. Angela Naeth says:

      This is where I was going with the article!

  8. Christine says:

    I think Angela didn’t quite address the topic of balancing life and exercise. Her life IS exercise, so she wasn’t able to offer much to those athletes that have jobs they love, families they love, other hobbies they love, children they love AND exercise they love. She seemed more intent on proving her life is balanced rather than offering any helpful tips to other athletes on how to do the many things people love to do without detrimental effects on any of them.

    1. Angela Naeth says:

      Sorry about this Christine. Your point is well taken. I would say my ife is anything but balanced to the athlete that has a family and full-time job! My thoughts were focused on stating that what anyone does has balance in itself. My suggestion when you have a lot on your plate is to find time each day for the activities you enjoy,or try to organize the week around specific activities. I work with a few athletes that watch their boys' baseball games each weekend. This is his/her priority. We work around his schedule and make sure he's still alive and excited for the game! Feel free to email me anytime.

  9. Jeff Hoening says:

    Well said, Angela. Do what you love and love what you do – that's real success. Unfortunately, our world tries to define success and apply it to everyone. Sounds like you don't watch much news, avoid newspapers and TV in general. Kudos and continued success to you.

  10. PapaLouie says:

    How can you not agree? The point of what we do in sport (triathlon) is to PLAY. I want to play like I did as a kid, where I'd swim all day in the pool or at the beach, ride my bike all over the neighborhood and in the woods, and then run barefoot races up and down the street. We had fun playing.

  11. Mike says:

    I think the need for balance comes more into play when you have young children and/or your spouse is not a triathalet.

    1. Angea Naeth says:

      I agree. I didn't mention family here because I don't have any children. I've worked full-time as a physical therapist in the past while juggling triathlon training and spending time with my significant other. Family is a joy that triathlon doesn't compare to.

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