It’s rare that we’re blessed with a 15 degree C day in the middle of February here in southwestern Ontario, but yesterday we were lucky. It was a perfect sunny-and-blue-sky kind of day. I had planned to get to the gym in the afternoon, but it was definitely not the kind of day I wanted to spend inside, especially when the area of the gym I normally work out in has no windows. It was begging for a family walk with my husband and two kids – a chance to stretch our legs, breath in some spring-like air, and feel the sun beaming on our faces.

Time was tight; we still had to get groceries. So we hopped in the car and headed out. (Yes, it’s ironic that we drove to our walking destination, but we had a particular path along the river in mind, and it’s not close enough to walk to.) At a local river-side pathway, we joined dozens of other couples, families, singles, and doggies all out for an unusually warm February walk…as well as these very excited ducks.

What a gorgeous day! It felt so good for the four of us to just be together – moving, talking about school and friends, enjoying our surroundings, and making future plans without the distractions of housework and video gam…oh wait, my eight-year-old did play some Pokémon Go near the end of our walk. However, he was still moving his legs, so I consider that a win.

But can I tell you a secret?

Between you and me, I struggle with the idea of giving up my me time at the gym in exchange for an often slower-paced stroll with my family. One part of me screams, “You have one free hour today. Get to the gym and work hard! This is your chance – go now or all of your muscle will turn to mush!” (Which is ridiculous – one skipped workout is not going to suddenly strip me of my progress.) The other part of me softly nudges, “Wouldn’t it be so nice to be outside with your family, everyone out of the house for some quality nature time and family exercise?”

Two children running down a path
Another beautiful day when the outdoors were calling Image: The Balanced Barbell

It’s an inner battle. On one hand, I really look forward to my workouts – not only for the physical benefits, but the stress release they provide me, and the alone time I get. On the other hand, I’m also trying to get more balance in my life – balancing what my body needs with what my heart and soul needs.

While going to the gym three times a week helps me feel strong, confident, and happy, I also have to remind myself that I’m not a bodybuilder training for some competition. My training goals are a little more relaxed (OK, very relaxed at the moment). I have to remember that if life is too busy, or if I’m feeling a little disconnected from the people I love most, maybe the gym can wait another day or two.

My goal is always to be the best me I can be. So while I am a woman who is passionate about her workouts, I’m also a mom who loves and needs time with her family to feel balanced inside and out. The gym will still be there tomorrow.

Boy running down a path
Image: The Balanced Barbell