One of the most important lessons I have learned so far is finding balance. Personally, I practice a balance between the ying (relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation) and the yang (high intensity/extremes like bodybuilding). Yin and yang is the concept of ‘duality forming a whole.’ We encounter examples of yin and yang every day. As examples: night (yin) and day (yang), female (yin) and male (yang).
Both of these concepts, when paired, balance each other out. If we lack one or the other in any aspect of our lives, we are not balanced. For example, if we feel overwhelmed and stressed out, we may need a ying influence in our daily lives such as yoga. If we lack energy, we may need a yang influence such as a cardio workout.
Finding Balance in Fitness
The balance of yin and ying ultimately supplement each other. If an athlete focuses solely on intense training, they have a high risk of injury. To perform at their ultimate best, it is important that they balance out their yang with the yin, for example, doing yoga several times a week to help with stretching and strengthening.
Before I learned the importance of having a balance, I would push past my limits in the gym. I was all about that yang, with little to no yin. Eventually, I pushed to the extreme and got injured (you can read about this in my second post in this Strong Mind | Strong Body series).
If it wasn’t for my injury, then I would not have worked on finding balance – and probably not found meditation and yoga. This not only healed my injury, but it helped me with anxiety and depression. Ever since, I practice daily balancing my yin and yang. That way I can perform at my best in the gym, at work, and in my personal life.
Finding Balance in Work, School & Other Aspects of Life
In addition to finding balance in fitness, it is important to have balance in other aspects of our lives, to prioritize our duties, families, friends and our hobbies. If we focus too much on one thing, the other things in our lives won’t grow. A lot of people in today’s society say that they don’t have time to work out because they are too busy. At the end of the day, we all have the same 24 hours, it just how we manage our time that will dictate what we can get accomplished.
Ever since I started competing, I have either been a full-time student, worked full time, or done all at once. It is important to me that I do my best in all of these areas, but I couldn’t do that if I didn’t prepare ahead. My main priorities are school and work, fitness is my hobby and therapy. By narrowing down what is important to me, I am able to find what times would work best to go to the gym, meal prep my food, and do homework based around my work and school schedule.
Typically, on my off days, I dedicate my time to meal prep for the week, relaxation, and running errands. By meal prepping, you save a lot of money in the end and you are able to stay on track of your diet. I find that taking my meals to work/classes helps me stay focused and keeps me satisfied all day. I also write down in my planner what times I have to train, depending on what time I work or have classes. I typically like to work out before work so I can 100% focus on my tasks and then relax after I finish working. If I am feeling tired before work or I don’t have enough time to train, I will do it after work. We all have responsibilities, but it is important to make time for the things that we are passionate about.
I am lucky that I work for a company like FFC which supports my goals in bodybuilding and gives me access to their elite clubs to train and work. I am constantly surrounded by like-minded individuals that are hardworking and motivated to succeed. Your environment and those who you surround yourself with will also dictate your success. By working at FFC in Old Town, I feel motivated everyday by my co-workers to execute my job, and our members working hard on the floor to achieve their fitness goals. It reminds me why I chose to work for here.
Post written by FFC Old Town membership representative Sophia Valbuena.
Sophia Valbuena is a membership representative at FFC Old Town. She has been in the fitness industry for over 5 years and it has entirely changed her life.
In this series, Strong Mind | Strong Body, she will cover how she got into fitness, as well as mindfulness, nutrition, motivation and time management tips. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can follow along with her on LinkedIn here and Instagram here, as well as check out a behind-the-scenes article she wrote about her bodybuilding experience here.