I was just too busy.
There was one particular day in which I was stressed out and complaining to a friend that I had no time to pursue some goals. She told me to shut the fuck up. I’m just being busy complaining right now.
It sort of struck a chord and got me to think a bit. How do I actually spend my time? I mean, I’ve tracked my nutrition, workouts, body measurements, and sleep – but I had never tracked how I spent my time.
So that’s exactly what I spent a week doing. From the moment I got up, until the moment I went to bed, I kept track of everything and I mean EVERYTHING I was doing and for how long.
From brushing my teeth to going to the bathroom, how long I had sex for, how long I was on Facebook, the time it took me to check email . . . EVERYTHING.
As it turns out, a lot of my “busy” was just bullshit. Checking email eight times per day for five minutes is forty frick’n minutes. I could have worked out in that time period.
If you’re one of those people that is convinced they “just don’t have the time,” I highly suggest you try this time-logging exercise for at least three days. It’s pretty enlightening.
YOU CAN’T DO WHAT YOU USED TO DO
Growing up, I worked out six days a week for about an hour and a half to two hours each day. That was, of course, before I had any real world responsibilities.
I’m sure you’re also trying to juggle work, family life, hobbies, leisure, and other responsibilities. There is no way in hell you can work out six days a week for 90 to 120 minutes a pop. That’s why the 20 minute workouts featured in this program are quick and to the point.
However, I know that for some of you, even those workouts might take up too much of your time.
Before we jump into how to simplify your workouts and nutrition plan, I’d like you to do these things for me to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Set up your day so that it includes more movement: Park further away from work so you have to walk, take the stairs whenever possible, jog to the restaurant you’re having lunch. Redefine fitness for yourself.
Use the 90/10 rule: Research from Peretz Lavie on “ultradian rhythms” suggests that longer productive sessions (of 90 minutes) followed by short breaks (of no more than 15-20 minutes) sync more closely with our natural energy cycles, and will allow you to maintain a better focus and higher energy level throughout the day. (adapted from sparringmind.com)
Use that 20 minutes to get outside for a walk, perform one of these 10-minute workouts, or prepare a healthy meal.
Focus on nutrition: Nutrition is where it’s at when it comes to producing results. Don’t try to change too much at once. That’s one reason the nutrition portion of this course is set up as weekly habits to practice. Only focus on one thing at a time.
Look at how you’re spending your free time: If you didn’t participate in the time logging exercise, take a look at what you did today. How many times did you check Facebook, email, chit chat for no particular reason or watch TV. All of these are time consumers that could be eliminated in order to make time for your health.
I don’t have time really means that it’s not a priority: A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed how simply changing your language may just be the key you need to finding “the time.”
Instead of saying, “I don’t have time,” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder.
Take action exercise:
- “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.”
- “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.”
“If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently . . .” –Wall Street Journal, Laura Vanderkam
THE BUSY (WO)MAN’S GUIDE TO EXERCISE
If you haven’t already, please check out the 10-minute Workouts as a way to get in quick and effective exercise.
However, for those of you that are always on the go, travel a lot, or really struggle with time management, here is a plan you can follow to help you lose body fat, build lean muscle, and create healthy habits.
“The Plan Man or Woman”
The workouts here require no equipment. They are designed this way so that you can perform them anywhere. If you do have time to add some weights, or get to the gym, then do so.
- (2) Full-body workouts per week (20-30 minutes)
- (2) Sprint workouts per week (10-15 minutes)
- (1) Long cardiovascular workout or fun/play (45-90 minutes)
Your main focus for these workouts is on progression, intensity, and consistency. That little formula right there will get you results, remember it always.
What this means is you will constantly be trying to go a little faster, do one more rep, increase the weight, or difficulty; to always work at a high level and push yourself beyond your limits; to be committed and consistent in your exercise and nutrition habits.
Remember to take a look at your schedule and see when you can commit to these workouts. Try and keep the full-body workouts separated by two days if possible.
QUICK WORKOUT EXAMPLES
Full body workout #1 (Monday): Perform all exercises in a circuit. Rest one minute after all exercises are complete and repeat five times.
- (20/10 per leg) Walking lunges
- (10) Inverted rows ( or door pull-ups)
- (10) Push-ups
- (50) Jumping jacks
- (10) Burpees
Full body workout #2 (Friday): Perform as many reps as possible of each exercise in 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise. Repeat five times.
Now, rest for 60 seconds after completing the broad jumps and repeat the circuit.
Sprint workout #1 (Tuesday)
- 3 minute warm-up (light jog, etc..)
- Sprint all-out for 30 seconds
- Rest/walk, 30 seconds
Repeat eight times then follow with a three-minute cool down (light jog or stretch).
Sprint workout #2 (Thursday)
- 3 minute warm-up
- Sprint all-out for 20 seconds
- Rest/walk 10 seconds
Repeat ten times with a three-minute cool down (light jog or stretch).
Long cardiovascular day/Fun/Play (Saturday):
On this day I just want you to be active. Go hiking for an hour, a walk, a light jog, play basketball, try a dance class, boxing, or participate in some other active hobby that you enjoy or have been looking to try.
This is a great opportunity to make this social and invite friends, spend time with the wife and kids, or go the solo route and de-stress.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
All of us have the same 24 hours in a day. If you have to get up 30 minutes earlier to sneak in a quick workout, then do it. If you have to eat at your desk and use lunch breaks for exercise then do that too.
It’s time to get real with yourself. Is this a priority or not for you? If it is, you will make the time necessary.
Purchasing a kettlebell, adjustable dumbbells, or some Iron Woody bands would be a wonderful investment and are a great way to add some variety to your minimalist workouts.
Best of luck to you and continued success on your journey.
Photo: Will Stewart