As a health and fitness professional, I shouldn’t be telling you this but I will.

Sometimes I don’t like working out all that much. At least not in the traditional sense. From 18 years old to 35 (I’m now 37) I did my time in the klank. Pumping guns, blasting glutes, and Crossfit WODing my little heart out.

I burned myself out.

Now, spending 60 minutes in the gym 6 days per week is the last thing I want to do.

But it was fun. I made some great progress and learned a lot about my body. More importantly, it helped me build a consistent healthy habit that will always stay with me.

But, things have changed. I can no longer do what I used to do in the gym, nor do I want to. Destroying myself to see if I can improve my Fran time by 3 seconds isn’t appealing. Not wanting to go to the bathroom because my ass, hamstrings, and lower back are so sore from deadlifts don’t float my boat.

And I’m over dealing with gym crowds or someone telling me to push harder and give it all I’ve got.

That gym life bro has taken a back seat to other priorities. I’d rather spend membership fees on travel. I prefer to spend 60 minutes with some good company. Grabbing my camera and hiking on a Saturday has taken precedence over going to the gym and squatting.

From the IG: @jmiller.photos

In fact. To show you how much things have changed I’ve created “Justin’s Hierarchy of Needs.”


  • Working out, Nutrition, and Work
  • Sleep
  • Leisure and Fun
  • Relationships

My shit was all fucked up. I tried to make 3 things my number 1 priority with everything else coming in a distant second. This is a good recipe for feeling exhausted, depressed, and anxious. That’s exactly where it got me.



So why does this look like Tetris?

  1. Tetris is awesome
  2. Because in real life you have to be adaptable. Priorities will change and you must be willing to make adjustments.

Sometimes work will need to become a bigger priority than relationships. Sometimes leisure and fun will become a bigger priority over working out. This is ok as long as you’re willing to accept the tradeoffs that come with making one thing a bigger priority over another.

This doesn’t mean I’ve quit working out. Far from it. I’ve adjusted my training approach to fit my lifestyle, my goals, and my personal interests.

Today’s article is all about the strategies I use to balance those priorities and continue to build a body and life I’m proud of without any of them taking over.

All the tips are super practical and rational. Life is only complicated if you make it out to be.


Yes, I’m going to drop another Justin’s Hierarchy of Needs on you. This time it has to do with my workouts.

When I was 18 and had all the time in the world my goal in the gym was all about getting strong, ripped, and looking good naked so I could have as much sex with girls as possible.

Hashtag, I was a tool.

In my 20’s I was going to school full time and working full time. I never skipped the gym but I also didn’t spend as much time there. From 90 minutes down to 60 minutes. But my goals didn’t change. It was all about being strong, ripped, and looking good naked. Except for this time not to have sex with ALL the girls. Just one.

Hashtag. A little less of a tool.

From 28 to 34… ish, I drank the Crossfit Koolaid. My goal was to push my body as far as it could go so that I could be the fittest person on earth. To be super strong ripped, athletic, look good naked. And still, have sex with just one girl. A different one this time. Didn’t go so well with that one in my 20’s.

Hashtag. A tool depending on who you ask.

I’m 37 now and I’m in the gym less than I ever have been before. In a given week it’s around 30 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. Instead of trying to get as strong as I can, super ripped, and to look good naked. I’m now more concerned with improving mobility, flexibility, and enjoying my training.

18 to 35-year-old Justin

37-year-old Justin

  • Rest and recovery
  • Nutrition
  • Meaningful movement
  • Mobility and flexibility
  • Weight training and bodyweight training
  • High-intensity training

Note: If you’re wondering where cardio went. It’s usually part of my meaningful movement.


It’s exploring ways to move your body that you enjoy, make you feel good, and promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

I realize that doesn’t help you very much so here are a few examples.

  • Hiking
  • Long walks with the dogs
  • Rock climbing
  • Gymnastics
  • Pole dancing
  • Yoga
  • Paddleboarding
  • Kayaking
  • Dance lessons
  • Basketball
  • Muay Thai
  • Flag football
  • Skateboarding
  • My 5-minute movement routine

My training now revolves around doing as much meaningful movement as possible.

I don’t want you to stop going to the gym or lifting weights. Instead, if you’re trying to create a workout habit or are feeling burned out. I would start by building a more meaningful movement routine.

The excuses I hear most from people that bail on their traditional workout routines are that it’s boring, too hard, and no fun.

A more meaningful movement routine punches all those excuses in the face. Thus, you’re much more likely to stick with it.

After you’ve built a more meaningful movement routine than start dabbling in the gym.


Monday: Strength training (20-30 minutes)

  • Squats, 5 sets x 5 reps
  • DB Bench Presses, 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Pull-ups, 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Stretching and mobility

Tuesday: Meaningful movement

  • 5-minute movement routine
  • Walking the dogs
  • Gymnastics training

Wednesday: Bodyweight circuit AMRAPS

This day usually includes some of the following movements. I set a timer anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and do as many rounds and reps as I can. Example below:

  • 20 walking lunges
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 ring rows
  • 10 box jumps
  • 100-meter run

Thursday: Meaningful movement

  • 5-minute movement routine
  • Walking the dogs
  • Gymnastics training

Friday: Strength training (20-30 minutes)

  • Barbell lunges or deadlifts or power cleans, 5 sets x 5 reps
  • DB Overhead Presses, 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Bent over rows, 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Stretching and mobility

Saturday: Meaningful movement

  • 5-minute movement routine
  • Walking the dogs
  • Rock climbing

Sunday: Meaningful movement

  • Hiking, kayaking, or some other fun active thing I want to try.


If you’re having a tough time sticking to a workout routine or are feeling a bit burned out here is what I suggest.

Step 1: Discover sneaky ways to move your body

  • Park further away from work so you have to walk
  • Take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators
  • Never get on that awesome thing at the airport that practically teleports you from one…
  • Ride your bike to places
  • Walk to the grocery store or other places nearby if you can

Step 2: Explore ways to move your body that you enjoy

My buddy, David used to jump on a trampoline every fricking day because he loved it. He does this for like 30 minutes.

Have you ever jumped on a trampoline for 30 minutes? It’s fucking exhausting.

I don’t like jumping on a trampoline for 30 minutes so I don’t. But I do like hiking, rock climbing, and gymnastics so I do a lot of that.

If you don’t have any activities that move your body in challenging ways this is a great opportunity to explore.

Step 3: Create a super simple but effective workout routine

I have an article dedicated to this here but to sum it up try creating full-body workouts for yourself 1 to 3 days per week.

  • Pick 1 lower body exercise (squats, lunges, step-ups)
  • Pick 1 upper body pulling exercises (Pull-ups, pull-downs, inverted rows)
  • Pick 1 upper body pressing exercise (Presses, push-ups, dips)
  • Pick 1 “cardio” exercise (run, row, jump)

Complete 3 to 5 sets, moving from one exercise to the next as fast as possible with good form.

So that whole I don’t like exercise excuse… I don’t buy it. Maybe you just don’t like it in the traditional sense. Try creating a more meaningful movement routine first and then come at me bro with that.

The question of the day: What does meaningful movement mean to you? What are some of your favorite ways to move your body?



Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash