Time Usage – 5 Steps to Achieving Better Fitness

For those of you who don’t know Ross and myself, we like to keep a pretty tidy shop. We’re big on keeping carpets and equipment clean and presentable for our clients. This post came to me as I was vacuuming on a Saturday (we usually clean Sundays) because I wanted to take Sunday off to eat brunch with my wife and daughter and watch an Arsenal FC match. So you may ask why I’m rambling on…well it has to do with TIME and how we spend it.

Time is the biggest barrier, at least on the surface, that we as trainers hear about from our clients. We’re engaged in a constant time tug-o-war and many of us are unfortunately fighting a losing battle. So what can we do to get out of this vicious cycle of defeat? Follow these five steps and find out.

1) Take inventory

It’s impossible to put together a plan of attack if you have no idea your resources and restraints. Can you imagine Maximus walking in to battle without knowing how many infantry, archers, and horses he had as his disposal? Or how many barbarians were on the other side of the hill? Never. He was the baddest general in history. Except for General Tso with his delicious heavily breaded and sauced chicken.

If you see these guys, do yourself a favor and walk the other way.

Inventory consists of assessing:

  • Current fitness level (bodyfat, any pain or injuries, number of pushups you can do, etc)
  • Dietary habits (meals per day, food quality, etc)
  • Training habits (strength training, cardio, frequency, intensity, etc)
  • Sleep habits (chances are it’s not adequate)
  • Work, family, and other time demands

Once you have a good idea of where you are you can figure out where you want to go.

2) Establish realistic goals

This is where things get interesting. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they needed to lose 15 pounds in two weeks for a wedding, vacation, or party, I’d have $14,862. People see a picture of a “hot” celebrity and say, “I want you to make me look like her / him.” I have a news alert…If you’re at 30% bodyfat, eat like crap, and work out 30 minutes per week, saying you want to look like the  lovely specimen below in a couple weeks is not realistic. I’m not saying that it will never happen, but it will take TIME.

Set your long term goal to be a bikini fitness model. But for the short term, focus on the basics: training consistently, eating a healthy diet, and get enough sleep!

3) Develop a plan

Planning is where most people fall short. A goal without a plan is really just an idea. Planning should be broken down daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly. Start with the year or month plan and narrow your focus backward to the daily plan.

Monthly plan items include:

  • Training 20 days this month
  • Doing mobility and soft tissue work every other day
  • Planning what days your cheat meals will fall on

Weekly plan items include:

  • Scheduling and mapping your training sessions
  • Preparing your meals and snacks for the week
  • Grocery shopping

Daily plan items include:

  • Packing your meals and snacks for the day
  • Eating meals accordingly
  • Training
  • Getting to bed on time

4) Prioritize – also known as Sacrifice

Prioritizing and sacrificing is uncomfortable for many reasons. We have so many things going on in our daily lives that it can be tough to figure out how to eliminate some in favor of others. If you want what you’ve always gotten, do what you’ve always done. So make some changes. Take in to account the above steps and what you’ve learned from assessing yourself. Then look at your time demands (work, family, training, sleep, etc) and make some necessary cuts. This can be relatively easy, or it can be really tough. If you spend two hours per night watching television, you can sacrifice some of that for exercise or meal preparation. After all, isn’t that what the DVR is for? If you need to sleep in because you go to bed too late, get to bed earlier and get up early to train. Yes, 6:00 AM training sessions suck, but do they suck worse than being fat? Lastly, try incorporating some of the competing demands together (take the stairs at work or exercise with your family) to accomplish more in the same amount of time.

5) Act

This takes us back to the beginning. It’s time to ACT by taking INVENTORY. You’re now armed with all the information you need. Once you’ve completed all 5 Steps and have a WRITTEN plan, go pick up something heavy and put it down. Repeat.

If you need help, you know where to find us…

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