We choose to make time for what we prioritize in our lives. The number one excuse for why people don’t exercise is because of busyness. With 168 hours in a week, there’s more than enough time for exercise, work, family life, recreation, volunteering, down time, and whatever else excites you. The challenge isn’t enough hours in a day, it’s managing those hours carefully.
Three years ago, after I opened the Bunkhouse in Minturn, I went through a divorce, was still running a full-time fitness business, co-parenting my son, and still had to find time for things that brought peace into my life. I was so overwhelmed, I often found myself sitting in my house not able to move; paralyzed by life, I didn’t even know where to begin, and sometimes I would sit for hours with my brain running 100 miles per minute, in 20 different directions. A time management overhaul was imminent.
I was listening to an interview on the radio, and Dan John, a notable fitness coach was discussing productivity. His message was simple, and it resonated with my streamlined approach towards life. Dan referenced shark bites and pirate maps. Sharks don’t nibble or bottom feed, sharks attack with massive bites, annihilating their prey. Each day, take shark bites as you approach specific tasks. Don’t open that email unless you’re going to own it, read it, and reply immediately. Finish each and every task to completion. Multi-tasking is a misguided waste of time. Focus on one thing at a time, rinse, and repeat. If you can imagine a pirate map, they often resemble dots that lead along the path of least resistance to the treasure. Get to the point in life quickly, with a map. Make grocery lists, lay out your clothes for the next day, write out to-do lists on Sunday night, clearly articulate your message throughout the day. Stop wasting time on social media, television, and other distractions that rob you of time that should be invested elsewhere.
Prioritizing exercise is no different. You must have a plan, and make time for it. Lately, I’ve been busy growing the Bunkhouse, so I’ve gotten creative with exercise. Instead of going to the gym where I spend most of my daily working hours training others, I built a gym in my garage. The gym is a distraction when it’s your place of business, and working out at home saves me time and potential wasted effort. You don’t need fancy equipment, or any at all. I acquired all of my kettlebells that were collecting dust, hung a pull up bar from the garage ceiling, mounted some olympic rings, and I set my alarm for 4:30am every morning.
Here are a few of my routines, that take no longer than 20-30 minutes.
- Squat, Swing, and Push: I’ll use two, equally weighted kettlebells and perform 5 double kb front squats, 10 double kb swings, and 20 pushups; rest 1 minute. I’ll repeat this effort 5-10 rounds depending on how much time I have, and how heavy I go. So, that’s 25 squats, 50 swings, and 100 pushups; or 50 squats, 100 swings, and 200 pushups.
- Squat and Pull: 10 bodyweight squats and 3 pull-ups; 20 bodyweight squats and 5 pull-ups; 30 bodyweight squats and 8 pull-ups. Rest 1-2 minutes, and repeat for 3-5 rounds. Whatever works. That’s 180-300 squats, and 48-80 pull-ups.
- Hockey Pushup Challenge: I love playoff hockey! If the day’s gotten away from me, but I really want to watch hockey, I’ll perform a pushup ladder anytime the whistle is blown. For instance, if the whistle blows, I’ll perform 10 pushups. The next whistle blow, I’ll perform 7 pushups; then 5, and then 3. I’ll do this the entire game. It may add up to several hundred pushups. Perform this with a favorite TV show, or a movie when a specific word is said, during commercials, or other creative strategies you can think of. Use burpees, squats, lunges, sit-ups, planks, side-planks, and other bodyweight calisthenics, too.
- 5 Minute Morning Challenge: Perform this 5 days per week, and pick 1 bodyweight exercise per day. Perform as many repetitions as possible in 5 minutes. It’s hard! But, who doesn’t have 5 minutes, and you need no equipment. Again, use exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, getting up and down off of the floor, etc.
Life is busy, I get it. But there’s no excuses for not getting exercise done on a regular basis. OK, let’s keep talking about this stuff. Have a great week!
It was a rainy Saturday as we headed to Aspen to ski the legendary Highland bowl. Paul Kulas, a tall and wiry gentlemen who rarely sits in silence has much to say about diet, music, business, the current political scene, and anything related to skiing. Our conversation escalated as we considered diet and fitness culture. What are we doing, how do we measure the effectiveness of our actions, and what are the longstanding consequences of our behavior?
It became crystal clear for me as we considered our modern diet. When you receive a teeth cleaning from your trusted dentist, you assume that her opinion to fill a few cavities is genuine. But do you really know for certain it’s a requirement? Do you really have any cavities in the first place? Generally, I think dentists operate with integrity. In other words, do we know that the food we buy is truly safe for us? Are we giving the benefit of the doubt to Coca-Cola, and that maybe soda isn’t harmful to our health and waistline?
The long term consequences of poor dietary choices aren’t generally realized in the short term unless you have a food allergy or get food poisoning. It can take years to realize the consequences of poor choices-type 2 diabetes and heart disease don’t take form over night. This is largely why we ignore the popular ideology that processed foods are potentially dangerous to our health-we don’t immediately see or feel the potential harm, so we reason with ourselves that there isn’t any harm in the first place. By the way, do we really know for certain that Aspartame is a neurotoxin, or that Doritos and Oreo’s are cancer causing? Time will tell I suppose.
On the other hand, the consequences of a specific exercise is usually, immediately apparent. Even though it could take years to realize a degenerative knee injury caused by chronic running, the physical changes from exercise typically happen within weeks. This is great news. The effectiveness of a specific exercise will show it’s hand instantaneously. This phenomenon serves many purposes. First, if you have any outstanding injuries or movement problems, a specific exercise that doesn’t agree with you will usually cause problems, such as pain within a few hours post workout. The immediate feedback will alarm you to consider alternatives. Second, the physical changes of an exercise can be quickly quantified; if you squat for 3 weeks, and the load incrementally gets heavier during the training cycle, you can be certain that your strength increased. Specific exercises provide very detailed evidence to be scrutinized quickly.
Consider that program design and execution will always give us personal, physical feedback almost instantaneously. In order to maximize our fitness pursuits, we ought to keep a detailed journal of the exercise, load, sets, reps, and rest period. More importantly, consider the objective and subjective physical feelings and changes that occur over several days to weeks. This information is extremely valuable to make judgments and course corrections along your journey. We’ll save the processed food conspiracies for another conversation. Have a great week!