"I've got no time to work out"
"I've got a full time job, 3 kids and no energy for anything else"
"Sure, if I had your job I could look like you"
"There aren't enough hours in the day"
"I can't make it to the gym for 6 hours a week so there's no point"
Heard any or all of these before? Hell, maybe you've even caught yourself saying them if you look back. Either way, if you recognise any of the issues here, rest assured that all is not lost. That, even though it is a bit of a slog, you do actually have the capacity to start to make real tangible change. But it starts with addressing what your problems are. So here we go
Efficiency - The key is found in big ass bang-for-your-buck movements completed in a large circuit with minimal rest. Ironically, I find the better you get at lifting, the more effective this is. Of the following two options, which of them gives a bigger training effect?
10 Back Squats
10 Chin Ups
10 Trap Bar Deadlifts
30 Second RKC Plank
10 Back Squats at 60kg
3 Chin Ups
10 Trap Bar Deadlifts at 80kg
30 Second Plank
Hopefully it should be obvious that the first one does. You can absolutely get a lot of work done in a short period of time. But it is usually best achieved by people who have a good level of proficiency in the big lifts. It is comparable to a highly trained musician. They need to practice their scales much less to maintain basic proficiency than a beginner. Note that I say basic proficiency, not the ability to play free style jazz. If you want to be great, minimal doesn't cut it. But to be decent?. Maybe not to look like a cover model, but to look respectable on the beach, decent can work. And decent can be accomplished through short workouts, if hit with intelligence, vigour and consistency for an extended period of time.
So if you have only 3 x 30 mins to train in your week, don't let me see you doing DB Curls or Crunches. You are wasting your preciously short time. Instead, your training should contain moves from the following list (there is of course room for some debate here):
- Back or Front Squats
- Snatch Variations
- Clean & Presses (or Jerk)
- High Pulls
- Chin Ups/Pull Ups
- Push Ups (Loaded)
- Handstand Push Ups
- Bent Over Rows
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Plank Variations
- Hip Thrust
- KB Swings
- Loaded Carries
These are all difficult moves to master, but worth every moment of it. They will forge a strong, effective, damn good looking physique, whether you're male or female. You also need to get to a good level in these; lifting weights equivalent to paper bags will do nothing for you.
Something I think I have noticed, is that the people I look up to in this industry, who have been around for a long time, build their workouts around these moves. I think this may be because kids and businesses take up their time and so it becomes increasingly important for them to optimise their workout efficiency; they don't use BOSU balls or casually jog. They go some and get it done.
I will caveat this with an upcoming article on why going "balls out" isn't the sign of an effective workout. Summed up it sounds like this: Sweating doesn't mean Jack.
Assess your priorities. More often than not, you have time in your schedule. The fact that you are currently reading this suggests that. If I had to pick between reading my blog (wonderful and enlightening though it may be) or getting my workout in, I'm not reading. How much time is spent with the TV or online? Could you get up earlier? How often do you blow out training for something else?
There are the same 24 hours in the day for all of us. Some get it done. Often times that means doing less of other things.
Personally I could play more video games. And I'd be more than happy doing so. But it wouldn't progress me further toward my goals. It just provides me enjoyment in that moment. Which is still an important part of my day. Yet, as always, we must find a balance. Does this mean sometimes I won't be doing shots with my friends? Yes. I have a priority above being drunk with them. At least in prep mode anyway. The rest of the year: line up the Sambuca. Please don't bring tequila. I will trip you as we leave.
Everything you decide to do with your day costs you the ability to do something else. Thats life. We trade time for the experiences we choose, or have chosen for us. Try to choose things you will be proud of as well as things that bring you happiness right now. You need the mix. Get some paper and answer the following question:
What are your top 5 priorities in life?
- Body By Control
- My Training
- My Girlfriend, Friends & Family
- Me Time
Above are mine, in no particular order. If I can fill a week with something from all of these, I feel I've had a good week. But if I find I've done lots of one and hardly any of another, I feel something's missing. Life needs balance.
Create a Team. Community is the most overlooked aspect of success. We all want to hear about the athlete that won the Gold Medal, that set the record, or the girl who lost half her bodyweight. And with good reason. All their accomplishments are impressive, and impressive is inspiring. But we almost never hear, or care, about the team behind them. Their partners, coaches, chefs, friends, sponsors, drivers and anyone else involved in their "individual" success. I don't believe truly individual sports exist. We all rely upon the people around us, at least sometimes.
So who are your people? Do they help or hinder you?
Can you create a family of people who train together, eat together and help each other towards their goals. This fits into creating your system of success. It is invaluable. Not just because it makes things easier, but because it can make the difference between overwhelming difficulty and genuine enjoyment.
Note that is the difference between success with the outcome and success with the journey. The latter provides a win-win scenario, and one that I would argue is the bedrock of long term success.
Be chased by Bears. Regularly. Or guys with guns. Perhaps take part in The Hunger Games.
Come close to a violent grizzly end. It really helps to keep the heart rate elevated like nothing else, monopolises your attention and ensures getting a lot done in a short period. It's also great for a re-evaluation of your priorities in life. I'm sticking with this as my top pick for the day.