Time is valuable. People that waste your time are the worst kind of thieves and need to be eliminated from your life as quickly as possible. Since time is valuable its important that we choose our activities wisely and learn to say no to those that aren’t worth the sacrifice. Your workout, your nutrition, and your approach to health can either be an investment that increases the enjoyment and quality of your life or a huge waste of time.
You workout, you eat how you’re told to eat, and months go by and you’re no closer to your goals. Your coach tells you be patient, it’s a process, it takes time. All true, or is it. Let’s move beyond the whole discussion about instant gratification and unrealistic expectations for now and be a little more blunt. This is a website about getting rid of the BS after all. If you’re not seeing results from your efforts, it’s probably because you’re wasting a lot of time on crap you don’t need to be doing and aren’t doing things you should be.
Time suck #1: You Don’t Keep a Workout Journal
First, this is just dumb, yes dumb. If you’re not recording your workouts you’re just wasting time. You have to track what you’re doing, whether its running, lifting, rowing or whatever you choose. All training is progressive and you will never know where you need to go if you have no record of where you’ve been. Get a smartwatch, record it on your phone, or write it down in ink and paper. I have exercise journals going back years and I constantly refer back to them, because I’m serious about maximizing my time in the gym. I do not have hours and hours everyday to exercise, eat, and post about it. Many a client got a rude and very loud surprise when they came up to me in the middle of a group workout to ask, “How much did I squat, last week?” The first and I do mean FIRST piece of advice I gave to every client was get a workout journal and bring it to class everyday!
I record everything in journals. My ideas, my workouts, my writing, my business efforts. When something stalls or goes off track I can go back and look at where and when it started and correct. I can also go back and see what worked and what didn’t in various situations and times in my life. Not tracking your workouts is really just about one thing, laziness. Look you’re working out, you’re already doing the work, don’t drop the ball by not recording it. You wouldn’t want to waste 3 weeks doing the same workout because you couldn’t remember if you did it before or if it was time to increase loads, distances, etc.
Time suck #2: You’re Trying to Master Everything
Don’t waste time in the gym or in workouts. Unless you workout in the gym and can afford to play around all day, get in do what you need to and get out. If you want variety and different modalities than do it after work or on the weekends. Play time is for when you’re not paying or paying someone to deliver results. I reached a turning point in my own physical health on the day I was looking at my blistered bleeding hands after an hour of trying to master Muscle-ups. “Why am I doing this?” I don’t want to be a gymnast, I don’t want to compete. I just want to look good, and be strong. I left a lot of “exciting” movements behind that day and never looked back.
The less there is to master the faster mastery will come. The best athletes in any field are those who have mastered the basics and return to them often. I am a firm believer in the Minimum Effective Dose. If I can get a good workout in 20 minutes that delivers the results I want and uses only 3-4 movements, I’m sold, sign me up, here’s my money! I’m a 40 year old writer and teacher now, Why would I risk a torn shoulder or Achilles on a workout? Not a competition, not for money, or a prize, but just a workout? I’ll save that kind of risk for my epic hiking trip to Alaska or Central America.
I lift heavy things 4 times a week. I run, go on long walks or hit the Assault Bike when the weather is crappy, I recover, do mobility exercises to keep supple, and meditate. This provides the base for everything I want to do in life. 2 years ago, I was a full time CrossFit Coach. My workouts lasted hours, I wanted to be an expert on everything. It was my job. Things have changed. Now I am honest about my situation and the results I want. My workouts are designed to give me those results as quickly as possible without wasted effort or time.
Time Suck #3: Your Nutrition Plan isn’t Dialed In
If you remember anything about this article I hope its this, Nutrition is everything! When I say nutrition I mean what you eat, every day, all week, all year. Diets are for infomercials, book sales, and clicks. Nutrition is for real people. If you’re overweight or out of shape, it’s because of what you eat. End of story. Yes there are some genetic factors that predispose a person to weight gain, but none that actually make you fat if you’re in control of your eating habits. Habit is an accurate word because we Americans no longer eat out of necessity but out of habit. You don’t need to change your “diet,” you need to change your habits.
I can get you shredded with minimum exercise if I can control what you eat. The biggest source of failure I had as a coach was this; I can’t control what people do outside the gym. It’s the 23 hours a day when you’re not working out that will make you fit or fat. I know a guy who is also a CrossFit trainer who is crazy strong and knowledgeable but every time I see him he’s got a beer gut and looks like death warmed over. He drinks beer like crazy and takes any and every excuse to eat sugary garbage. Consequently every few weeks he’s starting a new diet challenge. His eating habits contradict his fitness goals, and he wonders why he can’t get lean.
Do your habits contradict your goals? Is your cupboard filled with sugary foods, starchy packaged carbs, and grains? Do you drink sweetened beverages? Do you have more than one alcoholic drink a week. Do you bust your ass when you hit the gym then go home and eat a whole pizza, pint of ice cream, or 12 inch sub, because you’ve “earned” it? If so your eating habits are contradicting your fitness goals. You are throwing away tons of time and effort at the gym.
Here’s the single best nutrition tip I can give you. When you go grocery shopping use cash. Budget only enough to get exactly what you need. This will require a thing called “planning.” Buy only what’s on your list, don’t wonder around and get the hell out of there as soon as your list is filled. If you don’t bring garbage into your house, chances are you won’t eat it. Many a craving has been stifled by the knowledge that satisfying that craving would entail getting dressed, going out, dealing with traffic, fighting checkout lines, and then driving home, more traffic, and then eating the whole thing, and feeling like shit about it afterwards. Six-packs are no longer made in the kitchen but in the shopping cart. You can quote me on that.
There are your three tips to no bullshit fitness. If you’re struggling to develop a fitness and nutrition plan feel free to contact me at the email address below or on Instagram. I got into fitness to help people enjoy their lives. I may be able to help you.
firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottnobsguy on instagram