Nothing? or Something

Most of the people I talk to day to day cite “not having enough time” as the biggest problem with getting into the gym.  If you’re short on time, please tell me you’re not a member of that group who throw’s up their hands and gives up. I can accept that time is an issue, but I don’t believe it’s insurmountable. Here are a couple of strategies that can be used to fight time-loss.

When you think of a workout, what comes to mind? Ninety minutes in the gym, forty-five minutes of weights followed by an hour of cardio? Perhaps you need to redefine your idea of a “workout.” What if you took the time element, the one that’s in shortage, and made it less imposing? Say, 5-10 minutes. What if, instead of one 30 minute session, you did three ten-minute sessions? Could you make that work? Give it a little thought, and come up with a ten minute workout you could do anywhere. Then–go for it. There is no rule that a workout “has” to be a certain length. There is an optimum length that fits your goals, but if you can’t do the time–change the workout. Ten minutes busting butt beats an hour of nothing.

A quick side note about time. If you are one of those who regularly finds himself without enough time, you really need to ask, “Why?” When you find yourself getting less sleep, not eating healthy foods, and failing to exercise, there’s a problem. All of those things are high on the hierarchy of needs and are necessary to good health.  Recently, I read a book about Minimalism and here’s a passage I want to share. It goes out to anyone who says they don’t have enough time:

“Between work and attending my children’s sporting events, I no longer had time for an outside life: no time to read, no time to relax, no time for closer relationships. I didn’t even have time for a cup of coffee with a friend, to listen to his stories. I realized that if I didn’t control my time, I relinquished control of my life. It was a shocking realization.”

I recommend that you restore your control over life–before lesser concerns totally or partially steal that life from you. Give it some serious thought, and remember, preserving the quality of your life is not selfish–especially if others rely on your being at your healthiest.

Another big flaw in many people’s workout habits is the “all or nothing” syndrome. If they can’t get a full workout in they don’t workout at all, and therefore, due to this perfectionism, no exercise gets done. Why does anyone have to do the perfect workout every time? The short answer is–they don’t. Just last week, I was running behind and didn’t have a long enough block of time to complete an entire workout. So, I split it into two parts. I did 30 minutes immediately and another 30 minutes later in the day. I don’t want to do that all the time, but it worked out fine. Sometimes I skip my stretching regimen. Does it slow my recovery process? Yes, a little, but at least I get the workout in.

There is a saying in the fitness world that goes along with this line of thinking. The saying is, “If time is a problem, then intensity is the solution.” You see, there’s something called the laws of physics. If you work out with low intensity for an hour and burn 500 calories, you can work out with higher intensity for thirty minutes and expend an equal number of calories. Neat, huh? So, if time’s a problem…Intensity is your solution.

Both of these strategies have to do with redefining what has been normally been thought of as a workout. A definition isn’t what keeps you in shape–working out does. So, rather than stick to old ideas, switch it up. Put aside the “all or nothing attitude” of perfectionism and get done what you can–no matter what–something– beats nothing at all. Remember, the desire for change is knocking on your door and that all-or-nothing thinking — rarely gets us “all.” It usually gets us “nothing.”