Tag Archives: Time Management

“What’re You Training For?”

A few weeks ago, an older fellow who had watched me groan out four sets of heavy (for me) deadlifts, approached and asked, “What’re you training for?” When I stopped writing in my workout log and looked up, I could tell by his slightly raised eyebrows and turned head, that he was failing to imagine why a gray-haired fellow   should be putting forth that kind of effort.  No prob, I’d been here before.

I had a ready answer–“High Function. I’m in my mid-fifties, and I want to keep myself able-bodied: able to work on my property, able to rock climb, able to hike or bike long distances, and able to play with my children.”

Crack Girl
Sometimes we work out in order to play.

Basically, I refuse to resign myself to the line of thinking that asserts, “strength building is for competing athletes and the young.  As an older person himself, he should’ve known  this, but he didn’t. Why not? Because this line of thinking goes against the mainstream grain. Just spend a little time perusing the internet and gazing at all the fitness selfies. Working out is portrayed to be mostly about looking good.  You never see selfies or videos of folks using their rippling muscles to landscape their yard, haul a load of bricks, or pull their kids around in a sled.  (If there were, the participants would be half-naked) You don’t see the before video of someone unable to carry their own groceries up a few flights of stairs and then the after video of them doing it with ease. You don’t see someone getting out of breath after a few points of volleyball and then six-weeks later spiking the winning point. No, you see overweight people getting thin and telling everyone, “I look great!” Which is fine in a narrow outlook, but fitness is about far more than that.

shoveling-dirt-m
Sometimes we workout in order to work

Athletes and the young shouldn’t have a corner on strength training. For the most part, they are only trying to improve their game or going for finer aesthetics–doing curls for girls and thighs for guys. Their muscles aren’t slowly deteriorating. Their connective tissue isn’t steadily growing stiffer. Their bones aren’t thinning and turning brittle.  Their metabolism isn’t slowing. Not yet anyway. (Heh, heh, heh) In light of those much more serious reasons alone, the old are the ones who should be the most concerned with strength training, because it is the medicine that will keep the symptoms of aging at bay.

So, If you find yourself watching some older person crank out four sets of squats in the gym and wondering what the hell he or she is up to, remember that they have more pressing reasons than anyone to be under a heavy bar.  So do you. Under the flow of time, your body is eroding away, and neither you or anyone else can dam the stream. The best each of us can do is put our time to good use, and as time flows, harness your body’s energy in order to rejuvenate yourself.  Use your time to get inside a gym or start a home strength program and build a better body, one that is stronger, faster, more supple, and tireless.

 

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.”