How To Get In Great Shape When You're 'Balls To The Wall' Busy
A few days ago, I found myself chatting on Skype with a potential new client when he dropped a bombshell. One that comes out WAY too often.
“I’m too busy to get in shape”
Immediately, I replied,
“Oh? Why is that?”
“I have no time. I work a lot. I’m in meetings all the time and I have a family.”
“Fair reasons. How much do you really want to get in shape?”
“A lot! I want to feel fitter and stronger”
“Then you will find a way.”
The feeling of ‘busyness’ is generally self-imposed. Most of the time it comes down to priorities.
Do you prioritise your health and fitness?
Only once it's prioritised, can it be organised for efficiency, practicality and sustainability.
Below is a guide as to how you should be organising your training and nutrition if you feel like you’re busy as hell and don’t know where to start.
The world won’t explode if you ask for the minutes of a meeting you don’t really have to be at and go to the gym instead.
Your waistline will explode if you ignore it.
Pick the path of least resistance
In an effort to reduce resistance to training in nutrition, it’s wise to pick things which make sticking to the plan so easy it feels almost natural.
Don’t overcomplicate things trying to make the perfect plan.
A plan that is simple, efficient, effective and fits your life like a glove IS THE PERFECT PLAN.
Training for efficiency and effectiveness
You have to train your body. Physical fitness spills into every other aspect of life. It creates discipline, mental toughness and not to mention builds your body into a lean, muscular machine.
But I know you don’t have time to train for 2 hours every day like the bodybuilder on Instagram says you need to.
Here’s what you do.
1. Do your best to get to the gym 1-2x/week
Nothing beats adding additional load to your body to challenge your body, build lean muscle and burn fat. The reason everyone says free weight training (barbells and dumbbells) is the best is that THEY ARE.
2. Have routines you can do where you don’t need the gym.
Sometimes life happens. You have an extended meeting. You have to travel for work. You’re kid cracked in their front tooth playing rugby at lunchtime. At this point there’s no way you can scrape out the time to:
Travel to the gym -> get changed -> warm up -> train -> cool down -> have a shower -> get changed ->travel back from the gym
So there needs to be a plan B.
Your best bet is bodyweight training. It can be done anywhere at anytime. Just you vs your body. Treating these sessions as ‘metabolic conditioning’ sessions will destroy fat and have you done within 20 minutes. Jackpot.
Alternating lunge x8/side
Shoulder taps x12
Rest 60 seconds and repeat 4 times total.
Jump squat x15 seconds
Mountain climbers x30 seconds
Side plank x15/side
Rest 30 seconds and repeat 4 times total.
Quick, dirty and effective.
3. Do cardio, but do it productively.
The dreaded cardio. I’m not a big fan of it myself, but I know the benefits. It improves the function of your heart and lungs, two big divers of health and how long you will live, plus it has a good correlation to increased fat loss.
The bad thing about cardio is it eats up time which could be spent doing other things (making money), so that’s why I coined the term ‘productive cardio’.
Try one of these methods yourself:
Lungs and learn session - A relaxed jog for 30-45 mins where you pop on an audiobook or podcast you’re listening to and soak in new information. Become fitter AND smarter.
Walk and talk session - A fast walk for around 60 mins where you make phone calls to people you need to connect with or haven’t heard from in a while. Massive for relationship building PLUS your cardio.
Mobility-cardio session - A 30-45 minute session where you work on fast paced mobility exercises interspersed with other bodyweight exercises to keep your heart rate up. Combine your cardio with mobility to make you move, feel and look better all together.
Nutrition For The Busy Bee
Following the path of least resistance method, your diet needs to be ridiculously easy to follow and require no extra effort. I’m personally a fan of counting calories but if you’re balls to the wall busy there are easier ways to create a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit is the most important thing you need to burn fat. By eating a slightly lower number of calories than your body needs each day it finds the excess energy to bridge the gap from your fat stores.
1. Intermittent Fasting
This is the process of cycling periods in which you eat with periods that you don’t eat.
The most common way is to fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window. Usually this means skipping breakfast and eating your meals from 12pm to 8pm.
It's calorie control in it's simplest form.
But, but, but…. this doesn’t sound healthy. Actually, it is. There is a large backing of scientific research behind extended fasting periods and the health benefits that come with it. Things such as:
- Rapid Fat Loss - Increase in Testosterone and HGH Production - Lean Muscle Gain - Increased Energy Levels - Ability to Easily Control Hunger - Higher Sex Drive
The lovely thing is, it’s not really a diet. It is a new way to approach eating. And it’s ridiculously easy to adopt as now you don’t have to worry about breakfast. This equals more time for you to do the things you need to do during the day and still lose fat.
2. The Handy Method
This requires the use of your hands. So, apologies if you’re missing them.
Based on Precision Nutrition’s portion control methods, you use your hand to measure out the portions of the foods you consume. So no carrying around your measuring cup, scales or calculators!
You eat four square meals a day, each following the Handy Guidelines.
Here how it works:
Your palm determines your protein portions.
Your fist determines your veggie portions.
Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
Your thumb determines your fat portions.
2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.
As your hand size is usually well correlated to body size, this works for many people and requires little thinking. Also, it is very easy to manipulate. If you aren’t losing fat after a couple of weeks you can eliminate a cupped hand and a thumb of fat from a meal or two. Easy calorie control.
Strategies To Get This Done
Know your goal
The deeper the seed is planted that you want to get fit, the more effort you’re going to put into prioritising your training and nutrition and succeed.
Having a strong reason behind the 'why' you want to get fit will make it important to you. If it's important, you will do it.
1 is better than none
Sometimes you will find yourself with a choice. To do the small thing you know you should do, or not… skip it, it doesn’t matter, it won’t affect you today.
In this position, DO IT. Always
These small things add up over time exponentially. Improving just 1% every day isn’t even noticeable, but in a years time it can add up to create something incredibly meaningful like a whole new physique.
Everyone thinks that they can do everything on their own.
In reality, when looking to make a change, holding accountability to yourself can only do so much. Motivation is fleeting, and when you really don’t feel like doing anything, who will make you?
Accountability plays a huge role in fitness. Whether it be a coach, partner or group of friends, having external support is what will drive consistency.
You are not alone, there are actually heaps of guys like you trying to claim back their fitness too. Everyone can benefit from a little extra support sometimes.
If you feel you could use that extra accountability, or just need some guidance on fitting fitness into your busy life, drop me a line here and let's get you on track!