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Time Management For Health & Fitness
Free Post - "No Time" is Cope
Here at BowTiedOx Industries we like to breakdown and throw out excuses people make for not living a healthy & fit lifestyle.
Today we are going to talk about the most common: “I don’t have enough time”.
We’re going to work through why this likely isn’t true + ways we can optimize our time, so we can easily blend fitness/health activities into our everyday tasks. You might even walk away with ideas of how you can optimize your time more, even if you’re already doing well.
At the end of the day, we have about 16 hours in a day if we assume we (should) get 8 hours of sleep at night. If we account for an 8 hour workday, we still have 8 hours to do whatever we need to do to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Fitness should not be thought of as a luxury or something we *should* do. It is a necessity and should be viewed as something we *must* do.
There is a few ways we are going to go about freeing up and optimizing our time:
We are going to breakdown simple, actionable, easy to implement ways to improve your time efficiency and better your life because of it.
Priorities—Where It All Starts
Time can be neither created or destroyed, it just is. Us humans fortunately or unfortunately—depending on how you look at it—only have 24 hours during the day and we have complex biological clocks and functions that require us to spend at least a quarter of this time asleep.
Now I’m not going to beat a dead house and rant about how fitness MUST be a main priority in your life, but it MUST be noted.
We simply do and make time for things we deem important, this is a simple fact of human nature. This mental shift alone—Exercise is essential, not a luxury—can have you suddenly “finding time” that you otherwise “didn’t have”.
I will say it again: EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL, NOT A LUXURY!
So, taking back into the relentless flow of time and the fact we need to sleep, let’s call what we have left over 16 hours.
Now I understand, most of us have jobs/businesses (otherwise you likely wouldn’t be struggling with time) and we will take a happy medium, fair approach here. Instead of subtracting 8 hours, we will say 10 hours to accommodate those who work more or commute.
This leaves us with roughly 6 hours—guys this is almost a whole work day, this is more than enough time.
Let’s take away 2 hours for cooking + 2 hours spending time with family/doing literally whatever.
This leaves us with 2 hours and if you’re following any of my programs, a workout shouldn’t take more than an hour, so we have some change left over.
And let’s be real, most of you aren’t sleeping 8 hours, you sleeping probably closer to 6, maybe 7, so that’s another 1-2 hours to take to the bank.
TLDR: You have time.
Step 1: Planning and Prepping
This is the easiest and probably most time-efficient method we can use to maximize our time.
This starts before you wake up - the nights or even days prior to the day. This can effectively free up our schedule and ensure we are getting the tasks done we need to get done.
The first thing that comes to mind is meal prepping—this is typically one of, if not the most time-intensive parts of a healthy lifestyle. This can be done at one time and cover your multiple meals for multiple days.
I have an entire post on the nitty gritty of meal prep here.
This also brings us into the planning aspect. If we know that we have a busy week, meetings/irregular schedule/etc. then it probably makes sense to rotate our training to a time it makes more sense and gets done—yes, this could mean waking up an hour earlier.
For example, when @BowTiedHeifer worked a 9-5, she would wake up an hour earlier and meal prep not for one, but TWO people each morning. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but when your priorities align with your goals, time can and will be made. Champions adjust after all.
This is more common sense than anything. There are 1000 ways we could run this.
If you are busy, and have the money, a good meal prep service is a life hack. Plenty of good companies exist and the odds are you have some gym bro locally that runs a meal prep service.
This will force you to eat healthier + you will save all the time cooking. No brainer, especially if you run a business as the time saved will make you more money ($5-8 per meal that would take you 20-30 minutes to make. I hope you make more than $10-16 an hour with your business).
The end result here is to have intent and plan in a way that is conducive to your lifestyle. Better to swim with the current than against it.
Step 2: Combining Task
This is personally my favorite way to be efficient with my time. I call this “2 bird 1 stone approach”.
What tasks are you doing right now that could easily have another task added to it?
A good example of this is walking while doing phone calls, virtual meetings, etc.
I recommend 10,000 steps a day - a lot of you struggle with this. Many of you work a job where you will be answering phone calls or sitting in Zoom meetings. If you can do these from your cell phone (do people even use landlines anymore?), then you can walk/pace while you do it.
A benefit here is that we are actually more creative and have more mental power when we are moving.
This is a reason why I like to listen to podcasts/audiobooks while walking as well. As a fitness professional, it is important I am up to take and continuously learning (the best at anything are lifelong learners). So I take advantage of a healthy activity with a productive activity.
The same goes for cardio, and I’ve even seen people go as far as reading books while doing cardio, but, for some, even these times can be used for leisure.
There are zero rules that tell us that while we walk on an incline treadmill or ride a stationary bike that we can’t pop our favorite show on Hulu and watch this while doing cardio.
Heck, if you’re WFH and can turn your microphone/camera off for a designated amount of time, you can use this window to cook your meals. It’s all about maximizing your time in a way that’s most beneficial to YOU.
Again, work is where we spend most of our time.
Step 3: Elimination
Let’s be honest, completely honest with ourselves. If we look at our schedules and what we do day by day, week by week, we will be able to find tasks that are completely wasting our time with no ROI.
I suggest everyone do an audit on their time. This will force us to be honest with where we could make more time and where we should focus more efforts.
Odds are you are spending hours—plural—a day on tasks like Netflix or browsing the web, or reading BowTiedOx tweets on Twitter (I would rather you unfollow me and spend more time living than refresh the page to see what I and others are saying all day).
Take account of everything you do, everything, and if you truly cannot find time, then you need to drop something to prioritize your health and fitness.
This is nonnegotiable, you will pay for this greatly in the future.
What If You Truly Have Zero Time
If you truly are this busy, then you’re going to have to take extreme measures.
You need to be in the gym and you need to be lifting, at the very least, nothing is stopping you from doing a bodyweight routine, which I have posted here.
Find 20-30 minutes a day and run a program like this, it will work and you will spend minimal time in the gym.
Maybe you have to buy a meal prep service, or maybe you have to find some type of takeout that is seemingly healthy (cannot go wrong with meat and veggies).
At the end of the day, sacrificing your health and fitness will hurt you and everyone around you. In the long term, this will sacrifice more of your time than doing all of the above steps.
Putting It All Together
Fitness is essential and NOT a luxury - after all the maths we did above, we concluded that most of us have around 2-4 hours left over each day to dedicate to training (which should only take us around 1 hour max). *This accounts for sleep, work, commuting, cooking, and family time. “Not having time” is simply not an excuse.
Even if this doesn’t seem to meet your “standards for enough time” we can follow these 3 steps to “make time” - planning + prepping meals, combining tasks, and eliminating less important tasks.
Whether you’re waking up an hour earlier to cook for the day, taking one day a week to prep for the week, or utilizing a meal prep service, you will leave all the extra thought of where your next meal is coming from out. You will also effectively free up extra time throughout the week.
No more “well, I forgot to cook again, let me grab the most convenient fast food” excuses. Most importantly, you have intent and are planning in a way that is conducive to your lifestyle.
This goes hand in hand with combining tasks - if it can be done, there are no rules, you can get multiple things done at once. Cardio + reading/instructional videos/whatever, walking (steps) + phone calls/meetings, cooking + WFH, there are no limits here.
It’s all about maximizing your time to best benefit you.
Be honest with yourself and think about all the extra tasks in your day-to-day that can be totally eliminated from the schedule (especially if you are your own boss). Chances are you have more important things to do (hitting the gym bro) and can free up time by cutting out the extra activities.
The bottomline here is there IS time and we can make fitness our priority if we are willing to do the “hard” things.
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.