Are You Maxed Out on Time When It Comes to Making Health and Fitness Changes?

*beep, beep, beep, beep*

Alarm clock goes off and the countdown begins before you have to get ready (usually pretty quick) for that dreadful commute to work; lucky if you’re even able to get a bite in for breakfast or prep your morning coffee. As soon as you get to the office, work starts. You might chat with a few coworkers here and there, but the longer you wait, the more that unread inbox goes up. Morning might consist of meetings, responding to emails, getting tasks done, putting out fires...and then lunch.  But do you really need to waste time going somewhere or leaving your desk? Again, the more you wait, the more the inbox piles up. That inner dialogue starts, “Let’s just stay at the desk and eat whatever I can find or is in the building (maybe a prepped lunch, but most weeks there wasn’t enough time for that)”. After lunch, that afternoon lull hits, but work doesn’t stop….maybe a coffee break? You rally and finish up the last bit of work for the day, try relentlessly to get that inbox to 0.  Day done! Time to commute back home. You walk in through the door, probably exhausted….What’s for dinner? Ah, remember there was no time to prep, and now you’re at the point where you will donate your left arm for a meal. So you do what's easiest or quickest. Maybe takeout, frozen dinner, or just open a bag of chips. Once you satisfy that gnawing hunger, you can at least think straight, but again, too much time to make something healthy and nutritious. So you scrounge up whatever you can to get in some calories, then hit the couch (or bed if it’s been a really tough day).  Maybe watch a few shows, sports, movies, read, then next thing you know, time to snooze and start it all over again. No workout, no exercise, no nutritious meals. No making health a priority type of lifestyle. That’s for people who have time...and that’s not you. So the cycle continues for weeks, months, maybe even years, and next thing you know, you look in the mirror and can hardly recognize the person staring back. What happened?!

During my initial consultation with future clients, I get this a lot. They never think it could happen to them, but next thing you know they’re out of shape, lethargic, unmotivated, often have aches or pains, and can’t seem to get out of a funk. But the tough thing is that they don’t see a way out, that they’re going to be stuck like that forever...that change seems impossible.

Now I primarily work with busy, driven professionals and to say time is at a premium is an understatement.  Their concern for incorporating this exercise and nutrition stuff into their current lifestyle is very real and may seem too daunting to even think about.  When, how, where? But after a chat about their current lifestyle, and diving deep into what they’re currently doing, I’m able to provide an objective viewpoint; a different perspective that they often can’t see.

When you’re in thick of it (aka living your life), it’s tough to take a step back and evaluate.  But since my initial meeting is meant to listen, rather than explain, I can get a better understanding of where you’re currently at and what action needs to happen to make the most effective change.  My thought process is to utilize the smallest changes that make the biggest impact. Remember, time is at a premium, so we want to make the most of what you are able to dedicate to exercise and nutrition.

And this is usually where I see most people struggle that have tried to change their exercise and nutrition on their own. They look for big changes, often a lot of them at once, that have a minimal impact or they get so overwhelmed that they go right back to where they started.  

Let’s say for instance you’re in a similar situation as the story above, what would you change?  Where would you start? What you recommend?

Sometimes it helps to write out everything that’s going on, so that you can get a satellite view of the situation.  This might help to evaluate and decide on what needs to change.

I would start with what does this person want to change (their goals) and then figure out why they want to change it...if we stay surface level, there will be minimal motivation to change, and change usually won’t happen.  And if it does, it usually doesn’t last long. So go back to last week’s write up and figure out your why.

Once we have that, then we can start making decisions on what to change.  Because let’s face it...change has to happen….you can NOT continue doing the things that got you to this point.  A tough thing to admit, but it is the reality of the situation. So do not fall for ads, media, influencers that tell you it will be quick and easy.  That is very misleading and unless you ‘wake up’ from the fog or blinders, then you will continue to stay at the weight you’re at, continue to feel those aches and pains, continue to feel fatigued doing the simplest tasks. Change will take time and it won’t be easy, but the dividends are well worth it.  

So for the person above, I would start small. What can they commit to?  And everything I suggest must be a team effort. If I force or demand, then they are less likely to comply or adhere to the suggestion.  Once we have some ideas….Can you walk or be more active during the day? Any time to workout (home, building gym, etc.)? Can you prep a few meals per week?…then we can start to evaluate and plan.

You must feel confident with your new habits or changes.  If something feels too daunting or difficult, you must regress and make it so simple, that you could do it in your sleep.  So let’s say for instance you plan to workout 30 minutes 2x/ week at home. Great start, but when it comes to actually doing it you feel it just looks good on paper.  When you think of the logistics, your motivation, the reality of feel like it will never happen (3/10 confidence). So let’s cut it in half...15 minutes 2x/week, or 30 mins 1x/week.  That’s closer to a 7 out of 10. But what can we do to make it a 10/10. Let’s say 15 mins 1x/week or 5-10 mins 2x/week. 10/10, no problem.

Now the cool thing that happens when we figure out a 10/10 is that you’ll stick with it.  You’re confident and know that it will get done. Once you stay consistent for the next 4-6 weeks (or shorter if you like), then we can re-evaluate and maybe add another day or more time.  And usually you’ll feel just as confident. Then the success starts to snowball. But that only starts with being successful in the beginning! And how does that happen? By making your habits/changes doable and a 10/10 confidence level.  If it’s not, let’s say you wanted to do 3x/week at 45mins...again great goal and it would be awesome if you followed through with that, but often times it never happens. The motivation isn’t there, so it takes a back seat. And the cycle repeats.

So my best advice for figuring this stuff out on your own:

  1. Write down what a typical day or week looks like for you, this will help you get an overall, satellite view. This will make it much easier to be objective.

  2. Think of what you want to change and why you want to change it.

  3. Once you have your goals in mind, come up with the triage plan (what needs the most attention first and what will make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort)

  4. Evaluate your new behaviors/changes and make sure they are at a 10/10 confidence level.  This will ensure that you stick with them.

  5. After a trial period of 4-6 weeks, re-evaluate and see if you can add or increase your changes.  Always making sure they are a 10/10. If not, continue course and stick with what you’re already doing.

That will be the beginning of the process.  Once you have a solid foundation, it will be a lot easier to stay consistent and feel motivated to make this a lifelong commitment. And if you’re looking for guidance on how to do any of this, fill out the link below and we can see if we’d be a good fit.