Let’s assume that each of your workouts is lasting around an hour. You’ve put in an hour of honest, hard work in the gym, at the track or out on the road with a desire to lose weight, get stronger or just get healthier. Give yourself a pat on the back because you are doing more than a majority of people are doing. Now here’s where my cynical standpoint comes in. In reality that is only one hour of twenty four. That’s four percent of your day. If you’re getting in 3-5 hours of exercise each week, that’s only 2-3% of your week. All the hard work that you just put in at the gym can easily be undone by letting the remaining hours of your day or go to absolute hell. Poor nutrition. Not enough sleep. Poor recovery methods. You name it. Maybe this is why you are not getting the results that you think you should be getting. It could be the reason why you are not losing weight, getting stronger or improving your posture to name just a few things.
- Sleep. About 5-10 years a go I recall the optimal number of hours of sleep each night was suggested to be about 8-10 hours each night. Figuring that was not feasible for a large percentage of the population, the suggested hours of sleep each night is now 7-8. And I still think that a good number of people are not getting those 7-8 hours of quality sleep in. Sleep is the ultimate recovery method. Also, getting enough sleep each night has been shown to help with weight loss. Getting enough sleep each night will help lower cortisol levels and result in increased production of growth hormone which is the body’s number one natural fat burner. Plus, it’s hard to train hard with getting adequate sleep. Rather than sleepwalking through your workouts, get your sleep in at night. I don’t think you’re missing much quality television at eleven o’clock. If you are, DVR it.
- Nutrition. This is usually the deal breaker when it comes to weight loss. You can not out train a lousy diet. All the hard work you just put in over the course of that hour can easily be undone by loading up on processed foods, skipping meals, not getting enough protein, etc. The list goes on and on. I know some people who workout so they can eat all types of junk and overindulge on some bad tasting beers. What kind of thinking is that? That is a situation of constantly spinning your tires. Instead you should be looking to accelerate your fat results through good nutrition. Also, good nutrition is another one of your top recovery methods enabling you put in a quality training session each time you hit the gym.
- Posture Correction. What good is doing all this postural correction work in the gym if you’re just going to go sit behind a monitor for 5-7 hours in a slumped posture? Probably not much. If you want to fix your posture or want your shoulders or lower back to feel better, posture is something you have to be constantly aware of throughout the course of the day. If it means me putting together a recording on your Ipod that says “Chin up, chest up, shoulders back, get tall” and you have to listen to it all day, let’s do it. If you are one of those people who has to sit behind a monitor all day, try to get up out of your chair every 20-30 minutes to get extended out. Good posture doesn’t just result in feeling good. It also looks good.
- Mobility / Flexibility. A foam roller costs about $20. A decent mobility or stretching session will take you about 15-20 minutes. A lot of the those nagging pains that you are dealing with can be eased up by putting some foam rolling and mobility work together on a routine basis. It doesn’t require that much time. An episode of the Bachelor lasts two damn hours and you can’t get on the floor to roll and stretch for 1/6th of those hours? The choice is yours. Again, get yourself feeling good so that you can train to look good and feel good.
- N.E.A.T. What is N.E.A.T.? It’s non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Basically this the non-structured activity that occurs outside your training sessions. Increasing your activity outside of your training sessions can account for hundreds of extra calories burned throughout the course of a day without you really even thinking about it. Go take the dog for a walk. Take the stairs rather than taking the elevator. Go for a walk to get something to eat for lunch, unless it’s a walk to pick up KFC’s famous Double Down. Get outside and do some shoveling or mowing the lawn. Walk nine holes of golf. The way I play golf has me trekking up, down and all over the place leaving me exhausted by the end of a round. Just try to get away from being so sedentary.
There are probably other factors that come into play over the course of those other 23 hours that you have control over. The point is to get control of those 23 and get control of your results. Stop sabotaging yourself.