I’ve never been busier.
I suspect many of you can relate.
It’s honestly kind of fun in a way, but ultimately it’s stealing time away from family and definitely impacting my workouts.
Time has always been a top priority for me.
I vividly remember during high school career days being most concerned about the flexibility of certain professions versus the actual work itself. The 9-5 terrified me and I spent most of my 20’s successfully evading that specific fear.
I’m now deeply embedded into suburban life paired with an amazing wife, mortgage, and 2 wild and beautiful daughters. To be clear - I’m not complaining - just stating facts.
The reality is that the ample time I used to allocate to fitness continues to shrink.
Instead of giving up - I’ve gotten creative.
Here’s what has been working for me:
I spend anywhere from 10-30 minutes doing a Yoga-ish morning flow to move through a broad range of motion and maintain capacity in my joints. The routine itself changes quite often, but I always cap it off with 5 Wheel Poses and 10 Cossack Squats.
I noticed that this routine helps me to simply feel more ‘buttery’ throughout the day and when I do get into a more intense workout later on I feel prepared. I use a standing desk and stand on stoic all day when working which has helped to maintain the momentum from the morning flow.
I use the term ‘flow’ because this morning session is much more dynamic in nature. I’m not static stretching - I’m moving the whole time.
Early morning sunlight
Two things you get for free from the sun: Vitamin D and red light. You can also purchase supplements and expensive gadgets, but I suggested going the free route. The early morning sun continues to be an extremely simple habit that can have profound effects. The sun is bright - way brighter than our household lights and I feel a distinct awakeness when I go outside first thing in the morning. It’s like I’m finally awake - really. This has an equal and opposite effect where the earlier, and more time I spend outside, the better I sleep. Get yourself in tune with the rhythm of the wild.
As my time continues to become more limited, I now faithfully obey the clock. If I have 37 minutes to train I set a timer on my watch for 37 minutes and GET TO WORK. Parkinson’s Law states that a task will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. The constraint of the clock makes sure I do not waste time and it has actually made my workouts better.
This is where the Morning Flow comes back into play. Because I essentially started the day with a full body warmup, my body is already primed to go. That being said - I still do a mandatory 5-minute warmup to get my body temperature up and work on any areas of tightness.
You can get in a legit workout in 10-minutes and now 40-minutes feels like an eternity.
Flexibility and cool downs
I perform a mandatory post-workout flexibility and cool down of at least 5-minutes. It’s simple: pick 5 stretches and hold each stretch for 1-minute.
Stop eating 2 hours before I go to bed
My wife and I make fun of ourselves for our tendency to eat dinner early in the evening - typically around 5:30pm. However, I’ve noticed that this sets me up to sleep way better as I’m not laying down with a full stomach.
I’m not an ‘intermittent faster’ anymore by intention, but by stopping food consumption 2 hours before you go to bed you tend to go longer between dinner and breakfast. I do believe that giving your digestive system time to fully digest dinner and get a ‘break’ is generally a good thing and this is where the 2 hour before bed cutoff has worked well for me.
However, if I get home late from a day in the wild will I eat before I go to bed? You bet. I’ve always approached nutrition as a philosophy and lifestyle that is somewhat malleable so long as it continues to work.
Be rigid in your principles, but flexible with the details.
I want to emphasize that I give equal weight to these components. For example: the cool down stretch is just as important as the workout. I've erroneously focused so much on the 'hard work' that I overlooked the 'easy' aspects that have equally important effects. Everything matters.
I suggest referencing this article for the principles and then making them your own. Maybe you prefer to workout first thing in the morning - go for it! It’s about experimenting and doing what works best for you. On that note - I’d be psyched to hear what you’re up to and what you thought of this article.
See you out there!