Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to achieving your health and fitness goals?
- 1 = no commitment
- 10 = 100%, all in
Remember that number, we’ll use it in a minute…But first.
Perception vs Reality
Sometimes our perception of time can be wildly out. Think of a time when you were enjoying yourself and the time flew by, or a time you were stuck in a boring meeting trying not to fall asleep. Time seemingly almost stopping, as the second hand moved with the speed of a sloth.
The same thing can happen with our perception of how much time we are spending training. We have in our minds an idea about it, but it can vary wildly unless we track it.
Note: The same is true of our foods. We often eat mindlessly and end up eating way more than we thought. How quickly did that family bag of Malteasers go at the cinema which you had to yourself…?
Action: Use apps to track your food and fitness activity. My Fitness Pal is great for food and I personally use Strava for cycling, running, swimming and weight training.
A Reality Check
So, with that in mind, how much time do you actually spend trying to achieve your health and fitness goals?
How many hours do you think you can spend on it each week? What is realistic? 1 hour, 7 hours?
Answer that honestly before you move on…
Easy Formula to Determine Your Chances of Success
There are 7 days x 24 hours in a week:
= 168 hours
Now let’s think about how many hours you were prepared to commit to training each week. Let’s imagine you said 1 hour a week:
And we work that out as a percentage of your total time:
= 100 – (((168-1)/168) X 100)
= 0.6% of your time!
Now think about that…Out of all your available time you are only prepared to commit 0.6% of your time to it! What kind of result do you think you’d get from putting in just 0.6% time effort?
Let’s face it, you’re not going to get anything noticeable back with that kind of input. It’s better than nothing, but you won’t see any consistent results to be honest with you.
Your results will be so heavily influenced by other factors in your life, such as sleep, stress, food and drink that the training will be almost irrelevant.
The Improvement Sweet Spot
Imagine if you were prepared to commit 4 hours a week to training:
= 100 – (((168-4)/168) X 100)
= 2.4% of your time
That’s more like it. A major improvement. This is what I believe to be a sweet spot for most people. It’s not too much to take over your life, but enough to see results, if done consistently…
Example: What do you do for your lunch break Mon-Thur? Imagine using that time to get your 4 hours of training in. When I used to work full time in an office that’s what I would do.
Monday to Thursday I’d go to the gym at lunch. Run there, 1km. Workout. Run back, 1km. Shower. Friday was my day off!
Where to Find the Time
How much time do you think you spend using Facebook or social media each day? 1 hour, 3 hours? What about watching Netflix and TV?
This is not about me telling you that it’s bad to use Facebook or Netflix, not at all. It’s up to you where you spend your time and we all need a little R&R each day. However, we only have a finite amount of time so you’ll have to decide what your priorities are and how much you want to commit to each aspect of your life.
Your Work Life Time Balance
Let’s put your training time into perspective with your working time…Hopefully it’s not too depressing.
How many hours a week do you spend working & travelling to work?
= 100 – (((168-40)/168) X 100)
= 24% of your available time
= 100 – (((168-45)/168) X 100)
= 27% of your available time
= 100 – (((168-50)/168) X 100)
= 30% of your available time
I’d say that 50 hours of work and commute time is quite normal. If you look at it like that, for every 12 hours working, we need around 1 hour training.
12:1 ratio of work:exercise
Action: Do you think that is realistic? If not, what is realistic for you and what results are realistic based on how much effort you are prepared to put in?
How do you Compare?
Depending on the sport, the athlete and the stage of training they are in an athlete would train anywhere from 25-40 hours a week. It’s their job, after all, so understandable.
However, if you look at amateur athletes they will spend 10-20 hours a week training. And you see the results that they get.
Most of us aren’t looking to be athletes of any kind and just want to stay in shape, but we still need to put in the effort.
“You get back what you put in”
Action: Have a think about where you can consistently find the time to train. Setting unrealistic, hard to stick to plans might seem ok in the beginning when you’re super motivated but I can assure you that after a few weeks the motivation will wear off.
Quantity & Quality
Spending more time is not always the solution. More is not always better. It’s also about quality. If your workouts are not tailored for your specific goal you might be wasting some of your precious time.
Recovery is just as important as the workout, so make sure that you are not over training. And no, with 4 hours training a week I’m pretty confident you are not over training :).
This is unique for every person so it’s best to find someone who knows what they are doing to help you with this. That person should be someone who has achieved and sustained what you want to achieve.
An Important Note
Training is just one aspect of achieving your health and fitness goals. Stress, sleep, lifestyle, diet and everything else in your life plays a part too.
“You can’t out-train a bad diet”
A very true saying that is critical to your success. Much of what you buy today in the supermarkets is full of nasty stuff to make it more profitable, longer lasting and better for the producer not the consumer (you).
The simple answer to this is to eat ONLY whole, minimally processed foods. Easier said than done, I know.
Action: Think about all the food you eat each day and decide how processed it is. Milk? Processed unless you’re getting it direct from the cow.
Examples: Fruit, vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds. They are arguably still processed but not as much as other foods.
The aim is to reduce processed foods.
Action: Keep a food diary for 1 week. Use My Fitness Pal app to log it all – you can scan barcodes to input the foods easily. Hopefully you have more foods without barcodes than with, like fruit and vegetables.
Feel free to get in contact if you have any questions. I’m here to help. Or connect with me on social media below…