T Nation

How Do You Do It?

At the risk of getting seriously flamed here let me pose this question to the group: With all of the stressors, responsibilities, etc, of work, family, home (chores, repairs, doing the bills, etc.) how do you guys / gals find the time / stamina/ whatever to get a workout in?

For example, my work week is anywhere between 50 to 80 hours a week. Add in an hour commute both ways, and about 25-40% travel, and I’m already beat. Throw in the usual cutting the grass, water heater broke, etc. and make sure I spend time with the kids and the wife there is little time left. I average about 5-6 hours a sleep / night, unless I travel, then its less.

I may be atypical, but what are your strategies to keep going forward, make sure you get a work out in, etc. with everything else in your life that you have to do?

By the way, I am looking for a discussion on specifics, and ways to plan, not the “make it a priority / if you want it bad enough you’ll do it/ you just don’t want it” commentary; TI agree in the statement, but it’s not real specific in how to achieve. For example, in college and when I was single, I had all the time in the world for myself and I could make the tings in my life a priority because it was all about me. However, now that I am older, Family and work are my priorities and IMO rightly so. This is more about time management strategies and ways to “fit it all in”.

Constructive comments?

Two main things.

  1. My workouts compromise 135 minutes per week broken up into three forty five minute sessions. Not really much time at all.

  2. The human body is amazingly adaptive. If you break the mental barrier of this is too tough and just do it at least three times per week you will see this for yourself. It will enhance all those other areas you mention and make them seem easier to handle.

Get busy,

D

I know you said you didn’t want to hear it, but we do have the time/money for things we value.
This is where I might get a bit extreme for a second.
Who creates your schedule? You do. Do you have to work 80 hr weeks? You may think so, but perhaps by working less you’d have the time and/or energy to do so. You might think that no way could you afford your lifestyle by not working so much, or the type of job you have. Well, if it’s costing you your health (not just you, but in general), then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your life and what you really need to be happy. Does one need a Mercedes, or can they get by with a Cavalier? See what I’m getting at?

Ok, now back to things that might be more practical. People seem to think that workouts have to be 60-90 minutes to be effective. That’s just not the case. By cutting down on rest periods, doing supersets, or doing 3-4 exercises in a row, you can get a lot accomplished within 30 mins.

just my .02

The math just doesn’t add up. There’s only 24 hrs in day, 8 of which you should be sleeping. If you want more time for yourself and more time with your family think about finding another job.

I might add, that you mention your family is your priority. Well, if they truely are, “then sometimes in order to be selfless we have to be selfish” -i forget who I’m quoting.

Investing some time to your health, will more than make up for the time you spend away from your family. As one person once said that he knew for every minute he spent away from his family exercising, he gained four times that amount in the end.

Also, why not making working out a family affair? You don’t have to do it alone, and the sooner you get your kids active the easier it will be for them to incorporate into their daily lives when they’re adults.

Sorry, let me clarify:

Not that I don’t want to “hear” the “make it a priority”, I wanted to throw out some strategies of how to acheive. Your examples of supersets, making the most of a half hour, is a fine example.

The other part, hey where I live stuff aint cheap. The house, going to work, etc. is the gig. I am lucky enough to do something that I like and am real good at. If I have to bust my ass so my family have a decent home, car, schooling, etc. so be it. I am from the school that says thats not a choice, that my responsibility as a husband and father and a man. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have other goals.

The question is how to try and fit it all in? Is it even possible?

the fact is, you have to work out to keep energy levels up. it is when we get sedentary(sp?) that we lose energy.

so, my advice… ~find~ the time to work out… 45 minutes a day is not bad. 4-5 day split… easy. i have found that when i didnt work out, i made excuses not too… i had no energy. get in a routine…(took me about a month to adapt), and you will want to workout no matter what…

well, that is just one man’s view…

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
I might add, that you mention your family is your priority. Well, if they truely are, “then sometimes in order to be selfless we have to be selfish” -i forget who I’m quoting.

Investing some time to your health, will more than make up for the time you spend away from your family. As one person once said that he knew for every minute he spent away from his family exercising, he gained four times that amount in the end.

Also, why not making working out a family affair? You don’t have to do it alone, and the sooner you get your kids active the easier it will be for them to incorporate into their daily lives when they’re adults.[/quote]

Kids are a bit too young yet (3 yrs and 7 mo), unless I want to start running. But playing in the yard, etc. thats part of spending time with the, I’m focusing on getting under the weights. Not good for a 3 yr old.

You really do have to imrpovise sometimes. I am lucky enough to be able to schedule most of the time. But, I do have memberships to two gyms, and I work out at the one that is most convenient. I switch back and forth as necessary. I also get up 4 hours before I have to be at work so I can get my workout in.

For the times you have to travel, you check to see if your gym is a member of one of the national organizations, then work out at one of the other members wherever you are. Or take some bands with you and do a bodyweight plus bands workout.

Some days are more difficult than others, and sometimes work makes me miss a workout. But I workout at least 4 days a week, I work 50-60 hours a week, have 2 teenagers and plenty of things to do at the house.

No flaming, but it is a matter of priority. Maybe you can’t change them right now, but you can still improvise.

-folly

Buy a power rack for your home, with some adjustable dumbbells and heavy dut rubber matts and concentrate on the bigger lifts. That way you’ll be able to sneak in a workout and not haev to worry about the time spent getting to the gym and dont haev to plan around that. Its right there at home fore you. Sure you wont have as many options as a gym but you can still keep the gym memberhip adn use it for whenever you feel the need.

We absolutely need to make choices. For me my blood pressure was up (had to take meds) and my time at home was garbage - all I had the energy for was sitting on the couch. And I was only 40! My work week is in the 55 - 60 hour range and I travel about twice a month. Stuff like yardwork, etc. does not change (I guess you can hire it out) so what could change? I tried working out at night but that just stole the few minutes a day I had with my wife. I flipped it to the morning and stole sleep. I know everyone says you need 8 hours, yet I have never met anyone who gets that much! I have been getting 5 to 5.5 hours a night for the last 8 years. I used to feel bad about it until a read an interview with Chad Waterbury the other day where he says he only gets 5 a night!

Anyway, I made a choice for my family that I would have the energy to play with my son and spend the evenings with my wife. I took out a home equity loan and built a gym on the back of the house (payments less than a gym and nobody is EVER curling in the squat rack!). I work out from 4:30 to 5:30 every morning and life is great. I am off the blood pressure meds, I play ball and hockey with my son and can at least talk to my wife during the news after my son is in bed.

Life is all about choices and commitment - I fully believe that the choice to our health is one of the best we can make for our family! I know the challenges you are facing and I wish you luck in your endeavor - this is the place for support!

[quote]Gerg wrote:
jehovasfitness wrote:
I might add, that you mention your family is your priority. Well, if they truely are, “then sometimes in order to be selfless we have to be selfish” -i forget who I’m quoting.

Investing some time to your health, will more than make up for the time you spend away from your family. As one person once said that he knew for every minute he spent away from his family exercising, he gained four times that amount in the end.

Also, why not making working out a family affair? You don’t have to do it alone, and the sooner you get your kids active the easier it will be for them to incorporate into their daily lives when they’re adults.

Kids are a bit too young yet (3 yrs and 7 mo), unless I want to start running. But playing in the yard, etc. thats part of spending time with the, I’m focusing on getting under the weights. Not good for a 3 yr old.[/quote]

gotcha

I have learned to function on minimal sleep when it is necessary. I don’t want to hear you should be getting 8 hours a night, blah blah blah, bullshit.

In an ideal world I would sleep 10 hours a night, but it just isn’t feasible with my schedule, so it is more like 5 (if I am lucky).

[quote]DJHMcKinney wrote:
We absolutely need to make choices. For me my blood pressure was up (had to take meds) and my time at home was garbage - all I had the energy for was sitting on the couch. And I was only 40! My work week is in the 55 - 60 hour range and I travel about twice a month. Stuff like yardwork, etc. does not change (I guess you can hire it out) so what could change? I tried working out at night but that just stole the few minutes a day I had with my wife. I flipped it to the morning and stole sleep. I know everyone says you need 8 hours, yet I have never met anyone who gets that much! I have been getting 5 to 5.5 hours a night for the last 8 years. I used to feel bad about it until a read an interview with Chad Waterbury the other day where he says he only gets 5 a night!

Anyway, I made a choice for my family that I would have the energy to play with my son and spend the evenings with my wife. I took out a home equity loan and built a gym on the back of the house (payments less than a gym and nobody is EVER curling in the squat rack!). I work out from 4:30 to 5:30 every morning and life is great. I am off the blood pressure meds, I play ball and hockey with my son and can at least talk to my wife during the news after my son is in bed.

Life is all about choices and commitment - I fully believe that the choice to our health is one of the best we can make for our family! I know the challenges you are facing and I wish you luck in your endeavor - this is the place for support![/quote]

Thanks for the words; I have a rack in the basement and 600lbs with two bars and and EZ culs bar. Not to mention my heavy bag, speed bag, treadmill, and bike. My main issue right now is getting my ass out of bed at 5:00am to get a workout in or staying awake after the kids go to sleep. The funny thing is when I work out in the AM, at night I feel like I am forgetting to do something. I have always had the mentality that hitting the bags or the weights is like my “meditiation time”. I just focus on the task at hand and it helps me maintain my center, so to speak.

[quote]PGA200X wrote:
Buy a power rack for your home, with some adjustable dumbbells and heavy dut rubber matts and concentrate on the bigger lifts. That way you’ll be able to sneak in a workout and not haev to worry about the time spent getting to the gym and dont haev to plan around that. Its right there at home fore you. Sure you wont have as many options as a gym but you can still keep the gym memberhip adn use it for whenever you feel the need.[/quote]

Good advice. Luckily, I’m all set up. The wife bought me a new power rack a couple of yeards ago and the in-laws bought me another 300#. Thank god for christmas!

I am looking at EDT as a way to save time; I just wonder how the volume will affect me.

[quote]PGA200X wrote:
Buy a power rack for your home, with some adjustable dumbbells and heavy dut rubber matts and concentrate on the bigger lifts. That way you’ll be able to sneak in a workout and not haev to worry about the time spent getting to the gym and dont haev to plan around that. Its right there at home fore you. Sure you wont have as many options as a gym but you can still keep the gym memberhip adn use it for whenever you feel the need.[/quote]

This is what many parents of young children do. It is worth the initial cost in the long term. Get up earlier to get a workout in before work if you are too tired to do so at night. As far as time management, there are hundreds of self-help books and tools for this. A simple attitude adjustment from “I am a victim of my hectic schedule” to " I am the master of my life" sometimes works wonders. Your schedule is NOT unusual, many people live like this, and it sure beats the hell out of living in Lebanon or Israel right now. Count your many blessings of family, home and career and stop being a master of excuses and circumstance.

Lower your standard for what a workout is.

I totally hear you. I’ve got 3 kids under 6 years old and a 1 hour each way commute to my job. I used to travel, but not anymore. I was also at my all time highest fat boy weight ever. So here’s 3 things that I’ve done with some success.

  1. Eat right. Cut out the junk, especially on the road. You’re paying somebody to make you fatter. Actually, rereading your post I’m not even sure if that’s your problem. But it was for me.

  2. I work out 2 or 3 times a week right now and it’s never longer than 30 minutes. I used to work out at least an hour. It’s a big mental change to make. I focus on squats, deads, pullups, shoulder press, rows. I only do 2 or 3 exercises per workout, but I put everything that I can into every rep. And I’m actually seeing results. Not amazing, but I’m losing fat and putting on muscle. It’s not optimal, but it’s doable right now.

  3. When I was travelling and I couldn’t hit a gym regularly, I did pushups, crunches, and body weight squats in the morning. Never got beyond 20-30 minutes. Focus and do it.

It gets frustrating. I start to see some progress and in the back of my mind I think, “If I could put in an hour of lifting 3 times a week then…” But it doesn’t matter. I’ve got maybe 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 times a week right now. So that’s what I focus on.

Good luck and I hope you can figure something out.

[quote]Gerg wrote:
Good advice. Luckily, I’m all set up. The wife bought me a new power rack a couple of yeards ago and the in-laws bought me another 300#. Thank god for christmas!

I am looking at EDT as a way to save time; I just wonder how the volume will affect me. [/quote]

If you can go 30 minutes a day for 5+ days a week then look into one body part per day. Try three movements per part. Workouts are quick as hell and you can pound the shit out of the group. For example flat, incline and decline bench. Squats, deads, bodyweight leg curls. Pull-ups, one arm rows, bent-over rows. Bi’s and tri’s day. Abs, hit day. Repeat.

Vary the rep set scheme each bodypart workout. When I’m in school I use this. I dont have much time but I can really get a great workout in thsi way. I end up hitting each workout twice in 6 days.

[quote]Gerg wrote:
At the risk of getting seriously flamed here let me pose this question to the group: With all of the stressors, responsibilities, etc, of work, family, home (chores, repairs, doing the bills, etc.) how do you guys / gals find the time / stamina/ whatever to get a workout in?
[/quote]

All of us have the same number of hours in a day. The things that are a priority get done.

You might want to consider another job or a different career.

I bought a kettlebell that I take into work with me. It doesn’t look that out of place in my office, and mixing in sets of military presses, snatches, or swings is an easy way to add a little volume without setting aside a large block of time.

It’s also a great conversation piece. One lady mistook my kbell for a piece of sculpture (she thought it was nice), and most of the men that come into my office can’t help but pick the thing up.

I consider my kbell mini workouts to be “assistance” work and I schedule a “real” workout for after work, but working out with just a kbell would be better than nothing.

I understand where you are coming from. I don’t work as many hours a week as you do, but I do manage to stay busy, and time definitely is a factor. As such I would recommend that you try a workout style that doesn’t take very long. For example, I have had excellent results from Dan John’s “One Lift A Day” program, and that doesn’t have to take more than about 25 minutes a day.

Another example that I am currently using is Pavel Tsatsouline’s “Power to the People” program. Basically this is just two sets of 5 for two lifts (the deadlift and a press). That’s four total sets for the entire workout. I’ve added over 50 pounds to my (still pitiful) 5 rep max in the deadlift in a month and a half. I wanted to be able to deadlift double my body weight by the end of the year and this particular program seemed appropriate.

Staley’s EDT is another program that doesn’t take much time. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have heard good things.

In a nutshell a workout doesn’t have to take all day. I personally have found that a short 20 minute workout 4-6 times a week gives me better results than less frequent but longer workouts. YMMV.

[quote]Gerg wrote:
At the risk of getting seriously flamed here let me pose this question to the group: With all of the stressors, responsibilities, etc, of work, family, home (chores, repairs, doing the bills, etc.) how do you guys / gals find the time / stamina/ whatever to get a workout in?

For example, my work week is anywhere between 50 to 80 hours a week. Add in an hour commute both ways, and about 25-40% travel, and I’m already beat. Throw in the usual cutting the grass, water heater broke, etc. and make sure I spend time with the kids and the wife there is little time left. I average about 5-6 hours a sleep / night, unless I travel, then its less.

I may be atypical, but what are your strategies to keep going forward, make sure you get a work out in, etc. with everything else in your life that you have to do?

By the way, I am looking for a discussion on specifics, and ways to plan, not the “make it a priority / if you want it bad enough you’ll do it/ you just don’t want it” commentary; TI agree in the statement, but it’s not real specific in how to achieve. For example, in college and when I was single, I had all the time in the world for myself and I could make the tings in my life a priority because it was all about me. However, now that I am older, Family and work are my priorities and IMO rightly so. This is more about time management strategies and ways to “fit it all in”.

Constructive comments?
[/quote]

It seems you are asking for ways to add more to what, to me, is an already insane schedule. Maybe the wrong question is being asked. Instead of asking, "What can be added? Maybe ask “What can be cut?” Or maybe, “What is the worse thing that can happen if I cut (fill in the blank) out?” To put this into prespective, on your death bed are you going to say, “Boy I wish I had spent more time at the office when my kides were growing up.”

Now that I have got that out of the way, I do not think you mentioned what your daily schedule looks like. Is it fairly regimented? Do you make your own schedule? Is there an area where you can workout at work? A roof top? A basement? Heavy dumbell/kettlebell work can be done. One arm presses, cleans, snatches, windmills, get ups, are all effective exercises. Get a jump rope, and there is really no excuse.

How about eating? How is your diet? Do you skip breakfast? Are you eating every 3-4 hours? That can affect your energy levels.

Derick