Whenever I hear somebody say they don’t have time to go to the gym, I like to ask them why not. What is it that is so important that it is keeping them from working out? You won’t be surprised by the answers.
- I work long hours
- My kids have so many after-school activities
- My wife doesn’t get home until late
These aren’t reasons. They are excuses.
Sitting Was Literally Killing Me
For ten years, I worked in an office. I spent eight or more hours each day sitting at a desk. While it didn’t happen overnight, that job helped me pack on an extra 20 pounds. I eventually quit that job in order to start my own company. I would joke with my friends that since I was the owner, I got to work half-days. And, since I was the boss, I got to choose which 12 hours I worked. While I only ran that company for about five years, it still managed to find a way to pile on an extra 20 pounds.
My business was my number one priority. I was working seven days a week and as many hours as I could possibly sit at my desk. My diet was absolute crap. It wasn’t uncommon to leave my desk at 8:00 pm to make a fast food run only to come back and put in another two or three hours.
I remember so vividly the exact moment I realized I needed to make a drastic change. I was sitting in a movie theater with my wife and kids on a Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t able to enjoy the movie because I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t at home working on a project that I knew had a deadline.
This was no way to live. For the past 15 years, I had let my job and then my business become my priority. I was unhappy, and my work was suffering. If I didn’t make a change soon, I wasn’t going to be around long enough for it to matter.
Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference
I get it. You likely can’t just decide one day to change your entire life and schedule around. Neither could I. For me, my decision to make a change kicked off a series of small events.
I started with three small changes:
- I cut out soda
- I stopped eating after 7:00 pm
- I started going on walks
I saw almost immediate results. I lost roughly 10 pounds in the first 10 days. I’m sure that most of that was related to removing soda from my diet. Keep in mind, this is the list that worked for me based on where I was at when I started. You may not drink soda, so that’s not something for you to give up. But I’m sure there are other small changes you can make that will have a similar effect. For example, do you drink coffee with sugar and cream? Maybe cut out the sugar and switch to a sugar-free creamer.
When I first started, I would walk about 20 minutes each morning with my wife before breakfast. It was a great chance for us to spend time together without the interruptions that take our attention once the workday kicks off. As the results started coming, the length of our walks started to increase. We’d add a few extra blocks to our route and then a few more. It wasn’t long before we were going to bed and waking up earlier so that we could walk longer each morning. It wasn’t uncommon for our weekend walks to have us hitting our 10,000 steps before breakfast.
I was loving the results I was seeing and I knew it was time to step it up. So for probably the tenth time in my life, I joined a gym. Normally joining a gym meant I was about to pay somebody a bunch of money and then never step foot in their facility. Not this time.
I started by picking three classes each week that I was going to attend. I put them on my calendar and I didn’t let anything that wasn’t an absolute emergency get in the way of making it to the gym. While the walks were an opportunity to spend one on one time with my wife, the gym quickly became Me Time. It was an hour each day where I could shut out the entire world and focus on nothing but the workout in front of me.
This wasn’t just about seeing results on the scale. I was seeing results in all facets of my life. I was spending way less time at my desk, which had the side effect of causing me to be more focused during the time I was there and my productivity shot way up. I was eating better, sleeping better, and most importantly, I was FEELING better.
None of that would have been possible had I not made myself the priority. Believe me when I say you can do the same.
How To Get Started
To take a line from my junior high gym coach, “There’s nothing to it but to do it.” I always thought he was crazy, but it turns out, he was exactly right. There is no magic bullet and what is right for one person won’t be right for all. So this list isn’t set in stone and you should feel free to modify it to fit what works for you. I’m going to give you two simple things to do to get yourself started.
#1) Don’t worry about counting calories at the beginning. Instead, try to eliminate sugar from your diet as much as possible. Once you start seeing some results, you should make an appointment with a nutritionist so they can help you figure out a meal plan that aligns with your body type and your goals.
#2) Get a little exercise. I’m not talking about joining a gym or anything like that. Try going on a 15-20 minute walk a few days a week. Another great option is to tie movements to something that you do several times each day. For example, going to the bathroom. Each time you go to the bathroom during the day, on your way back to your desk do 25 squats, a dozen situps, or even just 10 pushups. Anything to get your body moving.
You got this!