I wish I could work out. I don’t have time.
I have the time but I don’t care enough to make it a priority.
I tell myself I don’t have the time but honestly I do and just don’t want to admit that I won’t prioritize it.
It is a priority but I’m not exerting the full capacity of my energy.
It is a priority which is obvious because I spend (x) amount of hours doing it everyday.
It is a priority and I’m strategically exerting (x) amount of time and effort into it, I’m producing results, and others are confused because they’re spending more time doing it than I am but I’m producing better results
The subject of working out and fitness seems to throw many of us into a mental blender. Some of us can’t figure out why we’re not committed enough to do it, some of us can’t figure out why we’re doing it but not seeing an increase in results, and some of us are only spending 20 minutes a day doing it, producing results, and confusing everyone else.
In reality, answering these questions for ourselves is actually really simple and all we need to do is walk through the different mental levels of this fitness game, figure out which level we’re currently in, and assess whether or not we’re satisfied in that level or would like to move to a different level.
Level 1: “I don’t have time for that”
Whenever we don’t want to prioritize something but don’t want to admit it, this is the common phrase we find coming out of our mouths. All in all it’s a scapegoat that saves us from having to say, “I don’t want to work that hard at that thing” or “I don’t want to prioritize it right now.”
A personal example of something that isn’t a big priority for me right now? Spending a lot of time with my friends. I have friends who I talk to on the phone and I hire people who end up becoming my friends who I see at work, but I don’t go out of my way to make plans to go out on the town or meet up for a girls weekend in New York City. I’m not saying that I don’t want to. I am saying that right now -- at this point in my life -- it’s not a huge priority for me because it’s not something that’s adding a lot of value to my life in this current season. That being said -- it’s not that I don’t have the time to go out with my friends a lot -- it’s that I’m choosing not to because it’s not a current priority.
When it comes to fitness and working out -- if you spend 30 minutes a day watching an episode of The Office, scroll through Instagram for 20 minutes, or grab a beer after work with your buddies -- you absolutely have time to work out. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out if you care to or not.
If you’re currently finding yourself in this level, you have one of two choices:
- Admit that you saying you don’t have the time to do it is actually just you saying you don’t want to prioritize it right now -- and then being satisfied with that decision. We all transition through different stages in our lives and you grabbing that beer after work with your buddy may be the exact thing you want to be doing right now and you’re not willing to give that up in exchange for working out and that’s OK. Whatever makes you happy and is helping you achieve your goals is what you should prioritize. The big thing here is implementing self awareness and being real with yourself that this is what’s really going on
- Admit that you saying you don’t have the time to do it is actually just you saying you haven’t made it a priority -- but you DO want to make it a priority. If this is you, proceed to the next level
Level 2: Time Spent vs. Work Accomplished
Enter mass confusion - blender set to “liquify”. Let’s bring some context to what this means.
Work: Our society views Monday-Friday/9-5 as “work time” and for many of us who work in that corporate style setting, we’re conditioned to say that we’re “working” during those set hours. But what does that work day actually look like? When all is said and done between commuting, bathroom breaks, lunch breaks, chatting with fellow employees, scrolling through Instagram, etc, statistics show that on average - the amount of time people actually spend working at their job (like deep, focused work) is roughly 3 hours per day.
This is a great example of us confusing time spent physically being somewhere as work getting done.
Fitness: I used to be in the bodybuilding scene so I can say this from experience that it can be a great way to spend a lot of time in the gym and not exert a lot of effort. Now -- I am NOT saying that those who bodybuild are wasting their time. I AM saying that it’s easy to waste time in that arena if you’re not efficiently guarding your time.
Back in the day I would go to the conventional gym and spend 3 hours there. In those 3 hours I’d accomplish 5 movements and 30 minutes of cardio. Why did it take 3 hours? Because I’d do a set and chat -- do a set and get some water -- do a set and pull out my phone, etc. Today, 13 years later -- I walk into my garage gym 5-6 days a week -- push myself to my physical and psychological limits for an average of 30-40 minutes per session (including warm up, gear set up, and of course the proper music selection) -- and I move on with my day.
The bodybuilding reference above is a great example of us confusing our 3 hours in the gym for doing MORE vs. efficiently getting work done, or working at a higher intensity, that will produce our most rewarding physical results.
If you’re currently finding yourself in this level, you have one of three choices:
- If you’re currently the person who spends a significant amount of time working out, are consistent with it, enjoy it as it is, and have no desire to increase the intensity of it, that’s OK. You can’t be intense during every season of your life and you’re not wrong for choosing not to be. The main thing you need to take away from this level is to understand that by choosing to maintain your consistency but NOT increase your intensity, it’s unrealistic for you to expect to see much of an increase in results. More than likely, if you choose to stay in this level, you should expect to simply maintain what you currently have.
- If you’re currently the person who spends a significant amount of time working out, are consistent with it, but would like to find ways to exert more effort in less time and produce better results, proceed to the next level.
- If you currently like longer sessions and are just looking to see better results - Intensity can be increased in longer, bodybuilding type sessions as well. Do this by increasing the load, adding in some more complex movements, going to failure, or taking shorter breaks.
Level 3: Giving 100% Effort for (x) Period of Time
This is the level where we will get the most bank for our buck, but this is also the level that is met with the most resistance because most of us weren’t taught it, it’s not what’s plastered in media and marketing, and we have the taste of disbelief that it’s actually possible. But it works and our community base of over 30k people from all over the world are proving it.
Here’s an example to provide context:
Goal: Person A and person B have the same goal to move their bodies and see an increase in physical results over the course of 30 days
Time: Both people will perform their physical tasks for 30 days
Physical Exertion: Person A will walk 5 miles and it will take them 60 minutes to complete that task
Person B will run 5 miles as fast as they possibly can and it will take them 45 minutes to complete that task
Both people complete 5 miles everyday, but if the goal is to see the best possible increase in physical results, which person is going to see the best results after 30 days? Person B.
It’s not that either person is wrong. If you’re in a season of life right now where giving your best shows up in the form of walking 5 miles, please walk 5 miles! However, for this specific example, we’re simply saying that if the goal is to figure out how to increase your results in less time, person B will win on both accounts for time and effort because not only will they have completed the 5 miles in a shorter amount of time, but they will have pushed their physical and psychological limits, which is a contributing factor to an increase in physical results.
This topic is crucial and we will continue to hammer it over and over and over again because we HAVE to stop confusing time spent as effort expended. We have to rewire our brains and learn how to commit 100% of our effort to whatever task is right in front of us for (x) amount of time.
If we have an upcoming work project to accomplish, we need to close out all the other tabs on our computer, put our phones away, and give 2 hours of deep, undisturbed effort to that project.
If we are hanging out with our family, we need to put our phones away and be 100% present during that time, whether that’s 30 minutes or 2 hours.
With our fitness, because so many of us are reluctant to believe that exerting 100% effort into a 20 minute workout can actually be good enough, we need to commit to doing it for 30-90 days, pay attention to what happens, and allow ourselves to reframe how we view fitness and what’s actually required to see and maintain physical results.
Next Steps If You’re Ready to Stop Mistaking Time for Effort with Your Fitness
- Be self aware enough to recognize that time spent doesn’t necessarily mean effort expended
- Understand that you don’t need to leave your home -- have access to a lot of equipment -- go to the gym -- or have a fan base in order to accomplish this goal
- Understand that you do need to find a small window of time to commit 100% of your effort into your workout
- Be self aware enough to recognize the difference between meandering through your workout vs. pushing yourself to your physical limit. If you are pushing yourself to your limit, you will know because it will be uncomfortable
- For the next 30-90 days, commit to doing 20 (ish) minute workouts where you push yourself to the limit for the entirety of those 20 minutes -- and then move on with your day. If you need workout ideas, this is what Street Parking specializes in. We provide our members with 6 workouts per week and give them several options for how to accomplish them based on what equipment they have access to