Posted August 14, 2014

The Measure of 24 hours

Time is one of the greatest equalizers, in that everyone has the exact same amount in each day. Sure, some people may live to be 90 or 100 while others see their flame extinguished much sooner, but each day spent is equivalent. What is done within those 24 hours depends on the individual and how they prioritize their time.

One of the impetuses (impeti?) for this post is the common sentiment among those who don’t exercise, in that they “don’t have enough time.” Sure, we all have competing obligations and dependencies, but I would wager everyone could somehow find 20-40 minutes each day to fit in some form of activity if they wanted to. It’s a matter of whether they wanted to spend the time they had on pursuing physical activity or some other form of time usage. Either way, it’s how they prioritize their day.

I’m going to outline a few different people in todays post who have a lot of time demands placed on them, and show how they also find a way to stay active. Hopefully this will help to inspire people to find their own time versus make them feel bad about not finding it. Each person has their own priorities, so it depends on what you want to do with your 24.

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A couple years ago I got to meet and watch a guy work out named Paul Levesque, otherwise known to wrestling fans as Triple H. Growing up watching the WWE, this was a pretty awesome event in its’ own right, but being able to see an absolute monster (6’4″, about 270 lbs with a sub 8% body fat) go through a prep workout for Wrestlemania the following week was amazing in it’s own right. He was also a very nice and engaging guy who was willing to talk with and answer questions from some guy from Edmonton.

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Paul isn’t just a wrestler. He’s been performing all over the world for the past 20 years, sometimes travelling more than 300 days a year across multiple time zones, sleeping in hotel beds, and trying to still knock guys teeth out with folding chair shots. In the past few years he’s become the chief operations officer of the company while still heavily involved in the story lines, as well as competing in the odd event himself. Being COO would normally take someone about 60-70 hours a week of time involvement, as well as all the travel. He also has a wife and 3 young kids where he insists on getting them ready for school each morning when he’s home, and tucks them into bed each night as well.

He trains 7 days a week, cardio every day (gasp!!), boxes 3 days a week and does weight training 4 days a week. Twice a week he has Joe DeFranco drive up to Connecticut from New Jersey to train him and his wife in their basement gym from midnight to 2 am. He gets 4 hours of sleep each night in order to wake up and get the girls ready for the morning, and is right back at it.

He’s also 44 years old.

The next guy is a Friend of mine, Eric Cressey. Eric is co-owner of Cressey Sport Performance, a facility that trains almost every baseball player in New England, ranging from high school to MLB, as well as any other athlete who walks through the door. He also has a very popular and well-written website EricCressey.com, writes for a lot of the major publications and websites on strength, fitness and health, and publishes about 2 digital products a year. He’s worked with pretty much every superstar in the fitness industry, ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tim Ferriss of 4 Hour Workweek fame.

He’s also in the process of opening a second facility in Florida, his wife is pregnant with twins, and he still finds a way to never miss a training session, keeping his strength to within 5% of his all time max lifts almost year round.

I’m pretty sure he sleeps while doing chin ups.

Bret Contreras is another good friend of mine who is battling me on the “who’s more annoyingly busy” front. He’s in the final stages of completing a PhD, runs his own website BretContreras.com, does a monthly research review service, has developed digital products, written a book, built a piece of exercise equipment with Sorinex, and changed the way much of the industry views glute training techniques, all within the last 5 years or so.

Along with this, Bret is recently engaged and planning a wedding, just moved into a new house with a complete garage he turned into a gym, has a lab set up to measure and do research on different strength training techniques and programs, and still does the occasional travel to speak at events across the country. I finally met him in person in Kansas City this past May, where we got into discussions involving the anatomical mechanisms that could cause coregasms, and decided to do some research into the concepts.

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We both very serious, ya know?

On top of this, he still trains, competes in the odd powerlifting competition, and lifting an ungodly amount of weight with his ass. And no pad on the bar either.

Finally, my wife Lindsay Somerset. We’ve been in a relationship for the past 10 years, recently celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary, and I can say honestly one of the most impressive traits she has is her dedication to her sport, among others. She competes in triathlons and road & track cycling, and tends to train up to 12 times a week during her competitive season. This means between 15-20 hours a week of training, which is definitely more than the average recreational exerciser would do, but is completely within her wheelhouse. I design her run and strength programs, and cycle them throughout the year, and she has a separate coach who specializes in the cycling component.

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She also works 2 jobs, one as an adminsitration coordinator for a non-profit swimming organization and as my assistant to help with some of the back end stuff on projects I have on the go. She’s also in school from September to April completing her human resource diploma (this year most likely), and will likely go on to do a business degree after that. Between training work, school, and putting up with me, she has a pretty full plate, but still manages to love fashion and look stunning in heels.

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She also manages to get between 8-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure she is fully prepared to tackle the next days challenges head on, cook dinner 3 nights a week ( cook 3 as well and we usually go out once a week), care for our dog Max and keep up to date with what’s going on in the world.

These are just 4 examples of very busy people still finding a way to prioritize fitness in their lives in spite of how busy they are on a day to day basis. Everyone has competing demands, but it’s how you manage them that makes you use the 24 hours each day you’re given well enough to have extra time to work out, or determines what you will give up in exchange to have the time necessary to train effectively.

For the example of Triple H, he wrestles in a set of trunks equivalent to a speedo, which means he has to purvey the look of someone who is in ridiculous shape, constantly. For Lindsay, her competitive season is relatively short and as her races are somewhat longer (New York was an Olympic distance triathlon, consisting of a 1500m swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run), she has to train multiple disciplines and over extended times to ensure she’s ready.

For Eric and Bret, they have their own reasons to constantly train, the least of which is to be a representation of the image they want to present as experts in their field who also walk their talk, plus their own enjoyment and fulfillment from exercising the way they do.

We can all find an hour or at the least 40 minutes each day to get in some serious and significant physical activity. It doesn’t have to be one form or another, max intensity or a cupcake workout, but it can be done. Saying you don’t have time just means it hasn’t been prioritized in your life. There is always a way.