As the new adage goes, "a one hour workout is only 4% of your day."
But hell, let's tell the truth here... we could all use more hours in the day. Especially if this extra time were to involve something we actually want to do. (Not filing those TPS reports.)
For instance, I'm currently typing this with a 2-month-old baby on my lap. Not that you necessarily care, but the point is that you, me, all the faces we see day in and day out-- everyone we meet is fighting their own battle with time. Multitasking isn't just for procrastinators. It's our reality. Which says something about our 21st century lifestyles and the apparent need for stress relief, doesn't it? Perhaps a topic for a different day.
For now, ponder if you will what you would do if time was no element. We could press pause on the game of life and master the piano... or read a hundred books.... or maybe build an epic waterslide.
I'd probably take a nap, in all honesty. Well, after the waterslide thing.
In the realm of fitness, without a ticking clock the options would be limitless as well. Simply spending one or two hours working through a series of Back Squats or hitting a fun yet arduous MetCon or even hammering an area of weakness would all be no issue. All very important, and all topics in articles I've written in the past.
Yet without the time to do these things, obviously none of them can happen.
So how can we stop time? Or at least, how can we prolong the onset of the aging process?
Each summer it seems I make mention in writing that this time of year can be two-fold in purpose: these are the months to do great things with family and friends. And these "things" are essential to life. Go, do them, and enjoy the social health development. But if you have the time, if you can create the space in your busy personal schedule, summer can also be the perfect chance to get your workouts in and reap the benefits come fall.
Since we can't time travel (yet), we'll kickstart the Words of the Week for summer 2014 in familiar territory: behind the hands of a ticking clock.
How to make the most of your time in and outside of the gym:
Step 1: See the big picture You have three months of great things ahead. Three months to work on your strength and conditioning. It doesn't have to happen in one workout. Set a one month goal. Set a summer goal. If you want: set lots, aim high. But see them through.
Hold yourself accountable with one of our nutrition challenges, or keep a journal or workout log to hit correct lifting percentages and also to see your progress.
I don't know one serious lifter who doesn't know their one rep maxes on every lift and at least ballpark percentages off the top of their head. I don't know one serious athlete who doesn't understand what their max effort feels like and how to test that threshold during training sessions. Likewise, I don't know one CrossFitter who is content with their current skill set or fitness level. That's the best part-- there is always more to do. But it takes time, people. Let it happen in small chunks, like summer.
Step 2: Plan ahead If you come to Amplify we already set the daily WOD for you, so that's easy. But by planning your set days each week, checking the workout and any related videos ahead of time, and coming in with a plan of action this not only shows true commitment but it's also mentally easier once you set foot in the gym.
I don't mean you should obsess over your future or what's to come; I'm talking about knowing what you'll expect of yourself come "go time."
And let this be my yearly reminder to warm-up properly. We're all sore. We know... just walking up those stairs sucked today. So get in here and roll out ahead of time whenever possible. Can't fit in extra minutes before or after your class? Foam roll at home any chance you get. Time manage to make the most of your hour in the gym, and you'll find yourself with more hours out of the gym to do the things you want (or need) to do.
Step 3: Intensity This, ladies and gentlemen, is your true time saver. Your time turner, à la Hermione, you silly muggles. Intensity in CrossFit is a savior not only from hours of long, slow endurance training like the cardio trance dance of the elliptical, but if used correctly it's also a savior from overtraining.
We can slow down the clock on the aging process by limiting the oxidative stress of extreme physical training. Some is good, more is not necessarily better. Yes, intensity is key. But no, you don't need to spend hours breaking down your body systems. Especially without proper recovery.
Call "TIME!" on your workout and, once you can walk again, leave the gym for rest and relaxation. Well, okay, leave the gym for the normal stresses of every day life. If you keep the intensity up in your conditioning and your time under duress at appropriate levels, you not only make gains but also keep overtraining from spiraling out of control.
So there it is; a three step process as common sense reminders each year. Make the most of your time each day, each week, and each month this summer and always.
My aforementioned baby girl stirs, letting me know my time is up. At least for now. So I'll end with this thought, then leave you to your musicianship, your reading, or your napping...
An hour in the gym may be just 4% of your day, but when utilized correctly it's the catalyst and the conductor to a lifetime full of results. That one hour can stop time, or at least temporarily put the world on hold. So hold it close and use it wisely, since time can pass through your fingers like the sands of an hourglass.
Here's to another great summer! See you on the waterslide.