One of the biggest barriers that people have in achieving as well as maintaining their fitness goals is time. I started out going to my high school gym in grade 8 with one of my best buddies Jason Nera (now a power lifter sponsored by Animal) and we would wake up before class in high school to workout. When other 13 year olds are sleeping in or watching morning cartoons, Jason and I would wake up extra early, bike to school, and train for at least one hour every day. It became our ritual, something we loved to do even on days when it was freezing and still dark outside.
This was our life at the time and we loved every minute of it. We both played other sports growing up; track and field (me), wresting (me), basketball (Nera) and even bobsledding (Nera) but we both stayed committed to the gym. I continued this lifestyle every since and can even remember arguing with my mom because it was her wedding day and I wanted to go to the gym. I know it sounds crazy and selfish and maybe it was, well actually I know it was but when you love something so much it takes priority over everything else. This was my mindset when I decided to become a trainer and was surprised to see that most of the world didn’t share my passion of fitness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people don’t want to get fit and be healthy but they don’t make it a priority.
This was hard for me to understand and grasp, I just didn’t get it. Since I had grown up a gym rat it who just who I was. When I woke every morning, the first thing on my mind was “when I was going to the gym and what I was going to train” and it was the last thing on my mind at night. It became my first love and was more important than anything else. Even when I travelled the world to live and work, I still found a gym. In Taiwan I joined a public gym and was a spectacle, being the only black guy at an ALL Asian gym. In the Bahamas, the fitness centers were too expensive but I still found this old man (an ex bodybuilder) who had a make shift gym in his barn and he only charged me 5$ a week to use it. This place was so old that you couldn’t take the weight off one side of the bench because it literally had to stay on to keep everything in balance!
My point is, I always made the time. I would organize my life around the gym, not the other way around. Now I understand that this is not so easy for everyone because life gets in the way. People have jobs, families, hobbies, and a lot of other things going on in their lives but everyone can make time for the gym. It does not have to be a long time but if you start with a consistent commitment, then fitness will also become part of your life. Sometimes you need to make sacrifices because we only have so much time in a day and we must choose to make it a priority. At first I thought that maybe it was just because I had more free time than most people and that’s why I was able to train so much but I was mistaken. I have lots of friends at the gym that have crazy and busy lives and still make the time. They wake up earlier, cut out TV or other leisure activities, go during their lunch break or even have to extend their day by going after work.
I know this can seem hard at times and you may feel that you can’t find the time or that other things are more important. But let me ask you this…what is more important than your health? If you get sick or are injured then nothing else will matter. You must first take care of yourself in order to truly take care of anyone else in your life. Once you have implemented regular exercise into your daily routine, you will have energy to do more and find yourself to be more productive. Ultimately you will find the time to make sure you make it into the gym.
By you MAKING the time and it becomes important to you just like eating, sleeping, working and playing. It should be just as important because it is a key factor to living an optimal life and a life with minimal injuries and illness. We need to make the time because it’s not given to us. It starts with small steps even just 10min a day.
When my wife (boy it feels cool to say that) was ready to start her journey, she thought she had NO time at all. She was a single mom and was self-employed. Trying to juggle work, family, cleaning the house, groceries and extra-curricular activities how could she ever find time to train. She started with 10min a night running her stairs in her house after her daughter was asleep. With the feeling she got and the sense of accomplishment she felt, she was able to jump-start her fitness journey. She now is a regular gym rat and is pushing and working harder than a lot of guys I see at the gym. They stare in awe as she bench presses 135LBS and squats 205LBS. I know this must be an amazing feeling for her from where she started to where she is now and most of all where she will be. I am her biggest fan!
So I challenge you to start with 10min each day. Go for a walk, a run, workout at home with your body weight, a video, anything. You will get results and feel amazing, it will motivate you to do more and before you know it, fitness is part of your life. Like I have mentioned in previous blogs, we are active people by creation, it’s our busy lifestyle and technology that has caused us to become lethargic and lazy, and it’s in our control to fix this. You can do it! Find a support system to encourage you, motivate you and keep you accountable. It might be difficult in the beginning but the long term payoff is worth it, trust me…better yet trust my wife.
Dan has been a personal trainer since 2008.