The Other 23 Hours
As a coach, my aim is to get the most out of you during our time together. For you to get the outcome you're after - be that fat loss, increased energy levels, muscle mass or quality of life, we have to work together in each session to progressively overload your energy systems and do this consistently. Us coaches work hard to make sure each workout is programmed in a way that will deliver the desired results when adhered to properly. But unfortunately, we can only be there for a small percentage of your day, and not every day. We’re not there to ensure you get adequate sleep, complete your mobility exercises, de-stress from work, or supervise each meal you consume - and thank god, because that would be really weird.. and expensive. But to sum up the big picture, the gym is really only a small portion of your day, and a small portion of what counts when it comes to making you a fully functioning, healthy and fit human being.
I’ve heard many times that it’s 20% exercise and 80% diet. When in reality, it’s SO much more complicated than that! Try and chuck in 30% sleep, 10% mindset and 25% hormones and you’ll be quick to find it doesn’t all quite add up. Unfortunately (or fortunately - c’mon guys, glass half full), those other 23 hours of the day are what’s going to make your time in the gym all worth it. But you’ve got to stop holding that one hour of your day - or your gym as a whole - accountable for the results you’re yet to get.
So often, we get clients discussing how ‘nothing is working’ for them. They’ve tried it all; F45, Crossfit, Bootcamp, Body Pump, Zumba. There just doesn’t seem to be a way of exercising that works. You see, the easy thing to change is the location, and joining a new gym or starting a new workout regime is fun, exciting and sexy. You’re excited about the prospect of the ‘new you’ that you’re about to discover. The new you will have abs. The new you will eat clean. And the new you will fit into all of those old expensive clothes you’re too attached to throw out.
But once again, 6 months later you’re still the same old you. You’ve tried all of these different gyms and regimes and you couldn’t get long lasting results… Why? There’s one thing that they all have in common - and that’s you. It’s not the workout that needs to change it’s the other 23 hours of your day.
So what does that look like? How do we optimise our hour in the gym with the other hours we have in the day?
In theory, it’s pretty simple. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Drink 2-3L of water a day. Eat meals comprised of some protein, a little fat and a tonne of vegetables. Minimise your alcohol intake. Take time for your mental space. Get out in nature and feel the sun on your skin. And socialise. The theory is easy, it’s the practice that takes, well, practice...
The first thing you’ve got to have (and this is where your coach should step in to assist) is awareness. Try and hit your ‘lower hanging fruit’ first. What could you change today, that would take a small amount of effort in relation to how much impact it’ll create in your health?
For example: do you have trouble getting enough quality sleep?
Head to bed 15mins-30mins earlier than usual. I can already hear my Mum replying now, “but I’m a night owl, I won’t even be tired!”. Well cool, I’m not asking you to fall asleep earlier, I’m asking you to begin that nightly sleep process, a little earlier. Give yourself some god-damn TIME to adjust before you fling yourself into bed. Have a shower, put the kettle on and make yourself a chamomile tea and then closer to sleep time sit for a few minutes in your bed - no phone - just breathe.
It’s about finding one or two things that you can commit to right now. Implement them into your life and work hard to create these habits (it ain’t easy). Then a month or two from now, with consistency, you’ll have some other areas in your life you can further change and commit to…. You don’t have to be 100% different and do all the ‘right’ things right now. Don’t think too much about the end game, because I’ll tell you what - there isn’t one. This is a life-long journey of self discovery, respect, nourishment and love. Slow and steady wins this race.
Feeling like these changes are too difficult to implement? I feel you. Change is hard. But let me ask you this - what is the cost of NOT making these changes? Ultimately, you will have to accommodate far worse circumstances relating to your poor health choices, versus sucking it up now, being real with yourself and playing the long game when it comes to the future health of your body … and ultimately your sense of happiness and fulfillment in life. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
So start to think about how you’re supporting yourself OUTSIDE the time you spend working out. That’s where you’ll find the real work. The changes in diet, the bad habits that need to slowly see their way out of your life, the work/life balance you know you need. The uncomfortable shit that you might not want to deal with, but believe me - you’ll be better for it. Your coach should guide you and help set up incremental game-plans to help these changes become a reality for you. It’s not about cutting out all the cookies, or wine or nights out with your girlfriends … it’s about building a lifestyle that supports your body and makes you HAPPY! And I don’t know about you, but it’s damn hard to find healthy un-happy people. Health IS happiness. Now go on and find some for yourself and while you’re at it, you might just discover those results you’ve been searching for all this time.