How often do you hear, or worse yet use, the expression “I don’t have time to work out today.” The truth is most of us are very busy, some to the point of holding multiple jobs, having families, and juggling many other responsibilities, but we have to critically evaluate ourselves and our time management. Recently I started to evaluate how I was performing in two distinct settings. One was in terms of work, asking the question of how effective was I while on the job. The other question I asked myself was how effective were my workouts.
I noticed a disturbing trend that happens to many people. During my workout times I was often at my CrossFit box, which is at work, and I would talk with many people, including fellow coaches, participants, and staff members. My time to focus on building strength, endurance, coordination, speed, and athletic ability reeked of wasted time. I then began to evaluate our CrossFit classes and see if they fell into the same trap that was happening to me. The good news is our classes came out with great reviews. There was some conversation, but primarily about the task at hand. Our members would start out in conversation during the warm up, but when the work began they focused and dialed in on the task.
High intensity training requires high intensity focus. I noticed in my own workouts that when I was in between heavy sets of deadlifts I would talk with members about their programming, with other employees about how they can help out more, and the list goes on. Focus on the task at hand is critically important. Not being in the game when you are lifting heavy or performing Olympic lifts is the gym equivalent of texting and driving.
Carving out the time for the gym is critically important, but we must be careful not to sabotage our gym time by bringing the rest of the world into our workouts. My new goal is to make the time dedicated to my workouts just that and bring this focus into our gym for our athletes. Ask yourself, how many times you end up discussing work, issues of the day, or something else entirely unrelated to your workout at the gym? Is this really the appropriate place, and have you actually dedicated time to the gym? There is a saying, “the elite train in secret.” Do they actually train in secret because they are hiding new techniques and training methods, or are the simply finding an environment that allows a dedicated focus to their training?
No matter what your goal, whether it is elite performance or simply better health, we can benefit from focusing our efforts and making the time we train count. Spending a dedicated thirty minutes can be much more beneficial than an hour of training interrupted by the outside world. Texting, answering phone calls, and other interruptions are the gym equivalent of trying to study in front of the TV. Your focus is lacking and you will not get the maximum benefits of your workout. If we look at strength training or endurance work, you get the most benefit from those high intensities operating at 80% or more of your max. This means if you are running you can say a few words, but you are running at a pace where you are unable to hold a full-fledged conversation. When lifting at these higher percentages you should not be able to talk during the actual lift and you will also need some time after to recover.
For the steps to keep your life out of your workout and more read here: BreakingMuscle