(How do you get in shape? And what are you willing to sacrifice to get there?)
We’re as busy as we want ourselves to be.
Our schedule seems to fit however much time we have in a day. In college, we would think we were “crazy busy” but most of our time was spent drinking and playing video games. When you were unemployed, your day some how filled up with job hunts and re-runs of Law & Order. But now that you’re an adult, you prioritize your time according to something like this:
- Work/ School
- Entertainment (social outings, hobbies, TV, etc.)
After major events in your life, those priorities may shift such as having a baby or getting a promotion at work. But we’re all busy with deadlines in some capacity or another. The problem with funneling our time to the top three priorities is that at some point you’re compromising priority four and five. Why is that so easy to do? Because the top three priorities have immediate short-term benefits, may it be laughter, a slice of pizza, or a paycheck. Sleep and going to the gym have more long-term benefits. Make no mistake though, they complement every other aspect of on that priority list.
By sleeping more it will make you more mentally sound, efficient, and “in the moment” with your experiences. We try to compensate by drinking more coffee or chugging enough Red Bull to think that jumping from space is a good idea, but sleep is the activity that gives rest to the machine that is our body. We look younger, live longer, and function more efficiently when we sleep. Sleep is also the greatest complement to the gym. Your level of fitness is going to affect your mood, energy level, and overall confidence. Beyond that, the secondary benefits of fitness are going to allow you be a better lover, have better relationships, play with your kids, get the role in that movie, or even get the edge at work. Sleep and fitness complement each other and have tremendous mental benefits that are going to improve every other part of your life. And be sure to not compromise your diet for the sake of time. It’s just as easy to go to Whole Foods and get a salad, as it is to go to a McDonald’s. Sure it may take a couple bucks, but that’s the price you’re going to have to pay for such a huge benefit.
So how do you suddenly have more time in the day to focus on the gym and sleep? Have I invented a time machine that runs on kombucha? (No, it’s still in the R & D phase). Well, it’s going to take a little bit of sacrifice on your part. Cut out things like TV and staying out late. Make bigger meals so you have leftovers and therefore can cook less. If you plan the gym in to your schedule then you’re more likely to go. Most of the time we take gym classes like Pilates, spin, or Crossfit that have set times so we can easily sit down and plan out a schedule for the week. Once you schedule something, it becomes a reality, so I recommend sitting down on a Sunday night and planning what you need to get done. You have to schedule your workouts and bedtimes just like you would a meeting for work in order to get them to happen. You can also plan out your meals for the week also so you don’t get tempted to hit up a fast food joint cause you’re “feeling lazy” or “too tired to cook”. You need to adjust your priorities and make certain sacrifices that might not be too popular with your friends. If your priorities are in a different than your friends, you’re going to have to make a decision. Go out with them less frequently, or get pulled down with them and their bad habits. Should I go to this movie premiere party if I know I have to be at the gym at 6:30 tomorrow? Should I really eat this cake if I know it’s going to completely make me nauseous during my workout thus wasting my time? Should I sacrifice sleep to go to this gallery opening in downtown if it’s going to ruin my day at work and make me less productive? In order to see results, you’re going to have to make sacrifices, and they may at times not be popular. But that’s why they’re called sacrifices. You have to do what’s best for you.
Sleep and the gym are your zen time to recharge your body and your mind. You shouldn’t often compromise these things because they affect all other aspects of your life. It’s a long-term benefit to be healthy and fit, and in order to see the results you want you’re going to have to make the sacrifice.
[Photo: Street art of Rue Mouffedtard in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, France.]