Maximizing Your Time

I open one eye to see the illumination of my alarm clock reflecting off the back of my white bedroom wall. I think to myself, "It must be that time".  The clock reads 4:58 AM.  This is early, no matter how you shake it.  My body is trained after repeatedly waking up at 5:00 AM to get ready for work.  I have a tendency to wake up a few minutes before my alarm sounds in order not to wake my sleeping wife.  This is the part of the job nobody tells you - you often wake up before even the roosters do.  My first team reports to the weight room at 6:00 AM, but being true to my philosophy, often my athletes report 10 minutes early.

This post isn't a pat on the back for those who wake before the sun does.  No, this post is about maximizing your time.  I routinely answer e-mails and telephone calls from other coaches asking "Adam, what do you do to motivate those who have no motivations"?  Motivation is a fickle beast to battle.  It's a difficult uphill route trying to convince athletes that results happen.  Part of my answer (and the purpose of this post) is educating athletes to maximize their time.

I'm currently reading Tim Ferriss' new book "The Four Hour Body" available at Amazon.com and finding it an absolutely enjoyable read.  However, this post isn't about piggybacking on his book, but rather, there is a section that clearly supports what I currently do.

I hear, actually quite routinely, "I don't have time to work out, I can’t get it in".  I hear you!  Between waking up early, getting ready, eating a quality breakfasts and getting out the door - it's hard to find time in the morning for anything else.  However, like I educate my athletes.  Take small steps to get where you want to be. Do you have five minutes in the morning? Could you use those five minutes productively?  I don’t have a tremendous amount of time in the morning before breakfast but I do have the luxury of working at a strength and conditioning facility. I want to walk you through my morning routine for comparisons.

4:48 AM:  Look at the Alarm Clock. Growl. Wake-up

5:00 AM: Step onto Scale (I weigh myself daily right in the morning) "What gets measured, gets managed". I then enter my weight and my bio-electrical impedance body fat percentage into an excel sheet on my laptop. I have a running chart for every day including a scatter graph that shows my fluctuations.

5:02 AM: I proceed to slam 1/2 liter of cold ice water.  Crack 7 egg whites & three whole eggs into a Tupperware container and place in microwave for 7 minutes.  Scoop coffee into coffee filter & turn coffee pot on. Now it’s time to get to work.

5:07 AM: Perform 75-100 two-handed kettlebell swings (I probably look like a complete nutcase doing kettlebell swings this early while half clothed but it's about results, right?) I like to nail out about 10 minutes of swinging (hard metabolic work) in the morning while my glycogen is low and I can take advantage of my sleeping 'fasted' state.  This strategy is almost identical to the recommendations Tim Ferriss suggests in his new book.

5:17 AM: Pour Coffee into travel mug & consume breakfast (healthy high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate breakfast). I follow a strict low carbohydrate diet Sunday through Friday. On Saturdays, I completely go crazy consuming as much high GI carbohydrates as I wish.  Bring on the pancakes with extra syrup!   With each bite of sugary goodness I can taste the up-regulation of leptin.  Leptin is delicious!

5:27 AM: I then deodorize & get dressed for work (The luxury of a strength coach is the ability to show up at work in sweats and a t-shirt.)

5:35 AM: Grab prepared meals (I prepare them before I go to bed at night) from the refrigerator and put into backpack. Lock up the apartment, and hit the road.

5:45 AM: Coffee w/ Cinnamon in hand, I unlock the weight room, flip the lights on and prepare workout sheets for the 6:00 AM group.

6:00 AM: Game Time!

What I’m trying to get across is that you don’t need a full hour or even thirty minutes to get some productive work in.  You don’t also need a huge chunk or block of time.  Do you think you find three 10 minute breaks in your day?  If you are consistent with those three breaks, and utilizing them to the fullest, I got to believe that your newly sustained thirty minutes of hard productive work a day will pay off.

Sit down with a pen and a paper and go through your day with a microscope.  Be real and be brutal.  How effectively are you using your time?  I could tell you that I use to sit at the kitchen counter and wait for my eggs to be done in the microwave. I’m wasting 7 minutes of my time.  Simply by using those 7 minutes productively, I have saved myself 42 hours of sitting in front of the microwave doing nothing.

Be real.  Be Brutal.  Examine Your Day.

Adam Ringler

Adam Ringler

Adam Ringler, MS, SCCC, CSCS is a hard working, loyal, and competitive Strength & Conditioning Coach at the University of Colorado. Born on Television, Raised by wolves.

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