So, the past three weeks have been a challenge.
Between getting sick, visiting family in Boston, losing (and then getting back) my laptop, attending a wedding in New York, hosting 6 friends in my one-bedroom apartment, and launching the Nerd Fitness Academy, I’ve been a complete disaster.
However, I’ve been drawing inspiration from an Scottsman on Lost, a fish from Finding Nemo (who does exist), and a hip hop group formed in the late 80’s.
I haven’t gone crazy yet thanks to Desmond, Dori, and De La Soul.
(Yes, I realize the irony that the two previous sentences would most likely confirm that I have, in fact, lost my marbles.)
Words of Wisdom from Desmond
My favorite episode from Lost involved Desmond and his lost love Penny: The Constant.
This review on IGN sums up my feelings perfectly.
[Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t watched it yet, shame on you!]
Desmond is in the process of dealing with all of the issues that come with time travel (tell me about it!). He is starting to go crazy, except for the fact that he has a constant in his life: Penny. Talking with Penny (years apart!) keeps him grounded while everything else around him is changing:
When I exercised around the world (literally), I used exercise as my constant to keep me grounded while being in a completely different location every few days.
Although I travel less now, I still use exercise as my constant. While traveling in Boston and New York for 10 days, I made sure to find time to exercise. I even signed up for a week’s gym membership while visiting my folks to make sure I stayed fit.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been back in Nashville and haven’t slept very much; I’ve continued to use exercise as my constant. Despite the fact that I could have easily told myself “I don’t have time to exercise right now,” I knew that would be a big fat lie. For the past month, despite flying by the seat of my pants and being a mess, I have missed one workout session.
Why is exercise so important when other things can appear more crucial? I remember this quote from Richard Branson (hat tip to my buddy Scott Dinsmore): When asked “how can I be more productive?” Branson simply replied “Work out.”
Regardless of what you think you have time for and what you really have time for, exercise makes everything better.
Creativity, alertness, focus, etc all increase as a result of physical exertion. It’s kind of a catch-22: we are tired and don’t want to work out, but a workout is precisely what we need to feel better and get reenergized.
So, how do we force ourselves to work out when working out is the last thing we feel like doing?
Just keep swimming: Words of Wisdom from Dori
Dory: Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do?
Marlin: No, I don’t wanna know.
Dory: [singing] Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.
Marlin: Dory, no singing.
Dory: [continuing] Ha, ha, ha, ha, ho. I love to swim. When you want to swim you want to swim.
Marlin: Now I’m stuck with that song… Now it’s in my head.
Sh** happens. Life gets busy. We travel. We have kids. We have projects at work that occupy all of our time. We see our workout schedule of 3 sessions of 1 hour each week and don’t think we can cut it.
We see unhealthy food as the best and quick option. We tell ourselves “I’ll get back to exercise and eating right when things slow down.” We justify a week or two off because life got busy.
I’m here to tell you now that this is the opposite of what you need to do.
No matter how tough things get, I need you to channel Dori, and “just keep swimming.”
Here’s how you can apply Dori’s advice to your life:
- Don’t have time for an hour of exercise? Do 30 minutes. 15 minutes. 5 minutes.
- Don’t have time for three healthy meals today? Eat 1 healthy meal.
- Don’t have time for your run today? Go for a walk at lunch.
I’m not gonna lie, my workouts over the past few weeks have been unimpressive. On Monday my workout was Front Squats and Pull Ups. That’s it. I walked into the gym and out twenty minutes later because I was so damn tired and out of it.
Yesterday I scaled back how much I was lifting on my deadlifts and cut out my last three exercises. I hadn’t eaten and was four hours behind for my scheduled workout, and it was a struggle to get through the entire thing.
So I did the best that I could.
I focused on the big wins and I just kept swimming.
Words of Wisdom from De La Soul
When times get tough…we need to keep swimming.
And when we don’t even have the time to swim, we need to tread water.
To borrow a quote from the awesomely 80’s band De La Soul and their appropriately titled jam:
If there’s no one here to help, and no one to get involved
Always look to the positive and never drop your head
For the water will engulf us if we do not dare to tread
So let’s tread water.’
When life is busy, you need to do whatever necessary to tread water.
- Go through the motions of putting on your running gear, even if you only run to the mailbox and back.
- Stuck eating fast food? Drink water instead of soda. Make up for it with the next meal.
- Can’t sleep? Don’t compound the problem with other bad decisions in the morning.
We need to stop telling ourselves “Eh, the day is already a waste” to justify more bad behavior.
If you had a crappy breakfast and lunch, dinner is not ruined. Make it healthy.
If you didn’t get to work out at all today, the day is not done. Do 50 push ups and squats before bed.
Tread water to conserve energy to stay afloat. Keep the momentum alive. So that when you have enough energy and things slow down…you’re not starting back at square one. You pick up right where you left off.
Make it count
One bad decision will not send you off the rails. However, bad decisions made as a result of other bad decisions will.
EVERY DECISION COUNTS.
EVERY MINUTE OF EXERCISE COUNTS.
EVERY MEAL COUNTS.
TO RECAP: When things get bad and busy and your life is in shambles:
- Make exercise your constant.
- Swim when you can.
- Tread water if you must.
- But keep moving.
Don’t ever stop.