Alright guys, today I'm going to write about something that I get asked a lot in one way or another. "Aidan, what's the magic?" I get asked this in a number of ways. "What should I eat? What movement should I do? Is this routine that I do every three days good enough? What do you think of this fat burner I saw on Instagram?" In short, I get things phrased that come off to me as - "what is the littlest or one thing I can do to get the most results?"
Now if anyone knows me, I'm a big fan of data. Numbers don't lie. I don't do well with going around reacting to my feelings or other people's feelings all day long. I save my feelings for a short list of things: Trysh, Luna, fantasy sports and Ted Lasso. The rest of the multitude of feelings I feel throughout the day, I treat as warning signs or little telltale signs about myself. A study I read showed that people on average make 20,000 decisions a day. WHAT?! We would explode if all of these were just made out of feelings. As my dad always said, "life is a habit." Which means we need to understand why we do what we do. As I a stated earlier in this paragraph, numbers don't lie. But they can be confusing. What I'm going to do in this blog, is try to take my opinion on the overall question - what's the secret and magic to all of this - and try to answer it with data about myself. I'm not here to say good or bad things about myself, or brag or boast. I just think it will be easier and safer to use my data, rather than other people's, just to A) give a clearer insight, and B) not offend.
Let's start with the numbers first. No opinions yet, just the hard crunched numbers. COVID first started for me when I was sent home on March 16...my birthday. Great present. So I'm going to start this from then, up until today, May 11th 2021. The numbers:
Days between the 03/16/20-05/11/21:
Days: 422 (60 weeks + 2 days)
I know, insert 50 face slapping emojis at this point. Let's all take a moment and take a breath. Ok, now let's get over it. As I mentioned, I'm not here for feelings...at least not this section. BACK TO THE NUMBERS! As I've been saying for a while, I define healthy as sustainability. Regardless if you are of the belief of the Big Bang, or Adam and Eve, one thing is for sure, we as people are not perfect. I mean, he bit the apple!!! So why do we insist on thinking we can execute these extremely detailed, exhausting and perfection- demanding meal plans, routines or habits? Don't get me wrong, I'm someone who shits rainbows as if I run and operate off of Skittles, but again, this is my opinion based on the facts, not because I'm skeptical. So now let's take a look at my numbers over these past 422 days, and I will show you why numbers can be both helpful, and confusing, and then let's break them down. As I've pretty much done my whole life, I take Sundays off. At least until softball just started back up two weekends ago. Also, we went on that trip, and I didn't do anything fitness related for 10 days. So below is roughly the amount of days that I've made sweet fitness since COVID started.
Hours: 431 (looking at my Whoop info on duration of fitness)
Again, this is roughly what I calculated with my no Sundays, the 10 days off, and the occasional day of rest. So let's break down these two separate data points to understand where I'm going with all of this. On the left I will have my data, on the right, will be the overall data that has been this COVID period of time.
Days: 345/422 = 82%
Hours: 431/10,128 = 4%
Minutes: 25,875/607,680 = 4%
This is where I think math is awesome, but also confusing. Out of all of the opportunity to make fitness, I did it 82% of the time. Yet, out of the total hours of my life during that same stretch of time, that only took up 4% of my life. Insert emoji face with hand scratching chin and looking up and away confused. I'll break this down in a more digestible timeframe; a week. I am going to factor in the average sleep, hours of work, fitness, free time.
Sleep: ≈ 7hrs/night x 7 days = 49hrs/week (CDC shows that 35% of Americans get less than that. They also state that ages 18-60 need more than 7hrs.) So I'm taking that average.
Work: Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from April 2020 to April 2021, the average work week is 35hrs. Which is up from 34.6, and 34.4 from 2019. This to me obviously shows the struggles folks are having with be able to shut work down, because now it all blends together at home. So for this exercise, I'm going to take 35hrs/week and divide by 5 days (m-f), and that gives me 7hrs/day.
So if we were to just take these averages out of one 24-hr day, it would look like this; work = 29%, sleep = 29%, and together = 58%. Now I know what some of you are thinking, "I work way more than that, and sleep way less." This is something I would not brag about haha. Either way, both can only make up so much of your time, regardless of how you split it.
MORE MATH PLEASE!!!...you got it.
Let's say you workout 5 days a week for 1 hour each session. The days of opportunity = 71%, but the hours of the week = 3%. So let's add it all up:
49hrs sleep/week = 29%
49/hrs work/week = 29%
5/hr fitness/week = 3%
Total = 103/168hrs of the week = 61%
I know what you are thinking. "Aidan, I don't think you know how blogs work. This is way too long, so much math and kind of making me feel bad about myself." Well, I told you from the beginning, this is about answering the question I get asked all the time with data, not feelings. And remember, feelings are supposed to tell us about ourselves. So based on how you might be feeling right now, it has nothing to do with me, and all to do with yourself. Alos, this is my third blog ever. I never said it's going to be good. BUT HAVE NO FEAR! As I also stated earlier, I shit rainbows, so I'll try and turn this around.
So like I usually do, short story long, let's try and wrap this up. In summary, there is no magic. Stop looking for it. You're spending too much of your time trying to find a quick fix to a long-term problem/goal. As CrossFit 5x champion Mat Fraser always says, Hard Work Pays Off #HWPO. If it was easy work pays off, then every half-asser in the world would be the Lebron James of their sport or job or goals. Shit's hard for a reason people, stop trying to change that and accept it. Also, stop looking to social media at people who get paid to do this, as your 'I'd like to look like this' goal. I'm sure you do want to do that, but as the numbers above show, people clearly aren't willing to put in the work and effort.
To go full-full circle, I stated earlier that I define healthy as sustainable. Think about it, if you are doing something great, but only for 2 and half weeks before you crash, do you really think your body is going to hold on to that diet, or running, or sleep routine 15 years from now, as you completely let it go? Answer: no. I've been doing this job specifically for roughly 14 years. I would say on average, I workout 5-6 days a week. So out of roughly 5,113 days, I've worked out roughly 4,192. Again, give or take some days. But that is my 82% average. The real magic at work here, is the illusion that there is an end to this journey. This isn't a book that has a final chapter. Once you set a goal and achieve it, you don't just quit. You find a new one. But you never stop. You don't quit. But most importantly (here comes the Skittle poop!)...you don't need to be perfect. Give yourself a break. We are human. We are not meant to be perfect. Besides, what the hell is that? One person can love the shirt that you're wearing, and someone can hate it. So which is it? The only person that it should matter to you is you. But you do need to take some responsibility and ownership of what you are really doing throughout your day, not what it 'feels' like. I can pretty confidently say, that of the people that I know, I'm more consistent and workout more than you, and probably do it more efficiently. This is not meant to be a self brag or an insult to you. Again, look at the numbers. I gave you my numbers. If you aren't hitting that, or even close to that, then why do you get to expect some crazy results to happen? I feel like I barely get mine sometimes.
As we've seen above, the average person has roughly 39% free time. I know, kids, travel, prep cook. I get it, I have a wife and kid. Some have more, some have less. But let's be honest, if you can recommend 3 tv shows right now, the ugly truth is that you are simply not choosing to spend your time in line with your goals. And if you are too tired, then maybe you should look at why, and how your day is set up. But that is another onion to peel for another time. An onion that will most likely make some of us cry at the self discovery that will happen. But again, that is a process for another time (but a very important one).
Sleep more, work more efficiently, workout more, do what you love, and try to nail 85% of your nutrition ALWAYS. Remember, we are in this for the long haul, so don't do things that you can't hold on to for a while. But I believe in each and every one of you. You can do this, and we are here to help. Keep being a rockstar guys....and watch Ted Lasso.