No time to exercise?
There are people who legitimately have nutty schedules where it is nearly impossible to exercise.
Here’s how to get lean and make positive progress, even when life becomes ULTRA-busy.
I’ve been there…
Quite a few years ago I took over a men’s suit store where the company had to fire most of the staff.
A manager was required to be in the store at all times.
Since I was the only manager?
I arrived at the store at 8:00 am and left the store at 10:00 pm.
That is a 14-hour shift, 7 days per week.
It comes out to a 98-hour work week.
With a 30-minute commute each way, that is about 105 hours per week dedicated to work.
This lasted 2 months before I had a management staff hired and trained.
I rarely got to the gym during this time.
My #1 goal was to avoid having a nervous breakdown.
I know people who work 2 full-time jobs (80 hours total) but also have kids.
I GUESS they could possibly find time to exercise.
…but that means less time with their children.
Your little ones are MUCH more important than gym time.
Ideally, 60-80 hour work weeks are only temporary.
(I wish we had 30 hour work weeks.)
I’ll discuss how to lose weight even when life becomes insane.
…right after a quick music break.
The music theme for this post?
Live performances from KEXP that I like.
KEXP is a fantastic local radio station here in Seattle.
The weight loss part is pretty simple actually.
Here are the details.
Losing Weight With Diet Alone
When I was living at work, I got angry.
I took this job after being unemployed for a period of time.
This was shortly after 911.
The job market was ROUGH.
Quitting wasn’t an option and this company knew they could basically work me to death.
They took advantage of that.
They can take away my time…
…but they can’t take my FREEDOM!
I didn’t have any time to myself whatsoever.
I did have about 5-10 pounds of fat to lose.
I knew all I had to do to make that happen was to eat less
Knowing I was losing fat during this time was what kept me going.
It was one positive I could focus on during this brutal time.
Here’s the calorie total I recommend if you want to lose weight without exercise.
***Multiply your target weight in pounds by 10 to 12. This is how many calories you will eat each day.***
This probably sounds low.
A lot of online calorie calculators will tell you to eat more.
You can probably get away with eating more calories if you are young.
You can DEFINITELY eat a bit more if you are exercising.
I’m not talking long-term here.
Ideally, this is for 2-3 months max.
If the calories are kept as low as I mentioned above?
You will lose weight.
The approach I used?
Two protein shakes and one chicken salad per day.
There are A LOT of ways to eat to hit that calorie goal I mentioned above.
If I was in this same position today, I would probably mix in a bit of intermittent fasting as well.
It REALLY is this simple to lose weight.
There is one negative to losing weight with diet alone.
You WILL Lose Muscle (Don’t Freak Out)
I feel a little like Liam Neeson as I type this.
Remember that scene from Taken where his daughter calls him after kidnappers break into her apartment.
“Go to the next bedroom and get under the bed.
Tell me when you are there.
Now, the next part is very important…
They are going to TAKE you.”
I know losing muscle seems frightening.
I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for body fat and muscle loss.
If you simply diet to lose fat without any resistance training?
You are going to lose a little bit of muscle.
Losing muscle is NOT a big deal.
After hitting the gym, you will regain all of your previous glory.
(Your milkshake will bring all the boys to the yard, once again.)
How Much Muscle Will You Lose?
It depends on how much you have added to your body.
If you haven’t trained much and aren’t muscular to begin with, you most likely won’t lose much muscle from dieting alone.
Your body sort of hits a “set point”.
Your metabolism will adjust to where you aren’t losing any fat or muscle.
If you HAVE trained to where you are muscular?
You have more muscle to lose.
You will also lose a bit of strength.
No need to worry too much…
Lost muscle can come back quickly.
It is a result of muscle memory.
At that suit store, I mentioned earlier…
I injured my back soon after training a management staff.
With Christmas coming up, the company I was working for required 70 hour work weeks for managers from November to the end of January.
Standing all day with crazy back pain really got to me.
I skipped working out for close to 3 months during this time.
I spent any free time laying on the couch trying not to shake from the pain.
In three months I got down to about 175.
When I’m lean and looking my best, I weigh about 190.
I’m guessing I lost 15 pounds of muscle during this time.
In late January, my back felt good enough to where I could hit the gym.
Within 3 months I gained all that muscle and strength back and looked better than I did pre-injury.
The way muscle memory works is like this:
- When you train to for muscle size or strength, nuclei get added to the muscle fibers.
- These new nuclei are retained during 2-3 months of inactivity.
- When you hit the gym again, you quickly regain strength and muscle size since these nuclei are already there.
Your body holds on to these nuclei for 2-3 months. Past that point, it is POSSIBLE that nuclei loss happens (couldn’t find studies covering long-term layoffs).
You will lose muscle, but you are going to be fine 🙂
I’ve read too many articles that try and make people guilty for not “finding time” to exercise.
The authors of these articles are typically in their 20’s.
They have not been deep in the trenches of life (yet).
In an ideal situation, everyone has time to exercise.
Life isn’t ideal at all times and this is a good thing.
We need the contrast.
Without tough times, we wouldn’t appreciate the good stuff.
If you absolutely do not have time to exercise?
Simply focus on eating less during this time.
You will lose a little muscle along with that fat, but all that muscle comes back quickly.
Positive thoughts to all my busy brothers and sisters out there…
This busy time will make the calm times taste that much sweeter.
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
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