the best time to train [5:38]

I cleared the area of costumes and toys before moving into the first warm-up set. Racking the weight, I glanced at the clock on the basement wall. It was 5:38. Was it a.m. or p.m.? What does it matter? This writing, the one you're reading right now, has everything on  diurnal and circadian rhythms.

It was just last week that I trained at a massive Gold's Gym in Tulsa equipped with every tool that elevates form and function. It was also loaded with cutting edge distraction; chrome, lights, and every contraption that makes you think you're accomplishing something while actually working very little. The approximate usage was 30/70, respectively.

I have nothing against Gold's, but was happy to be back in my basement. The mega-gym concept would be on it's way out if it weren't for the socialization aspect. People are (hopefully) catching on. The largest barriers to health and fitness are NOT:

1. Equipment - You can get what you call "a crazy lot" done with minimal gear. Weight/fat loss and cardiovascular health are easy. For other goals, a decent home gym that allows you to load up on resistance for the purpose of body recomposition including size/strength gain can be had for $1500. (No you won't acquire super human strength and rippedness by pulling on elastic tubing and waving around 3 pound dumbbells.)

2. Exercise and Diet Gnosticism - Yes we need trainers and rehab people who know what they're doing for the purpose of efficiently achieving specific goals while managing injury risk. But generally speaking, there's not a single American in poor shape for lack of some secret fitness knowledge. "Don't eat (much) crap" and "Find some regular physical activity that you enjoy or at least tolerate" will take 99% of us a long way.

3. Comfort - "No pain - no gain" is totally a half-truth. But to expect the numerous physical and mental benefits of exercise without discomfort is like asking for a shower without getting wet. The stress of controlled loading and impact and striving and straining is the real magic behind resilient bodies and minds.

4. The Great Exception - By definition, we cannot all be exceptions to all the basic rules of human physiology and life as we know it. Yes we are unique individuals. But your special metabolism simply can't gain, lose, improve, tolerate? While everyone else is granted 168 weekly hours to find a few hours to train, that's just not enough for you? You have pain or a disability that keeps you from doing everything?

It's possible that any one of those could be true for the rare exceptions. But for you, in the long-term, I doubt it.

The barriers to health and fitness have always been and will always be:

1. Time.
2. Motivation.

We usually have a choice in whether or not a hectic, no-time-for-anything season of life becomes a chronic condition. Write exercise into your schedule as if it's a life giving, brain saving, body conditioning, stress busting, depression dampening, disease fighting miracle. Because it is.

If attaining fitness means waking up early and packing clothes and driving through traffic before a long work day to do a "shoulders and calves" routine, then I have no time for training either. Training the body as a functional unit is efficient and effective. Unless you enjoy spending 6 days per week watching others flex at themselves in the mirror, feel free to let the body part split routine up to the oily tan body builder guy.

Never under estimate the social aspect of getting out of the home environment and into a crew of like-minded people. On the other hand, some would never get around to training if they had to go out. Either way, find accountability and inspiration to get it done. I'm thankful to train mostly at home with friends large and small (my kids).

I've found 5:38 to be the absolute best time to train, especially when busy and drained, stressed and in need of some perspective. Actually, I always train at 5:38.

Haven't changed the batteries in that clock for years.
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