I think one of the most important things you need to do is to remove obstacles that prevent you from exercising. The biggest reason people don’t exercise is because they are too tired after a long day of work or they don’t have the time. To overcome this, I recommend that you bring your gym clothes with you to work every single day. As soon as your shift is done, change into your gym clothes before leaving the building. This simple strategy will put you into the mindset that you are about to workout.
Dr Alex Robles is a physician, a NASM certified personal trainer, and co-founder of the health and fitness site The White Coat Trainer. Both he and his wife specialize in OBGYN, and have been writing about health and fitness for the past 2 years. Through his platform, Alex focuses on teaching busy people how to integrate health and fitness into their lifestyles.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Absolutely. Growing up, I was always fascinated by exercise and fitness. Like many young kids, I always thought that being strong and having muscles was cool- I saw it as a type of super power.
I also grew up playing baseball and aspired to play professionally. It turns out that I wasn’t anywhere near as good as I thought I was, and I was much smaller and weaker than many of the other players around me.
That is when I decided to start exercising with the goal of improving my strength.
I first stepped foot into a gym in high school, and it was a life changer.
I quickly realized that I enjoyed exercising and fitness much more than I did playing baseball. Working out became my biggest hobby and an outlet for my studies.
I read every book I could on the topics of fitness, exercise physiology, and kinesiology.
I read and posted on forums.
I followed blogs.
I purchased ebooks, and online courses.
I was completely hooked.
Before I knew it, people began coming to me for advice. I enjoyed talking about fitness to anyone who would listen. That’s also when I began training a few close friends and some family members in my spare time.
The number of people who came to me for advice continued to increase, which is how we got the idea to start the website and reach a larger audience.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Yes. I was in my fourth year of residency working in the outpatient gynecology clinic.
My panel of patients consisted of routine pregnancy visits, follow up, problem visits, and annual gyn checkups.
One day, I was scheduled to see a patient for an annual checkup. She didn’t have any complaints at the time and simply needed a routine history and physical examination performed.
During annual gynecology visits, we always discuss routine preventative care, and encourage healthy eating and exercise.
When we were done, the patient said, “by the way, I like the fitness thing you have going on, on the side.”
I was totally surprised as I had never told any patient about my fitness site. It turned out that the patient had looked me up before her visit and found The White Coat Trainer on her own.
She was really impressed and stated that she appreciated doctors who “practiced what they preached.”
We ended the visit with her telling me that she was going to use the site to start exercising more.
I thought that was really cool!
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Yeah definitely. I don’t know how humorous it is, but it sure was a dumb mistake.
Back when I first started exercising, I was always aggressive.
I lifted heavy all the time, I often went to failure, and occasionally I would try and show off when family and friends were around.
One day in the fall of 2013, my wife (then girlfriend) and I were at the gym performing leg presses. She set the stack to about 200 lbs and did a set of 8 repetitions.
For some reason I wanted to impress her that day, so I decided to also do a set of leg press. The exercise wasn’t part of my workout plan for that day, and I wasn’t even properly warmed up to do it.
“How many reps do you think I could get?” I asked my girlfriend.
I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I think the challenge was around 20 reps.
Off I went.
I started to rep out leg press as fast as I could.
I started to feel the burn, and kept moving as fast as possible.
I reached the 20th rep but I still had a few more in me.
I knew my form was sloppy, but I really wanted to show off. At about the 23rd rep I felt a snap in my low back region.
Everything went still, and all I could think was…”oh crap.”
I immediately froze as if standing still would somehow undo what just happened.
I slowly got off the leg press and thought to myself, “ok this isn’t too bad, I think I’m fine.”
In less than one minute I could barely move.
I had to limp home as any sudden movement of my pelvis caused great pain.
Being the stubborn person that I am, I decided I was going to treat the injury myself.
That’s the first lesson. If you are in significant pain, make sure to get an evaluation by an appropriate provider.
I ultimately wound up in the ER the following day to get a muscle relaxant.
To make a long story short, I treated the injury really seriously. I read everything I could on low back injuries and did whatever it took to rehab myself back to normal.
But it took me over two years to fully recover as I continuously re-aggravated the injury by lifting heavy prematurely.
To be honest, this was also an injury that was waiting to happen. I dealt with on and off low back discomfort for a couple of years prior to that day.
It was a result of not listening to my body and following an exercise program that didn’t have an appropriate balance.
The more I read, the more I learned how my training had been a set up for failure. I trained muscles that were already overactive, and neglected muscles that were under active.
In particular, my core and glutes were extremely weak. The two most important muscle groups that help keep the spine and pelvis in neutral alignment.
Weak and underdeveloped core and gluteal muscles are actually very common in the general population. This is a major reason why 80% of Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.
And lastly, don’t show off just for the heck of it. A few moments of glory can end in an irreversible mistake.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
Yes. I provide a unique perspective given my background in the medical sciences, and my understanding of how anatomy and physiology intertwines with physical fitness.
Fitness isn’t actually my day job. I work as a full time physician while maintaining my own fitness and running the website.
As physicians (particularly during residency training), it is routine to work 80 hours a week, transition between day and night shifts, and work 24 hour calls. Despite this, my wife and I developed several strategies to allow us to continue exercising and leading a fitness centered lifestyle.
Our goal is to provide busy people who struggle to make time for exercise the tools they need to make this lifestyle a reality.
We also do our best to simplify fitness concepts as much as possible, so that the reader can focus on the things that matter most.
There is a lot of conflicting and suboptimal information out there. Our goal is to cut through all the noise and tell you what you need to know. You are already busy enough, you shouldn’t have to spend more time sifting through who is credible and who isn’t.
So, our unique contribution to the field is providing people with strategies that are effective, efficient, and actionable. That way, even the busiest of people can start to make positive changes in their lifestyle.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
All of the credit goes to my wife Brittany. We originally met way back in college during chemistry class.
She has been there with me through it all.
We studied pre-med together, we worked out together, we supported each other through medical school, and she was always there for me during the long brutal hours of residency.
We all have bad days; days when we want to quit and just give up. I’ve had my fair share of those days trying to juggle everything, but she has always been there to help me get through it all.
In fact, I remember working a 24 hour shift on my birthday during my second year of residency. I was having a miserable day. She surprised me by coming to the hospital with a homemade dinner and a homemade dulce de leche cake.
And its having someone like that by my side that has allowed me to keep seeing the success I have had.
In fact, she’s the reason why The White Coat Trainer exists. She saw that I had a deep passion for fitness, and knew that I could inspire people to lead healthier lifestyles on a larger scale.
After much encouragement, we finally launched the site and have had an absolute blast creating content for it.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
That is a great question. I think the first reason why people fail to take action is due to information overload.
We live extremely stressful lives. We stress over our jobs, our commute, money, family, vacations, you name it. The added stress of having to exercise and eat clean is an easy one to throw by the wayside.
Intellectually, we know what we need to do more of, but the actual process of doing it can be overwhelming.
There are endless ways to diet, various exercise programs you can choose from, several ways to improve your sleep and so on. When we are bombarded with so many choices and so many things to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the information and just do nothing.
It is much easier to sit back and stay in your comfort zone than it is to take action. This is especially true if there aren’t immediate consequences to not exercising or eating vegetables.
The second reason piggybacks off the first.
Many people want to start leading a healthier lifestyle, but they don’t necessarily know how to.
It’s kind of like wanting to do well on an entrance exam to get accepted into a prestigious program.
And the only thing I tell you is that in order to do well, you have to study hard.
But you already know that.
Everyone knows that they have to study to do well on an exam.
The same goes for weight loss.
I can tell you that if you want to lose weight, all you have to do is eat less.
Yes, both of these statements are absolutely true, but they are missing key information.
What I left out, and what many fitness experts fail to teach you is how to do it.
How do you take the information, and actually apply it?
This is where having a good coach, or an easy to follow, step-by-step guide can be useful.
People in general, are very good at following directions. Often times, people want to be told what to do and how to do it when it comes to fitness.
We as fitness professionals need to give people the tools they need to actually implement significant changes into their lives.
The third reason why so many people find it difficult to put information into practice is because they are tired of being lied to.
There are just way too many gimmicks and schemes out there that promise crazy and unrealistic results.
These fads do nothing but propagate a mindset of instant gratification, which is the complete opposite of what you need in the world of fitness.
You cannot sustainably lose 30 pounds in 30 days. You cannot get a six pack working out nine minutes a day.
What’s worse is that quick results are almost always achieved using unsustainable methods. If what you are doing is unsustainable, it will be temporary.
Temporary changes will only produce temporary results.
When clients fail to achieve these unrealistic results they were promised, they become disenchanted with the fitness industry.
Why follow another diet or an exercise program if it’s a fad like all the others?
The truth of the matter is, you shouldn’t expect to see results in 30 days.
Did you get your degree in 60 days? Did you get good at your craft in 30 days? Did you learn to play an instrument in 1 week?
Fitness is no different.
It is important that you take your time. Follow a routine that starts off slow and gradually progresses over time.
Any routine that tells you to eliminate carbs, exercise for 1+ hour a day, and eat 1200 calories from day one is a recipe for failure.
Find yourself a regimen that you can follow every day from this day forward. Take your time and do it right!
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
Yes definitely. I think one of the most important things you need to do is to remove obstacles that prevent you from exercising.
The biggest reason people don’t exercise is because they are too tired after a long day of work or they don’t have the time.
To overcome this, I recommend that you bring your gym clothes with you to work every single day. As soon as your shift is done, change into your gym clothes before leaving the building. This simple strategy will put you into the mindset that you are about to workout.
It also eliminates the need to go home, which wastes time and increases the chances of you not leaving the house again.
Lastly, this strategy also creates accountability. Your co-workers will see you changing into gym clothing, and know that you are going to exercise. They may start asking questions, and possibly get inspired to do the same as well.
The second lifestyle tweak is to simplify your workouts.
You do not need to work out for 1 hour a day. You don’t need to do hundreds of different exercises. The most important thing for you to do is to move, and do it often.
If getting to a gym is too difficult, then just do a 15 minute walk every day after work. Change into your gym clothes and go for a walk. If you take public transportation get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
The only thing that matters in fitness is consistency. It doesn’t matter if you have the best workout program in the world. If you can’t stick to it, then it doesn’t matter.
Start slow, start easy, and most of all, do it often.
Everyone can dedicate 15 minutes a day.
The third lifestyle tweak to dramatically improve your health is to “attach a why” to your fitness goals. You need to have a strong reason for wanting to achieve your fitness aspirations. When you attach a meaningful purpose to an activity, you significantly increases the probability of accomplishing what you set out to do.
The stronger the purpose, the better.
“I want to lose weight so that I can lower my blood pressure and stop taking so many medications” is better than “I want to lose weight because I was told that I need to.”
“I want to be alive to see my children graduate and have children of their own” is better than “There is a family history of heart disease in my family, so I guess I should exercise.”
“I want to build muscle so that I can feel proud when I look in the mirror” is better than, “I’m fat and I need to lose weight.”
We know that emotions drive most of the decisions we make in our lives. Give your goals a sentimental value and see the difference for yourself.
The fourth lifestyle tweak that will dramatically improve your wellbeing is to practice deep breathing. This is especially helpful early in the morning right after you wake up. This is my go-to strategy to help reduce stress and prepare myself for my day.
The barrier to entry is so low. It’s as simple as downloading a free app that provides hundreds of guided sessions, lasting anywhere from 1–20 minutes.
I usually do the lessons that last 1–5 minutes. I never regret it. After 3 minutes of deep breathing I always feel refreshed and have improved mental clarity. Occasionally, I will also perform a deep breathing session at night to help wind down before bed.
My fifth lifestyle tweak is to stop dieting. The word diet is associated with so many negative connotations. It implies sacrifice, limitations, restrictions, hunger and worst of all, something temporary.
As I said before, temporary changes lead to temporary results. You shouldn’t follow a diet. What you need to follow is a nutrition plan.
A nutrition plan is an approach that takes all of the best concepts from popular diets to help you make the most informed decisions.
So what can we take away from the most popular diets? It boils down to four main things.
- You need to consume more plants- namely fruits and vegetables
- You need to consume more fiber-rich foods
- You need to consume more water, and less non-water beverages
- You need to limit the amount of processed foods you consume
Take just one of these recommendations, and slowly add it to your current diet. Only make one change at a time.
Start with a change that’ll take you the least amount of time to do. That way, it won’t interfere with your busy schedule.
Once you are comfortable, add another component from one of these four strategies.
Is this process the most efficient? Definitely not. But is it effective? Absolutely.
Remember, the best diet is the one you will still be following a year from now. Making small progressive changes gives you the best chance of adhering to healthy eating habits in the long term.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Sure. I can provide a mental, emotional, and physical benefit of regular exercise.
The number one benefit of exercise is the positive mental attitude that you cultivate from achieving your fitness goals. It creates an unparalleled feeling of accomplishment. Only YOU know the countless time and persistent effort that was dedicated towards accomplishing your goal. Only YOU know the sacrifices that were necessary to get there.
No one can do the work for you, and no one can take it away from you. No matter how big or how small your goal is, only you can truly appreciate what that accomplishment means to you.
Successful training creates confidence, self-esteem, and a newfound respect for what you are capable of.
The second benefit of daily exercise is the natural stress relief that it provides. Exercise is known to release a group of hormones known as endorphins.
Endorphins activate your opiate receptors which helps you feel good, elevates your mood, and lower your stress levels.
If you didn’t already know, narcotic medications also activate opioid receptors. This is the major reason why there is an opioid crisis and so many people are addicted to these medications.
Isn’t it amazing that exercise can activate these receptors too? If you are to become addicted to anything, I would argue that regular exercise should be on the top of the list!
Lastly, studies have even shown that exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant medication in improve symptoms of major depressive disorder. That is powerful!
The third benefit of daily exercise is physical. Exercise is one of the best way to increase your lean muscle mass percentage.
Far too many people under appreciate the importance of muscle tissue. Lean muscle mass percentage correlates well with overall health. It
- Helps you maintain a strong metabolism,
- Helps control blood sugar levels,
- Helps protect your bones and joints,
- Helps decrease your risk of incidental injuries,
Not to mention lean muscles are also appealing.
There are no other medical treatments that come close to providing the number of benefits that exercise can have on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
That’s an easy one. The number one exercise that is absolutely critical to add to your daily routine is walking. As uninteresting as it sounds, we have become a society that does not walk enough.
If you exercise for an hour a day, every day, but spend the rest of your day sitting down, you are only slightly more active than the average person. In fact, there is research to support that exercise alone may not be enough to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
The simple solution is to walk more. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s accessible. You can do it anytime, anywhere.
You can also do A LOT of it without fear of injuring yourself. If you could only do one kind of exercise, this would be it.
The second exercise that is absolutely critical to add to your routine is the squat. The squat is the most fundamental movement pattern that you can do.
Just take a look at any kid. They can perform a deep, full range of motion squat with perfect technique at any given moment. As we get older, we begin to lose that ability due to a lack of training this movement pattern.
This is inexcusable in my opinion.
You need to be able to maintain your ability to squat down with proper technique for the rest of your life.
Whether you realize it or not, you squat every single day, multiple times a day. Every time you sit on a chair, or stand up form a chair, you are squatting. Every time you go the bathroom, you are squatting. Every time you bend down to pick up something off the ground, you are squatting.
If you are not performing this movement correctly, that is hundreds of bad repetitions you are performing every single week.
Improper technique will lead to wear and tear of your joints, ultimately causing pain and injury. It’ll only be a matter of time.
Start off by learning how to do a squat with just your bodyweight. If that’s too difficult, decrease the range of motion and hold on to a chair for support. After you master bodyweight squats, you can do one of two things.
You can perform harder variations of the bodyweight squat, or you can start adding resistance such as dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a barbell.
There is a variation for everyone. It doesn’t matter how you train it, you simply need to do it regularly.
Lastly, the third exercise everyone needs to do is some type of rowing exercise. The vast majority of people have significant muscular imbalances between the front side and back side of their bodies.
In general, the majority of us have tight and overactive chest muscles, as well as anterior shoulder muscles. This is because we are constantly doing things in front of our body such as typing, driving and just about every other activity you can think of.
To make matters worse, many exercise programs tend to overemphasize the anterior muscles by overprescribing exercises like the bench press, push-ups, and shoulder raises.
Part of the reason these muscles are overworked is because they are mirror muscles. I.e., you can see them when looking at yourself in the mirror.
The problem is, these muscles usually don’t need more training, they need less.
Instead, you should focus on training the antagonist muscles on your back side. The non-mirror muscles need some love too.
The average person has extremely weak back muscles compared to the chest and shoulders.
As a result, it is important to restore balance in your training. Include rowing exercise in your routine as often as possible.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
Yes this is definitely a big reason why people stop exercising. Muscle soreness seems to be an inevitable process that happens after you exercise. I think one of the biggest strategies to prevent this from happening is to follow a training protocol that is appropriate to your level.
If you are de-conditioned, or you haven’t exercised in a while, it is wise to keep your workouts short and concise.
The purpose of sports and exercise is to stimulate your muscles, not annihilate them. Unless you are a professional athlete, there is very little benefit to going “all in” and doing super intense workouts on a regular basis.
Exercise should be a continuous process of building you up, not a degrading process that wears you down. That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned over my years of training.
If you want to do this for the long haul, you need to train for longevity.
It all starts with technique and proper form.
In order to prevent yourself from getting injured in the short term, it is important that you understand how each exercise should look and feel.
Stick to exercises that you can do 6–12 repetitions per set with proper technique the entire time. If your form breaks down by the fifth rep, the weight is too heavy, or the exercise is too difficult.
While heavy weights have their time and place, going heavy frequently (especially early in your career) is a recipe for bad form and injury.
To prevent injuries in the long term it is important to create a balanced training schedule.
What I mean by this, is making sure that you train the front and back side of your body evenly as I was alluding to earlier.
Most of us have overactive muscles in the front of our body like the chest and anterior shoulders in our upper body, and the quadriceps in the lower body. Conversely, many of us have weak under-active posterior muscles like the posterior shoulders, the rhomboids, the glutes and the hamstrings.
Training overactive muscles more frequently than the under-active muscles leads to muscle imbalances, joint misalignment, pain, and ultimately injury.
In fact many people would benefit from doing a 2:1 ratio of posterior muscles to anterior muscles to iron out any muscular imbalances that probably already exist.
Lastly, in order to speed up the recovery process you need to give your body the nutrients that it needs to repair itself.
- high-quality protein for muscle and tissue repair,
- carbohydrates to replete diminished glycogen stores,
- and water to improve circulation and delivery of these nutrients throughout your body.
It is especially important to consume these nutrients around the time of your workout. Studies have shown that it is equally effective regardless of whether you consume them in the pre-or the post workout period.
Other things that can help include the utilization of active recovery methods such as walking or dynamic stretching on your off days. Active recovery serves to further improve blood circulation and muscle activation.
Aside from that, research hasn’t found many other strategies to be helpful in speeding up the recovery process.
With that said, if you use the training methods I outlined above, your soreness levels should be manageable and not intolerable.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
My diet has significantly evolved over the years as I have gone through many different phases, and as my understanding of nutrition has improved.
I currently follow a plant-based diet, which consists of a wide array of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I do not consume meat or fish. On very rare occasions I’ll have dairy (pizza is one of my favorite treat meals).
I would also like to point out that I didn’t become plant-based all at once. I created a plan for myself in which I slowly introduced different types of foods into my diet, while slowly eliminating others. I did this over the course of several months until I was able to integrate each component into my daily routine.
I do not necessarily recommend complete plant-based diets to clients. Meat consumption debates often get as heated as political debates, as there are several reasons why someone may or may not want to eat animal products. I completely understand that it is an absolute privilege to be plant-based. Some parts of the world simply do not have access to the wide array of plant-based foods we have here in the United States.
With that said, I do recommend that everyone become at least partially plant-based. I think that everyone would benefit from reducing their consumption of animal products while increasing their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
I am also a big advocate of water consumption. Data consistently shows that Americans do not drink enough water and live in chronically dehydrated states. Adequate water intake is necessary to achieve optimal levels of health. That is an irrefutable fact.
Last but not least, I encourage everyone to avoid foods that did not exist a thousand years ago. This is an easy way to identify highly processed foods that are likely to provide very little nutrition or benefit to you.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Yeah, it’s a book that could definitely benefit from a better title. It’s Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people. I was originally hesitant to read this book because the title makes it sound as if you are manipulating others to get what you want.
However the book is far from that. It is actually a collection of highly effective strategies you can use to better communicate with people and develop stronger relationships with them.
For example, one part of the book discusses how you should avoid arguments as much as possible.
Back when I was younger, I loved having arguments with people, especially when I knew I was in the right. I would do my best to prove to the other person that they were wrong and if I was successful, it made me feel good. But I never took into consideration how it made the other person feel, especially if it was done in public.
I have since avoided arguments as much as possible, especially if there is a chance that someone might get humiliated.
The book also goes over other important life lessons such as showing appreciation, admitting fault, being sincere, and genuinely caring about others.
These are characteristics that I can honestly say have helped me get to where I am today.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would definitely be to teach people how to balance what they eat in the most sustainable way possible.
There are far too many diets out there to choose from each with conflicting recommendations and conflicting results.
Here’s the thing.
Every single one of these diets has the potential to work. However, they will only work for as long as you can follow them. Unfortunately, many of these diets are unsustainable.
I want to start a movement in which people follow a progressive diet. One in which you slowly add nutritious foods into your daily regimen.
Kind of like a stepwise approach that works in every other field of life.
We first start in kindergarten, which is a prerequisite for elementary school, which is a prerequisite for middle school and so on. Or if you are learning to play an instrument or a new sport, you take your time. You start out by learning the basics and building a foundation to grow from.
The same concept should be applied to our eating habits.
Our focus shouldn’t be on making drastic changes, or eliminating entire foods from our diet in one swift motion.
Instead we need to take one step at a time.
First we need to start focusingon adding good foods into our diet.
The more nutrient-dense foods we can integrate into our daily lives, the more likely we are to crowd out and decrease the amount of lower quality foods we consume.
Nutrient-poor foods will naturally fall out of our diets as we begin to feel improvements in the way we look and feel.
That is the movement I would love to bring about. Teaching people how to eat healthy in a progressive systemized manner.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is “It’s not about the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away the unessential.”
This is a quote by Bruce Lee that sums up my view on several things in life. Life is extremely short and extremely busy. It is easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down by irrelevant an unimportant things.
I was guilty of this. I was always trying to find ways to do more every day. I wanted to increase the number of activities I did all the time. 24 hours wasn’t enough time to get all of my work done.
When I first started medical school, things started to change. As any medical student will tell you, your free time becomes very limited. I just didn’t have the luxury to do all of the irrelevant things I had previously enjoyed. This was the first time in my life that I had to carefully pick and choose the extracurricular activities that were most important to me.
Once I started residency training, my free time was slashed even further. One of the most stressful things about residency training is the lack of autonomy in choosing what you can and cannot do. You are working in the hospital for the vast majority of your waking hours. There are 168 hours in a week. 80 of those hours are spent at work.
This is when I learned that I had to further eliminate nonessential things for my life. This included TV, video games, and social media. I had to focus on simplifying my life as much as possible.
I even implemented this concept into my fitness. I simply didn’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym. I trimmed my workouts to just 30 minutes a day and only focused on the most important exercises. By doing this, I actually improved my fitness more than when I would spend 90 minutes working out and doing irrelevant exercises.
At the end of the day, only three things matter; your health, the meaning you get from the work you do, and your relationships with loved ones. Focus on increasing those three things and hack away everything else.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
It would be Steve Kamb. Steve is the founder of this huge fitness site called Nerd Fitness. He was able to find a great niche and appeal to individuals who felt that they didn’t belong in the fitness community.
He reaches millions of people every single day and has some helped people achieve some amazing real-life transformations.
I would love to sit down with him and learn how he was able to achieve such a following and help inspire so many people to make positive changes in their lives.
That is something I aspire to do.