The Busy Man's Guide to Getting In Shape

Even with a busy life, you can still get fit with these basic tweaks.

When you think of ‘training’ or ‘getting in shape,’ what do you think of? Hitting the gym for hours on end? Eating nothing but chicken and broccoli? Generally feeling exhausted and overwhelmed?

I get it, I’m busy too. We all have limited time and energy, and the demands are already pretty high.

But staying healthy is important. And it doesn’t take long for a ‘few extra pounds’ to turn into a ‘few dozen.’

Ready for some good news? You can keep on living your busy life, and get fit, with just a few basic tweaks. Here’s how.

1. Make your workout simpler and faster

Today’s fitness plans have graduated from the old-school approach of slaving over a weight rack.

If done correctly, fitness routines can be simple, fast, and flexible with your schedule, without losing a shred of effectiveness.

For example, I recently recommended the following weekly routine to a friend:

  • 2 x 30 minute resistance exercise sessions — mostly body weight exercises
  • 2 x 15 minute interval exercise sessions — on a treadmill or outside at a track
  • 1 x 60 minute walk — outdoors with his family

That’s less than 3 hours a week, with the option of working out at home.

(This type of “exercise minimalism” works extremely well when designed by a knowledgeable coach. In fact, check out this case studies in exercise minimalism for more detail).

2. Improve your nutrition with small, strategic steps

Most of the nutrition “advice” out there makes eating seem really complicated, even dreary.

Do you have the time and energy for that? I don’t. Fortunately, small tweaks can lead to great results.

Ask yourself: What is one nutrition habit I can improve today?

Look for something simple and specific you can do every day that will add a healthful element to your current eating habits.

But remember, we’re not just looking for simple. We also want strategic. So choose the one thing that may represent your biggest limiting factor.

For example, you may choose to take a fish oil supplement once a day, because you know you’re deficient in essential fatty acids.

Or you may have a piece of fruit as your afternoon snack because you always overeat at dinner when you’re famished.

Then, every two weeks, add another manageable habit to the mix. As you go, your improved habits may address what to eat,  how much to eat  and when to eat .

Avoid changing too much at once; make strategic changes you can sustain. If done consistently, those small stepping stones can lead you to real, long-term improvement.

3. Think less, do more

A lot of fitness and nutrition stuff can seem complicated. And you know what? It is complicated.

That’s where a great coach (or coaching community) comes in.

Put a little time into finding a person, community, or program that feels right to you. Let them handle the thinking, planning and tracking stuff. Your job is to show up, pay attention, and do the work.

Over time, you’ll be amazed at the results.

Bottom line: as we get older, keeping fit and healthy can feel hard. But it doesn’t have to. Even if you’re a busy guy, you can still be a ‘fit guy’.

All you need is a simplified exercise plan, a progressive set of nutrition habits, and a knowledgeable coach to help guide the process.


Want some help finding the eating, exercise, and lifestyle advice for you? Download this free guide: Fitness for men: The busy man's guide to getting in shape and living better.


And for more about Dr. John Berardi, including links to his latest men's health articles, click here.

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