As a professional trainer and fitness coach, I’m often asked about my own training and diet schedule, especially after my article on recovering from shoulder surgery.

At their core, these questions usually boil down to:

  • Am I doing enough?
  • Am I doing too much?
  • Am I doing what I need to do to progress?

At GMB, we’ve always stressed efficiency and fun in training, and to get away from the punishing “hardcore” style of working out.

You don’t need to kill yourself at every session or out-do what you did yesterday.

That’s actually not a very healthy attitude, and doesn’t lend itself to effective training over the long term.

I’d rather you be active and make incremental improvements for the rest of your life than to run yourself into the ground for a few months chasing faster times or more reps in your workout (which often results in eventually abandoning training altogether).

Below, I’m going to share my daily schedule as an example of how you can get great results without making that mistake.

Note: This is a pretty long post.

If you don’t care about my personal schedule, feel free to scroll ahead to the lessons and recommendations.

Disclaimer – My Life Is Not Perfect

I hesitate to share my schedule because I don’t really hold myself as any type of ideal or role model.

I’ve simply found that right now, this schedule is the best fit for me to train consistently for the goals I have, and not burn out. I used to feel burnt out all the time, but thankfully I’ve gotten smarter through experience as well as receiving good advice from good people.

I hope that sharing this will help a few people see that they don’t need to train several hours a day or beat themselves up for not being more INTENSELY HARDCORE than they were yesterday, or other silly crap like that.

So, with that in mind, here’s a typical day for me.

It will give you a fair idea on how much time I spend training and how I balance my health and fitness goals with my other day to day responsibilities.

A Day in the Life

7:00 AM – Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey

The very best alarm clocks ever!

The very best alarm clocks ever!

That is unless my son decides to wake me up. He’s 3 and can wake up much earlier than I’d like. He sleeps in another room so unless he comes flying in to our bedroom, I usually get my beauty sleep.

By 7:00 AM everyone is up and it’s breakfast time for the kids. Since I don’t eat breakfast, it’s just a cup of coffee and some water for me (more on my diet later).

I hear a lot of my friends talk about their enjoyment of a cup of java and some quiet time before heading off to work in the morning. Ahh, that sounds nice…

But, that’s not how we do it in my house!

By this time, my kids are already bouncing off the walls either laughing while playing games, or crying because of something silly.

It usually changes by the minute. If you have children, I know you can relate.

8:30 AM – Kicking the Kids Out of the House

By now the kids are supposed to be ready for pre-school.

The Hurst Family "Station Wagon"

The Hurst Family “Station Wagon”

My daughter in her uniform, and my son in some sort of semi-matching outfit.

Since he’s only 3, he doesn’t have to wear a uniform so we let him pick out what he’s going to wear each day. Some of the outfits he comes up with are pretty awesome.

Orange socks, green pants and a blue t-shirt? Sure, dude. Be yourself little man.

Then I rustle them into the super-duper awesome Kid Mobile, AKA our bicycle that has kid carriers on the front and back.

9:00 AM – Getting the Party Started

After I get the kids to their class, I head back home and get online to check in with the GMB Team, as well as my business partner here in Japan. Masa is my partner in crime over here in Japan for my company called Ryan Method.

Around this time of day, I’ll usually go over my most important project of the day and then answer my most important emails. By this time, another cup of coffee is in order.

Make mine black, thank you.

10:00 AM – 12:30 PM – Workout/Programming/Filming

After the obligatory computer time, I head on out to test movements for programs, and of course do my own workout.

Now you know why we call it the Green Gym!

Now you know why we call it the Green Gym!

On Mondays and Fridays, I’m in the “green gym” so I will typically film quick videos for the GMB blog, clients, or beta testers depending on what’s going on.

I always do this after my regular warmup routine, and before my main training session. I find that strategy works well as an extended warm-up and is a smooth transition into more intensive work.

I also usually work on my new movements and heavy conditioning on Mondays and Friday.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work out at home.

These two days are usually my hand balancing days because we have a great hardwood floor. I’ll also focus on more stretching movements and other things like leg balances.

Wednesdays

Wednesdays aren’t typical for me and I usually go to a gymnastics center downtown.

I only go to the gymnastics center once a week because it it eats up my entire afternoon. The space is only available from 12:00 – 3:00 PM and it takes me about 45 minutes to get there.

This gym has all of the cool gymnastic toys!

This gym has all of the cool gymnastic toys!

The gymnastics center is open for just 3 hours for the public to use as they like, so I spend the entire 3 hours there working on just one or two specific movements.

I pick skills that I’d like to improve and just focus on those for the entire time.

Some people may find it a bit boring, but I love it.

I love those “a-ha!” moments where I figure out what needs to be done to get better.

I’m not saying you have to spend 3 hours on two movements, but you do need to put the time in to get past some plateaus.

And this is just once a week. This is time I’ve set aside, so I really get a chance to work on details that’ll pay off.

Because of the mats and spring floors I can work hard without tearing up my body, like I would on the concrete floors of the “Green” gym center. (And yes, many of my tutorial videos are often filmed on a concrete floor. But I don’t recommend it at all).

Now 3 hours doesn’t mean I’m spending every minute working as hard as I can.

That’s impossible.

I spend a lot of time limbering up, adjusting my form, resting enough to keep my form clean and also helping and getting help from other people there.

For me, Wednesdays are my chance to get out and hook up with other like-minded people wanting to do cool things, have fun and play for a couple of hours.

There are gymnasts, parkour people, performers from Universal Studios Japan, and even a firefighter – all there to workout and have fun. This gym has everything you need for a great workout, from climbing ropes, stall bars, gymnastic equipment, and even a trampoline.

After the Wednesday gym session I head back through Osaka and meet up with Masa. We get together together a couple of times a week to discuss plans in person, and talk about goals, classes, and other important stuff for an hour.

I try and make it home by 5:00 PM.

12:30 PM – Lunch

Except for Wednesdays, this is when I eat my first meal of the day.

I’ve recently started a nutrition program designed by Nate Miyaki. It’s a great fit for my lifestyle and I’ve noticed steady energy and improved performance. I highly recommend his work, it’s reasonable and effective.

The Chef's Specialty

The Chef’s Specialty

My typical meal is a Grilled chicken breast with vegetables and some avocado and salsa, or a several egg omelet with a mix of vegetables.

My wife, who is an acupuncturist, is usually with a patient, so this is my quiet time where I get to be alone for a few minutes.

After my lunch I’ll sit down and relax for a little bit.

Maybe sit on the couch and watch about 10 minutes of a TV program.

I always feel like I need to be doing something during the day, so I can’t sit still for very long. However, I know that I do need some down time after my workout and lunch.

So I take advantage of the quiet and settle my mind down a bit.

1:00 – 5:00 PM – Mindful Work

This is when I sit down and get to work on the computer. I’ll either be working on programs, editing video, writing blogs, or just playing catch up on my emails and messages within our Alpha Posse forum.

This is where (some of) the magic happens...

This is where (some of) the magic happens…

I don’t like spending hours in front of a computer, but I enjoy being able to connect with and help GMB clients from all over the world.

So I get my butt in gear and work as efficiently as possible. Getting a workout in during the early part of the day helps improve my focus for this afternoon stretch.

Sometimes, if I have a handle on my tasks I’ll pick up the kids from pre-school at 2:00 PM and then get back to work. It’s only a quick 5 minute bike ride to their school so it gives me a good break.

5:00 – 5:30PM – Exercise Break

This is when I try to get in another exercise session.

I say exercise, but usually it is a session of lacrosse ball rolling, handstand practice, stretching. Or maybe even just throwing the ball in the park with my dog Bree if I haven’t taken her out in the morning.

5:30 – 8:00 PM  – Teaching Classes

A few days a week, I teach a fitness class for kids. I really love teaching kids and it becomes as much play time for me as it is for them.

I’m lucky enough to have my own kids there with me as well, and I love sharing my passion for physical activities with the next generation.

8:00 PM – Dinner!

Right after the classes it’s dinnertime…or what I like to call Pigout/Feast/Carby time!

My basic nutrition plan looks like this:

  • Fast in the morning only drinking water and black coffee. I limit my coffee intake recently to 2 small cups a day. Not nearly what I used to drink.
  • Maybe have a piece of fruit after my workout like a bruised banana.
  • Eat a lunch with protein, plenty of vegetables and oils (good fat).
  • Dinner is where I eat the bulk of my calories.

And twice a week, I go to town on starchy carbs with dinner.

On Wednesdays, I’ll eat more white rice, and then on Saturdays I’ll eat whatever I can get in my belly (and maybe even enjoy a couple of adult beverages). I’m not a big fan of beer, so I’ll usually have a glass or two of wine with my wife or maybe even some Japanese sake from Niigata.

You can read more about this nutrition program here.

8:30 PM – Quality Time with my Family

We’ll wrestle, run around, play board games, or sometimes watch a TV program in English.

My kids are only allowed to watch a little bit of TV in the evening and it has to be in English, since they usually only hear Japanese language all day long.

Then it’s bath time.

I’m usually the one in charge of hosing my kids off in the front yard. Of course I’m kidding. This is Japan – there’s no way we’d have a front yard! That’s why I hose them off in our back yard instead.

After the hose down, it’s bedtime. I love reading and will always encourage that for my kids, so in the evening I put my daughter to bed and we read her book together.

My wife reads to my son which usually ends up in an epic battle of trying to get him to calm down so he’ll fall asleep.

9:00 PM – Putting the Suckas to Bed

After our kids pass out from a long day, it’s finally time for my wife and I to have some time to ourselves.

We’ll talk about our day and other husband/wife stuff. Chika stays up later than I do because she likes to watch her Japanese TV shows. I’m not really a fan of TV so I lie in bed and read my kindle.

10:00 -10:30 PM – Sleepytime

Around 10:00 PM is usually lights out for me.

Scotty saved me from strict Paleo hell.

Scotty saved me from strict Paleo hell.

Yep, I’ve become an early bird.

It’s funny because I would normally stay up way past midnight until I had a nutrition consultation from Scotty Hagnas from Crossfit Portland. I had been on a strict Paleo diet and didn’t realize how badly it was messing with me.

Once I started his plan and added carbohydrates back into my diet, my sleeping pattern changed for the better.

I try to get a good 8 to 9 hours of sleep when I can.

That’s because when you have kids, there’s no telling when you might have to wake up during the night to take your kid on an emergency pee-pee dash or something else just as important.

Somebody That I Used to Know

Five years ago I used to do things a lot differently.

Especially in the way I ate.

I would have a massive breakfast and it would typically be a big bowl of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, avocado, and maybe some sausage. My lunch would be medium sized and then my dinner the smallest of them all.

At the time, this approach was actually pretty good, because I would train mid-morning and then go to the dojo for my martial art practice from around 8:00 – 11:00 PM after teaching classes.

So having a small dinner wasn’t that bad a thing for me.

My Paleo Period

Then, about two years ago I cut out all carbs and went total Paleo. My breakfasts were still the biggest meal of the day but I cut out the oatmeal and instead upped my protein and fats.

At first it was great but then I started having trouble.

I’d have issues gaining and even maintaining weight, being irritable all of the time, always feeling tired, and not being able to make it through my workouts.

Finally I realized that I needed to make a change, so I signed up for the consultation with Scotty  who streamlined my diet and made it much more effective. And since refining my diet further with Nate’s help, I feel the best I’ve felt in years.

Achieving More With Less

I had been doing twice a day workouts everyday for many years, but now I do much less.

I might stretch or play around in the afternoon but I wouldn’t call it a workout. It’s not that I’m getting old, but that I realized that my priorities have changed.

Now I focus on cutting away what I don’t need and being more efficient in my workouts.

Turning 40 has been a great thing for me.

A lot of people might say it, but really, I feel the best I’ve ever felt.

Sure, I’ve got some aches and pains every now and then. But I’m doing skills and movements that I wasn’t able to do 10 years ago.

The shift I made in training, back to my “roots” so to speak instead of the ultra competitive interval conditioning type training that I had been doing was so much better for my body and for my mind.

Now I truly feel that I’m getting better with age.

Ditching the Hardcore Mentality

Before, I wanted to pack everything in to my training. I’d do hard cardio, weight lifting, gymnastic movements, and then go and train in my martial arts.

To be honest, it was beating me up.

So I had to make a very important decision. That was to stop practicing martial arts and quit the “hardcore” attitude.

My job is teaching strength, health, and fitness, and my martial arts practice and intensive competitive style workouts were keeping me hobbled.

I loved to spar, but at my level and being the only non-Japanese person around, it was like I was in competition every single time I stepped on to the mat.

The next day I was always exhausted and it was interfering with my work and personal life. So, while it was tough to quit something that brought me to Japan all those years ago, it was an easy decision since it was for my family.

I let go of the "hard core" training...and was able to do 40 back flips on my birthday!

I let go of the “hard core” training…and was able to do 40 back flips on my birthday!

And my choice of exercise training fit in that style as well, I felt the need to beat myself down in my sessions and “beat my score” every time I was scheduled to have a peak day. Yes, there were scheduled rest days, but the constant push on those intense days was simply too much.

It seemed to mesh well with my martial arts training, and it did, but I realize now that they were both not sustainable, and not really what I wanted to keep doing for the rest of my life.

Choosing Lifelong Training

And I wanted to train for the rest of my life, not burn out and quit.

Thanks to the past couple years of my GMB work I’ve got the base down for being able to really grow from here on out.

I’m really looking forward to the next five years and seeing just how much I can improve not only in my skills, but also in my body composition.

It might sound vain, but I don’t plan on being an overweight 50 year old.

Hell, I plan on still swinging around on the rings and throwing back flips. And I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t happen with the way I’m training and living right now.

It’s taken me close to 40 years, but I think I’m getting closer to finally understanding what I need to do to stay nourished and strong. Now I can train in a way that will keep me going for many years to come.

If You Only Remember One Thing…

Remember to listen to your body, prioritize your health, and not fall into the trap of making your workouts a sort of punishment where you feel like a failure if you aren’t “better” on a particular day. That’s not always how it works.

As you can see, I have a normal hectic life. It’s probably a lot like yours.

I don’t have the luxury of waking up each morning to focus only on eating, working out, eating some more, working out again, eating again, and then sleeping. I’m a husband, a father, and a partner in two companies where I try to be a good role model for other guys just like me.

Sure, there are times where it’d be nice if my life wasn’t as crazy as it is. But truth be told, I wouldn’t change my lifestyle for anything in the world.

And if you’re a spouse and parent like me, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Next: The Complete Ryan Hurst Saga

Discussion

  1. Thanks for the insight and information Ryan. And as usual, the inspiration. – Dusty

  2. This has got to be one of the best posts you’ve ever written. So cool to let us in on your world. The podcasts are great too. Quick question: I’m struggling with the L-sit (Rings 1). I have trouble getting my legs parallel. Is that due to lack of hip flexibility or hamstrings or both? I’m doing tuck ups to try and get the L-sit over time. Any other suggestions? I understand it takes time.

    • RyanHurst says:

      Thanks Michael.
      Hard to tell without seeing you perform it. However, something you can try is extending one leg at a time and holding. Then go back and work on the open tuck position with both legs working towards the full l-sit.
      Keep us posted on your progress.

      Cheers!

  3. This is a fascinating insight. As you say, not much removed from my own position. I suffered the similar issue of trying to squeeze in too many different hardcore workouts, and simply was overtraining.
    Interesting also to see your take on nutrition. Never heard of the breakfast avoidance and continued fat burn being a positive thing. Always believed you needed to kickstart the metabolism in the morning though a healthy breakfast. I’m a complete believer in high protein moderate carb to suit though.

  4. sixgunsix says:

    Ryan-
    Great post!! Life on the rings begins at 57, I’m doing all those crazy things people say you can’t do when you get older, and I am in the absolute best physical and mental shape I have ever been in. I’ve never been a gymnast, but someone once said “to look like one you gotta train like one”- so I do!!
    6G6

  5. Hey Ryan,

    Happy 40!

    Looking back at the fun days at Chiangmai, maybe life begins at sixty! :)

    Shouider injury for you, heart attack for me. I guess challenges like these bring us to the next level.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Happy days!

    • RyanHurst says:

      Ash! Great to hear from you my friend! Thank YOU for being such an incredible inspiration. Hopefully one of these days soon we can meet up in your neighborhood. :)

      • Hey Ryan, this was a most excellent post! I agree very much with your conclusion that you derived about fitness being about health and longevity, especially in the face of being an adult with real responsibilities.

        I’m sure Ash and the rest of us would very much like to see you at our side of the town soon! Hope to make it happen one day.

        • RyanHurst says:

          Douglas! Great to hear from you. I think we should definitely get something set up over there. I would love to see all of you guys again.

  6. Hi Ryan, Thanks so much for sharing this insight into your life…sounds hectic! It’s great that you have been able to find this balance between your work, fitness, and family life. I’ve been struggling with this hardcore mentality and have come to the realization that I’m also not getting any younger, and that hard-style martial arts training I’ve done all my life has taken its toll on my body. This is one of your best posts, and I appreciate the wisdom and insight you have been willing to share with us. Thanks! Victor

  7. Rob Vrancken says:

    Ryan, you have found your balance! I am happy for you! Live your live, be strong, flexibel and happy

  8. Nice post. Sorry to hear about having to give up martial arts. Judo right? Too many don’t get that randori ! = shiai.

    • RyanHurst says:

      Yep. Judo for many years and then Shorinji Kempo. So true, and sad, that people think that every time you randori it should be a shiai.

  9. Hi Ryan, it is a really true life post. You gave up the martial arts but you found a peace inside you and this is the aim of probably all martial arts, is not it? I am 41, did have my start in new life in the age of 34, now I fell good, look not bad, have a family and I am happy! Good luck Pal!

  10. Nate Miyaki says:

    Hey Ryan, great post man. As we talked about, I went through the same phase of Pure Paleo dieting mixed with high intensity training, and it was a disaster for me as well. By sharing your story, you are going to help many people.

  11. Chuck Kechter says:

    Great post Ryan! This resonates with me. I made this sort of transition back in 2007 (after your yoga and MA seminar in Seattle) and have never been happier! I am ding free, stronger, mobile, flexible, etc… At 50 I just got my first L-sit Chin ups! Being a trainer I couldn’t afford to let my training interfere with my lifestyle, job and family obligations… Though I did keep the MA’s – I just started a training group where we do some “gentleman” ju-jitsu (we’re all a bunch of guys over 40 – with families, jobs we can’t afford to be banged up for, etc.). Keep up the good work my friend!

  12. Ethan Fesperman says:

    Ryan,

    I really enjoyed this post and think your GMB products are top notch. After reading about the dietary adjustments you made, I am curious about the differences for you personally between the dietary protocol outlined for you by Scotty Hagnas compared with the Nate Miyaki template. I know both advocate a higher carb intake than most low-carb paleo folks, but what made you seek out Nate’s guidance after you had already worked with Scotty? What refinements in your own nutrition did this bring about?

    I am a 42 year old father and future “Lord of the Rings” looking to optimize for energy, strength, etc. I follow a similar nutrition plan to the one you outlined, but I am looking to tweak it some more.

    Cheers,
    Ethan

    • RyanHurst says:

      Thanks for reading Ethan.

      I trust both Scotty and Nate a lot since I’ve been friends with them for quite a while. Heck, I’ve known Scotty for I think almost 10 years now. Working with Nate this time around was more about me reading the first draft of I-Feast before it was published and thinking, Wow, this totally fits my lifestyle. Not that what I was doing with Scotty didn’t. It’s just that Scotty and I achieved what we were after on Scotty’s plan and then when it was time to redo my plan Nate happened to send me his I-Feast draft to read. I loved it and wanted to try it out. So Nate and I figured out what I needed and he tweaked it a bit for my needs.

      I’m hesitant to go into details because everyone’s goals are different. What I suggest is getting in touch with either Scotty or Nate and doing a consultation with them.

      Or just get Nate’s I-Feast and reading through that first. There is TONS of info and examples in there.

      Cheers.

  13. Dear Ryan,

    Thank you for sharing so much about your personal life. I can relate on so many levels.

    I also jumped on the HIIT bandwagon, but I never allowed it to stress me out. I do the best can on each workout and that’s it! I am also training in martial arts, karate, and I found that this type of workouts are great for an upcoming event (belt test, tournament, etc).

    Sad to hear that you decided to quit Judo. I was wondering if you think that you might ever go back to it?

    I just had a baby (almost 3 months), sleepless nights make it hard to have a steady schedule let alone, having a constant workout program. Right now, I focus on the baby and work and train whenever I can. I use my karate training to stay active, although I don’t train as hard as I could so that I don’t burn out.

    One thing I learn is to listen to my body and adjust accordingly. I think I’m finally in tune with it and although I have a lot yet to learn, I am doing alright. All thanks to people like you, who share their knowledge and basically give us permission to “chill” on our fitness goals.

    Fitness is a journey!

    Thanks again,

    Al

    • RyanHurst says:

      Thanks for reading Al! And congrats on your new arrival. :)
      I love the martial arts, but I won’t be getting back on the mat anytime soon. Maybe never to be honest. I’ve very happy where I am right now and finding great challenges off the mat that keep me motived like when I was doing martial art. But without all of the “extra” stuff that went along with it. ;)

  14. Thefitrebel says:

    Thanks for the insight Ryan. I too am starting to find the limitations on hardcore physical training. I’m finding more success in training my mind instead. I’m finding if I can take Care of my mind then they body naturally falls in line. Good to know someone as advanced as you are paving the way.

  15. It was interesting reading about your schedule Ryan, particularly the I-Feast diet which I just had a read up about. I’m going to try and switch to this tomorrow as I’m fed up with my typical diet of eating 6 times a day and spreading my meals out and I’m also looking to save on buying protein supplements! How do you find your energy levels throughout the morning and afternoon given that most of the food/energy is eaten later in the day? Thanks for the website and info too, I just started Jarlo’s focused flexibility program today to help with my martial arts as I can’t seem to open up my right hip very well among other things (previous injuries etc). Looking forward to seeing results from that and my parallettes training. Cheers Andy

    • RyanHurst says:

      Hey Andy. I have plenty of energy for my workouts in the morning and then throughout the day. It’s great! Good to hear that you are working with FF. Keep us posted.

  16. Andrew Bernard says:

    Great post Ryan, thanks for sharing … I’m a father of two (2-year and 7-month old) so I know the craziness of parenthood you describe.

    I’m intrigued by your diet and will read the article you referenced – I might try it, but I have to say I’m really going to struggle giving up breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day especially after I go running in the morning (3-6 miles, 3-4 days out of the week). With that schedule I feel like I would be starving all day without breakfast. I guess I’ll just have to try it and see.

    • RyanHurst says:

      The way I eat changes depending on what I’m doing so the above is just an example. I say find what works for you and stick with it! Cheers

  17. Hi Ryan

    You have a great worklife balance going on. Like you, I skip breakfast and now I find I can eat two large meals per day that leave me full without piling on the pounds.

    A question for you if I may…I am not the most flexible person – can’t touch my toes, but I am very sporty and reasonably fit – football, running, gym etc. What would be the three or four stretches you would recommend for someone to perform regulalry to increase their general flexibility?

    I am sure others would be interested in your response.

    Thanks in advance,
    Bern

  18. I am doing the Paleo diet with some modifications. I eat most of my carbs pre-workouts (oatmeal cooked with water, i don´t drink milk). At diner i eat mostly meat and vegetables and fruit. So i don´t feel tired because i am eating carbs to fuel my workouts which are pretty intense. So i am combining feasting with Paleo. At the morning i drink cofee, but since i wake up at 6AM//AM 6 days a week sometimes i need to break some eggs. Most of the days i have 3 meals (Lunch, Pre-Workout and i eat the bulk of my calories at night).

Join the Discussion