Imagine a guy in his mid-40s who’s had multiple surgeries for serious injuries. He gets up at 6am every day, fixes breakfast for his kids, walks his dog, gets his kids off to school, and heads to work.
He spends his day doing what’s necessary to run his business–everything from meetings to boring paperwork–before heading home to have dinner with his family. Somewhere in there, he’ll get in a training session, making sure to work around his injuries and stay safe.
On the weekends, he’s locked into swim lessons and martial arts practice for the kids. If he has free time, it’s dedicated to his family.
In case you haven’t guessed it, I’m talking about Ryan Hurst, co-founder of GMB Fitness. He’s a regular guy with the same sorts of challenges many people face with fitting training into their lives.
In this article, we’ll talk about the most common barriers to entry with training, and show you how to work around those. And we’ll also use Ryan’s schedule as an example of how to “fit it all in.”
Your Challenges Are Real… But They’re Not Unique
The challenge of fitting training into your life–whatever it may look like–is not a simple one.
You see fitspirational B.S. like, “be stronger than your excuses” or “someone who is busier than you is running right now”–yes, these are literal quotes you can find on the Googles. And you know how wrong they are because you have a real life with real challenges, and it’s just not that simple (I won’t even get into how harmful those statements are–that’s a topic for another article).
The reality is that, for most of us, there are many roadblocks to fitting training into our lives.
Whether it’s a lack of time, or age-related concerns, or past injuries, these barriers can make it hard to see how training fits into your life. Especially when you look at successful fitness professionals who seem to just have it all together.
We each have our own challenges (those “perfect” fitness pros included), and the details will be different from person to person, but after thousands of clients have emailed us over the years, we’ve yet to encounter a truly unique challenge. There are commonalities in all the problems we’ve seen.
What’s cool about that is we’ve helped clients find solutions to whatever hurdles they’re facing, and their experiences can probably help you.
Plus, whatever you’ve been through, Ryan’s probably been through it too.
What are the Barriers to Physical Fitness and Activity?
There are many things that might be getting in your way, but we’ve found that most people who are having trouble fitting training into their lives are facing one (or more) of the following three obstacles:
We’ve seen (and experienced) all of these, so we’ll show you how those can all be overcome.
Think you’re too busy for exercise?
We get it. You have what seems like a thousand responsibilities demanding your attention. Life gets super busy!
But being busy doesn’t mean you can’t do any physical activity at all. Sure, your schedule may not allow for a dedicated hour of training 3-4 days per week. Maybe you can only squeeze in 10 or 15 minutes here and there throughout your day–that’s something!
Further down in this article, you’ll see that Ryan is pretty damn busy, but he carves out some time that works in his schedule.
It would be crazy to recommend that you do what Ryan does–we don’t know what your particular schedule looks like! But it’s important to take a look at your own schedule and see when you’ll have the greatest chance of success of doing what you’ve got planned.
As an example, our client Amanda was a busy stay-at-home mom of two little boys, and fitting training into her life wasn’t exactly easy. So she found a way to train with her kids, making exercise a natural part of her family’s lives. Here, you can see her in action:
Amanda and Ryan are just examples, but you can see how two people with vastly different schedules and lives found what works for them and their lives. And you can too.
Think you’re too old to start training?
A lot of people think being over 40 is an automatic barrier to entry for any training. That’s just not true.
For one thing, all three of GMB’s founders–Ryan, Jarlo, and Andy–are over 40 and doing pretty cool shit. For another, we’ve got clients of all ages, some of whom have only started getting serious about training and movement long after that arbitrary “cut off” of 40.
That’s not to say there aren’t certain challenges that come with getting older. It’s dismissive to say “age is just a number” and imply that you should be able to do everything at 50 that you did at 20.
For some people, that’s the case and that’s awesome. For others, they do have to make certain adjustments. And for still others, their bodies feel even better as they get older.
Our trainer and longtime client Stephen is a really good example of that. He’d been active his whole life, but it wasn’t until he started changing his training mindset in his 60s that he really started making some incredible improvements. Check it out:
You can get started with training wherever you are in life. It may take some time, and you may need to make certain adjustments, but you can absolutely get stronger, more flexible, and move better–no matter your age.
Think your body’s too broken for a training program?
This may come as a surprise if you’ve seen the way Ryan moves, but he’s had some serious injuries over the course of his life, including:
- Knee surgery to repair an MCL tear
- Shoulder surgery to repair a SLAP tear
- Ankle surgery, which left him with a plate and 6 screws in his ankle
Thankfully, most people never deal with that many injuries in their lives, but even if you have had multiple injuries, Ryan is proof that you can work your way back to a functional and strong body.
You may be thinking, “Okay, but Ryan has a background in training. I don’t have that. My body is too broken to do what he does.”
Well, who ever said you have to do what Ryan does?
We’re all about helping people make their bodies more capable of doing the things they want and need to do. And that means working at your own level and aiming for attributes and abilities that support your goals–not someone else’s.
Take our client Dana, for instance. She has Multiple Sclerosis and knows that trying to emulate Ryan (or anyone else for that matter) is unrealistic for her. She knows her limitations, but has used our programs and method to adjust things to her own level and make her body as strong and capable as she can.
Maybe you’ve had a serious injury, or you seem to keep getting hurt no matter what you try. The key is working around your limitations to find things you enjoy, that don’t exacerbate any issues, and that help you make your body more capable for the things you want to do.
A Day in the Life of Ryan Hurst’s Routine
Okay, we’ve got all those fears and limiting beliefs out of the way. Hopefully, you can see how working training into your life doesn’t have to be restricted by factors such as time or age or injuries.
Everything is workable, as long as you work around your life.
To show you how every person has to make adjustments based on his or her own life circumstances, let’s take a peek at Ryan’s schedule. You’ll see that he’s about as busy as can be, and making training a priority is not “easy” or “simple.” It’s a real challenge, but he’s found a way to make it work in his own life.
Weekdays (Monday – Friday)
|6am||• Get up, fix breakfast for the kids, and eat with them|
|7:15am||• Leave for work
• Stop at a park on the way to work with Bree (Ryan's dog)
|7:30am||• Meditation #1|
|8:00-9:00am||• GMB meetings|
|9:00am-12:30pm||• GMB work, such as emails, answering questions on the forums, and shooting videos because the lighting is good during this time
• Also take a quick lunch during this time
|12:30pm||• Meditation #2|
|1:00-2:30pm||• Workout or BJJ|
|2:30-4:30pm||• Maybe film some things
• Usually do some focused work since everyone else in the company is sleeping during this time (Ryan lives in Japan, so this is the middle of the night for most of the team)
|4:30-5:50pm||• Ride bike home and play with Shion (Ryan's son)
• Eat dinner with the family somewhere during this time
|5:50pm||• Take Sienna (Ryan's daughter) to swim practice|
|6:00-8:00pm||• At Sienna's swim practice
• While practice is going on, Ryan will do more work for GMB, whether it's answering forum logs, working on developing the GMB method, or prepping for other things.
|8:30pm||• Get home, take a bath/shower, and hang out with the kids|
|9:00pm||• Tuck in the kids for the night, then hang out with Chika (Ryan's wife) for a bit|
|9:30pm||• Read on the Kindle in bed
• Asleep by 10:30pm
Weekends (Saturday – Sunday)
|Saturday||• 6-8:30am - At Sienna's swim practice
• Get some work done for the rest of the morning
• Spend the afternoon hanging out with Shion and doing BJJ together
• Family usually goes out for an early dinner after Sienna gets back from afternoon swim practice
|Sunday||• Sienna usually has swim meets on Sundays
• If no swim meets, the family usually goes somewhere for the day
If there’s one thing that should stand out from Ryan’s schedule, it’s that he’s a pretty busy guy.
And yes, he does spend a fair amount of time on his training–but that’s necessary for his life. After all, he does this for a living, so training doubles as work for him (although it’s work he enjoys!).
But the important thing is to make sure the structure and type of training you do matches your goals and your life.
The examples we shared above of our clients show how people from very different walks of life have been able to find ways to integrate training into their lives. Our method of training encourages working around your own limitations and abilities to make your training work for you.
How to Overcome the 3 Most Common Physical Obstacles
Whatever obstacles may be getting in your way, it should be pretty clear by now that there are reasonable ways to work around them if you want to. And yes, that includes the most common physical barriers that make people think they can’t get started:
- Wrists that don’t want to move
- Stiff-as-nails shoulders
- Hips and back as tight as Mick Jagger’s pants
I can’t even tell you how many people write to us saying they don’t think they can do the kinds of movements we teach because they’re “too tight” in these areas. Ironically, it’s those very movements that will help them overcome their movement troubles.
1. Wrists and Hands
Most people don’t spend a lot of time bearing weight through their hands–or even using their hands and wrists for more than pecking away at a computer. So, their wrists and fingers are not used to the pressure of performing skills like handstands, cartwheels, and crawling.
Ryan often refers to a term they use in Japan translates to “40-year-old shoulder,” or what we call “frozen shoulder” in the west.
It’s where the shoulders tighten up so much that people can’t reach up above their heads. Usually it happens so gradually that people don’t notice it until that rare occasion when they stretch their arms up more than usual! It’s so common that it seems people expect it to happen.
Well it’s not normal, and addressing this issue is vital to getting the most out of a training program (or out of life, for that matter).
In this tutorial, we’ll go over some essential exercises for overcoming shoulder pain and stiffness. After using that routine for a while, you can work on our daily shoulder mobility routine to keep your shoulders moving well for life.
3. Hips and Back
There’s a lot of alarmist news about how sitting will literally kill you. LITERALLY. While it’s probably not as immediately life threatening as all that, sitting for long periods is not the best thing in the world for you.
Your hips and back are particularly affected, as they are forced into the poor positioning of sitting in a chair all day. The “chair shaped posture” is a real thing, with hips and back tight and weakened from being flexed and rounded.
How to Fit Training into Your Life
We all have barriers that make it difficult to train–be they restrictions of time, mental fortitude, or physical ability–but we can get stuck in the trap of thinking that “training” has one definition.
In reality, training can mean anything that helps you improve your physical condition for the goals and life you have.
Maybe you have the time, motivation, and physical ability to work on a rigorous training program right now. If so, that’s great! Put in the work, and you’ll achieve your goals.
But maybe that’s not you. Maybe you can’t carve out an hour or so everyday to train. That’s totally fine.
Our free Strength & Mobility Kickstart will help you start building your foundation for whatever is most important to you right now. And it helps you start small so you can work on what you can.