The Myth of Time

It appears that my last entry has caused some confusion. My reasons for posting the entry were not to suggest that one needs 5 hours of training each day. On the contrary, I posted the entry to highlight the accomplishments of a 65 year old man. There are still people in this world who mistakenly equate age 65 with a feeble body and retirement home lifestyle. Clearly, this isn’t the case, and Sam Bryant is just one of many examples proving otherwise.

Fortunately, you won’t need 5 hours of training each day to live an active, healthy life. After all, who actually has 5 hours to train each day? And what would you do with 5 hours? As has been said before, less can be more.

I rarely train more than one hour each day. I do however use my time wisely. I train with intensity, and not a minute is wasted. I wake up early to train and then get on with the rest of the day. I may also mix in a brief mini-workout if necessary. That’s it. I’m not consumed with my own training. I’m busy running my business, conducting research, consulting with other athletes and coaches, etc. (not to mention being a husband and father). Even if I had 5 free hours (which will likely never happen), I wouldn’t spend it training. I don’t need 5 hours. When dealing with a strength or conditioning routine, a 5 hour workout is the last thing you’ll need. I spend much less time strength training than many, but am also much stronger than many who spend far more time working on strength. It all boils down to quality over quantity and intelligent program design.

Furthermore, some may counter my comments and suggest that working as a coach somehow means that I run around doing pushups all day. This simply isn’t true. If I’m being paid to train an athlete, I’m not getting paid to show off. I am there to teach. If I need to demonstrate something, I can, but it usually isn’t necessary when working with experienced and/or professional athletes. And if I’m conducting research at the university, it isn’t exactly proper etiquette to perform burpees in the computer lab. Ultimately, no one cares what the coach can do. The coach is paid to prepare his team or fighter for victory. Bill Parcels is a great football coach, but he’s not in shape to get in the game. He isn’t paid to play, he’s paid to coach.

It is also worth noting that some of the stories regarding the training of professional athletes can be somewhat misleading. Consider a professional fighter for a perfect example. Suppose we are in the gym for 3 hours. Technically speaking, the fighter has been training for 3 hours that day. What many fail to realize however is that the fighter isn’t running around the gym doing pushups and pull-ups for 3 consecutive hours. If it is a sparring day, time is spent wrapping and taping the fighter’s hands. We may need to then wait for the ring to clear. We may need to wait for the sparring partners to be adequately warmed up. Some fighters need more time than others. We then need to lace up the gloves, apply grease to prevent cuts, grease the gloves to also prevent cuts, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, the fighter is still working very hard, but it’s not a non-stop 3 hour session. It is also worth noting that much of the work is skill based. When dealing with general health and fitness, you aren’t training for a professional sporting contest. You don’t need to drill new skills over and over again. Instead, you can strip your workout down to the bare essentials. When dealing with strength and conditioning, time is a poor measure of workout quality.

If you plan your workouts properly, you’ll accomplish what you need to accomplish without wasting an entire day. You can still live an active and enjoyable lifestyle outside of the gym. After all, we aren’t training for the gym. We are training to better ourselves, and ultimately better our lives.



  1. Right on, ive never understood how homies stay in the weights gym for 2 hours or more. Wtf are they doing? without wanting to label anyone, it always seems to be the kats with too much mirror time! you know, the ones with the flashy hair cuts and they know all the dudes at the gym!(apart from me haha)

  2. i work permanent nightwork and in my dinner hour which lasts for 35 mins i will often spend 20 of those mins in the printer room on the floor doing a core work-out. but even though i am in work after if i think i need a hard core 200 burpee session i will do it, wipe myself down put a bit of deodorant on then eat my bagel in the couple of mins i have left of my dinner time allowence. at 11.30 pm and we are allowed up to 20 mins off job for a cup of tea which i will often do “stretching” in the disabled toilet (no-one uses) and plus through-out my working shift i am able to crank out reps of press ups and dips (of my hand truck) and pull ups (off the trailor straps).i use what environment is around me , and what bugs me is hearing work colleagues saying they have not time for what ever reason to train.

  3. I am amazed that it was necessarily for you to make this clear for some people. I thought that all of us that go through this blog are more or less active athletes and everybody that trains knows the content of your entry already. But oh well I guess some of the readers are still warming their minds up before the big kick up…., come on guys don’t be on the wait list, go get started!


  4. Thanks Ross for that post!!!!!!!!

    I think the story of the 65 year old bodybuilder, would left many bodies in overtraining.
    I can understand why he trains that long.
    He lives to train that way a dedication.
    Anyway just like you said Ross,

    Stay Strong


  5. nicely put.
    one hour in the gym and thats IT!
    then of course bjj class and judo thats another 1 or 2 hours.
    thats amazing how sam can spend 5 hours lifting, i imagine thats what he does since his goal is hypertrophy.

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