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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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.
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 husband and a father like me, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.
The best way to do this is by joining our Alpha Posse community, where you’ll have access to great tutorials, challenges, and best of all, the support you need to achieve your goals.
And if you’re looking for highly effective nutritional recommendations, check out my interview with my nutrition coach, Nate Miyaki.
Photo via cheezburger