Training is critical to keep skills up, strength and conditioning going, and to be honest a boost of endorphins to reduce stress and help you feel good. You could be training in strength, skill, martial arts, doesn’t matter; what does is finding time to get the most out of whatever it is you are doing. I personally train in the martial arts and strength/conditioning as a prior and current first responder. For me then with a full-time job, preparing for a new baby, helping my wife, and regular house hold chores, finding time for self care is something I have the schedule. Here are the tips and tricks I use.
Make training a Meeting with yourself you can not cancel. If you have it on your calendar, and you have it reserved, you will be more apt to show up. I schedule a 45-1 hr block daily immediately after work. This keeps me on a schedule and it also helps it become a habit, a decision you don’t have to think about.
Be efficient and effective so you aren’t wasting your time. Use the 80/20 principal here. 80 of your benefit will come from 20 of your actions. You can also think of this as the Minimum Effective Dose or MED. This is again, what is the minimalist amount of work/activity I need to do, to get the most out of the time I am putting in? This applies to Strength and conditioning, but also works for combatives/Martial Arts/ other skills training.
KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. Don’t make things more complicated then they need to be, because once you do that, you may make excuses to not do it because of the complexity you have injected into the skills training. This rule can apply to all areas of your life, reducing stress and limiting mental drain.
Pick a training type that fits into the above in any skill, and you will succeed. It will be small victories each day that will compound into big wins. Just like compounding interest on a loan, use these smaller sessions to achieve that victory everyday – so even if the rest of the day goes to hell, you accomplished this.
For Physical Training – get kettlebells and dumbbells. Barbells are even better and train full body 2-3 days a week. The bigger the movement like compound lifts ( Bench Press, Deadlift, Back Squat) the more bang for your buck. Use any of the 5×5/5×3, 531 programs out there, or my own choice of Tactical Barbell. I am in and out of the gym weight training in 35-45 minutes. I always have something in the tank when I need it. I am as strong as ever and its simple so I am not mentally drained about my lifts.
For Conditioning – using kettlebells and HIIT will get you smoked, breathing hard and soaked with sweat in as little as 15-20 minutes, 2-3 days a week. That’s all it takes to get into good shape or maintain your current build while handling the rest of your day and keeping you strong for a lifetime.
For Martial Arts/ Flexibility/Combatives/Skills Training – 15-20 minutes of mental focus and minimal space is needed. I run through imaginary attacks based on scenarios I have done in training or on the street. I do Aikido and Krav Maga so you have drills or Kata you can do to keep your mind sharp and ready. If you have a training partner, that’s even better. 10-15 of stretching, dynamic stretching or light yoga will keep you from being locked up and weak in your older years, extending your quality of life. Think of it as a long term investment in being able to do what you want for longer. Be that golfing, fishing, hiking to just being able to get out of your chair without help.
For mental training – 5 minutes, do box breathing from my previous posts, do a simple body scan, or install and use a free app like Calm. Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss, to multi-millionaires do some type of mental training to keep them focused, calm and happier. 5 minutes can be used when you wake up to prepare for your day, while out for a walk, or as you are laying in bed at night before sleep. This is a large ROI right here.
So taking all of the above into totals:
Physical training + flexibility + mental training = 45-60 minutes a day.
Flexibility + Mental = 15 minutes a day
Skills work = 15- 20 minutes to any of the above.
That’s it. You don’t have to do it all every day. Just try to do something little everyday for those small victories to help supplement your life as a husband and father. Stay frosty.