Control What You Can Control, Buffer What You Cannot

By Colin Farrell

Author’s note: This article is a chapter from an eBook we released last year. As we approach the Holiday Season I thought it would be relevant to post again here as people begin to ramp up with travelling and family gatherings . . . it can often be quite difficult to keep up a solid routine in terms of fitness and nutrition, sometimes you don’t have much choice in the matter. I hope you can pull a little nugget out of this that might be helpful in the coming weeks. Cheers!

There are three major areas that often need to be addressed when looking at how to maximize one’s health:

  1. Fitness Regime

  2. Nutrition

  3. Lifestyle

Fitness regime and nutrition were addressed in earlier chapters, though they will be touched on here. Those two factors are immensely important. However, one’s fitness regime occupies, maybe, 3-5 hours of each week (on average). The importance of eating real food and avoiding sugar cannot possibly be overstated, but there are vast amounts of time spent outside of the gym, and not eating, that need to be considered as well.

How much of your day are you sitting? What is your quality of sleep like (see earlier chapter “Sleep Hygiene”)? Are you setting and tracking goals for yourself? Are you having a cup of coffee at 2pm to make it through the last hours of your work day? Are you doing any sort of stretching or mobility work at the end of the day?

Do an evaluation of your day, break it down into progressively smaller portions. Once broken down, ask yourself,

“Is this the most optimal way I can be doing this?”

Notice, the question is not,

“Is this the most optimal way to do it?”

Some things are simply not realistic, so we have to control what is possible to control, and do the best we can to buffer against the things that our beyond our control. In “Sleep Hygiene” it was mentioned that if you have young children, getting sound sleep for 8+ hours is often a near impossibility. However, you can control the temperature in the room and do some light foam rolling to increase the quality of the sleep you can actually get.

What is your morning routine like? Your commute? Your day at the office? If you go the gym, what is your routine there? Do you come early or stay late after class; what do you do with that time? What are your goals for this month, this year… personally, professionally, and health-wise? Do you do meal prep or do grocery shopping on the weekends? Break each piece down, and figure out the best way for you to be able to do it, and make it a habit. Make it a routine.

Building routine into your week or your day can buy you a good amount of time back, and with just little bit of extra time each day, a lot can be accomplished. For example, doing meal prep or laying out your outfits for work for the week on Sunday can buy you back anywhere between 15 minutes to upwards of an hour each day. Let’s average that to 30 minutes of saved time each day. That’s thirty extra minutes to do some yoga, stretching, or ROMWOD or MobilityWOD, come to the gym a little early to work on getting that first pull-up, or spend a little extra time with the kids, your roommate, or a good book.

If you spent an extra 30 minutes a day working on your health and fitness, listening to a Great Course on Audible, hanging out with your family, or knocking out some foam rolling, your health and fitness are surely to increase.

Get a standing desk at work. Convince your co-workers to go for a walking meeting. Dial in your sleep hygiene. Set up a system of “eat this, not that” for yourself if you must eat out while on the road or at work. Set goals for yourself, and actually track your progress. Keep track of how much sleep you are getting, and the increase it if you can.

If you’re coming to the gym 3-5 times a week, eating real food and avoiding sugar, you have some of the most difficult parts of staying healthy nailed down. While you continue to work on that, start dialing in these other little bits and pieces of your life outside the gym and outside of the kitchen. You’d be surprised at what that can do for you physical and mental well-being.


Andrew Killion