Time Management For Success In Bodybuilding And Life

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Time Management For Success In Bodybuilding And Life

This is a three part lecture series I did on YouTube which was a departure from my normal videos.  This was a real class, meaning that if you want to get a lot out of it then you need to do the homework!  Success in bodybuilding is ALL about time management and this three lecture class uses the Stephen Covey book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as the course textbook.

Lecture 1: Intro

Lecture 2: Setting Fitness Goals

Lecture 3: Planning for Success


Have you ever said:

  • I don’t have time to workout today.
  • I don’t have time to eat healthy.
  • I don’t have time to do daily cardio.
  • I don’t have time to get 8 hours sleep.

If so then this is THEEEE most important class you will ever take, not only for your fitness and health goals but for your life goals as well!

Everybody has different goals but no matter what they are you need to time management to make sure your time doesn’t get frittered away by things that really are not that important to you.  Please check out “7 habits of highly effective people” from your library and give it a read – its quick, you can read it in a few nights and it will change your life. It helps you hone in on what your goals are, and helps you break seemingly impossible goals into small, easy to accomplish chunks. But most importantly, the book helps you balance the needs of your boss, family, school, and friends, while still making progress toward your own goals.

Building a muscular, ripped, healthy physique is ALL about time management! Those who have poked around my website know I constantly harp on how important it is to know your fitness goals – this book is the reason I am so goal focused. Being goal focused is the way to accomplish in life what you want to! If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, you wont achieve it. If you know what you want to achieve but don’t have a realistic, step-by-step plan, then you wont achieve your goal either. So you want to get muscular, ripped and become a fitness model? You can do it and this book will help you map out a plan. Please, if you only read one book this year then read this one because it will change your life forever.

Time for a little tough-love here. When people say that they “don’t have time” for proper nutrition or to workout, what they are usually saying is that they’d rather do FarmVille, Facebook, or video games. When people say they don’t have time to get enough sleep, what they usually mean is that they would rather watch evening TV than get enough sleep. If its important for you to build a healthy, awesome physique then make it a priority in your life! Everyone has 24 hours in a day – every minute you get to decide what to do with your time.

  • Are you going drinking with your friends or are you going to cook a batch of meals for next week?
  • Are you going to watch TV or are you going to go to bed early to get enough sleep?
  • Are you going to watch soccer on TV or go out and PLAY soccer?

Life is about making tough choices – are you willing to make the choices required to be healthy and jacked?


Read book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

Making Fitness Goals

Before we talk about goals in general, lets talk specifically about fitness goals. If you dont have specific long term, fitness goals, you will never achieve them. As an example “I wanna get jacked” is NOT a fitness goal. Why? Because its not specific enough, how do you know when you have succedded? When your GF says you are jacked? When your buddies say your jacked? Who knows! How do you turn that into a good goal? How about “I want a LBM of 190lbs and a bodyfat of less than 7%”, excellent Lets look at some other examples of excellently worded long term fitness goals:

  • “I want washboard abs by this summer!”
  • “I want to get my black belt in Karate before I turn 21”
  • “I want to be starting quarterback my senior year”
  • “I want to Beat school track record for 100m”
  • “I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2013”
  • “I want to medal at the NPC national bodybuilding contest in Altlanta next year”

Now each of those long term goals has several components. [whow below chart] We will cover this more in lecture 3 but be thinking of what it takes to acheive these goals. In some cases, its really obvious. For example to get washboard abs, you gotta lower bodyfat. But others are not so simple. For example, getting your black belt in Karate involves increasing explosive strength, increasing flexibility, increasing coordination/balance, and increasing endurance].

  • lower body-fat
  • improve endurance
  • gain strength
  • gain muscle mass
  • improve coordination
  • improve balance
  • increase speed
  • increase flexibility
  • increase explosive strength

Now lets talk about goals in general though. The 7-habits book has an awesome way of planning your day, it starts by determining your roles. For example, if you are in high school your roles might be student, son, friend, musician, and athlete. For each of those roles, you come up with long term goals, then you break those big goals down into a bunch of simple little daily tasks – well talk about breaking your fitness goals down into daily tasks in the next lecture but lets talk about the goals now. Lets go back to our example student and show what kind of goals we are talking about.

  • student
    • get a 3.6/4.0 GPA
    • get accepted to a university
    • get a scholarship
  • son
    • plan parents surprise 25th anniversary party
  • friend
    • help you best friend pass math class
  • musician
    • Have a recital in Carnegie Hall
    • Form a wedding band and have 4 paid gigs a month
  • Athlete
    • Beat school track record for 100m
    • Win state wrestling in the 70kg weight class

Homework Assignment 2

  • For 48 hours don’t use the word “can’t”, use “I have chosen not to” or “I don’t want to”
  • Write one or two specific, long term fitness goal
  • Identify your roles
  • Come up with long term goals for all your roles

Planning For Success!

In this lecture I’m going to help you make action plans for your fitness goals.

Lets talk about motivation for a moment. Here are the four top motivation killers:

  • unrealistic expectations
  • vague goals
  • unrealistic idea of time available
  • lack of a action plan

The first two items we covered in lecture 2, the last two we will cover here. First I’m going to share with you MY long term fitness goals. By the way, for me “long term” means before I die :)

  • Bike from Amsterdam, across the Alps to Venice
  • In 1.2 mile swim, be in top 10% of my age group
  • Finish in top 10% of my age bracket in the half Ironman Triathlon
  • Medal in the nationals NPC physique championships
  • Make it to local beach volleyball semi finals in open div
  • Do yoga weekly for 2 years
  • Take up Tae Kwon Do again and get black belt
  • Learn to surf well enough to be proficient and safe on 6′ waves

Thats a pretty scary list. Scary enough that most would throw up their hands and give up, but wait, there more! There is a reason I asked you to write down goals in other areas of your life as well, its because you have to see all your time demands laid out on the table before you can make a realistic plan. Let me share with you another of my roles – aviator

Aviator Goals:

  • Build own airplane
  • Fly it around whole country from Maine, to florida, to California, to Alaska.

I started building my airplane in 2001 and made good progress till 2006 when I started my fitness website. I am serious about finishing my airplane in 2013 and to do this will take a serious time commitment. See why its important to look at ALL your goals??? Its just not realistic to think I can work toward all my fitness goals AND the goal of finishing my airplane too. So, the first task is pruning. What fitness goals do I realistically have time to work toward? Which are most important to me? Given the time demands of building my airplane in 2013, here are the short term fitness tasks I want to accomplish in 2013 that will help me work toward my long term goals:

  • Better my 200 mile race time by one hour in 2013
  • Play beach volleyball once a week, March thru October of 2013
  • Better my Half Ironman time by 7 minutes in 2013
  • Do masters swimming once per week in 2013
  • Finish building airplane

See what I’ve done? I’ve taken overwhelming and ambitious long term goals and come up with five shorter term tasks for 2013 that are quite doable.

Lets look at how you take a big long term goal and break it down into doable short term goals. Lets say you are a 200 pound skinny-fat newbie and you want to look like a mens fitness cover but you don’t know where to start. Rather than throw up your hands and give up, divide and conquer. Take each step and subdivide it till you have something you can accomplish in a day or a week. What does it take? Nutrition and Exercise. Already easier, we have divided the work in two.


  • Nutrition:
    • Learn about nutrition
    • Come up with nutritional plan (macros) and daily caloric target
    • Come up with meal plans
    • Learn to cook batch meals and freeze
  • Exercise
    • Lifting weights
      • Read about working out with weights and decide on workout method
      • Buy equipment for a home gym or find a gym to join
      • Come up with a weight workout plan
    • Cardio
      • Read about cardio and decide what type is best for you
      • Buy/loan equipment to do cardio
      • Come up with a cardio plan

There. We have taken a goal that seems impossible to many and broken it down into small steps that almost anyone would acknowledge are fairly straightforward, even a newbie. Lets take one example from the above and break it down further. You don’t know anything about nutrition, where to start learning?

  • Learn about nutrition
    • Buy a good book
      • look for recommendations on Amazon
      • book for recommendations on forums
      • buy or check out book from library
    • Find a good website
      • look for recommendations on fitness forums
    • Write down which chapters or webpages that you want to read
    • Divide your reading list down into weekly chunks

Divide and conquer! If something seems undoable, keep breaking down till its something that you can easily do in a week.

7 habits weekly planner

THEN: Every week, sit down and make a todo list for the week. Make sure to include action items from all the goals you are working toward. 7-Habits has their own style weekly todo lists they recommend but you can just use a blank sheet of paper. Then every morning, make a quick todo list for the day and make sure you include some of these important tasks.


  1. Break down your goals.  Divide and conquer until you have a list of action items that can be accomplished in a hour or two on one day
  2. Plan you first week.


The whole purpose of this three part lecture and this webpage was to help you:

  1. Figure out what it is you want to accomplish
  2. Come up with a plan to accomplish it.
  3. Make sure that your life remains balanced

Note that “balanced” is a relative term that applies to you and cannot be extended to others.  For a priest, a balanced life might mean 8 hours of reading the bible every day whereas for an olympic athlete a balanced life might mean 8 hours of training a day.
Back in lecture 1 a lot of people complained somewhat vociferously when I suggested that someone might have to give up a friday night out with their buddies to prepare and freeze healthy meals for next week.  The number and difficulty of your goals determines how strict you need to be with your time.  If you have lofty goals, you will have far less free time than if your goals are modest.  Thats the beauty, its up to you!  You set your goals, not me.  You want lots of time to play video games and go out with your buddies whenever you want?  Great!  Keep your goals to a few modest ones.   You want to be Mr. Olympia or get on the US Olympic team?  The more ambitious your goals, the more you will have to sacrifice.
Time Management For Bodybuilding Success And Life Success

Thanks to Sergio Cárdenas for his fabulous Scooby-U artwork! Thanks to everyone else on Facebook who provided designs as well!!!


I have no association with Stephen Covey/”7-Habits” nor do I make money when you check out the book from your library. I am pushing this book because it completely changed my life for the better two decades ago when I read it. Ok, ok, if you buy the book by clicking thru the amazon link on my website I get 48 cents. But seriously though, don’t buy the book – I don’t want your 48 cents. Check it out from your public library. If you don’t have a library card then go get one! Its quick and easy to get one.