“Punch the Clock” Workouts

I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a Saturday in April, 74 degrees. I was wearing my lucky 49ers shirt, having just woken up from 8.5 hours of sleep. The night before, my Lakers beat the Supersonics. My stress levels were next to nothing. Every joint in my body felt like a million bucks.

I remember sipping on a cup of finely-brewed green tea…no, it was 2 cups. And then 2 hours later, at 9:49, I went in to the studio, and it happened.

Weights and personal records were flying left and right. I can’t remember the playlist, but let’s just say “it was a good day”

….now how many times has that happened in the past, say, year or two? Be honest.

I can probably count them on one hand.

Every workout is not going to be a 49 on a scale of 1-10. Some will be, but they’re as rare as an ice cube in the Sahara. Or actual Ice Cube in the Sahara. So how does anyone get results?

Results are more about consistency than anything. Nowadays we’re flooded with images of the girl or guy next door hitting a new PR or dropping 15 lbs on every social media feed we come across. But even those stories are not an overnight success.

Anyone in the industry knows these online stories truly come after months and years of hard work. Because working out is similar to punching the clock at your job. Most days, you just have to show up, do what you can for the time you’re there, and reap the paycheck when it comes.

Punch the Clock Workouts

Some days, you show up and it’s not your best or worst workout. The magic is actually here, believe it or not.

These are the workouts you really need to be tracking over time.  It is hard to believe because you have never seen a YouTube video featuring a “punch the clock” workout! They don’t make memes about these workouts. It is not something that is marketed in the fitness industry, because, well, it is not very exciting. To be honest, like most people, I am never going to show my punch the clock workouts.

For people who are new or getting back into the swing of things, please don’t try to make them a superhero in the first week. More importantly, it’s your job as a coach to reassure them that this is OKAY.

In fact, here’s your script for those people

You need to build a foundation with good technique and set (realistic) goals around showing up to earn the right to have a superhero workout. YOU ARE A SUPERHERO IN MY EYES FOR FINALLY GETTING OFF THE COUCH.

You just took a huge step that the majority of Americans don’t even do. GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT for doing this! The atmosphere at most gyms only works for people who are already in shape.

The ratio of superhero workouts (and even punch the clock workouts)  will go down drastically if you are trying to go “beast mode” every single day. — Your body needs time to recover.

Whenever I see people adding a ton of workouts, I make sure they designate some days as “light” days. On these days, the expectation is to just keep it moving. It’s just smart programming.

Don’t Forget the Boring Stuff

Take the time to build a strong foundation centered around habits.

Enough with the  overnight success traps. The time to build a strong foundation is longer than a month. Nothing upsets me more than to see people who have gone from doing nothing to being on pace for a life transformation, quit.

*People who are successful find a way to make complex things very simple.

A successful transformation is not complicated at all. It just  requires a ton of patience and hard work.

How to plan for off days 

I get this question all the time, and the person is expecting me to say  “run 5 miles, do 200 pushups, and then do 1000 crunches so the lower abs start to show.”

Instead, I tell them “you need to go for a walk, use the foam roller, plan your meals, do some flexibility work, and then lets set up a time to talk over your specific cardiovascular/conditioning plan.”

Spoiler alert: They won’t like this.

They would rather walk  500 miles, and then walk 500 more, just to be the person that walks 1000 miles, to justify the pizza and beer.

The magic is in doing what they already know what they should be doing, which is why they need you to hold them accountable.

As they go through the hard days, make sure to encourage them to workout  when it’s 20 degrees outside, dark, and their bed is feeling better than comfort food by the fireplace. Help them show up and do something. Just get out of bed and walk in the gym doors.

Remind them of their goals, even on the days it feels like they’re just punching the clock. The paycheck is coming