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Making It Work: Not every Situation Is Perfect

“When life hands you lemons; make lemonade.”

Most of us sit there and wish that we had more time to exercise through out the week. We sit there and complain about the gym we go to and how they “never have the equipment that I need.”

Unfortunately, not every situation is perfect. We need to do the best we can with what we have. I am always bombarded with questions like:

“How can I get all my exercise in during the week when I work so much?”

“I don’t have a pull up bar in my basement, what should I do?”

“Our gym doesn’t have bumper plates and platforms; how can I train my athletes without these things?”

“We don’t have good equipment at the gym so the athletes aren’t able to get a good workout.”

I’ll admit, working with in a less than adequate situation can be difficult and challenging. But, you have to find a way to make it work. Simply giving up or chalking up your failure to “not having the proper equipment or time” is simply not an option.

I have a pretty hectic life at the moment. Aside from working a full day, I also go to school 4 nights a week (working on my licensure in massage therapy) from 6:30-10:30pm. This makes it very challenging to workout. When I started class, people always asked me “how are you going to workout now? You work all day, from 7-5:30 and then you go to school all night.” While I recognized that this situation is not optimal at all and, I am not 100% happy about it, I need to find a way to make it work. The first thing I did was place my main strength training workouts on the weekend days, when I am not in school, like this:

Fri: Upper body strength
Sat: light cardio
Sun: Lower body strength

Since I go to class Monday through Wednesday, I needed to get in at least 1-2 more workouts during the week. So, I simply took my hour lunch break and put a workout in there. Now my schedule would look something like this:

Mon: off
Tues: total body training
Wed: total body training/hard conditioning or Off (depending on how I feel)
Thurs: Off
Fri: Upper body strength
Sat: light cardio
Sun: Lower body strength

I know that I have to just be very efficient with my workouts to be able to train and then shower and eat all within the hour that I have allotted myself. This leaves me about 40min. to train, 10min. to shower and 10min. to eat. Is it optimal? NO! Does it work? YES!

The point is that you need to figure out how to make your situation work for you.

For example, the guy who doesn’t have a pull up bar, there are a few options that he has:

1. Go out and buy a pull up bar and put it in a doorway in your house.
2. Find a rafter in the garage or basement to hang onto and do pull ups off of.
3. Go outside and find a tree to do pull ups on
4. Go out to a local playground and do pull ups off of the monkey bars.

Is it optimal? No. Does it work? Yes!

As far as the coaches that complain of not having equipment or having crappy equipment, this is just silly to me. The equipment does not make the athlete! The coaching makes the athlete. If you don’t have platforms and bumper plates, then perform hang cleans or hang snatches and just use the bars and plates that you have. Find a hard surface (like the rubber matting on a gym floor) and go at it. Or, just do plyometric exercises.

Don’t complain about the equipment you don’t have and start looking at what you do have. Remember, the basics always work! Things like power cleans, squats, deadlifts, lunges, push ups, pull ups, and supine body weight rows take almost no equipment at all and most of this equipment can be found in a high school weight room.

So what if you don’t have a Hammer Jammer! Teach the kids to do power jerks and there you go. Or, stick the end of two barbells up against a wall and place a dumbbell over the top of them so that the bar doesn’t roll around. Hold the other end of the barbells in each hand and perform overhead jerks or squat and presses. Now you have just made the poor mans Hammer Jammer! Be creative and look around for ways to make it work.

Hopefully everyone can see where I am going with this and can start to look at their schedule or look at their gym equipment and figure out how to adapt to their individual situations.

I have adapted to my situation. Can you adapt to yours?

Good entry.

Time is always an excuse.

Actually, when life hands you Lemon you go 0-7 as an NFL team and injure all your star players. :)

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