The other day, I was thinking- "how much time do I actually spend in my car commuting/driving for work?"  In a normal week I am on the road 4 days with an average of 4 hours/day spent driving.  I'm sure there are millions of people out there with a similar setup.  

Let's do a little math to see what this equates to:

4 hours/day  x  4 days/week  =  16 hours/week

16 hours/week  /  40 hours/week  =  40% of work week

16 hours/week  x  50 weeks  =  800 hours/year

800 hours/year  /  24 hours  =  33 days/year

33 days  /  365 days  =  9% of year

Are you kidding me bro?  40% of my work week, 1+ month per year, and 9% of my total year a.k.a. my life is spent driving for work?  Holy shit, I better find a way to use that time wisely.  About a year ago, that's just what I decided to do.  Prior to that, my daily commute was a complete waste of time.  I'd make a few calls for work but spend hours on end listening to nothing but sports radio.  Finally, I hit a boiling point.  I actually started disliking sports, which I love, because I was immersed in it 24/7.  Too much of anything is going to reach a point of diminishing returns no matter what that is.  That combined with feeling unproductive for such a large part of the day prompted a change.  

While I know there are many things you can do in the car (listening to music, thinking, etc.), I am going to focus on my routine to maximize a commute.  It breaks down into two parts which are 1) business/personal phone calls and 2) learning/growth.

Business and personal phone calls
Since you can't email while driving (seriously, don't do this.  I had some close calls which forced me to stop), make outbound calls that are going to help your business.  I write down a minimum of 5 names to call on a sticky note and put it right on my dashboard. 

Personal calls is something I admittedly am still working on improving.  Just pick one friend or family member to call a day.  That's not a lot to commit to.

Back when I reached my sports radio boiling point, I decided that I wanted to start using my car time to learn as much as possible.  For me, this takes the form of audio books and podcasts.  I have to say this has changed my life.  This blog wouldn't exist without the motivation I received from the many hours of podcasts listened to.  I break down my audiobooks/podcasts into categories and cycle them.  I can't stress how important variety is.  You are not going to grow as a person by just listening to what you are most interested in all the time.  This was very hard for me at first.  All I wanted to listen to was health and fitness podcasts.  However, I have learned the most from recordings that I had no previous interest in or much knowledge on.  Makes sense right? 

I have also found that while driving, we have this unique ability to completely focus and absorb info like a sponge.  I've tried listening podcasts while working, doing chores, etc. and it's just not the same as being in the car.

Here's what my audio book/podcast rotation looks like:

I typically listen to the Sunday 60 Minutes on my Monday AM commute.  Freakanomics Radio is pretty awesome as well

Health and Fitness
My favorites here are The Road to Ripped Podcast (Greg O'Gallagher), Barbell Shrugged, Ben Coomber Radio, and New York Muscle Radio

Personal Development/Business
The Tim Ferriss Show, The School of Greatness (Lewis Howes), Ted Talks, and The Power of Now audiobook (Eckhart Tolle)

Something New
Each week, I'll browse the top podcast charts and pick something new that I have never listened to.  Right now it's Hardcore History by Dan Carlin

Just like with trying to change the way you eat or work out, going from 0 to 100 is not going to be sustainable.  If you are currently 100% music in the car but want to take steps to start maximizing your commute, try one podcast and one phone call a week and slowly increase from there. 

I hope this gave you a fresh perspective on how to start making your commute more productive!

90's kids- do you remember the life/health meter on the screen in games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter?  Every time your fighter took a punch or roundhouse kick to the head your health meter would reduce.  Once down to 0% it was game over.  Well this is kind of how our willpower works.  Every decision and thought we have throughout the day gradually reduces our Willpower Meter until it is down to nothing.  How you decide to order your coffee at Dunkin Donuts, the 3 meetings you have during the day, the talk you have with your kid about misbehaving all contribute to reducing your Willpower Meter.  By the time 7pm rolls around, how much mental capacity and willpower do you realistically have left to eat a salad instead of ordering pizza?  Most of us overeat at night more than any other time during the day because that's when our Willpower Meter is lowest.  It’s cruel how our willpower is lowest when our cravings are highest but there are ways around it.

How to hack the Willpower Meter

Hack #1: Automation
Automate or pre-plan as much as possible so you aren't making as many decisions during the day. Examples would be eating the same breakfast, not checking email until a designated time (I usually wait until 9-10a), or going to the gym at the same time every day.  Decisions on auto pilot become habits therefore do not get factored into your Willpower Meter.  Bringing it back around to eating, more willpower left in the bank at night will make good food choices easier.

Hack# 2: Saving calories for later in the day (Calorie Backloading and Intermittent Fasting)
This entails eating most of your calories later in the day while eating smaller meals or no meals earlier in the day. It's easier to make good food choices earlier in the day when your Willpower Meter is highest. Going to use myself as an example to illustrate why saving calories is a good idea.  Towards the end of my most recent fat loss phase I was consuming ~2,000 calories daily, which is not a ton of food for someone my size.  If I ate 6 equal meals throughout the day starting in the early morning, that would equate to 333 calories per meal.  That is absolutely miserable as I would never get that satisfied or full feeling.  I'd also most likely be going to bed hungry which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.  This is not sustainable and would eventually lead to giving in and overeating.

How do you make it work then?  

Well first off, don't eat 6 meals and save your largest meals for later in the day (Calorie Backloading).  By lowering your number of meals in the 2-4 range, you are allotted much more calories per feeding.  If you eat 4 meals per day it can look something like this- 200 calories before the gym in AM, 300 calories after the gym in AM, 600 calories at lunch, and 900 calories at dinner/snack time.  Or, you can even skip breakfast entirely and wait to have your first meal at lunch time (aka Intermittent Fasting, I use this approach on my off days).  This opens up the door for epic, gigantic meals!

These bigger meals in the afternoon/night hours are so satisfying that you won't even feel like you're dieting.  By having less meals thus larger calorie meals, you are able to fit in higher calorie foods you crave that wouldn't work if eating a lot of food earlier in the day or eating every few hours.  An example would be a piece of cheesecake or a slice of pizza (both are roughly 400-500 calories) as a snack after dinner. A great approach if you have a stressful job and know you will struggle with willpower in the nighttime hours.  Willpower hacked.

This approach also works very well if you are socially active as most events like happy hour, dinner, or parties occur at night.  Imagine going out for dinner and drinks knowing you only had 200 calories left for the day.  That is going to be a terrible experience, you might as well not even go.  Instead, save your calories so you can enjoy yourself!  Side note- don't worry about eating late at night.  That's a complete BS myth that has been scientifically debunked several times.  All that matters is your total calories for the day.  

I've taken many steps to automate as much as possible in both my professional and personal life. For the Calorie Backloading/Intermittent Fasting piece, it's one part working around willpower later in the day and one part that most people are hungriest at night. Personally, I have no problems eating small meals early in the day knowing there is a large meal I love waiting for me at night.  It's kind of like a reward for a productive and successful day. 

The moral of the story is by saving calories for later in the day you won't have to demonstrate much willpower at night when it is the lowest, while at the same time enjoying your favorite foods.  Don't fight willpower, hack it!

If you need some help figuring out your specific calorie and macronutrient breakdown, shoot me an email.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram @theshreddedsalesman

Part 2 of a two part series.  Part 1 was posted last week if you missed it!

Now that we got the general recommendations out of the way in Part 1, let's dive into specifics on where and how to work out while traveling. While there are several ways people exercise, I am going to break this down into a few categories for simplicity purposes.    

  • Runners: You know what to do.  Running is running, so just do it outdoors if you have the opportunity.  I've noticed a lot of areas now have running routes/paths near big hotel areas which is pretty cool. If you don't use the app Strava to track your runs, check it out.  There are usually built into "challenges" that others have done in your area that are fun to try and compete against.

  • Just trying to stay in shape peeps: Run outside/on the hotel treadmill or do some High Intensity Interval Training (google HIIT workouts or hotel workouts and you will find hundreds).  It doesn't have to be overly complicated- body weight workouts that include pushups, air squats, and burpees is fine. You can even run through a circuit of lifting weights at the hotel gym although they will be fairly light weights.  Whatever you do, push yourself and get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes.  

  • Crossfitters: One of the coolest things about Crossfit is that no matter where you go, a "box" is probably within 15 minutes.  Typically, they will allow for drop ins for $20.  I used to do this all the time when I dabbled in Crossfit.  Warning- CF boxes are hit or miss on coaching quality and programming.  After googling what boxes are close to you (literally type crossfit and the town you are staying in), research their websites and facebook/instagram pages and find one that you like.

  • Weightlifters/Powerlifters/Bros: I'm just going to assume right off the bat that a hotel gym isn't going to cut it (although I was just at Aria in Vegas and their gym was better than the gym I go to everyday at home, so you may luck out).  Although, check ahead of time as I've seen some hotels have dumbbells up to 100 lbs along with all the machines you are used to at your hometown gym.  Luckily, if your hotel gym sucks there are a lot of solutions.  First, call your hotel ahead of time to see if they have any partnerships set up with any local gyms.  In a recent trip to Tampa, my hotel had free weekly passes to a Golds Gym right around the corner.  That is the bro jackpot right thur'.  Here's what I typically end up doing on these trips- go to www.Gymvisit.com and do a search for the city you are staying in.  This site is awesome.  A full listing of every gym with a review of each pops up.  I even found a great gym in Rome a few months ago through Gymvisit.com.  What you want to really be checking for is the equipment and whether or not they allow drop ins.  If you really can't find anything or are in a remote area, go to a Crossfit gym and tell them you are doing your own workout.  At the very least, they have barbells so you can deadlift/bench/squat (which you should probably be doing anyway).  Just don't start doing bicep curls with the barbell or you will get a kipping pull up to the face by an avid Crossfitter.  No gym or Crossfit gym in your area?  Make do with what you can in the hotel gym.  If the dumbbells are light just make up the volume by doing a high amount of reps until you get that same fatigue from heavier weights.  

  • Not planning to workout crowd:  I go this route from time to time.  I will plan my lifting rest days to land on days I am away which may mean taking less rest in the preceding week to get the same workout volume in.  Back in my bro science days (aka not knowing what the F I was doing), I thought taking more than 3 days off from lifting weights would burn all my muscle away.  It takes way longer than that for muscle to break down, so don't stress about losing your gains.  Remember, try to get some level of activity in even if you don't plan on working out like usual.  Go for a walk/jog outside of your hotel or run on the treadmill.  Again, even though you are taking days off think about active recovery and burning a few cals for the nighttime feast/all of the sitting you will probably be doing.  If you truly do not want to do ANYTHING exercise related, that's fine.  In this situation, I'd turn the attention to your sleep and focus on maybe getting a few extra hours in that you don't get at home.  A massage is always a plus if you have time/money for it.

Remember- set a goal for your exercise and hold yourself accountable.  Plan your workout times, routines, and where you will be working out ahead of time.  Follow these rules and you won't skip a beat while traveling!

Instagram: @theshreddedsalesman



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