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Secrets To Staying Fit Even When It Feels Impossible

Photo by Neal Kreuser for mbg
March 27, 2016

Todd McCullough is a former University of Florida football player and creator of TMAC FITNESS. He specializes in helping busy people get into shape and is known for his uniquely effective workouts combining high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with yoga. We are thrilled to share his course, 20 Minutes to Strong, Healthy, and Fit: A 7-Day Personal Training Program, featuring workouts that can be done in 20 minutes or less with absolutely no equipment!

The most valuable currency that we all share is our time. How we spend it and who we spend it with matters. This is why I started to rethink our approach to working out years ago.

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As a personal trainer, I didn't want my clients to have to choose between working hard at work or catching their kid's soccer game and going to the gym. We have this ingrained idea that for each of us to be in shape, we have to exercise for an hour every day. This is simply not true. The key to fitness has and always will come down to being consistent and eating a clean diet.

So how does a busy person accomplish this? Here are a few tricks that I use with my busiest clients to help them make fitness a lifestyle.

Be Consistent with Your Workouts:

Goal: Sweat six days a week.

Why: Your body is made to be in motion. Keep it moving!

How: Three-part answer:

  1. Do what you love and find an accountability partner. You are more likely to do what you enjoy, even if you're busy. Maybe you love to run. Then find a friend who likes this as well. Now you have accountability to show up, plus you are doing what you love. Try for two days a week for this type of fun activity.
  2. Become a fan of high-intensity interval training. HIIT is simply the most efficient way to train with limited time. These workouts can be accomplished in 7 to 30 minutes. Aim for four days a week of HIIT when you don't have much time on your hands. Try my 20 Minutes to Strong, Healthy, and Fit workout that you can do right now without any equipment!
  3. Follow my "Three 20s" Concept: You have three 20-minute windows in your day. They are when you first wake up, during lunchtime, and after work. The key is to maximize these brief time windows. A great day would include waking up to crush it in a quick HIIT Workout at home, and then walking to and from lunch and dinner or taking your pet for a longer walk after work instead of walking at dinnertime. If you’re single, that's a great way to meet a potential date. Just saying. #motivation
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Eating Clean While on the Run:

Goal: Eat Real Whole Food

Why: Do you know how many people have gained weight by eating too much kale? ZERO! Real food is nutrient-dense and will lower your caloric intake. Don’t overthink it.

How: Four-part answer:

  1. Simplicity is key. Before choosing what to eat, ask yourself this: Can you plant, pick, or catch it? If the answer is "yes," then it’s probably fine to eat it.
  2. Food prep. Keep your freezer stocked with protein. That includes chicken, wild salmon, wild game, etc. Take it out to defrost the night before the day you plan on eating it. Pick one day a week to load up on veggies and fruit. I hit the farmers market almost every Sunday.
  3. Follow this model for eating. Your meals will become simple and fast!
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Breakfast: Have a protein shake or an egg dish. Knowing what you are eating tomorrow morning will save you precious minutes in the morning. You can even make your shake the night before if your mornings are slammed. Take two days a week to make hard-boiled eggs. Throw some pepper on them and eat them on your way to work. Breakfast done!

Lunch: Have a salad or soup. Both are simple and fast when dining out. Food prepping on a Sunday is also a great option.

Snacks: Have fruit, nuts, and veggies. Bring them to work with you! Don't leave home without them. They will keep you from making poor decisions.

Dinner: Have lean protein and two veggies. If you are a food app junkie, follow this formula and you are set. If you decide to cook at home, try this timesaving trick:

Pop your protein in the oven first, and then shower. Your protein will take the most time. After putting it in the oven, hop in the shower. Then cook your veggies on the stove in olive oil or coconut oil for 10 minutes. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Now your protein is ready to take out. Boom. Dinner served!

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Todd McCullough
Todd McCullough

Todd McCullough is a Los Angeles-based, ACE-certified personal trainer, E-RYT registered yoga teacher, and founder of TMAC FITNESS. His brand focuses on making fitness simple for busy moms and dads through efficient workouts, a diet of natural foods, and encouraging a spiritual connection. The membership based program includes 20 minute HIIT workout programs, recipes, and community.

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