4 Things A Hyper-Neurotic Personal Trainer (Like Me) Can Do for a Better Life (Instead of Making Excuses or Complaining)

Going off of my relatively popular blog post, Things the Hyper-Neurotic (Like Me) Can Do for 30 min for a Better Life (Instead of Making Excuses or Complaining), I decided to make a list of things that a personal trainer or coach can do to make his or her life a little easier.

The life of a personal trainer is relatively straight-forward. It is not a normal 9 to 5 job, where you can drop your paperwork off and any thought of work as soon as you step out of your workplace.

Screw This

If you’re strictly a commercial gym trainer, you are constantly emailing potential clients to set up their next training session, on top of maintaining a relatively healthy outlook while you juggle commuting, traveling, and the occasional exercise session.

You bring paperwork with you. You have workouts written on your phone. You have a Facebook feed with all sorts of mixed messages. Your after work conversations involve any and all conversations that involve, “I’m trying to lose fat right here (as your significant other’s brother’s girlfriend points to her obliques that don’t need any extra fat to be shed there).”


In fact, the life of a personal trainer, and subsequently any strength coach that works in either the public or private sector, is anything but straight forward.

You work early mornings, sometimes with 5am clients, which means you wake up at 4am, which means you slept at 9 or 10pm the night before, and then continue to work until 11 or 12 noon, then pick it back up with clients by 3 or 4pm until 7 or 8pm at night, and you get home by 9pm.

… which means you haven’t seen any semblance of a normal night out in God knows how long.

No big deal, right? It’s living the dream, because you get to workout and look good doing it. #Sarcasm as all the cool kids would say nowadays.

Well, to put all of that in your proverbial pipe and smoke it, here are 4 ways I’ve discovered to help make life a little less hectic, and improve your work-life balance.



1. Prepare food for the week.

Cook all of your food for the week in one day. And I mean all of your food – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.

Here are all of your steps in a nutshell:

  1. Buy chicken (or insert meat), veggies, spices, at the supermarket & travel home (10 to 15min)
  2. Spices, chicken, and throw veggies into microwave or bake/fry/cook/eat raw. (30 sec)
  3. Bake chicken / cook food. (25 to 30 minutes)
  4. Throw food into multiple pieces of tupperware. (30 seconds).
  5. Clean/wash/eat because you’re hungry looking at the chicken. (20 min)

Total Time: Approximately 60 min

And I don’t mean just one pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Go for 6 to 8 pounds at a time.

The old adage of “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true here. This is because instead of preparing the foods you love for the whole week in one hour or less, you are cooking every night for approximately the same amount of time but everyday instead (so 7 hours used instead of one).

And that is no bueno, mi amigo.

2. Sleep better, if not more.

If you work a lot of gigs to pay the bills, then you’ll need to micro-manage the quality of sleep you’ll get in order to min-max what you can handle.

Get these items in order to min-max your sleep:

1. White Noise App

A couple of things – this is a free app, I don’t use it, but the idea makes sense. If you live in a busy, noisy area – noise happens. Block it out by getting a white noise, sort of like leaving your TV on back in the day when that black and white channel would come on after a certain amount of time.

I personally use a fan to block out everything. Definitely helps me sleep! I used to have a similar app on my iPad to help me sleep – I liked the crackling fire since, you know, I love sleeping to the sound of a potential fire near me.

Get this App for your iPhone or iPad here.

2. ZMA

ZMA contains three things: Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. The magnesium part of this trifecta helps with sleep, but if it is already a part of a trio, might as well get some added benefits.

Also it is non-addicting. So, crush this for better sleep.

Read more on ZMA.

3. Melatonin

According to examine.com, “Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain that regulates sleep. Oral ingestion of melatonin may be used as a sleep aid. It is non-addictive.”

These guys are a lot smarter than me when it comes to nutrition, so I might blindly listen to them when it comes to helping me sleep better in less time.

Read more on Melatonin.

4. Sleep Mask

Sleep masks are crucial for blocking out light, especially if you don’t have a blackout curtain (see below). The idea of blocking out light is that your eyes can still sense light through your eyelids.

Don’t believe me? Shine the flashlight of your phone in front of your closed eyes and tell me that doesn’t get annoying after 0.2 seconds.

Now try to sleep with the lights on, and I guarantee that your sleep quality will be significantly reduced.

If you have claustrophobia, this is probably not a good idea for you on the other hand. Unless you like facing your fears, quite literally.

Get your own sleep mask here.

5. Blackout Curtain

If you live in a room with windows (hopefully you do – otherwise you should be expecting your letter from Hogwarts relatively soon after your 13th birthday), you may have the pleasure of having the sun enter your room when during the day.


However, at night, you have this thing you need to pay attention to called your circadian rhythm that is regulated by temperature, light availability, along with other biological mechanisms.

Get your own blackout curtains here.

6. Plan for one day to catch up on sleep.

This is key, because crushing 4 hours of sleep everyday, while do-able, can lead to lack of thinking, lack of creativity, lack of remembering where you left your tupperware, forgetting where you placed your keys, and for the love of everything Holy where is my caffeine?

Dunkin Rules Everything Around Me
Dunkin Rules Everything Around Me

Did I say lack of sleep leads to general crankiness?

This is, of course, assuming you are not always packing a back pocket of sunshine and rainbows no matter how little sleep you get.


3. Get Your Education in the Form of Books/Podcasts/and Calls with Your Peers

If you’re unable to attend the newest and fanciest seminars across the nation, who is to say you can’t call your friend that went to that seminar and ask them to discuss with them what happened and what went down?

Further, if you’re traveling for 15 to 30 minutes at at time, who is to say you can’t crush some podcasts or audio books?

I recently bought an Audible account – and I am an idiot for waiting this long to do so. I’ve listened to three more books that I wouldn’t have digested otherwise. Sure, I can’t take notes when I’m driving, but I can make “Notes” with the help of a voice-to-text option.

If you’re looking to be the top in your field, you need to find some way to be on the cutting edge, and this is just another method towards doing so.

4. Skip a Warm-Up

If you’re truly working to get ahead in some capacity, it may be difficult for you to get a full on foam rolling session (10 minutes), dynamic warm-up (5 to 10 minutes), warm-up sets (if training for strength) then the actual work sets, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours (seriously, I’ve done it before). Now add in some accessory exercises (30 minutes), and the fact that you now need to hobble on out of the gym you just used every weight and barbell in, and you have a grand total of 150 minutes, or 2 hours and change of working out.

Well, if you skip the overall general warm-up (lunges, skipping, jumps, sprinting) and all you are really trying to do is look good, maintain appearances, and slightly improve upon your strength levels, who says you need to do a full on warm-up?

Do this super simple warm-up such as this.

  • Foam Roll Your Back, Legs (~30 sec) – for everything, that’s it.
  • Spiderman Lunge with Hip Lift & Rotation – 4/side (~20 sec)
  • High Knee Skip or Jump Rope – 4x or 20 reps


Barbell is in your hands for your first warm-up set in less then 2 to 4 minutes. Now continue to use an empty barbell, then load up 25lbs on each side, or 45lbs if lower body, and go from there. You should be in your working sets in less than 10 minutes, which effectively cuts about 25% of your time working out on the optimal portion of working out on some of the more ancillary items.

This is to not de-value or not place a priority on movement quality, tissue extensibility, or even improvements in motoric learning as you go from Point A to Point B, but rather it is to place an emphasis on your time – something that we all theoretically don’t have much of!


I’d recommend giving one of these items a shot because they help restore some balance in a world that demands more time, energy, and attention than ever before. The indecision making process is what kills some people, so hopefully by providing these solutions, you can conserve some energy in your everyday endeavors.

At the end of the day, save some time for yourself and condense your work when possible. Cook at the same time your laundry is going. Take a cat nap in between clients.

If you’re at a time in your life when you need to quite literally hustle, well then own it and don’t worry what everyone and their mother thinks about you and your “hustle” – this shit is real and you want to get better, so let’s do it together, and be smart about it.

As always,

Keep it funky.


Things the Hyper-Neurotic (Like Me) Can Do for 30 min for a Better Life (Instead of Making Excuses or Complaining)

I tend to hyperanalyze things. Hyper, in the sense that I have the tendency to extrapolate things out – not out of proportion, merely draw all the steps out in any given situation. This has its benefits – I can begin to tell you a few reasons why I don’t gamble in poker or blackjack, for example. It also has its negatives – as with any type of “overthinking”, there is the downward spiral of thinking that involves angst related worrying.


With this in mind, I tend to take the stance of taking action instead of going down that road of anxiety.

What if I miss my macros by 20g of protein? I missed my fasted cardio this morning because I overslept by 20 minutes. I can’t make up for it because I’m traveling and then I’ll be too tired from driving all day this week.

So, instead of worrying, I’d rather gather my losses, plan ahead to not make that same mistake, and move on.

With this in mind, I’m not a fan of excuses, complaining or general talk about “I coulda, shoulda, woulda…” I’ve always appreciated that to get results that matter, you need to put in some work. I’ve also always appreciated that in order to get great results you need to fall in love with the process of achieving greatness.

One thing I can understand is that not everyone is of the same mindset, and some of us do in fact use that “coulda/shoulda/woulda” talk. And I respect that, because everyone goes through different mental bouts or struggles.

However, once you go through whatever method of therapy you choose to go through, the question then remains – what is your next move? Sitting on a psychological problem and hemming and hawing won’t achieve any visceral results. Go see a therapist already. That is what they are there for – to talk with and figure things out. Or resolve your issue in person, whatever the issue is.

After you figure it out, you can now begin the process of achieving real results

One question I ask myself almost daily is, “What is limiting you?”

For Howard Stark, his limitations in technology within his current time limited him from creating a new element – in which his son, Tony Starks, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., later discovered with the help of his father’s work.


Superhero movie talk aside, there is something fascinating to me about making due with what your current resources currently have. Obviously optimal is the ideal mindset, but what will you do if you don’t have the resources for every little detail planned to the “T”?

Here is an off-the-cuff, no excuses list of things you can do for 30 minutes for the fitness-stressed individual.

What I included were a few logical rationale if anyone has any barriers towards these actions, along with the specific timeframes that these items would take me to perform. For others, it may take longer of course.

One of the missing points when comparing apples to apples is that sometimes the process for a result is misunderstood, or simply not hashed out. It is when a plan can be reverse engineered that a goal can be achieved.

 I have a dream fantasy of appearing in a kung fu action flick. However, this would take years of practicing tricking, perhaps some type of martial arts (what a thought!), along with developing the network that would allow me to do so. I am on a different path, perhaps adjacent to, but not directly in line with me performing in a specific situation such as this.

However, fitness and health, for whatever reason, are thrown upon some pedestal with which it may be impossible to “achieve” such fitness. It does not have to be, and I outlined several bulletpoints that have rationale along with the process towards achieving success in “fitness”.

Physical List of Things to Do 

1. Perform foam rolling, purposeful breathing exercises, and a dynamic warm-up. (Time = 15 minutes)

  • Foam rolling has several benefits towards improving range of motion, increasing ischemic blood flow to hypoxic tissue, and decreasing neurological tension in some muscle groups.
  • Positional breathing drills have several important implications, largely aiming to reduce sympathetic tone, and improving neurological positioning of muscles.

  • A dynamic warm-up can improve blood flow to specific muscle groups, improve neurological movement patterns, along with improving movement quality of mobility-deprived joints.

2. Perform KB Swings and Push-Ups in a ladder or circuit-like fashion. (Time = 10-20 minutes)

  • For a circuit: Perform 10 KB Swings, and then 10 push-ups. Rest for 60 seconds. Perform for 8 to 10 sets.
  • For a ladder: Perform 1 KB Swing, and 1 push-up. Rest for 60 seconds. After, perform 2 KB swings, and 2 push-ups. Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat to 10 KB Swings, 10 push-ups. When you reach 10/10, go back down the “ladder”.

3. Perform positional breathing drills, jump rope, and then deadlift. (Time = 30 minutes)

  • Breathing Drills = 5 Minutes (to get into a better position)
  • Jump Rope = 3-5 Minutes (to work up a sweat)
  • Deadlift (or insert large compound movement) = 20 minutes
  • Work up to a heavy set, or do multiple sets at a lower percentage of 1RM.

Psychological/Mental List of Things to Do 

1. Examine your triggers and learn why you may be destroying your fitness oriented efforts. (Time = 1-30+ minutes)

  • Reflecting introspectively why you behave the way you do can be a bit foreign to those not used to thinking like this, so let me walk you through the process.
  • First, identify negative habit. (My habit is over-eating carbs at night.)
  • Next, identify why habit may exist. (Perhaps I am bored, need to appease my oral fixation while watching TV, reading too much and want a mental break, or am simply hungry.)
  • Provide solutions to curb negative habit. (Get rid of carbs from surroundings, put a timeline on reading to prevent staying up later than necessary, or find a more satiety-oriented food that will help curb appetite – such as increasing protein sources.)

2. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. (Time = 5-30+minutes)

  • Instead of looking at your phone/laptop as soon as you wake up, put your phone on airplane mode when you wake up, and take a walk.
  • The arbitrary act of walking is not the end goal, rather it is the means with which to increase blood flow throughout the circulatory system globally.
  • Also, nature is beautiful. Look around once in a while, hear the birds sing, and smell some fresh air.

Zen Nature

3. Delete numbers, defriend/delete Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. (Time = 5-30 minutes, depending on amount of contacts; or 10 seconds to delete your social media apps)

  • Reduce your digital footprint in order to declutter your necessity to cling to “things”, your “identity”, and decrease your need for social media triggers.
  • If you don’t have Facebook/Twitter/Instagram on your phone, you won’t use it, check it, and won’t have anything to worry about. It’ll be like pre-2005 all over again.

Can You Come Out and Play

4. Turn your phone off, and ask your significant other how they are doing. (Time = 5 seconds to turn phone off, 5 seconds to ask your family/friend/significant other how they are doing)

  • Care about those who surround you immediately. Often the “now” is lost for fear of missing out, fear of loss, anxiety, etc.
  • If you don’t have a phone to check on others, what will you identify with?
  • See Fight Club anachronism,

“You are not your phone/job/car/physique.”

5. Text or call your family/friend/significant other and tell them “I love you.” (Time = 5 seconds to text, 5 seconds to 30+ minutes to wait for response; although that isn’t the point.)

  • See above.

6. Read a book/download podcasts that will mentally stimulate and/or challenge your current thought process. (Time = 5 to 30+minutes, depending on length of podcast/book, and you can pick up where you left off relatively easy.)

  • Your thoughts shape how you act.
  • If you don’t have any thoughts, how will you act?

Nutritional List of Things to Do

1. Learn how to cook. (Time = 5-30+minutes, although for minimum effective doseage, it is fairly simple to pick up this skill. For further enhancement of “cooking” for flavor, style, and other items, it is a lifelong skill.)

  • Foster an attitude of independence, and take responsibility for what is entering your body nutritionally.
  • Food is energy.
  • If you can’t cook, do you know the source of your energy?

2. Cook chicken/beef/[insert protein source]. Throw some veggies in a pan and boil for a few minutes. (Time =  Approximately 30 Minutes)

  • Chicken takes 5 minutes to prep, 20-25 minutes to bake, and 5 minutes to chop up and put in a Tupperware for later.
  • Boiling veggies simultaneously while you bake your chicken will allow you to save time.

Bake Chicken

3. Identify what foods are negative triggers (that you have in your immediate surrounding or that you enjoy) towards binging, and make a physical note of them (or gather them). (Time = 5-30 minutes)

4. Raid your fridge, pantry, and under your bed for everything that is a negative trigger that will cause you to go down a downward spiral from a healthy eating point of view. (Time = 30+ minutes)

  • Getting rid of triggers is a crucial habit that many do not identify with regards to improving habits.
  • Recovering alcoholics generally do not bode well being surrounded by alcohol.
  • Should you surround yourself with negative triggers if you are attempting to curb a habit of overeating?

5. Make smoothies consisting of fruits, protein powder, and/or greens. (Time = 10-20 minutes)

  • Instead of wholly getting rid of negative habits, only to have other habits rear their head in its place, replace the negative habit with a positive habit.
  • Identify a well intentioned protein source, greens supplement, and locally grown fruit/veggies.

Recovery List of Things to Use/Buy

1. Buy a sleep mask to block out light. (Time = < 5 minutes)

  • By blocking out light, you are reducing your visual input that is interpreted via your brain, which in essence should reduce your sympathetic tone.
  • Less input = more parasympathetic =better sleep.
  • Amazon.com has a lot of options. And you don’t need to leave your seat/phone to do it.

2. Buy ZMA, melatonin, and/or magnesium – all natural supplements – to aid with sleep and calming your nervous system down. (Time = < 5 minutes)

3. Buy a red light to aid with sleep. (Time = < 5 minutes)

  • “Red or amber light doesn’t appear to wreck melatonin and sleep as much as blue or white light.” ~Anthony Mychal

Hopefully these are some helpful tips to get you going towards a healthier lifestyle.

Notice that there is no motivational video here to get you started in the morning. To me, those may serve as mental masturbation videos that do nothing but to get you fired up – but do nothing to give you an actionable plan towards achieving real results.

Also notice that there is no running listed as a form of “exercise”.

Personally, I don’t like running.

As always,

Keep it funky.