This is going to be a pretty cool exercise. As I mentioned in my previous post, I find that one of the most effective “tricks” to help yourself be more productive and achieve your goal is to create a perfect day for that goal; a day where you do everything right, nothing goes wrong, and therefore each and every decision—made correctly—will take you closer to your goal.
To that, I had originally intended to post my version of my perfect fat loss day. Which I think would have had a bit of value for you.
You see, I’m certain that you can simply copy my template (which I’ll provide below), modify it for yourself, and achieve phenomenal results. And, in fact, a good many of you might do that. (If so, I’m taking 22.4% of the credit!)
However, a post like this has a LOT of potential as an exercise; not something to be followed, but rather as something to be recreated.
Thinking more about it, though, I realize that—like everything else I’ve learned about productivity of late—most things have some level of interconnectivity. Which is to say that when I am focusing on being productive overall (and by that I mostly mean work-related productivity), I am able to have better workouts and be more on point with my diet.
Similarly, if I’m trying to focus on diet and training, I find that the times when I work come a bit more easily.
Therefore, what I am going to post below is my ideal, PERFECT fat-loss oriented day, in terms of both diet and training, AND my work. Because the perfect fat loss day isn’t just a day where I exercise 10 times and eat the perfect number of calories; it’s a day where I fit everything into my life in a way that allows me to do my best overall.
This has value as a concept, because the truth of the matter is, the MORE of these days I have, the BETTER my results will be—and the same goes for you.
Of course, who really has perfect days with any real level of frequency? Sadly, not many of us.
However, I also know that the closer I make everyday to this template, the more progress I’ll make. Rather than just starting out each day with a general idea of what to do or how to act, I have a full, 24-hour schedule that will guide my actions.
Am I always able to follow it exactly? No; but, as I said, my goal each day is to get as close as possible.
Again, you can try to emulate what I’ll provide, but let’s face it: I’m not you, and you’re not me. We live different lives, have different jobs, and follow different schedules. Therefore, what’s ideal for me may be wildly inconvenient (and therefore) ineffective for you.
At the end of this post, I would like you to simply do what I’ve done below: create, hour by hour, what your perfect fat loss day would look like.
Here is mine, starting from the moment I wake up, until the moment I go to sleep. I will also give you a rationale for a good number of the choices I make in this schedule, so that you get some valuable content and insight as well.
7:55AM – Wake up, pee, and immediately head to kitchen and drink 16oz of water.
I like to get an early start on the day. I don’t get up as early as many of you, but I go to bed a bit later than most. This fits very will with my lifestyle, as I’ll cover below. However, getting an early start makes me more productive, and as I covered in the last post, I think you should try it, too.
Also, drink some water people. Seriously. It should be the one of the first things you do in the morning.
8:00AM – I perform my “neural wake up call.”
This is a series of very light body weight exercises. I do this in order to raise my metabolism, wake my body up, and stretch out some of the kinks. I’ll do push-ups, Bulgarian split squats, overhead reaches, spider-man lunges. I’ll hold these exercises in the stretched position for about 1-2 seconds, allowing for a deep stretch. Just 1-2 sets of 10 reps or so. Takes 15 minutes, gets the blood flowing, and gets me burning extra calories early in the day.
This is something I program for roughly 90% of my online clients, by the way. Of course, which exercises they do (and how much) varies greatly, but in general there is no drawback to this and lots of benefit. I think everyone should do it.
8:15 – I drink another 8 ounces of water, and take any supplements I happen to be using.
Athletic Greens is an all-in-one superfood supplement that equates to eating all of your necessary vegetable servings at once. People call this “nutritional insurance,” mainly insinuating that you can do a lot of things half-assed and still have your bases covered if you use it. I agree. Because Athletic Greens is so complete in terms vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, I don’t even take a multi-vitamin anymore.
Power Drive is a neural recovery and enhancement formula from Biotest. It helps with mental clarity and focus, but, because of the neural effects also helps improve muscle fiber recruitment, which is great for building muscle and losing fat. Since I’m on this productivity kick, it seemed like a good fit. I have been using it for about seven weeks and like it a lot. It gives me a bit of energy, as well.
Metablism is a fantastic fat-burner by Prograde that has all natural ingrediants such as green tea extract, B-12, etc. All the good stuff. I’ll mention that although I definitely find Metabolism helps me get leaner more quickly, I really take it because I don’t drink coffee, and it gives me a bit of energy with no crash in the mornings. I take only half a serviing, which, combined with the Power Drive, serves my purposes perfectly.
8:20 – I check my email
This is really just to organize. I go through everything sort it into three categories: “immediate” (my coaching clients, affiliates, or editors for magazines or websites I write for), “next” (regular fitness questions from readers who aren’t clients), and “later” (random stuff that may not even warrant a response). This isn’t a fat loss related task, obviously, but as I mentioned earlier, the more organized I am the better my workouts tend to be.
9:00AM – 45 minute brisk walk.
I don’t consider it this “cardio.” I’m talking a walk to clear my head, because it’s how I start my day. This is my “mental clarity” hour. Moving meditation. I think that for most people, “slow-go” cardio is pretty dumb; whereas for others (such as people 10% body fat or below looking to get leaner), it has merit. However, I enjoy walking around my neighborhood, getting some blood flowing, and just checking out the city life at that hour.
9:45AM – Answer my “immediate” emails, then hit my social networks.
At this point I’ll respond to clients, some affiliates, and then post some stuff to Facebook and Twitter. Usually, I have a writing project I’m working on, so I’ll start on that. I do all of this until around noon.
12:00PM –Time to Workout!
I mix my workout shake, take one or two sips, and then head down to the gym for a training session.
NOTE – You’ll notice that I have been awake for about 5 hours and haven’t eaten yet. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, I find that I have a bit more clarity before I have eaten, so I get my best technical writing done at this time.
Secondly, I simply CANNOT eat before my workouts, or I will vomit. Since I train at 12, it makes no sense to eat beforehand.
My training session will, or course, vary day to day; however, if I’m looking for fat loss, it’s safe to assume that I’ll do some sort of fast paced circuit.
Before I do this, I’ll warm up with 5 minutes of jump rope, some jumping jacks, and then I’ll use my foam roller for about 10 minutes to work out any sore spots. (If you haven’t read this post on soft tissue work).
A1) Push Press – 185 pounds for 10 reps in 20 seconds
A2) Bent Row – 185 pounds for 13 reps in 30 seconds
A3) Front Squat – 185 pounds for 12 reps in 30 seconds
I rest about 30 seconds between each of those, then add 10 pounds do the bar and tried to exceed my previous number of reps in the same time frame. I did for all three exercises
A1) Push Press – 195 pounds for 12 reps in 20 seconds
A2) Bent Row – 195 pounds for 16 reps in 30 seconds
A3) Front Squat – 195 pounds for 14 reps in 30 seconds
Because I did MORE work in LESS time, I increased my training density. This means I burned a lot more fat, increased strength, and generally felt awesome for beating the challenge I set for my self.
I decided to do this a third time with heavier weight. While I couldn’t beat the reps, I still got a great workout.
A1) Push Press – 205 pounds for 8 reps in 20 seconds
A2) Bent Row – 205 pounds for 13 reps in 30 seconds
A3) Front Squat – 205 pounds for 13 reps in 30 seconds
After that, I finished up with jumping jacks, push-ups, pull-ups, mountain climbers, and jump squats – all done for as many reps as possible in 30 seconds. I went through that 4 times, and that was it. (By the way, for a more detailed blog post about Density Training, click here.)
During the course of the workout, I aim to drink the remainder of my workout shake.
After that, back on the foam roller for 10 minutes, and then back upstairs.
Ideally, this will all have taken place in just about 75 minutes. Today it took 90, but since we’re looking at a perfect day, we’ll pretend it didn’t.
1:15 – Have my Post Workout Shake
This is the same thing I use during my workout, just half a serving. I feel very strongly about workout nutrition (so strongly I wrote this blog post about it) so on a perfect day I would have it dialed in. I chug my shake and then get in the shower. On a perfect day, I will take a contrast shower.
A contrast shower is when you alternate periods of VERY HOT water with VERY COLD water.
When I take contrast showers, I tend to do 30 seconds of hot, 30 cold, 30 hot etc. The reason for this is that it facilitates in a number of ways, but also increases production of Growth Hormone, as was as activating brown adipose tissue—this is “fat burning fat.” That is, it’s a type of fat that is riddled with dense mitochondria, and when activated, helps you to lose fat.
Again, I don’t ALWAYS do this, but on a perfect fat loss day, I would. Every little bit helps.
1:30 – Dress and start making brunch
Despite this being my first real meal of the day, I can’t, in good conscience, eat at 1:30 and call it breakfast.
This meal will be 5 organic Omega-3 eggs. I just make mine over easy. I grease the bottom of the pan with coconut oil—this adds some more healthy fats and gives the eggs a really unique flavor that I love. You can get coconut oil in both spray and spread. I like the spread.
In addition to the eggs, I’ll have a (giant!) sliced tomato, some salsa verde, and an apple. I also take 3 krill oil capsules with this meal.
I eat this brunch in front of my computer, usually catching up on the blogs and newsletters that I follow. All told, between making the meal and eating it, this takes about an hour.
2:30 – I spend about 30 minutes answer emails that I’ve marked “next”
These are emails that didn’t need immediate attention but still had to be answered. After that, I’ll hit Facebook and Twitter again, but at this point it’ll be more about responding to questions and perhaps a Q&A. I do this for about half an hour, and then move on to my “programming shift.”
3:00 – From 3PM to 6PM I am officially in the trenches working on training programs.
Mostly for my online clients, but also for in-person clients, and any new projects I’m working on. I only do this about 3 hours per day because, to be honest, it’s very mentally draining.
An important distinction is that this is what I call technical writing.
It uses a different part of my brain than creative writing. Although I need to be creative when writing programs, it’s very different than writing. I find that I can be technically creative mid-day, but not late at night; whereas I can be very creative with writing late at night, but not mid-day.
I work for 50 minutes, and then spend 10 minutes “refreshing.” My refreshing is 3 minutes of deep breathing followed by a few push ups, some jump squats, and some band pull-aparts (I do about 100 of these per day for shoulder health). I follow up with 2 more minutes of deep breathing, then back to work.
5:30PM – I have a blender drink.
On a perfect day, I’d follow my best fat burning recipe:
6:15PM – I answer my “later” email then return to working on my blog posts.
At this point, I am still doing “technical” writing. Which means thats that I’ll take a blog post I wrote during my creative period, and do the boring stuff like adding in links and perhaps re-writing sentences to make a spot for links to previous posts.
I usually try to post new blogs between 6-8 PM. I’ll work on one until about 7.
7:00PM – I watch Jeopardy!
Every. Single. Night. I also play Punishment Card Jeopardy! It’s a cool way to make the show more interesting.
Take a deck of playing cards, and have each suit represent an exercise. For me, spades are squats, diamonds are push-ups, hearts are mountain climbers, and clubs are lunges.
EVERY time I get an answer wrong, I draw a card—whatever the number is, I perform that many reps on the corresponding exercise.
So if I draw a 9 of clubs, I do 9 lunges (per leg). Queen of diamonds is 10 push-ups. This can be a lot of fun, or miserable.
Out of interest, I am AWESOME at Jeopardy!
7:30 – I start making dinner
Dinner will vary, but because I’ve been on a steak kick, let’s assume 12-14oz of organic, free-ranged beef from US Wellness Meats. These already delicious steaks will be seasoned with herbal dry rub.
Rubs are generally superior to marinades. They are usually made with herbs, spices, and salts—not sugary goo like marinades. I will also have giant servings of broccoli and cauliflower. I season those with a little lemon juice and Celtic sea salt.
I drink about 20oz of water with dinner, and take 4 krill oil capsules. I eat pretty fast (I don’t chew, being honest), so I’ll usually finish by 8:15.
8:15 – Clean up the kitchen and go for a walk.
Again, this isn’t for fat burning (though it helps), I just enjoy a walk after dinner. Usually, I’ll put on my iPod and walk for 20-30 minutes. In the winter—because I hate the cold—I’ll go to the gym in my building and walk on the treadmill while listening to music or watching some trashy tv.
8:45 – I check my email again
This is really just a scan so I can answer anything urgent. Not much comes in, so I can usually just answer everything in 30 minutes, which will include whatever I missed previously.
9:15 – Read and Write
This is very basic. Just take 30 minutes to finish reading blogs I follow, and then make my “to do” list for tomorrow.
9:45 to either 11:45 or 12:45 – Creative Work
Starting at 9:45, and for a dedicated 2-3 hours, I’m going to try to get a lot of creative work done.
Again, 50 minutes of work, 10 minutes of refreshing.
The range of times is dependent on what I’m working on. As I mentioned in my previous blog post and alluded to above, I find that I do my best creative writing late at night. If I have a lot of creative stuff to do, I’ll wind up working until 12:45. If I don’t have work, I’ll tap out at 11:45.
Creative writing is: blog posts; newsletter drafts; the intro, conclusion, and certain parts of the body of articles I’m working on; and coming up with a written “arc” for my next series of blog posts.
11:30 – Snack
Usually, ¾ cup cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons of almond butter, 12oz water, and about 5 krill oil caps.
11:45 or 12:45 – Unplug from the world
Again, depending on whether I’m working creatively or not, I shut down the electronics at one of these times. At this point, I try to read for 30-60 minutes before going to sleep.
12:45 – Forced “Unwinding”
If I’m still feeling awake, I’ll do some stretches and yoga poses while listening to relaxing music and focusing on deep breathing. Ideally, this will get me ready for my snoozies. I’ll read another another chapter if I’m in the middle of a good book. (For those interested, I’m currently reading American Sphinx by Joseph J Elliss. It’s an incredible biography of my favorite President, Thomas Jefferson.)
1:15AM – lights out, bed time.
No matter what. Unless I’m having sex. In which case, 2:30. Hey, it’s my perfect day, and on that day I am a machine.
As I said above, the more of these days I have, the better off I’ll be. Again, I’m not able to replicate that every day while trying to lose fat, but because I have this written template, I have an actionable plan that I can follow as closely as possible—and the closer I make each day to this, the better I’ll be.
You can certainly try to mimic this plan, but it would be hard for most people. You see, I work in gyms and from my home, so I have a lot of freedom to eat and train however I like. I understand that my schedule is a bit of an anomaly.
That said, this post can still have a lot of value for you.
This should be the most perfect realistic day that you can have. A day where nothing goes wrong, but where miracles don’t occur either. (Don’t base your day, for example, on your boss calling you up, telling you to take a few days off but collect your check anyway!)
So, let’s, take it a step further and post it below—I would love to see what your ideal day looks like!