A few weeks ago, I sent an email to a handful of fitness professionals who are either successful coaches, entrepreneurs, or both. Given that most people assume that they have it easier because their job is in the fitness space, I wanted to find out if that was true.

So I emailed some of the guys I respect most in this business and asked them one simple question: “What is your biggest obstacle to staying fit and how do you overcome that on a daily basis?”

As fitness professionals, people see these guys as having an easy time getting and staying fit, or at least easier than they have it.

So I asked them to share their thoughts on the challenge(s) they faced given their busy schedules and successful businesses. I thought that their insights would help a lot of guys who struggle with their own issues and demons and hearing from guys like these might make getting fit seem more realistic.

The Life of a Fitness Professional

stay fitWhile I can only speak for myself, I do think working as a fitness pro makes staying fit somewhat easier. After all, we probably should practice what we teach and “look the part”. And because of our training and education, we also know how to train, what to eat, and how to get the best results as quickly as possible.

However, there are a different set of challenges that we face. I spent many years as a trainer in big box gyms all over the country and the name of the game was always the same; hustle. It’s all about filling your schedule with as many clients as possible and trying to make as much money as you can.

And it’s super easy to fall into the trap of working yourself to the bone trying to make a name for yourself and earn a decent amount of money. Sadly, most trainers make a little more than $30k per year, so in order to break out of that income bracket, you have to be willing to bust your ass 24/7.

And we do. And it works. In the short-term.

Looking back, I definitely don’t like that model, but that’s just what it is. The issue I faced was that my own training got pushed aside in order to have enough energy to work with my clients, call prospects, walk the floor, build relationships with members, eat, and repeat.

Humping 10 hour days week after week left little in the tank for my own workouts.

Running around trying to build a business ain’t easy and most days I feel like I just don’t have enough time to get it all done. But then I go to the gym and remember why I’m doing it.

Now that I’m running my own business, I can say in all honesty that I struggle to find time to train, cook, and prepare foods like I know I should be. And I work at home!

As these fitness pros can attest, owning a business is a lot of work. A lot. Some of them are running seven figure businesses and I can only imagine what they are up against each day.

So here’s what they had to say about their biggest daily struggles:

Steve Kamb from NerdFitness.com

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I’ve been following Steve for a few years now and what he’s built over at NF is nothing short of remarkable. He leads a hugely successful business (or “Rebellion” as he calls it), which I’m sure places a high demand on his time. And apparently, mixing fitness and gaming is an incredibly popular thing. Who’d of thunk it??

Here is what Steve had to say:

“My problem is the same problem most people have; dealing with a busy life. There’s always more work to be done, friends to see, chores to do, things to do, and I can get so focused on work that I wait too long to get my workout in.

My solution has been to prioritize fitness – I put all of my workouts in my calendar and have simply told myself that I have to work out at that time on those days, no matter what. It forces me to become more efficient with the rest of my time outside of the gym.”

John Romaniello from RomanFitnessSystems.com

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John is a really interesting guy and seems to be a combination of James Dean and Batman. Just read his stuff on Facebook and you’ll see what I mean. He’s the author of the best selling book Engineering The Alpha and definitely worth checking out.

Here’s what John says:

“I’m Italian. I love to eat massive quantities of food. Constantly. That’s why Intermittent Fasting (IF) works so well for me. By limiting the number of hours that I allow myself to eat, I’ve been able to better control what I consume. Finding a way to be able to make better food choices has made all the difference for me.”

Ross Enamait from RossTraining.com

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Ross is a beast. Seriously. Just watch this video of him with a rope. As a father, he understands the importance of quality time and leading by example, which is inspiring in itself.

Ross says:

“I consider time to be the greatest obstacle. There are only so many hours in a day. I run a business that often entails long hours. I also coach youth sports and am a very active father. I still make time for exercise however as it is my responsibly to be a role model to my children.

Actions speak louder than words so I’ll always lead by example.

I will never be the type of father who says one thing but does another. I want my children to lead healthy and active lives. The best way for me to teach them is by providing a daily example. As for fitting exercise into my schedule, I typically train first thing in the morning. I’d rather wake up earlier and get it in than run out of time.

You either run the day or the day runs you. Once I’ve trained in the morning, no one can take it away. It doesn’t matter how busy I get, I’ve already put in the work. And if for some reason I miss my morning session, I will still make time at some point in the day. Even if I don’t have time for a full workout, I will opt for something over nothing.

Not every workout needs to be a marathon session. Even a few sets of pushups are better than nothing. It takes most people longer to explain why they didn’t exercise than it would to drop down and perform a set.

No matter how busy you are, you can always make time. Ultimately, it all boils down to priorities. We all make time for whatever we deem to be most important. For me, that means always making time for exercise to ensure that I’ll be as healthy and active a father as possible.”

Jerred Moon from EndOfThreeFitness.com

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Jerred takes a unique approach to fitness and defies conventional fitness “wisdom”. He also is the creator of OneManOneBarbell, which is a pretty progressive strength training program.

Here’s what Jerred had to say:

“TIME. I have been running End of Three Fitness for awhile now and I know most people in our community struggle with motivation, or time – I’m no different. Those two issues seem to be the biggest culprit in deflating our fitness aspirations. I’m highly motivated, but often lack time as a husband, father, entrepreneur, etc.

It would be easy to say, to combat this I wake up early…but it’s not that simple. The real answer is I position myself to have better habits, and I review and work on new (good) habits on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Starting with a simple morning routine will go a long way, and it certainly has for me. If you can’t get out of bed at 4 am and train hard…DON’T.

Just try waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal and do something simple like stretching. Slowly increase that to 45 min, 60 min, etc. Eventually your body will grow accustomed to waking up early and being able to train hard in the early hours. IF you have the mental fortitude for more…take the band-aid approach (RIP IT RIGHT OFF!) and just start tomorrow.

Wake up at 4am and train hard. Do it for 60 days and you won’t even think about it again. It will be your life. Mark Twain said it best, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

So make my answer succinct: My biggest obstacle is time, and I overcome it on a daily basis by making it a habit to eat a live frog first thing in the morning.”

Brandon Richey from BrandonRicheyFitness.com

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Brandon is a strength coach who was recently recognized by BreakingMuscle as having one of the top 10 fitness sites on the Internet. Not too shabby..

Brandon says:

“To respond to the part of your email about people’s perception that it’s easy for me to stay fit simply because I’m a coach or a training professional…Like you, I don’t stay strong because it’s convenient. Being strong and fit is a mindset, period.

I’m able to have strength because I’m always out busting my ass to acquire it. There is no easy or magical way. One of my favorite lines is a credo from Navy SEALS that says “The only easy day was yesterday.”

This attitude is true for everyone in every situation. You have to view it this way rather than viewing life as just being “hard.” To me to say that life is hard sparks a negative defeatist mindset.

If we instead view it as a challenge it brings out our competitive spirit and we can then overcome whatever challenge is before us.”

Tony Gentilcore from TonyGentilcore.com

stay fit

Tony is one of my favorite guys online and a phenomenal coach. He was a co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance and has recently moved on to open his own facility. He’s a prolific writer and honestly one of the funniest dudes you’ll ever find on the Interwebz.

Here is what Tony said:

“Great question. And, honestly, it’s just a matter of integrity from my end. You’re 100% spot on that many trainers and coaches end up making themselves so busy that they rarely (if ever) have the time to train themselves. It’s just the like the old adage says: the painter’s house is often the last to get painted.

That said, I’ve made it my own personal Mission Statement that I will always MAKE THE TIME to train. True, the biggest obstacle is that we can’t add more hours to the clock, but at the end of the day, as a coach, and as someone who writes about this stuff, it’s on me to make sure that I “look the part” or at the very least practice what I preach.

One of my biggest pet peeves are those fitness professionals to write about training people yet don’t train anyone. Like, ever. Far be it from me to trash talk those people who make a name for themselves with their Instagram feed or YouTube channel and are fortunate enough to make a living off it.

But in terms of overall integrity, I feel there’s a slight drop-off in that department for these types of individuals. I don’t feel they’re bad people, but you’d be surprised how many crash and burn when asked to actually coach someone through a squat session. Small rant aside, fitness has always been a part of my life.

It’s something I’ve placed great value in and it’s allowed me the opportunity to do some pretty cool things with my life. Are there some days I’m super busy and would rather not hit the gym? Sure. But I remind myself that I owe it to myself (and those I coach, and to those who continually read my articles) to not be “that guy.

That’s all motivation I need.”

Jason Ferruggia from JasonFerruggia.com

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Jason has a no bullshit approach to fitness (and life) and if you haven’t red his stuff, you’re missing out. I’ve used his Renegade Diet and follow his work closely. If you want to get stronger, Jason is your man.

To the point as always, here’s what Jason said:

“It’s simple. I can’t be average. I can’t be like everyone else. Everyone else is fat and lazy. That’s all the motivation I need.”

What Is Your Biggest Struggle?

Now that you’ve heard from some of the top dogs in the fitness industry, what is YOUR biggest struggle when trying to stay fit?

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