Q: Hello Francois,
I am thinking about competing in my first competition, but I work a full-time job. I read that you work full-time as a financial advisor. Can you tell me how you manage working and competing? Do you really have time for both? Perhaps you can let me know how you do it and even what your workout schedule looks like.
. . . Tom Buchan
A: Hi Tom,
This is a really good question because the main reason people don’t practice a sport is lack of time. And when you want to push the activity to another level, like taking part in a fitness competition, the challenge is to carefully manage every aspect of your life.
I have a wife and a 4-year-old daughter, and we have another child coming in June. I work as a financial planner and manager in a financial center and I am starting up my own business in the fitness industry. What is more, I train close to ten hours per week, compete, and I am very involved in fitness. Wow! How can a person do all that? Frankly, a lot of people would burn out just by reading about it, but the fact is, you can do it by defining your purpose, vision and goals. Also remember this: achievement requires effort, energy and determination.
When you want to be an athlete and live differently from most people, you have to do things differently. The most important thing in my life is my family, and around my family revolve sports, friends, pleasure, and work. You definitely have to find a balance among all the things you value in your life and in my case, family comes first, so I make sure to schedule plenty of time with them. My job is also important, so I schedule the important family time around my work. I keep track of all my time commitments in my agenda. Remember: proper time management is your best ally when you are an athlete and want to perform.
I know that I need to sleep seven to eight hours (9:30 pm to 5:30 am), and I have to work out four to six days per week, each workout lasting one and a half hours. So I’ve found the best time for me to train is in the morning, the time of the day when my family is still sleeping and when I am at my best mentally and physically. After my training, I get back home to see my family before going to work.
A regular workout schedule looks like this:
Sunday: 9:30 am (while my daughter is at a dancing class)
Monday: 6:30 am (family is sleeping)
Tuesday: 6:30 am (family is sleeping)
Thursday: 6:30 am (family is sleeping)
Friday: 6:30 am (family is sleeping)
Saturday: 8:00 am or off (depending of the preparation phase)
Each minute is important in each day, so no TV, no time to waste with meaningless problems, and no time to listen to people complain. Basically, I know I have no time to lose!
In this venture, the support of my wife is very important. She knows how to follow my diet, what to cook and when (chicken, eggs, beef, horse), and she is also really understanding about my training schedule. When she doesn’t have the time to cook my food, I do it during the weekend or at the end of the day. If I have to wake up a 4:30 am to cook, I will. But food is not really a problem. I put the chicken into the oven for three hours and let it cook; horse takes about ten minutes, as do vegetables.
A big part is to plan my lunch properly because that’s in the middle of day when I’m out. I prepare my lunch in the morning while my eggs are cooking and I’m getting my workout bag ready and, at the same time, responding to my e-mail (ask anybody -- I answer my e-mails between 5:30 am and 6:30 am). This requires a lot of coordination!
Now that I have a plan that includes work time, training time, family time and rest, I use the remaining hours to develop and manage my own business. Obviously, I like being busy.
As you can see, friends are not a big part of my planning. There are many reasons for this. First, I don’t believe in having hundred of friends; instead, I prefer quality relationships (one of my best friends is my training partner). Second, I concentrate my energy with my best friends and try not waste precious hours with time-consuming “supposed” friends. Finally, I don’t need to see my friends every day and every week; they have their lives and I have mine. So a lunch during the week and a family get-together are usually enough to maintain good relations.
To get back to your question, the answer is that it involves planning and design. When a desire to do something is more powerful than not doing it, you can accomplish anything and you will always find time to do it with the right planning. Yes, it requires sacrifices sometimes, but in my opinion, nothing in life is free.
Best of success in your future athletic career!
. . . Francois Beauregard, IDFA Pro