The Tip of the Exercise Iceberg Theory

There’s a lot that goes into your health and fitness. There’s also a lot that goes into your week. No matter whom you are, no matter where you are, your week is made of 168 hours.

Have you ever mapped out your week?

Do you know what you’re spending your time on?

Some people manage their weeks better than others. Some have more free time, others have to spend more time at work, while others spend more time just a workin’ on their fitness, as Fergie would say.

If we think in hypothetical terms, you will spend 40 hours/week at work. If you’re a student, your 40 hour work-week is dedicated towards school plus an additional 15-40 hours towards another part-time/full-time job. Or if you are a parent, you’re going to dedicate 40 hours to your family. Regardless of your position, that’s a whopping 80 hours already gone, potentially.

Now let’s add in sleep. Experts say we should get about 6 hours of sleep per night. That number depends on which expert you look at, as some say 5-7 while others say 6-8 hours/night. Let’s say we use 6 hours (multiply that by 7 for the days in a week) and now we’re at 42 hours in addition to the 80 hours we already mentioned. That brings us to 122 hours with 46 hours left to work with.

The average American watches 5 hours of TV per day. Tap on another 35 hours to your week. And just like that, BOOM!!! We’re down to 11 hours left in your week.

(Side note: have you ever thought about what you’re actually watching when you’re watching television?  You’re watching someone live out their dream!  Actors, actresses, anchors, and athletes are all living out their dream for us to watch!  I digress as this is a topic for another day, but I had to bring it to the attention for the sake of this article.)

Again, this is all a hypothetical, but let’s take another peak at that those 157 hours we just calculated. Did you notice how many of those hours are spent sitting? A lot…probably close to +60 hours to be exact.

They say sitting is the new smoking, and I have to tend to agree. You put your body into compromised positions from sitting for an extended length of time. Your movement quality decreases and your injury risk increases (not the type of relation you want to deal with).

Which brings me to the question: what kind of exercise plan are you on?

How many hours per week are you putting towards your health and fitness? Are you doing a cookie-cutter program or are you doing one that is customized to you? Is it a program that values your goals, while also keeping your lifestyle in mind?

If you spend 5 hours each week exercising in an attempt to improve your health and fitness you will be left with a hefty 163 hours towards making those petty 5 hours of exercise worthwhile.

You want to make the most out of your 5 hours as possible.

You shouldn’t be doing what works best, you should be doing what works best for YOU and YOUR goals and YOUR lifestyle.

A completely customized, exercise program consisting of cardio, strength training, mobility, and success coaching are absolutely necessary. You want to be part of a program that holds you accountable and allows you to be part of a community of like-minded individuals who are seeking the same or similar goals.

I’ve stressed this philosophy to my clients over the last few years, but I’ve also taken it to another level by asking: If you’re working out with me for 3-5 hours/week, what are you doing the other 163 hours to help accomplish your goal(s)?

Smart, healthy choices with food, physical activities, alcohol intake, and much more comes into play here. It’s not just about working out anymore. If you want serious results you have to be aware of all the pieces of the puzzle that fit into your puzzle.

I’ve referred to this as the “Tip of the Exercise Iceberg Theory” aka The If-you’re-working-out-for-3-5-hours/week-then-what-are-you-doing-the-other-163-hours Theory.


This theory goals well behind exercise though. We see some of our peers, family members, and idols accomplish their goals, but we don’t truly know what it takes to get to where they are. We only scratch (or see) the surface of their success. Ultimately, that’s all we want to see. Our minds don’t want to know all the sacrifice, hard work, dedication, and time put into such efforts…

There are some that are willing to put in the effort, the discipline, and patience to see success.


It’s not all as easy as I’m making this sound. You can see all the content that is underneath the surface and that equates to all that really goes into accomplishing goals and achieving success on any account.

This Theory is precisely why our programs at Unity Fitness are created the way they are. We don’t just have a gym “membership.” We have customized programs.

We take your goals, motivation, lifestyle, and budget in consideration and create a package that is best for you. We help set you up on a program where all you have to do is show up. We know that the hardest part is stepping through the gym doors, which is why we have something planned for you every day of the week and we map that out for you during the program design process.

Not only that, but we also assign you your very own trainer that you can communicate with and help keep you accountable during those times away from the gym. Oh yeah, and we have that handy dandy Newsletter too!

Your goals and success are yours and yours alone. What you do to get yourself there is different than the next person, but the same feats and hard work must be put in to accomplish and succeed. Don’t settle for what you see. Ask yourself “Why?” and dive in to conquer and do what you never thought possible!


The Secrets to Long-term Success: Short-term Goals

This post is one that goes into more detail on how and why short-term goals matter more than long-term goals. I briefly went over this topic in one of the article’s in October 4th’s Newsletter, but I wanted to cover it more thoroughly here. I’ll begin this post using that same article:

You’ve most likely heard this before: a dream is a goal without a deadline.

That means once you have the deadline, it’s time to take action. To create your plan to accomplish your goal, you can use the S.M.A.R.T. approach:


You can use other approaches to accomplish your goals, regardless of which type of philosophy on how to achieve your goal, you still need to have short-term AND long-term goals.

Short-term goals keep you motivated and accountable. These are your “check-ins.” This is the category of goals where you initially force yourself to make changes towards your goal. These are the goals where every choice brings you closer to accomplishing your long-term goal or takes you further away. These are the choices, or behaviors, and sacrifices we make. It’s tough, but that’s because it’s supposed to be!

Long-term goals are the outcome goals. They are the “X” at the end of the map. They are the accumulation of all your short-term goals. They are the prize. Long-term goals are what initially brought out your motivation and at the end of the day it could be what keeps you going.

The troubling part is that people are too focused on the long-term goal that they miss steps along the way. They go from “A” to “C” or “D” without ever stopping and accomplishing “B.”

Weight loss is an easy and relevant example to use because it’s so common. Here’s what the initial steps could look like:

A: Establish “why” you want to lose X lbs or use the S.M.A.R.T. method (or do both)

B: Increase exercise frequency (like walking for 30 minutes 3x/week)

C: Eat more fruits and veggies

D: Sleep at least 6 hours every night

So what happens if you go from A to D? You obviously skipped a step, or multiple steps along the way. And then you have a slip like a stressful event due to work or a family member or a loved one. All of a sudden you’re not working as hard towards your goal because there was something that came up.  Without established groundwork, you’re now back to where you started (step A), rather than being caught up on step B or C.

Array of colourful alphabet letters in uppercase on a white background for teaching children languages

(For the record, remember that LIFE ALWAYS HAPPENS!! So prepare the right way instead of the fast way!)

This brings me back to the question: what do you do when something comes up that deters you from your goals?

If you took the time to create the short-term goals then you will have fundamental groundwork in how to accomplish your goal. You will know what you need to do to make your dreams a reality. It may feel like you’re starting “fresh” if you have a setback, but your body and heart know how to get things done, it’s that darn mind of yours that shakes things up.

You know what you need to do. You know you need to add exercise that consists of resistance training in order to achieve sustainable weight loss. You know you need to stop eating more. You know you need to eat more fruits and veggies. You know you shouldn’t be going out to eat more than once or twice each week.
If your goal is weight loss (let’s say your goal is to lose 100 lbs) you become so focused on losing 100 lbs that you miss a couple steps along the way like food prep, consistent exercise, and not eating processed food like chips every day.  Maybe you also didn’t establish that you need to lose 10 lbs before you lose 100 lbs, and a goal of 10 lbs/month for the first 2 months is a realistic goal to have.

8 week​​s later you’re down 20 lbs, but then work gets crazy busy and now you can’t make it to your walks as much and all of a sudden you gain the 20 lbs back in 5 weeks.  You didn’t just gain 5 back, or 10 back, you gained it ALL back.

​​You gained it all back because you never set up all the short-term goals like meal prepping on Sundays or weight training 3x/week or choosing berries over chips.  Setting up those goals could have helped you still lose weight and accomplish your goal while things at work got tough.  (There are obviously a ton of other scenarios and options that could occur.)


The point is, when times get tough, recollect on how you got to where you were in the first place.  It’s always been a long-term approach, but we tend to think in quick-fixes.  Quick-fixed do NOT work.

The reasons above are the exact reasons why the quick-fix supplement companies that get you to do a “30 day Challenge” don’t last because you don’t form any GOOD habits.  ​​You just drink a bunch of their shakes, slap on a patch, or take some fat-burners that are supposed to help you lose weight, yet you continue to eat chips, NOT meal prep, and couldn’t fathom exercising. There are exceptions of course, but there’s also a reason why “fat loss supplements” are part of a multi-billion dollar industry.

Another example of preparing for a fitness-related goal could be training for a marathon.​​​​  You don’t start training for a marathon by running 25 miles for your first training session. You start by knocking out shorter mileage sessions while working on your cadence, pace, and gait. Then you progress to longer runs once or twice a week. Eventually you’ll add hill interval days, cross-training days, and much more! Failure to do these small steps will most likely lead to over-training, injury, and a poor marathon time.

Remember to focus on the short-term goals as you keep your eyes on the long-term. Focusing only on the long-term goal neglects all of the essential building-blocks necessary to get you there safely and correctly.

Remember: short-term goals are achieved with your long-term goals in mind.