From a different perspective

“Not everybody wants to train. For many, exercise is good enough. They just want to burn calories and have better abs. This is fine, for those people.

But the second you want MORE-when you decide that there will be a goal to accomplish-you’ve graduated to TRAINING.”

–Mark Rippetoe

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If you have been in the training game long enough, and have worked with enough clients, you tend to start to see a trend in reasons that people cannot eat proper or make it to the gym. The most common reasons we hear are:

“I just have a busy schedule so I don’t have time right now.”

“It takes a lot of time and money to eat right.”

“When you have a family, you will understand.”

Now, I do not have kids, so I will not make a statement to how much time it takes to raise said kids, but I did find someone who does and who makes time to follow a structured diet and makes time to train, and has competed at a high level in his given sport, so maybe he can shed a little light on that issue. Take a minute to read through the interview we conducted with Ryan McCoy, American Ninja Warrior Competitor, (@ryan_mcninja).


Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Sure, well I’m 26 years old, I have been married to my best friend, Tess, for almost 4 years. We have two wonderful children: Lily (age 2 1/2) and Nathan (2 months) and I work in downstream oil as a business coordinator. My sport of choice would either be obstacle course training or tennis.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

4am:I wake up for work.

5:30am: I’m on the bus answering emails and practicing my Swedish.

6:30ish: I’m walking in the office.

11am: I start working out at the gym in my company’s building.

12:30: I have finished showering and grab a quick Salata salad that I eat at my desk while I work.

5pm: I’m heading home.

6:30-7: I’m actually home. And then the evening is filled with playing, eating dinner, and bath time.

9 or 10: We are in bed.

And then repeat.

What does a typical training session look like for you?

My typical workout is a lot simpler and less structured than when I was training for ninja full time. It usually consists of many pull-ups, push-ups, and other body weight centered workouts. I try to mix up the variances and try new workouts when I see them but since I am working out during my lunch break I don’t have a lot of time for experimentation.

What does your nutrition look like? 

We follow a mostly plant-based diet. A lot of people think you can’t get the protein you need as an athlete this way, but it’s worked out great for me! Developing good habits and meal prepping helps me get out the door fast in the mornings without sacrificing health.

This is a typical days meals for me:

– Breakfast: warm water with lemon and honey; green smoothie (water, chia seeds, spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, pineapple, banana); oatmeal with homemade almond milk, cinnamon, and raisins

– Lunch: a giant kale and spinach salad with quinoa, chickpeas, and a whole bunch of fruits and veggies

– Dinner: varies from day to day, but typically my wife makes something either legume or grain-based with plenty of vegetables

– Snacks: vegan protein powder shake, nuts and seeds, homemade hummus with vegetables and tortilla chips, apples and bananas with homemade almond butter, occasionally a piece of my wife’s raw cashew cake

My biggest struggle is remembering to drink enough water when I am home because there is always something going on!

How do you recover and what does your mobility look like?

I make sure to maintain a balanced diet and make sure I get plenty of protein. I also try to walk and take the stairs when possible. Slowly working out a plan to workout every day so that I can get a more intense work out in while not over exerting my main ninja muscle groups (back, shoulders, arms, lats, etc).
I am still not very flexible, as my wife likes to tease me about it. But for my training, I try to steer away from static stretches (bend over, touch toes, hold for so much time) and lean more towards dynamic stretches( high leg kick, touch toes at apex of kick).
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What motivates you and how do you deal with failure?

I think the biggest thing is maintaining the active lifestyle so that my kids will, hopefully, follow. I want to show them how fun it can be so they will enjoy it as much as I do. Plus, ninja training is more like playing on an adult sized playground than anything else so my kids just see me having fun.

Man, a bad training session is the worst. When I realize I’m having an unfocused workout I just push through until the end because a less focused workout is better than no exercise. Failure is a matter of perspective. I either look at it as delayed success or as a learning experience. As the first, I just need to work harder.  As the second I get the chance to adapt and grow.

What does you hierarchy look like? 

That’s easy, it’s Family first above all else, and then my job and working out falls in afterwards. I try to make time everyday to stay active, but if work is too busy, one day then it takes priority.

Anything else you would like to add?

Although training has to come last out of the three (family, work, training), it is still something I make time for nearly every day because of how I prioritize other things. Everyone is busy, and almost everyone either works full-time, has a family to take care of, or both, but typically work and family life aren’t what actually get in the way of staying active, but are rather the excuses people tend to make for why they don’t work out. Do you have time to watch an hour of TV several times a week? That’s time you could spend working out. Do you go out to eat every day during your lunch break? I choose to eat my lunch at my desk while I work every day to have time for a quick workout during my lunch break. Do you spend 30 minutes (or more) scrolling through your news feed every day? That’s time where you could be squeezing in a quick cardio workout. Most people don’t realize just how much free time they actually do have because they’ve gotten so used to their routines. Everyone is busy and you’ll find that the most dedicated (hobby) athletes tend to have extremely busy lives with tons of work and family commitments as well, they’ve just learned to prioritize their free time differently.

Regardless of how you feel about the statements made above, the last paragraph of the interview is about as real as you can get. If you say you don’t have time, you are lying to yourself. YOU DO HAVE TIME, you just don’t make time because at the end of the day, training is just not as important to you as you say it is. Now, I am not talking about the folks that can’t make it to the gym for a week here or there due to traveling, family issues, ect. I am talking about the folks that time and time again, day after day, and month after month, that use this excuse as a crutch for the reason they can never make it in.

This is not only an article to challenge your way of thinking and your time management, it is also an article to shed some light on a individual that truly has it together. Ryan is a great example to live by, he is the trifecta of the corporate world: Family man, business man, and an amazing competitive athlete.

For a look at the man himself in action, check out his Ninja Warrior Run.


If you just so happen to be one of the folks that trains day in and out and has already committed to this lifestyle, go and check out this Mash Elite Article. This is the coach that programs for myself, and he lays it out about as straight forward as you can get!


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