The 168 Hours Rule®

My 168 Hours Rule® states that it’s not the hours that you’re formally exercising that are the most significant in your life when it comes to staying lean and fit.  The most significant hours are those waking hours when you’re not engaged in formal exercise.  These hours far outweigh those that you are working out and will either support or destroy your efforts to stay in good shape.

People who are in the gym the most are not the most fit.  This is a fact. There are people who work very hard in the gym or otherwise training, and they do it 4 or 5 times per week for an hour or more.  However, these people are not necessarily the leanest and most conditioned.

We are all busy, but we also all have the same 168 hours in a week.  My formula states that you have to subtract the average hours you sleep in one week and the average hours you exercise one week to determine your “golden number.”

This golden number represents the remaining waking hours of the week during which you can chose to move as much as possible and turn everyday into an athletic event, or sit around and create what science calls, lazy biology.

Lazy biology means that the systems in a lounging body work differently than those in a body that’s standing or moving.  When you sit or lounge too much, the mechanisms in your body that trigger the use of triglycerides and glucose slow down, as do the mechanisms in your body that help produce high-density lipoprotein (HDL), a.k.a., good cholesterol.  When these functions operate poorly, there is an increased risk of metabolic disorders that can lead to health problems like heart disease and diabetes.  Inactivity is a distinct behavior from not getting enough exercise.  People who work out regularly but still spend much of their days sitting don’t get the full benefit of their exercise.

Applying the 168 Hours Rule®

We each begin with 168 hours in one week. Let’s say you sleep an average of 8 hours per night.  8 hours x 7 days=56 hours.  Subtract 56 from 168. This equals 112.

Subtract the average hours you exercise during the week from 112.  Let’s say you work out 4 times per week for one hour.  112 hours-4 hours =108 hours.

108 is your “golden number.”

During these 108 waking hours of your week, you can either turn your life into an athletic event or lounge and sit and create a metabolic disaster for yourself.

3 Components of the 168 Hours Rule®

The Mental Component:

Underlying all things physical is a mental component. The body is merely an empty shell awaiting direction from the mind.  You can mentally change, and the direct result will be a physical change.

The other part of the mental component is that you have to change how you think about time and what you do with time.  If you don’t have your mind right, transformation is impossible.

The Physical Component:

You must turn each day into an athletic event.  Run when you could walk; walk when you could ride; stand when you could sit; sit when you could lie down; carry when you could push; climb stairs when you could take an escalator or elevator.  When stuck at your desk, get up and down for water breaks and leave the remote control next to the TV so you have to get up to change the channel. Done once, these things mean nothing.  Done thousands of times over the course of a year, these habits can mean a difference of 30 unwanted pounds.  Everything adds up.

The Nutritional Component:

You must understand that just because you exercise 3 or 4 hours per week, it is not a ticket to eat what you want, when you want. You have to move and exercise as though this will be the greatest factor to affect your health and eat and drink as though this will be the greatest factor.  You must bring awareness to your intake of food and drink and not indulge mindlessly.  Stop having a party in your mouth and eat with intention, just as you move with intention.

Real-Life Applications of the 168 Hours Rule®

Mental Component:

  • Think about time differently.  Think about every moment as an opportunity to move and make healthy choices.
  • Be prepared mentally to LIVE like a LEAN person.  Lean people don’t just eat differently than fat people; lean people LIVE differently than fat people.  If you video tape a lean person for 30 days and do the same for a fat person, you will see VERY distinct differences in the way the two populations live every aspect of their lives.
  • Embrace every chance you have to move.
  • Rather than do what is convenient, do what requires EFFORT…and like it.
  • MENTALLY embrace the idea of adding effort to your life.
  • Think, “I GET to exercise rather than, I HAVE to exercise.”
  • Taking care of your beautiful body is a privilege that many don’t have.  Don’t wait until you lose the privilege of health to wish you had valued it more.

Physical Component:

  • At the store, rather than push a cart, carry a basket in each hand.
  • During long sessions at your desk, get up to get a drink of water every 20 minutes rather than leaving water at an arm’s reach.
  • When stuck on a call (unless you need to take notes), pace the room using a cordless telephone.
  • Leave the remote control next to the TV and get up and walk to the TV every time you want to change the channel.
  • Always take the stairs when given the opportunity.
  • Turn everything into a game of “Beat the Clock”—chores, errands, etc.
  • Put on your running shoes and literally run errands.
  • Do something while you watch TV rather than just sit: dust, wash dishes, sort through your sock drawer, etc.
  • When you walk, walk as fast as you can and walk with purpose.

Nutritional Component:

  • Get the idea out of your head that just because you exercise and move around it’s a ticket to eat like a glutton.
  • Understand that great physiques are 20% training and 80% diet.
  • Decide that you won’t use food and drink for anything other than nutritional edification of your body beautiful.
  • Understand that what you eat and drink will directly and immediately affect you, your brain, your mood, and your athletic ability.
  • Eat consciously.
  • Eat wisely.
  • Eat as though your body is your temple—because it is.
  • Eat as though your life depends on it—because it does.
  • Eat to live; don’t live to eat.
  • Eat FOOD, not edible trash.
  • Eat things that God made rather than things that man made.

Decide that every day you will look for ways to move more.  Understand that every waking moment of your week tallies up and you can choose to live lean by choosing to move more and eat a clean diet.  It requires more effort to live lean than to be fat.  Embrace the effort.  Consider every waking hour during which you are not exercising a chance to support or destroy the time you do exercise.

You are worth the extra effort.

~Tara Marie