I was 19 years old, a sophomore in college and had been finished with competitive soccer for 18 months. During that period I ate a lot of food, studied hard, took lots of naps and didn't move very much. I put on 45 pounds of pure fat and felt horrible.
And then one day out of desperation I went for a jog around the block. 15 minutes tops ... it was tough; I was winded and unsure if I was going to make it. It was a far cry from my lean soccer playing days.
But something happened just after completing that modest jog. I felt tremendous. My energy level soared, my outlook on life was enhanced and the world around me seemed crisper - I felt alive for the first time in well over a year. And in that moment of euphoria I made a secret promise to myself to bring exercise back into my life forever - never again will I feel tired, stressed out, moody, fat and lethargic - that was my commitment to myself on that day.
Now 21 years after that experience, exercise is not only a regular part of my personal life, it's my passionate livelihood. But the reality of exercising and eating healthier foods consistently is that it's not always easy. In the 2 decades since being 45 pounds overweight, I've had various levels of commitment to my health and fitness. I've ranged from fanatically focused to just going through the motions to maintain reasonable health and bodyweight. And I even put on 5 pounds (okay, maybe 7 or 8 pounds - reality is hard to face! ;) during my wife's pregnancy. (Empathy weight, I suppose).
But through it all, exercise remains one of my top priorities. Yes, I fondly remember the days when I could train hard for 2 - 3 hours, but today I prefer to work hard for an hour and spend the other hour or two with my wife and daughter. And with this shift in priorities, some of my most enjoyable workouts involve exercise that includes my daughter in some way.
Staying fit and healthy is a choice. We all have legitimate reasons to put off exercise, but we also have many more powerful reasons why we must put exercise at the top of our priority list. Exercise allows us to be more productive (personally AND professionally), more vibrant, more focused and clear, it gives us a better mental outlook, and so much more. Developing your own compelling reasons why you make consistent exercise a part of who you are will help you follow through on those days you just don't feel like doing it!
Below are some fun exercise ideas to help get you moving, in spite of the reasons that may get in your way:
- Dance to your favorite music in your living room. Invite your spouse and the kids to join in!
- Pretend you're playing the biggest game of your life in your favorite sport - and play hard for 30 minutes!
- Join a boot camp, or other group fitness program. They are a lot of fun and get you in shape fast.
- Go in the backyard and play vigorously with your kids and the whole family gets a workout.
- If you have kids under the age of four, put them in a jogging stroller and get in short jog before dinner.
- And just because you're no longer 14 doesn't mean you cannot go swimming, ride a bike, or engage in a vigorous game of tennis, racquetball, soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, even golfing without the cart, are all great ways to get a little more movement in.
Click here to eliminate any excuse you have for not exercising!
Your friend in fitness,