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“Take care of your body. It’s the only place where you can live.”

Jim Rhon

Before moving forward, let me clarify that I am not a doctor, personal trainer, or health professional. I am only sharing my personal, anecdotal experiences, hoping they might be of help to you.

Also, you may not like this one. You've been warned.

Now, allow me to explain why I care so much about physical fitness.

To put it simply, everything begins with it. For any plan you have, any goal you wish to attain, and any hurdle you’ve set out to overcome, you will need one main tool: your body. And a healthy, strong one at that.

If you have a fit, healthy, strong body, everything else in your life will either be better, or easier to deal with. Facing a challenge feeling physically strong is not the same as doing it feeling weak, heavy, or out of breath. Your body is your number one tool, means of transport, protector, and home. And it is always better when your home is a healthy place, isn't it?

For a long time, fitness has been equivalent to looks. Don’t take me wrong… personally, I believe that looking good is good! What bothers me about that is that fitness is so much more! Fortunately, slowly but surely, the way we look at fitness has been changing. People have started to understand that taking care of their bodies is not an option and that your physique and mind will, eventually, pay the consequences for any lack of care.

Exercising should not become a priority. It already is. The fact that for you it is not, doesn’t change that fact.

If for you working out is not a priority, YOU ARE WRONG.


Some scientific facts about the benefits of exercising:

Here are a few proven, scientifically verified facts that should help us better understand the issue at hand.


  1. Strengthens bones and muscles.

  2. Releases endorphins and dopamine.

  3. Improves your memory and brain function, regardless of your age.

  4. Helps you maintain a healthy weight.

  5. Reduces several health risks, such as:

    1. Cardiovascular disease

    2. Type 2 diabetes

    3. Some cancers (breast, lung, kidney, bladder)

  6. Improves your ability to perform daily activities and helps you avoid experiencing falls by improving your balance.

  7. Reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.

  8. Just in case you haven’t realized it yet: It increases your chances of living longer and better.

Please consider that the list presented above is not an official “ranking”, but a simple, humble attempt to give you some reasons, in case you didn’t know them already, to start a serious, consistent workout routine that will change your life. Just think for a moment how powerful these reasons are and, also, how they only represent a portion of the myriad of benefits physical activity brings to our lives.

Some scientific facts about the consequences of not exercising:

When you exercise poorly, or not at all:

  1. Your body will become “deconditioned”, which basically means you'll get weaker. Not only your arms and legs will, but organs like your heart and lungs too.

  2. Your mental health will suffer from lack of exercise. Stress, anxiety, and depression will represent a bigger threat to you.

  3. Your risk to suffer from type 2 diabetes will increase.

  4. So will the risk for cancer.

  5. You will likely fall into an unhealthy lifestyle, with poor eating habits.

  6. Your immune system will weaken too.

Is it really necessary to keep citing consequences? What I mentioned about the first list also applies to this one: it is just a mere rundown. We are not even digging deeply into details and numbers. But however impressive these scientific realities are, I need to accept that, for most people, they just sound like a bunch of blah, blah, blah, making no difference whatsoever in the way they feel, and the way they act.

Why people don’t (want to) exercise?

I have spent MANY hours trying to find concrete answers to this question. Luckily, life had already taught me that most of the time, a single big question requires several big answers. It would be disingenuous to believe we only face one hurdle when trying to get into the challenging world of physical fitness.

Where should we start, then? I don’t know. I do know, however, the name of many contestants, that I’ll cite right away. Some are reasons, some just excuses. I will let you decide which is which.

  • I don’t have time: I don’t know it for a fact, but if I had to choose the number one excuse people go to when asked why they don’t exercise, this would take the gold medal. Big time. I will not, however, say “everybody has time" because we can always find exceptions and, also, because if I said that, I would be giving you a great excuse to victimize yourself and tell me how full of it I am. I don’t want that. What I really want is you to get seriously honest and ask yourself if you really, REALLY, cannot spare 30 minutes 4 to 5 days a week to exercise. Have little kids, two jobs, work extra hours? Been there, done that. Chances are, you WILL find the time if you truly want to. Trust me.

  • I don’t have the energy: Of course you don’t. Especially when you keep telling that to yourself daily. Your brain will get that message, and make your body feel that way. If I only exercised on those days where I felt “great” or “full of energy”, I would only do it a couple of days a month. And what is it exactly that you have no energy to do? Run a 5K, a 10K, a marathon? How about one lap around the block? Could you do that? It would always be better than nothing. Do that 5 days a week and it will soon become two laps, then three and, before you know it, instead of walking, you will find yourself jogging. That is what habit does. The whole point is: you don’t have to establish a huge difference today. You just need to establish one. Don’t deny yourself that. You deserve better! And so do your loved ones.

  • I don’t know what to do/how to do it: Well. If this is what is keeping you from starting to workout, then there’s no problem! Today, more than ever before, there are countless options you can choose from to help you establish a workout routine. Many of them offer access via a monthly/yearly subscription, and others are free. You can go to Google or YouTube and help yourself! Worried about the length of the routines? You have programs with sessions from 7 minutes to a whole hour. And you can also choose how many days a week you’d like to exercise.

  • I don’t have any equipment: The answer to this would basically be the same you just read above. The variety of programs available range from those who use a very advanced set of equipment, to those who just work with your body weight.

  • It will take too long to see results: What difference does it make? Time will pass, regardless of whether you decide to get fit and work on it or not. Besides, not all results take a long time to be perceived. Six packs? Yes… they will take a lot of time. But sleeping better, feeling lighter, enjoying the beautiful rushes of endorphins? Those will come really quick! Just ask yourself: in a year’s time, where do I want to be? Again… that year will pass, and there’s not a single thing you can do about it. How you use it, though, is your call.

  • I am in pain: This one is a whole universe in itself. Saying that pain is a “motivator” or that “it should drive you” sounds nice and, at times, it actually is true. However, having experienced severe pain myself and knowing all-too-well the reality of living with chronic pain, I always try to not sound dismissive. Having said that, my main issue with this reason is that if you don’t exercise your body to be better, pain has already won the battle. In my experience with chronic pain on my lower back, I have talked to my doctor, resourced to Physical Therapy, learn as many tricks as I could to use proper, safe form, and push through pain (responsibly), hoping that things would get better with time and work. And they did! I would be in bad shape, had I chosen not to strengthen my body, and especially my core, to protect my back. I took risks and yes, many times I have worked out in pain, but I have learned to know when and how to push. And so can you. Talk to your doctor, educate yourself, tell your pain it will have to deal with YOU, and not the other way around. You’re already in pain so you’re already experiencing what you fear. Make it better and get something out of it. Pain is not the end!

As I mentioned before, these are just some reasons, or excuses I usually hear when people tell me why they don’t take better care of their physique. There are many more. And all of them need to be taken seriously, so they can be addressed seriously. The fitness industry could help a lot if it didn’t sell so many six-packs as everybody’s default goal and the average rule to live by. Looks are important, mainly because we do fill better when we look better. But following looks as ultimate goals will make you fall prey to some standards that, if not impossible, will be too hard to achieve.

Am I contradicting myself when saying this? Can we, or can we not, push through pain, laziness, and negative mindsets? Yes, we absolutely can, but it's not only our goals that need to be real. The path we plan to follow to achieve them needs to be real too. Setting small, short-term milestones will help you make your mind and body stronger by getting used to success. You will get that six-pack, just not in a couple of months. And even if you did, a truly strong core will take many months, if not years, to achieve.

Be realistic. Be determined. Be consistent. Tomorrow, will be better than today.

How much exercise is enough?

Well… first of all, let me clarify something you might not like: working out should be part of your daily routine FOR LIFE. It’s not about exercising to lose some –or many– pounds and then quit. It should be a PRIORITY in your life, like eating, sleeping, or working to earn a living. You don’t “choose” to sleep, do you? You just have to because if you didn’t, you would suffer dire consequences. You also feed yourself, go to work and take a bath every single day. Those things are habits and priorities that do not have a replacement. Neither should exercising!

Now, talking about specific goals, you will find specific approaches both in exercising routines and nutrition. You should definitely consult with your prime care physician and, if you can afford a nutritionist and a gym subscription, even better. These professionals will help you decide the best path to follow. Yes, it can be a little annoying to talk to all of them and get the pieces together, but it is definitely worthy. If you don’t have access to a nutritionist or gym, as it happens with workout routines, you will find a plethora of options online that will guide you in your process to feed yourself correctly whether you want to lose fat, get more energy, grow muscle tissue, etc. But please, try to talk to your doctor first. Safety is above everything.

Having said all this, please consider something: the better you want to look and feel, the harder you will have to work. Think about what you really want, and plan accordingly. There will ALWAYS have to be a level of discomfort because, as the saying goes, “what doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you”.

And I am pretty sure that, if you are still reading this, what you’re looking for, is change.

How to start?

One day at a time. One step at a time. One rep at a time.

There’s no other way. Just as it is true you must push, commit, and make sacrifices, it is also essential that you don’t overwhelm your mind with unreal expectations. Monday mornings, I don’t think about the whole week that’s ahead of me. I only focus on my Monday routine. That is all I need to get done. Tomorrow is not here yet, so I’ll take care of it when it has become today.

What to expect from the journey:

Success. Change. A better version of you.

Discomfort? Challenge? Pain? Oh yes! But none of those will be in vain.

Trust me. I’ve been there. I still am. Everyday. And I am thankful for that. I can honestly tell you that, without my workout routine, I would probably not be on this earth.

I wish I could be more precise and accurate in transmitting my feelings. I wish I could show you more of my own experience. But above all, I wish you success, accomplishments and enjoyment when looking at yourself in the mirror.

Be who you want to be and do what you want to do for you. Then, you’ll be able to be who your loved ones need you to be and do what they need you to do.

And when you fail always, always, fail forward.

* Emanuel James Rohn, (Sept. 17, 1930 – Dec 5, 2009), was an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker.




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