EXERCISE CONFESSIONS

Jonathan at Gym Smaller PictureAs the leading resolution for the new year is underway, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the reality of exercise by sharing my exercise confessions. People assume those who participate in regular exercise do so because of the enjoyment it provides.

CONFESSION #1:

I DO NOT enjoy the feeling of lifting weights to the point of muscle exhaustion. I DO NOT like the feeling of sweating profusely as I use the various pieces of cardiovascular equipment. I would rather spend the time I exercise doing more pleasurable activities.

CONFESSION #2:

While I was a practicing physician, I would wake up at 3:15am during the week to go to the gym to exercise. I DID NOT enjoy waking up at this unreasonable hour to begin an activity I DID NOT feel like doing. I would FREQUENTLY try to talk myself out of going by using ideas that would “justify” going back to bed! For example, is it not important to achieve adequate sleep? If I am tired, should I not listen to my body and get more sleep? The truth of the matter was, I was averaging at least six hours of sleep and more importantly, I DID NOT exercise EVERY DAY! I only got up this early three days a week. Although I exercised five times a week, I DID NOT get up this early on the weekend to exercise. I knew in reality that exercise would be compromised by unforeseen events during the day if I didn’t do it before my work day began. I know that people do not like to awaken before they have to when they work, but this approach leads to the highest level of LONG TERM compliance.

CONFESSION #3:

When I was 18 I thought big muscles were impressive. At 56 I am much more impressed with a heart that beats the way it is supposed to, a brain able to function at a high aptitude, and a body that can withstand a variety of lifestyle choices. Good muscle development is a very distal benefit of my current exercise program.

CONFESSION #4:

Motivation comes from within. Motivational speakers, exercise trainers, doctors and life coaches will NEVER be able to create long term motivation. What they can do is help you find your “missing pieces in life” to help value and empower yourself to push beyond the obstacles preventing SELF MOTIVATION. This is ESSENTIAL to preventing yo-yo exercising and yo-yo dieting.

CONFESSION #5

I am an old fashioned exerciser. I use machine weights, free weights, bicycles, ellipticals and treadmills. Searching for the latest in exercise science (TRX bands, Cross Fit Training and PiYo {blend between pilates and yoga,}) will NEVER improve ANYONE’S FITNESS LEVEL, IF, the exercise programs ARE NOT PERFORMED!Β  Exercise is a lifelong requirement and commitment. Exercise doesn’t ask you to like it; it doesn’t force you to do it. It does, however, provide for a healthier, happier and more functional life if you accept it as an ESSENTIAL part of life (defined as “something that MUST BE DONE on a regular basis.”)

CONFESSION #6

My mentor was Jack LaLanne. I watched him on TV when I was a little boy and marveled at this little man in a one piece stretchy. I found it fascinating that his exercise program on TV required only two props; a chair and a towel. We have become lazy and complacent and have lost our creative skills and desires in life. If a chair and towel are the only tools needed to physically becoming healthier, what POOR excuses are we honestly willing to make for not participating? Finding a mentor to provide guidance and support might be worth considering to help achieve individual pursuits in life.

So there you have my confessions. I have exercised regularly for the last 38 years. I did NOT come from a family that followed this belief. I do not have magic genes that make me exercise. I am no different than YOU! I have included these two photos to show that age by itself is NOT the limiting factor in life. I want people to recognize and reach potential levels they never believed possible. The MIND, (not the body) is the largest impediment we face.

As long as your physician has not deemed you unfit to exercise, why not start tomorrow. You can start by setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier and begin with 5 minutes of stretching and 10 minutes of walking. The first hurdle to overcome is committing yourself to doing it. Just like anything else we practice in life, it gets easier with time. Doesn’t it make more sense to start tomorrow as a result of personal choice than waiting for tragedy to strike making it a requirement of rehabilitation.

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50 comments

  1. Daily exercise is becoming a HABIT for me. Woohoo!
    I’m not I can ever look a buff as you do, but I’m making a mark with exercise, one day at a time. I ordered a DVD this week that I hope to ADD to what I’m already doing. These days when I wake up, the first thing on my mind is my exercises and what I’m going to eat together. As you know, me and oatmeal, by now, and life-long friends!

    Thanks for sharing the pics. You look great, and I bet you feel even better!!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The beauty about exercise is the only person you have to compete or compare yourself against is YOU! There are many people with better physiques than mine. It doesn’t matter. I work out so that I can live the life I choose to. By accomplishing this task, it brings great joy, happiness and good health to my life. These are three EXPERIENCES I have created as a foundation upon which I have built my life. I want to expose other people to this so that they can see a path to follow or deviate from to create an even better world for themselves.

      I have really enjoyed and continue to enjoy watching the quality of your life unfold. You have really committed yourself to a better, happier and healthier life. I know you have seen the benefits; you describe them in your blog all the time. I wish you much continued success on this journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your honesty is refreshing Jonathan, (Looking good too!) and I feel exactly the same about exercise. What keeps me motivated each day is the wonderful feeling of health and vitality that I receive, and the ability to enjoy my life and keep up with my children!! The benefits far outway the effort. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 4 people

    1. For young families, exercise can be an activity that brings everyone together to expel energy and share love creating a positive experience. We need to learn how to create a positive spin when discussing exercise because it has become clouded and misunderstood. We need to focus on more than just the “act”; we need to focus on its life altering affects and the improved quality of life we gain.
      Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’m sure your words will help inspire other people to begin this process.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m a former exercise bulimic, aggravated by extreme metabolic slowdown and metabolic changes structural and functional in patients mood stabilized or otherwise medicated by atypical antipsychotics like Abilify or Seroquel. Those meds, some more than others, make people very hungry while slowing down their metabolism. So I’d binge and have to work out for hours. It was my drug: it made me feel pure. Not only that, I managed my weight, sustaining many injuries in the process. See “#NolongerANumber#” on IBPF site or bphope.com facebook feed. I’ve given this up.

    Thanks to low dose Vyvanse for binge eating disorder, weight training and a total lifestyle change in terms of diet, I shed 60 pounds and have been able to keep it off. But I still have a high blood sugar situation caused by the meds. I’ve been working with a personal trainer/nutritionist and I found out that the body goes into ‘flight or fight’ response not only in response to stress/actual danger, but from overexercise. So there is such a thing as “Too much of a Good Thing.”

    I took two weeks off recently and am ready to change my exercise routine to be every day lifting a bit and only doing about 30 minutes of cardio. What a relief to know I don’t need to be on the treadmill for an hour or more.

    And as a writer I’m doing a series on metabolic health as it relates to these meds and ‘the cortisol connection’ and hoping to simply a complicated explanation–basically that the latest studies say diet and exercise is only part of the picture and science is trying to catch up to reverse this issue—there is money to be made here. And a lot of patients stop taking their mood stabilizers and lose quality of life as a result. I never did that because I had my exercise bulimia but am now a chronic pain patient and just came home from a round of cortisone injections in my spine. This is a direct result of professional volleyball, no pain no gain type thinking and later exercise bulimia.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. From a doctor’s perspective, I can imagine how much you have gone through in life. I’m glad to see you’ve found a positive method to deal with a debilitating condition. Good Health is about good BALANCE. Solutions usually require a multitude of actions. Weight problems are NOT just about eating too much as you mentioned. I look forward to your series on metabolic health. This is a fascinating topic with new information discovered on a regular basis. I wish you all the success on improved health and happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing that. It is somewhat of a relief actually. I’ve never been big on exercise for the sake of exercise. My house full of rowdy kids and lack of driving ability kept me pretty fit throughout my early years, but as I grew older I realized I needed to make an effort. It is hard though.
    I find making commitments, like cycling my grandson to school and back (totaling 6 miles a day) and joining classes (yoga in my case) really helps discipline my laziness.
    I know my body will feel great if I just do it, but truth be told I often drag my feet. Good for you to have such great motivation. It has certainly paid off, you are in great shape! (Perhaps that in itself is a motivator – I’d like to look that good – in womanly form of course lol.) It’s true though the health benefits are more important. Thanks for the motivational push!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. By focusing on the health benefits of exercise and its affect on quality living, we can find the strength and willpower to “drag ourselves” (ME INCLUDED) to perform this NECESSARY task. The successful numbers we see on the scale as well as the muscle tone on our bodies simply becomes the end result of the process. As we convince THE MIND to view exercise in this manner, it becomes realistically achievable.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, the mind is generally the problem. Mine tends to procrastinate on the exercise front (hence my need for commitments) however once I begin to exercise I find my body pushing mind aside and saying,”Yes, at last! This is what I needed!” lol!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Go Dr. Jon- a- than!! My first day back in blog world and I get to read and see this! AWESOME!! You are a fitness mentor to many just like Lalanne was to you! Thanks for sharing! Light and Love, Shona

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Welcome back. Everyone in the blogging community has missed your inspiring words and ideas. Hopefully this post helps place better perspective on emotions associated with exercise and an urgency to get the “ball rolling.” I would be thrilled to see comments from people that needed this final message to spark a new commitment to themselves!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you David. I hope it acts as a catalyst to get people up and moving. It is so much more important than many realize.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Other people. Just me would be good! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Linda. A little reality message to help reduce insecurities among those hesitant to begin this undertaking.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your post is very inspirational. I exercised almost twice as much yesterday, thanks to this post. πŸ™‚

        I guess I’m a rare one, because I do enjoy exercise. But maybe that’s because I don’t lift weights? I have degenerative disc disease and was told 15 years ago that all but the top two discs in my neck were either herniated or nearly obliterated, thanks to my neck almost being broken when I was in my early twenties. I did not have the spinal fusion surgery that was recommended; I opted instead to do a lot of walking and some yoga-type stretching exercises, which has helped a lot with my pain and mobility. I am tempted to try lifting some light weights, because my muscles could use more definition, especially my abs and arms, now that I’m in my sixties. But I figure that might be pushing my luck with my spine.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Talk with multiple types of docs and a few well qualified trainers to get some professional opinions whether resistive exercising could benefit you. Many of my patients that had bulging and herniated discs as well as advanced arthritis were placed on APPROPRIATE resistive exercise routines adding function and quality to their lives. I would encourage you to see if this might be beneficial in your case. We’re not talking about powerlifting or bodybuilding; just functional exercises that would strengthen and support you to handle activities in life you enjoy.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks! Will do!

            Liked by 2 people

  6. Great advice Doc. As you say, it only takes 15 or 20 minutes to change your life so why not get on and change it? I was always into lifting until I had my back injury and that is when the Yoyo exercising came in to play. You are very right about not always wanting to go to the gym, about not always feeling up to it but if we can put our kit on and get through the door, then it is only a few minutes of our life and those few minutes will improve the rest of our time beyond any effort we feel it might take.
    Maybe one day you could share your routine…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My routine is simple; weekly liposuction and implants. πŸ˜€ .
      I lift 4 days/week. Chest, back, shoulder, abs on day 1. Arms and legs on day 2. ( each lifting day is approximately 60 minutes) followed by 30 minutes of cardiovascular. The 5th day is only 60 minutes of cardiovascular.
      I change the the speed of reps, the amount of weight (heavy vs. lighter days) and the heart rate maintained during lifting. Some days I include my weightlifting as additional cardio by keeping the heart rate elevated through the work out. I wear a Polar monitor (FT80) that tracks both weight lifting and cardio and breaks it into various zones of intensity so I can keep my heart rate where ever I choose for the particular workout. I vary the number of repetitions based on the goal of the workout and enter my workout results in my nutrition program that tracks my foods every day. People get crazy about the thought of tracking foods. It consumes a little over 5 minutes/day and has been a tool I’ve used since 1995 to prevent the need for any pharmaceutical intervention. I come from a family that suffered morbid obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, multiple types of hernias, and high cholesterol. My motto is, “DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ho Ho Ho!
        Mind you, that does sound a great deal easier than all of the work outs you do!
        I was back at the gym today. Gently gently to start although I did run at the start.
        When I was lifting I would do it in a more cardio vascular sense via decent weight but higher reps so that I kept the heart rate up around 140 which as I am sure you will agree is good for an unfit 48 year old male….!
        Your routine looks very good and by not doing the same thing over and over, it is not repetitive to the point of boredom.
        I did my food tracking and found it helped most definitely. The only reason I stopped the tracking was for a change of blogging style. TBH my food intake in a day is low anyway and as long as I am aware of what I am putting in my mouth, am keeping away from all of the rubbish, I generally don’t go wrong. Especially now that I have stopped my Latte habit – 4 a day is 600 calories….!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sometimes we forget that tracking is more than calories and even macro nutrients. I had patients whose sodium intake was obscenely high without any awareness until I had them track their foods using the software program I use. Calcium and magnesium levels are important as well as B vitamins and iron. Micronutrients are often left out of the equation that can greatly influence the results. This is why (to this day) I religiously enter ALL my foods. Reality often looks quite different when you see it in front of your eyes.

          I think your approach (at least at this time) is a good approach and one you feel committed to. I would not recommend changing it unless you find it doesn’t meet your needs and goals.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I appreciate the input Doc for sure. I love to get feedback from people so that I may incorporate into my own regimes and daily routines. I already take my B Complex, Calcium (CoCalciferol(?)) Magnesium and Potassium along with a Well Man Vitamin and of course my Omega 3 and Cod Liver so I would hope I have that side of things covered. I try to be sensible with salt and find that easier as I only cook whole foods from fresh but everything can get away from us every now and then so I understand the need for monitoring.
            I may well start again on the bak of this as I do carry my phone everywhere so it will be no hardship to be fair….

            Liked by 2 people

  7. Waking up early to workout is the hardest part for me. Getting up at 5 am (not as crazy as your previous schedule) to go downstairs and do a bunch of things I’d rather not do is terrible, especially when it’s -20 outside and I just want to cuddle my dog. However, I have found that if I do give in to my excuses, then “later” becomes “never” and before you know it, I’ve missed my workout. It’s an easy pattern to fall into, so I fight against it.

    My fitness mentor is Jillian Michaels. She is the one who got me started on my journey and has changed my life and perspective in a lot of ways (crazy considering we’ve never met). If I ever got to meet her, I would probably pass out, lol. Seriously though, if we don’t find motivation and stick to a regular pattern, then the only people to suffer will be ourselves.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can relate to your comment very well. You know the challenges and difficulty in pursuing an exercise discipline. You also know the reality if you don’t. This is a point in life where the road forks. We have the freedom to choose between two difficult options. We can exercise out of shear will and determination or choose not to exercise out of complacency. Both choices are difficult; the second choice, however, has repercussions that will likely affect our health and our quality of life over many years. How many more times must we hear the phrase, “if I only knew then what I know now?”

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post. I miss going to the gym. Since you and I have started a dialogue I have done everything I can to live a less sedentary life. You know I am still in recovery. So, I must go step by step. But i refuse to sit all day. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is more important to do what you can within the limitations that currently exist than pushing too hard attempting to maximize the process and injure oneself. Your efforts are commendable. They will help guide you in time to achieving better health and better quality living. My instincts tell me you have a wonderful future to look forward to.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Your muscles are much nicer than flabby arms and chests/bellies. My baby is 28 and I still look pregnant. Now that is pathetic.

    One daughter went back to pre-pregnancy shape very easily, My poor 2nd daughter is fighting hard, but she has my side of the family’s body and we are all obese. Even my sister is losing her battle of the bulge too and she exercises hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exercise is important, but is only one component needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Without combining the others, imbalances will occur. This might be the problem your sister faces.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Her diet is strange. she has stomach problems and some foods she simply can’t have. I don’t think either one of us wants the others disorders. she has a bad problem with vertigo and they don’t know why. It has been quite a while.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Good Lord, Jonathan! You sure do walk the walk to match your talk! Very inspirational to see that you take such good care of yourself! You need to post that top photo in the sidebar of your blog now! I run every single day, and do resistance training a couple of times a week. Need to do more, though. I can easily get into a cardio rut. I admire your self-discipline – you look great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wanted people to realize that aging doesn’t mean sacrifice. I also wanted to clear up any myths about the “love of exercising.” It is simply a necessary event that occurs multiple times per week. If people would view it this way, it would be viewed similar to breakfast, lunch and dinner. It should NOT be viewed as an extra curriculum event “when time permits.” If we convince our brains to listen to this suggestion, many healthier bodies will be living quality active lifestyles.

      Thank you for the compliment. During my years in practice I had many patients tell me they were willing to begin modifying their lifestyles (including exercise) because they knew I practiced what I preached. As health care professionals, how can we expect our patients to seek better health standards if we don’t exemplify these standards ourselves. Where is our belief in Health if we don’t follow through with the necessary steps to be as healthy as we choose to be? I know you understand this because you are one of the models (I’m certain) people look up to. Thank you for your commitment to the field of health care that I love so much.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. This is such a great post! Thanks for your honesty! I don’t love exercising though I do love the way I look and feel after. I’m guilty of thinking that people who look like you (which is awesome!) have a completely different relationship with exercise. With your confessions ringing in my mind I used the tools I had on hand to make exercise a part of my day yesterday and have already put another check mark in the column today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have made my day. Reading about changes people are willing to make to improve their quality of health reinforces my purpose in life. I am a believer in moderation. When it comes to exercise it should only be performed the number of days per week you can comfortably do it (for the rest of your life.) When I see people looking for that “jump start” and begin exercising 7 days a week, reality often reduces this to ZERO days a week within a short period of time. When people choose 3 (sometimes 4) days a week, it becomes more realistic and achievable. The results in the LONG RUN are better as well.

      You have made so many amazing adjustments to your life that have helped you achieve so much success. I think your days ahead will bring great happiness and prosperity.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Looking good! Well done for your years of commitment and dedication. And I love the recommendation at the end to start off easy. It definitely will make people feel a lot more keen rather than throwing themselves in at the deep end! Great post! Very emphatic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought the average person might find it appealing to know that die hard exercise enthusiasts experience the same feelings of “not wanting to go and exercise!” This adds the “human component” showing the combative feelings between wants and needs. I hope this helps get people off the couch and up and moving.

      Thank you very much for your compliment. I am certain you will follow a similar course as you age. You have the energy, desire, commitment, and know how. Enjoying life to the fullest is what it’s all about!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And you can enjoy life to its fullest when you follow some of the strategies you are regularly advocating for. Thank you! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  13. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    Your dedication to a healthy lifestyle shows and this post is a big motivator. Prior to my injuries, I worked out with a trainer for years and know the hard work that goes into what you achieved. As soon as my back improves, I am right back with it. Thank you for sharing this amazing accomplishment with us as I have no doubt you have motivated many.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought reality mind surprise people and help encourage them to begin improving the quality of their lives. I hope to hear back in the future from people that have made the transition successfully.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I love to exercise, and I enjoy cardio once I’m in the rhythm, but I do not enjoy the pain of weights. I do like the results though! Oh, and I am constantly trying to tell my family of little men that there is such thing as muscles that are TOO big. They aren’t nearly as impressive as a healthy heart – in all its physical and emotional iterations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, lot’s of muscles induced by enhanced substances create an unnatural look that seems to impress the individual alone. Like Clint Eastwood once quoted, “legends in their own mind.” Age and maturity (in most cases) reigns in the attitude. Function (physical and emotional) supersedes aesthetics if we wish to enjoy life well into senior years.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. You look amazing! Currently working of dropping my freshmen 15!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As you get older you will be more impressed with a strong healthy heart and the capability to live an active physical life. This is why I exercise. It is ESSENTIAL if one is interested in maintaining quality living. Look at it for the “long haul” rather than the short term gratification. The winner is NOT the person who benches 500lbs; the winner is the person still in the gym at 90+ years of age. Good luck in all you do.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. […] opt for the walk or spend their time working out are just fundamentally different from me.Β Then Exercise Confessions was posted and I lost all my […]

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is a comment on the part of exercise we don’t see….an individual’s personal thoughts. Who cannot relate to this?

    Excellent and honest. Bravo. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the kind words J.M. I thought it was important for people to see that exercise wasn’t the joyous activity we enthusiasts experience, but rather the quality of life we LIVE as a result of the arduous task of exercising.
      I appreciate your intuitive perspective; a perspective that few (if any) have ever shared.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can’t tell you how many times I’m in my workout and man, my mind is just GONE from the sheer boredom or the absolute resistance (no pun) my body seems to want to give!

        But then later in the day or even the next few days when I can run up those stairs (late for something!) or move with ease and agility…well, those moments are the reminders of the payoff of ardent fitness.

        I really did enjoy the raw honesty of this because after I read it, I had to take pause and ask myself: have I ever seen this before in ANY of the fitness magazines, online articles, etc. I’ve perused for almost 2 decades now? No. I just don’t recall seeing this aspect of exercise.

        You see a lot about motivation, but this insight? It’s just not out there. Very insightful, cricket! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ve never been a traditionalist in ideas or approaches. They don’t seem to gain the best “traction” in people. I like to get people to think to themselves, “that makes sense.” Keeping the concepts simple while getting people to challenge their own beliefs is the goal. I am not trying to create “mini me’s.” I want people to live their lives based on what THEY believe is in THEIR best interest. I simply show a perspective often withheld from the masses.

          Liked by 2 people

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