Fitness, working out, pumping iron, call it whatever you may, but to me staying healthy and fit is probably the most important thing in my life outside of my family. I continuously espouse the benefits of having a training routine to my family, my friends and even strangers on an airplane. There is nothing better than feeling good about yourself. It is the basis for all relationships that you have including the one you have with you. Being a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy body, i.e. less stress, strong immune system to fight sickness and disease, improving flexibility and bone density, I can attest to the fact that it is also a key element in a balanced life. After all, if you feel terrible on the outside, how are you supposed to feel good about yourself on the inside. The science behind working out is basically stressing your body to a limit so it can recuperate and be prepared for a new limit. It is an ongoing processes of challenging the limits of the body and pushing those limits to handle an even greater level.
Being in top physical shape can also help with cognitive thinking. According to WebMD "Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.” They go on to say that "When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.” This happens for me when I workout hard and the endorphins trigger a euphoric type of feeling due to the chemical release in the brain. It is a great way for me to get rid of all the pent of bad juju that has been percolating within me. So for me, working out on a consistent basis throughout my life is not only for the physical aspect of it, but equally for the mental portion also.
In this blog I will cover the genesis of my workout career and why it is important to stay fit throughout your life.
Why it is so Damn important!
When I was a young boy I was the constant victim of being bullied. The stress and fear of being chased down night after night on the way home from Public school is still a memory that infuriates me. It had progressed enough to the point where I would look for ways home to avoid the bullies. But for some reason, they would always catch up to me and enforce their power, and physical beatings on me. Looking back I see that these bullies were probably the result of a bad home life, but that is a whole other Oprah.
Then something happened that would change my life forever. My mother decided to send my brother and I to Catholic school when I was in 7th grade. The good news is that there was only one bully at this school, but he was manageable. During this time two things happened that changed my life: I saw the movie “Billy Jack” and I built my own workout bench and bought some weights from Kmart. For those not familiar with Kmart, it is similar to Walmart. I digress. Throughout my 7th and 8th grade years I continued to lift and practice martial arts on my own and with friends. The crazy thing is that I started to grow stronger than my classmates. And then it happened…I could hold my own, even to older high school kids, and had grown more confident when it came to girls. Oh, yes they were more noticeable for some reason. Did I mention that fitness is important for a healthy sex life?
The beginning of fitness - no more bullies!
When 9th grade rolled around my mom decided to send me back to Junior High at the Public school system. But this time it would be different. Because of my workouts I had put on considerable size and muscle. My strength far exceeded those of my peers. At approximately 160 pounds body weight, I was able to bench press an incredible 225 pounds! Needless to say, no one bothered me again throughout my high school years; even the punks who used to pick on me back in the day. As a side note: karma would be their worst enemy as most of them would end up in prison or dead from their choices in life. One of the things that I have dedicated my life to with my new found strength was to help those who needed my help. I became sympathetic to the underdogs of the world and still continue to do so in anyway that I can.
The point I am trying to make here is that fitness training not only saved my bacon from the bullies, but it set me on a life-long path of taking care of myself and reap the never ending benefits of health. Because I was so fortunate to stumble upon this gem in life, I feel that it is my obligation to help as many others as I can find the same.
In Part II in my series on "Fitness Training for the Long Haul" I will cover how to develop a life plan for fitness. See you next week!