Teach Yourself To Love Exercise or You Might Not Do It
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
Teach Yourself To Love Exercise or You Might Not Do It by Marcus Antebi
I love my life, my children and my wife all in equal parts. I also love exercise very much—it keeps me alive and makes me happy!
Exercise is crucial for both mental and physical health, including weight loss.
But I don’t have a breakthrough exercise program that will help you lose 19 pounds in two weeks.
Once I lost 14 pounds in 72 hours by skipping rope in a plastic suit and then spending over four hours in a sauna. I did this in order to make a fighting weight in a thai boxing competition; I went from 154 to 140.
It was gruesome. Luckily, after I weighed in I had about 12 hours to recover. I weighed in on a Friday at 140 pounds. After I participated in the fight I did some binge eating to compensate for my exhaustion and deprivation. On Sunday, after my fight and my binge eating, I got on the scale to see what I had done to myself. My weight was 168 pounds. I ate so much after my fight because of the deprivation I had put myself through for two months that I managed to gain 28 pounds in two days.
Much of the weight I lost was just straightforward water. I had sucked myself dry of water by using old-school fighter techniques taught to me by my trainers. So it wasn’t surprising that when I started to hydrate again I put on that much more weight in water.
There are certainly far more sustainable exercise and diet programs. But I thought it was a good idea at the time to test my body and go to extremes.
The most sustainable lifestyle program is to think of your weight loss as something that you’re going to master over the course of 12 months. It would involve the typical amount of weight loss that a person could handle over a longer period of time. It would also include all of the patterns a person would have to change to ensure that those patterns would become routines.
It’s necessary to build on your successes little by little, to be forgiving and patient with yourself, and to not push yourself for an overnight result. The desire for an overnight result is the nature of the thinking of an addict.
We unfortunately have desires for immediate gratification. And sometimes we act out addictively to suffocate the lack of the ability to deal with the frustration of not getting what we want right away. You can retrain yourself to stop doing that just by being mindful of it and taking action to stop. If you’re not a self-starter, then you’ll have to do a lot of writing and also have a good therapist to discuss these issues with.
Some people would say that you have to get to the root cause of every single maladaptive behavior, but that might take a lifetime. You do have to get to the behavior causes eventually, but in the meantime if you’re strong enough you can take action and create new behavior patterns. The question is, what is it that’s going to motivate you to take necessary steps? What’s going to motivate you to get into your new program for the first week? The first day is the hardest day because that’s when the fear is throbbing in our minds.
Human beings usually don’t like to change in this way because it requires discomfort. But the only discomfort you’ll feel will be some aches and pains from great workouts and possibly some hunger pains. But both things will go away in time. Hunger pains are almost always not related to deficiencies in nutrition. Unless you’ve been starving for quite some time, these pains are usually associated with gas pressures throughout the digestive system that need releasing. They come out when our diet starts to clean up.
Exercise will be phenomenal for you once you get into the pattern of doing it. The idea is to drive yourself to feel the deep desire of wanting to move every day in some way that you know will be beneficial to you. Human beings are designed to get into action and move—our bodies were designed to endure a lot of movement. We’re not meant to be sedentary creatures.
For a machine as complicated as an airplane or a human being not to break down, the parts had to be designed to stay in motion somehow. An airplane has some downtime and gets mechanical maintenance. Human beings rest and go to sleep, and their bodies have biological mechanical processes for maintenance during those times.
The right amount of physical exercise keeps the muscles strong, the bones dense, the hormones flowing, the sweat dripping, the removal of body toxins happening, and the emotional chemistry being in a state where it needs to be.
A body in motion stays in motion. That's applicable to planetary objects and to the human body as well. If you keep yourself moving with the right amount of exercise combined with the right amount of rest and a wholesome diet, you will do very well.
Everyone has a different comfort level of how much exercise they can handle. But if you observe children, you’ll note that they are lazy to do anything that doesn’t feel fun and playful. If you hate exercise, you’ve got to retrain yourself; you’ll have to find a lot of inner strength to start from ground zero. But I highly recommend that whatever physical exercise you start with, make sure that it’s fun. You’ll be more motivated to play and have fun instead of doing something that feels hard, painful, or boring.
Once you overcome that initial obstacle of laziness, you’ve got to look into whether not you’re fearful of using your body. Some people are afraid to get physical because they don’t want to be sore or they don’t want to get hurt. Or they just don’t know what they’re afraid of. But they’re afraid of something, because they don’t like change.
If that describes you, you have some work that you have to do on your own. I have a technique that I found very useful regarding this. Whenever I had something pending that I really didn’t want to do but it had to get done, I would write out what I had to do in my journal and then pray for strength to get it done. If you asked me during the years that I would work like that who I was praying to, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. But the act of prayer simply worked to get me motivated most of the time (but not always).
The scientific community knows that a person needs to exert a lot of energy towards their exercise programs. No matter what age a person is, the right amount of exercise is that at which it is somewhat difficult. There are exceptions to the rule, depending on a person’s profession or crucial circumstances at a given time.
For example, a 23-year-old lunatic professional fighter might train a grueling six hours a day. That much training would kill the average person, but that’s what that 23-year-old needs to do. But for a 93-year-old person who’s had a stroke, walking down a hallway using a walker might be the appropriate type and amount of exercise.
Set up an exercise program in your daily life that makes you exert a lot of force and that makes you feel tired. Don’t do this motivated by the way it’ll make your abs look chiseled in the sunlight. Do this because of how it affects your mind, your thinking patterns, and your emotional world. It will build your sense of self-esteem, it will set off the right type of hormones that will ensure mood stability, and it will improve the state of your heart and lungs. And it will help you lose weight, provided that you do it in conjunction with other measures.
Exercises as complete as good yoga programs are a way to ensure that you get a chance to move all your body parts—from your toes, to your spine, to your neck, to your hips, your knees, and your fingers. Yoga is a very complete system of exercise to practice.
I am also a huge fan of walking and running. And depending on your overall health level, weight resistance training as part of a weekly program can be beneficial.
Pilates is a very specific regimen and it can make your body very strong and toned. Pilates focuses on the body more than it focuses on both the body and mind, so I prefer yoga for that reason. I believe that gaining control over the mind is as important, if not more so, as gaining control over the body.
There are so many different complete systems available, including Thai Chi, Jiu Jitsu, and American boxing. You should choose something that is fun to you and is something that you will stick with. It may be enough for you to get on the treadmill and run for 45 minutes then do a 15-minute weight routine. Or you may be a person who loves to cycle, swim, or surf; it’s all good. Just move and do it.
You may be an older person, and/or your weight may limit your activities. If this is the case, there’s still much that you can do. Walking, stair climbing, sit-ups by the bedside, or doing squats while watching the news are a few options. Just don’t let your limitations be an excuse to let yourself become sedentary.