TypewriterFrom The Urbach Letter – November 2007

Return to Archive

Super Hamster

Smart Exercising

Less than half the adult population gets any exercise at all… Maybe that’s why two-thirds of us are overweight and 30% of Americans are obese. Lack of exercise contributes (significantly) to many health problems – and lifestyle diseases are literally at epidemic levels.

Like this little fellow, I exercise regularly, and it’s made an absolutely HUGE difference in my life. But I have to admit, I've at times fallen off the exercise wagon… and I know all too well how difficult getting back to a regular program can be. Excuses come easily when you’re busy, stressed, feeling low-energy, achy, etc. It’s also quite easy to fall into the hopelessness trap: feeling so out-of-shape and overweight that nothing will ever change no matter what you do.

It usually takes a severe jolt to move us to action: the death or serious illness of a friend, getting severely winded climbing two flights of steps, seeing a jarring image in the mirror one morning, or just discovering a favorite pair of pants won’t fit anymore. If we’re lucky, a friend or loved one will compassionately guide us back to “the way of the gym.” I hope to be that friend to you now.

I’ll tell you straight-out: you MUST exercise regularly. (Regularly means between two and five times a week.) You MUST do both aerobic exercise *and* weight (resistance) training. And you MUST do it safely, with proper form. I know it’s a challenge to find the hours required to work out regularly, but you MUST find them somehow. The stakes are way too high to weasel out because of a perceived lack of time.

Need motivation to begin and continue your exercise program? Start here:

  • You will lose weight.

  • You will lose inches where you don’t want them.

  • You will gain better muscle tone and definition.

  • You will have much more energy.

  • You will be able to work longer, harder, and better.

  • You will sleep better.

  • Your sex life will improve.

  • You will become more mentally alert.

  • Your posture will improve.

  • You will become more self-confident.

  • Your skin will look better.

  • You will avoid lifestyle disease.

  • You will live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

Those benefits are proven and uncontestable. I don’t know about you, but I want ALL those things. However, they won’t come from a pill or powder… they won’t come from just wishing and hoping. They WILL come only when you make the very conscious personal commitment to make a positive lifestyle change. That’s absolutely key. COMMITMENT is what will make all the difference. If you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle, everything else is just a detail: where to exercise, what to do, how to do it properly, the schedule, etc. You have tons of options. What you didn’t have (until just now) is somebody (me) to kick you in the rear and tell you to get started. No excuses. Just do it!

Here Are The Steps:

(1) Get a complete physical exam and an OK from your doctor to begin a vigorous exercise program.

(2) If you’re really out of shape, start by walking at least 30 minutes a day, every day. Walk with determination, as if you’re late to catch a plane. If the weather is bad, find an indoor location like a mall to take your walk. Let nothing stop you.

(3) Find a gym you like, and/or set up a home gym.

(4) Hire a personal trainer. One of the very best investments you’ll ever make. Good trainers aren’t expensive ($35-$70/hour). Your trainer will teach you proper form, develop a program to achieve your goals, and motivate you to stick with it. Also, your trainer will teach you how to stretch. Stretching properly is very important. It’s one of the most important things you can do to avoid exercise-related injury.

(5) Find a schedule you can live with. This isn’t a project you need to “get through.” You’re making a lifestyle change. Determine what that new lifestyle looks like. For me, it means a half hour of cardio virtually every day and 60 minutes of weight training twice a week.

(6) Keep a workout log. Here’s one you can download and use as a model. (PDF format - Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

(7) Keep a weight chart. Record your weight on it at the same time every day (like before you get dressed in the morning). Body weight is not the only thing that matters, but it’s easy to measure… and motivational when you see you’re improving week to week. I use a wall calendar to record my weight and body fat. I also mark that I’ve completed my aerobic exercise that day. Again, very motivational. That calendar is always saying to me, “Did you exercise today?”

(8) Mix it up. Don’t fall into a rut, doing the same exercise the same way each time. At least monthly, you should vary your routine. For cardio, this is important to fight boredom. If you’re a road runner, find a different route. If you’re on a computerized exercise machine, try a different program. For weight-training, your muscles need to be stimulated differently every once in a while to develop.

(9) Improve your nutrition. Great health is a function of both diet and exercise; they compliment each other. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will give you energy to maximize your exercise program, while that program will motivate you to fuel up your machine with “premium.”

(10) Stick with it! You will first see dramatic improvement, then plateau. But you cannot let this bring you down. You’re not just doing battle with the scale. You are using your body in the way the “Grand Omni Designer” intended. You will see improvement over time… and soon, this new, appropriate lifestyle will become part of who and what you are.

Return to Archive

(c) Copyright 2002-2010 Victor Urbach
This article
may be reprinted with permission and attribution