Around my junior year of high school, I started to take working out serious. Beyond the required basketball team lifts and conditioning, I did abs and P90X in the basement of my parents’ house.
The reason I mention the abs and P90X workouts is because it was the first time I choose to legitimately exercise as a personal decision, without the pressure of coaches, trainers, or a team. It took an initial small leap of faith to get past that mental barrier, but then it felt awesome as I developed this positive habit of choosing to exercise.
This little experiment of choosing to workout nearly six years ago led to where I am now, in the best physical shape of my life. While some of my friends’ bodies got sloppier in college, my body only improved over time. These days I’m working out around five times a week, because I’m in a rhythm and I also have a workout partner (thanks Bobby).
Working out felt great back then, and the feeling of completing a lift feels just as sweet today.
Also, if you haven’t tried it already, I definitely recommend you look into P90X.
Want To Feel Happy?
If what I say next is the only thing you remember, then that’s good enough. Here it is…
Do you want to feel happier today? Start working out.
Do you want to feel better tomorrow? Go work out tomorrow, and so on.
Are you stressed? Are you lethargic? Is something mentally off? One last time: Go exercise.
There are other reasons to consistently work out—like practicing discipline, improving your confidence, looking more attractive, and staying healthy for your loved ones—but I believe that being happier probably tops most people’s list.
When you work out, chemicals and hormones get released in the brain that instantly make you happier. I’m talking right away, and the endorphins last for an extended time. It’s like taking feel-good drugs, but these drugs are legal and positive for you.
So, I encourage you to start working out, or if you already do then work out more. If you don’t feel good after doing it, and think your life was better with less exercise, then feel free to stop and go back to your old ways. But, I bet if you start working out regularly, you will enjoy it so much that you won’t go back.
If you’re saying, “This is what I want. But, how do I start working out?” Then keep reading below.
How To Start Working Out
I’m convinced that working out requires more mental decisions than physical ones. Where the mind goes, the body follows.
So, it’s best to first analyze where you’re at on the exercise scale. Reflect on how many times you workout a week, a month, or a year—if it’s been that long. Once you have a mental framework, then the goal is to use positive momentum to slowly improve the amount you exercise.
For example, say you work out once a week. Next week, make the goal to exercise two times in those seven days. When you accomplish your goal of exercising twice in a week, the positive momentum and confidence will carry over. Then, you can set the pace at working out three times a week. Continue this trend as much as you want, but with caution.
It’s dangerous to set extremely high expectations in the beginning, such as exercising six days a week. Because then when you skip a gym day, you’ll get discouraged and possibly fall back to your old habit of not going at all. Then you face the hardest part of exercising, again.
And the hardest part of exercising is simply starting. So, get some small wins under your belt to gain a rhythm. Then it will become second nature to exercise. Plus, I bet the more you workout, the better you will feel and more you will want to continue this healthy activity.
Quick Tips To Start Working Out
1. Find a partner: A good accountability partner will significantly increase your gym visits and performance, I guarantee it. On the days when you don’t want to go, the pressure to not let your partner down will make you exercise. Or you will work out harder knowing your partner is watching and you don’t want them to see you quit on the last reps. And you’re more likely to try different exercises without the fear of looking dumb when you have a partner who will also do it.
2. Body comparison is the enemy: When you compare your body to others, there is always going to be someone “better” than you. Maybe this person is bigger, smaller, more muscular, cut, taller, or whatever else it is.
However, the problem with comparison is it causes you to feel bad about yourself and lose motivation, especially when you start working out.
Guys, don’t be intimidated by the body builder doing 100-pound curls. This guy probably has at least a decade of lifting experience over you, so you’re not going to be at his level (and odds are you don’t want to be).
Girls, don’t compare yourself to the crazy athletic girl lapping you around the track. She also probably has years of experience over you.
The point is to get a little better over time. So instead of comparing yourself to others, work out consistently for a month and then use comparison against yourself to see your improvement.
3. Allow yourself room to fail: The phrase “two steps forward, one step back” is usually a reality when it comes to exercising. However, after the one step back, you’re still making progress and better off than before you started.
To stay committed, set your goal for progress and not perfection. Plus, there’s always tomorrow to pick yourself up after a day of weak willpower. We all have those days.
4. Change your perspective of working out: Many people get tangled in the idea that exercising means going to the gym and spending at least 60 minutes there. While that’s one way to do the trick, there are plenty of other options.
If you’re feeling sluggish and have to study in 30 minutes, run around campus for 20 minutes to wake up. Or go play 5-on-5 basketball if you don’t want to do cardio on the treadmill. Be flexible in what you consider exercise to increase your chances of being active.
5. Remember your “why” to exercise: One mental reminder of why you set out to exercise more in the first place can push you over the top to start working out that day. When you remember your “why” for working out (again your “why” could be anything from feeling happier, looking sexier, being healthier, or decreasing stress, etc.), you will become motivated.
6. Eat healthy when you’re out of the gym: If you don’t know already, working out and eating healthy go together. If you do one well, then you will be encouraged to also do well in the other. For example, eating the nutritious foods listed in this guide Easy Healthy Meals For College Students will give you the energy and encouragement you need to hit the gym each day.
Soon you will be unstoppable when you eat healthy and work out regularly. There will be no chance you get fat in college.
Readers, how often do you exercise a week? Do you want to start working out to feel happy, but you struggle to follow through? Why do you think that is?
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.
Interview: Dr. Littleton, “America’s Energy Doctor” Seen On Dr. Oz
Today I have a special interview for you with a great new friend, Dr. Jason Littleton.
He’s a doctor, CEO, author, speaker, columnist, and so much more. Mainly he’s known as “America’s Energy Doctor,” and has been on The Dr. Oz Show—that’s big time.
What I appreciate about Dr. Littleton is he’s one of those guys who benefits everyone around him, making it look effortless. All you have to do is listen, and you’re going to walk away with some new wisdom or inspiration.
You’ll see what I mean in this interview.
Check it out below, and don’t forget to keep reading after the interview to see my key insights.
Brian: You’re super successful now. But it wasn’t always easy. Tell us about your difficult trial during the MCAT and how you got through it to become Dr. Littleton.
Dr. Jason: In a nutshell, I was on a journey to become a doctor. And one of the roadblocks that came up was when I walked out of the MCAT exam.
One of the things I realized is that when you’re going for anything, you’re going to realize what you do and don’t know about yourself that you need to change. You do this so you can become a better version of yourself.
In my case, studying for the MCAT was a whole lot different from studying in high school. In high school, you read a textbook and remember what you need for the test. Even in college, you’re learning things and you mainly memorize information to get to the next level.
But for the MCAT, there’s information there that you have to not just memorize, but retain for your future success as a medical student and as a physician.
One of the things I learned about myself is that I needed to retrain how I learned information. I needed to retrain how I studied and how I focused, so I could be better prepared when I went into that next MCAT exam.
Here’s the deal when you take a big exam like that. Sometimes there’s pressure to succeed. And I didn’t fully understand that pressure as well as I maybe should have understood.
So through self-reflection, understanding the things I did wrong, and staying motivated, I was able to go back and do the test again, and succeed. That was a difficult time that I overcame. But I never lost focus that I would be a successful doctor.
Brian: What are your overall thoughts on failure? Is failure permanent?
Dr. Jason: It’s both. Failure is a temporary thing for people who see the light at the end of the tunnel, when there’s no light. You have to have a vision for yourself. You have to be able to see it when no one else can see it. And when things in the natural don’t look like they’re going well, you still have to have a mental picture of where you’re going and that you can still get there.
For people who can do that, and everyone can do that, so for those willing to do that then failure is temporary.
For people who are not willing to see the greatness inside of them and are not willing to face difficult times and get through them, failure is permanent. Because these are the types of people who will quit, not continue on, not fight the obstacles, or embarrassment. Because sometimes people feel embarrassed when they fail.
So if you can get past the pride and the embarrassment, to see that mental picture of you on the other side, failure is temporary.
Brian: I know that you’re an energy expert. So what are three changes we can make in our lives to gain more energy throughout the day?
Dr. Jason: First, you should always start with breakfast. A lot of people skip that, but here’s the deal: Carbs are our fuel. That’s like our gasoline. So when we eat breakfast, we’re getting the carbs we need to fill our body with energy.
People shouldn’t ever avoid carbs. That’s like not putting gas in your car. You want to have elite carbs though, such as vegetables and fruit.
The other thing people should do is have snacks throughout the day. I always tell people to have six meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three snacks in between. When you do that, you stay energized as you go through the day.
Next thing, people should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Sometimes people make a habit out of that and they use caffeinated drinks for energy. But they continue that until it’s something they rely on to feel energized.
But that’s not what you need. It hurts your health. It doesn’t make you feel as energized as you actually think. It’s a lot of commercialism.
So those three things, just from a natural aspect of diet and nutrition, will give you more energy.
And here’s one bonus from a mental perspective. People have to plan to go beyond where they think their end point is. For example, if people think at 5 PM their day ends because they got off work and they’re not prepared to go beyond that, their internal mental clock says we’re done working and let’s shut it down.
But I tell people to keep the throttle going. Don’t go home at 5, sit on the couch, and turn things off. Because when you do that, you get tired, it’s hard to start again, it’s hard to work at home, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur outside of your job.
So I tell people to plan to work to at least 10 PM. When you do that, mentally you’re prepared to go longer than you originally thought was your end point. That’s how you can also have more energy and spring to your step during the day.
Brian: From your experience as a doctor, what’s one of the biggest misconceptions an average person has about living a healthy life?
Dr. Jason: I don’t want to lose anyone here, but sometimes people think that they have to work out to an extreme extent so that they feel like they’re in the best shape of their lives.
But I argue that how many football players and athletes live beyond 70? These are people who work out to an extreme extent to become real muscle-bound. And sometimes that extreme working out causes added stress on the body and inflammation that actually doesn’t cause us to have longevity.
Some of people who have been interviewed who lived to their 100s said the secret to longevity is moderation in exercise and diet. Some of the extremes in terms of fitness won’t take you to longevity.
I’m not saying don’t lift weights, don’t go running, don’t work out. I’m saying do it in moderation, don’t do it to an extreme.
Sometimes people will do it to an extent where they don’t feel good about themselves until they’re beating their body to the extreme. When you do that, it damages your health.
Brian: Walk us through how you got featured on Dr. Oz and what that experience was like on national TV?
Dr. Jason: First of all, I have a business coach, Dr. Stacia Pierce, who is world-renowned business coach who has helped me get engaged with people like a Dr. Oz and a Dr. Nandi.
Having a coach is paramount because you need someone, as an entrepreneur, that will push you beyond what you think you can do. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach.
She pushed me to write my first book WellSpring: The Energy Secrets TO DO The Good Life. As I started marketing myself, people got wind of what I was doing.
And one day I received an email from the social producer from The Dr. Oz Show, asking me to talk about Dr. Oz’s magnesium grocery list and how I used it with my patients.
Of course I accepted that opportunity.
Brian: What’s your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why?
Dr. Jason: One of my all time favorite books is Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s a great book about making positive affirmations, believing in the favor of God, and really walking your faith out to be your best.
I think it’s a great book because when I read that it helped me through my journey of success as a physician.
There’s another book that’s really dear to my heart. It’s by Dr. James Pierce and it’s called The Success Secrets of Excellence. And it’s about how to be excellent in life, in your job, in your business, being on time for appointments, and how you look excellent because people treat you how you look.
Those two books, and my business coach Stacia Pierce, have made me the person I am today.
Brian: What’s your life mission?
Dr. Jason: My life mission is to help people find their passion and to use that so that they can live as healthy as possible, so that they can buy more time on this earth, and so they can carry it out.
Helping people do that enriches the world. Helping people live longer and be energized to do what they’re passionate about is a huge part of my purpose.
Brian: Where can Take Your Success readers go to learn more about you and your work?
Dr. Jason: People can go to my website: www.jasonmd.com. There they can find links to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.
And on my website they’ll be able to get to every social media site, book, and resource that I have.
What I learned is that Dr. Littleton has a clear vision for the world, his patients, and his life. That’s to live with passion.
And his passion empowers him to do his best work, regardless of the arena.
His passion to be a doctor carried him through his difficult time with the MCAT. His passion to help others live with energy improves the lives of his patients and the people around them. And his passion for entrepreneurship pushes him to continual business success.
I’m totally with him. There’s a 180 degree difference between someone who is pursuing their passion and someone who isn’t. You can see it in their day-to-day life, their mood, and often their eyes.
So I, and I know Dr. Littleton agrees, challenge you to find your passion. It’s the best thing for the people around you and you.