I will be the first person to advocate for physical activity. Being active is such a wonderful and beautiful part of life–in some ways I believe movement is the human body’s true calling. I mean, when we were created the purpose was not for us to sit behind a desk pushing papers 60 hours a week. In that regard, being a workaholic is self-destructive.

Have you ever seen those pictures of captured animals trying to get out of their cage on TV?

That’s what the body is trying to do when sitting at a desk all-day. Those aches? Back pain? and Tiredness? Yeah, that’s your body’s way of saying: “THIS SUCKS! I WANT TO MOVE!” 

Many people don’t seem to realize the detriment that inactivity can have on the body. It’s similar to the effect that overactivity has. Unfortunately, people just don’t realize it until it’s too late. Diabetes, heart disease and stress related health issues can all occur due to sitting in front of a TV or behind a desk too much.


Overactivity or overtraining has consequences as well. Similar to inactivity, the signs and further consequences seem to be oblivious to people. Not that I blame people for lacking to see either end of the spectrum. Naturally, we have a tendency to think we are doing things just right–achieving the perfect amount of daily activity. But of course, hardly any of us achieve that equilibrium. We are either over or under.

Interestingly enough, people put themselves through crazy bouts of intense exercise and for what? Well, for the accomplishment, duh! Why do we people run marathons? Not for the health aspect, in fact, putting the body through that extreme is destructive to many of the body’s properties–joints, muscles, ligaments. The body is not made to consistently run 26.2 miles. It’s like taking your car on a cross country road trip every week–it’s gonna break down sooner or later. So, why do people do it? For no other reason than to say: “I ran a marathon.”

Don’t get me wrong here, I completely support running marathons and equally, working to earn a living. However, I think as a society we need to stop overdoing it! Moderation is a fully wonderful thing and while it’s a daily battle, we should take it head on. Moderation is so unexciting and goes against the whole “all or nothing” principle, but trust me, it’s soooo much better than facing the consequences of either end of the spectrum!

Looking Good, Feeling Good?

What is your biggest pet peeve? I wouldn’t say this is my biggest, but it definitely bugs me a whole lot–when people say, “I’m feeling good cause I’m looking good.” I am very skeptical of this. I’m sure for the people making this statement they honestly believe that if you look good, then you will also feel good. In the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, there is a local commercial that runs on TV for a hair replacement doctor. The star of the commercial is local Bay Area basketball legend Rick Berry. In the commercial he says, “I honestly believe that if you look your best, you’ll feel your best,” or something along those lines. Well, if an NBA hall of gamer said it, it’s pretty hard not to be convinced. In many ways looking your best and feeling your best are two completely different things. While, it is a truly wonderful phenomena when look and feel are on the same page, it just doesn’t always work out like that. And whomever says that the two always coincide has obviously never been sick or injured for any extended period of time.

Walking around with a chronic illness or injury is extremely difficult.  For those that do so, I really don’t need to say much more.  When someone feels crummy for so long that it becomes the new “normal” feeling, that is when looking good and feeling good don’t coexist. It can be frustrating to get a compliment on your good looks when you internally feel horrible. Not because you don’t like compliments, but because you feel like a human facade. Imagine walking around with broken ribs or chronic migraines. Someone comes up and says “Wow you look really great today!” Just smile and hope for better days, that’s the only appropriate response. This relates to the difference between being fit and being healthy–many people often group the two, but it is perfectly possible to be unhealthily fit.

Flickr: CroixRougedeParis

Being fit is basically looking good, being healthy is feeling good. Now, both can venture into the other realm, it is possible to be fit and healthy, but in all honesty, it’s a rarity these days. being fit and healthy, is a lifestyle that some just don’t find appealing. For those who succeed with calorie counting–I’m not saying going on a diet or even lowering body fat is unhealthy. It’s the method of doing so that comes into question. For someone to eat processed foods lacking in so many essentials and boasting in so many harmful ingredients, as a means of looking good is not going to result in feeling good. And by chance if it does, it won’t last forever. Some of the fittest people in popular culture have now been caught by their past poor decisions. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was undoubtedly one of the fittest looking individuals in mainstream media and for a long time he was able to pull it off. But now he is nothing but loose skin, flab and list of health conditions including heart problems. He resorted to drug use and nutritional shortcuts to climb his way to the top of bodybuilding and movies. Maybe he should have trained his ego.

Flickr: muscle[spell]bound

The Point is…

A healthy person may not be showcasing an awesome six-pack or have grapefruit size biceps or they may be. On the opposite end, someone who has unhealthily gained a good looking physique has no chance of sharing in good health so long as they live that lifestyle. Cutting corners may grant you a rocking’ body, but with it will be increased susceptibility to illness and risk of injury–two things that will not leave you feeling good.

Ego Training

Ego is a huge part of exercise. It just is. Otherwise we wouldn’t care about how much weight we lift or far we run. Because of that the ego is very influential in what we accomplish with our exercise. Now, to a certain extent involving the ego in exercise is a good thing–it allows for increased drive and eventual results. Without it, we wouldn’t really care about lifting 100 pounds or running 26.2 miles without stopping. We would have nothing to brag about. And as you probably know bragging can be fun.

With all that said, taking the ego out of training, ego-less training, is an interesting idea and  in my mind is a very romantic idea. Say people just worked out and never competed with each, more so, never even took note of what they had accomplished. For instance, say you are able to squat 145 pounds, now imagine doing that without any weight measurement–just your own perception of how heavy it is. See, there would still be that sense of accomplishment, but only you would know what you accomplished.

A world without mile markers or weight measurements stamped on the side of iron plates would be truly harmonious. There would no longer be the option of saying “I just lifted 225 pounds,” or “I’ve ran 100 miles this week.” Instead, we would say things like, “Wow that felt really heavy,” or “Boy, I sure have been running a lot lately.” Like I said, it’s a very romantic idea and will never universally happen, but next time you find yourself getting caught up in not setting a new PR (personal record), try doing a workout with absolutely no knowledge of what you have accomplished. See how it feels…