Exercise – from the professionals

I went to my high school reunion this weekend.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I was unable to make any of the previous ones — seems I came down with a bad case of pregnancy every five years or so.  It was slightly anxiety provoking.  There was something about walking into my Catholic school, out of uniform, with a roadie in hand, that made me feel like I was going to get detention.  It didn’t really matter that twenty years had passed, that they were serving alcohol in the cafeteria or that I am a grown woman.  I feel the same.  Despite the very clear evidence that I am not eighteen anymore, I don’t feel much different.  Had the bell rung, I may have rushed off to my next class.  Fast forward several hours and I am in an old hang-out with some old — albeit very young looking, still beautiful — friends doing the same old thing.  I rolled in at about 6 a.m. which, even for me, was a late night.  The responsible response would be to confront my need to grow up.  Instead, I have spent the last 36 hours or so wondering how long I will be able to keep this up.  Life is short after all and fun is, well … fun.  As much as it pains my lazy bones to admit it, I know that the only fountain of youth is exercise.  It is not only good for the heart, it is good for the head.  Last Friday, to round out optimism week, I asked some seriously fit people to tell me why.  Why do they do what they do?  Why should you exercise?  Is it worth it?  Perhaps they can inspire you to get in shape so that twenty years from now, you, too, can still dance on the bar.

1.  Molly Mulholland – Owner Bar Method, Port Washington, NY, mother of two

As the owner of an exercise business I am often asked if the type of exercise we teach is going to “work”.  People want to know if they will lose weight, gain muscle tone, trim their thighs, get rid of cellulite, strengthen their abs and fix a host of other real or perceived issues with their bodies.  My answer is of course, yes.  The Bar Method is an excellent and safe way to get in shape.   But there is an important caveat.  You have to be consistent.  With any exercise routine the most important thing is consistency.   Coming to The Bar Method six times between January 2nd and 7th and then not coming again until the week before Memorial Day is not going to have you bathing suit ready for summer.
It’s important to start and exercise routine with a reasonable goal that you can commit to.  In my experience, it takes about a month of consistent exercise not just to see physical results, but to change your mental attitude so that the exercise comes naturally as part of your routine.  I love The Bar Method because it was the exercise that kept me the most consistent.  I saw results because I enjoyed it and stuck with it.

2.  Rob Jaroszuk – Owner, Personal Trainer Rise Fitness

“Event + Response = Outcome”  We can’t control all the events in our lives but we can control how we react to them.  Some people say my class is hell, others feel it is fun, it’s easy, it’s impossible, it’s relaxing, it’s energizing.  I have heard it all and it is all a personal perception based on choice – choice about our beliefs and values.   All day long, we are all bombarded by stress and negativity and I want to help people release that stress, energize the body, clear the mind and mentally empower themselves.  It requires doing something we have never done before, to work hard, to get outside the comfort zone.
The only way to grow is to get out of the comfort zone.  There is proof that this is how nature works.
Over the years, I have studied aging.  The body sends two signals based on how we move, how we respond to the environment, and the signals we receive from the environment we choose to live in.  We either send grow or decay signals.  I want to help people maximize the grow signal.   Growth happens outside our comfort zone.  Decay comes from living inside our comfort zone.

Being happy and optimistic is a choice. When you are in bad mood, it is hard to change your thoughts but you can always control your body.  Begin to smile, give a hug, laugh, stand tall, and you suddenly, magically, feel better.  The physical signals you send to the brain change the chemistry and that changes the perception.

3.  Karen Dillon – Yoga instructor and mother of three boys

Today I try to live with personal integrity, which means there is no contradiction between my thoughts, attitudes and actions and what I say I want for myself today.  Therefore, if I say I want to be healthy in my body, mind and spirit then I need to line up my thoughts, attitudes and actions with that desire.  I can’t say I want to be healthy or I want to loose 5 pounds or I want to get in better shape and then eat cake and tell myself how out of shape I am all day.  I am so grateful that I have the power to choose my own thoughts, attitudes and actions for myself no matter what is going on around me.  So even if I am having a bad day and I am totally unmotivated, I promise to live with personal integrity and love myself enough to take actions to support the life I say I want for myself.  I get in touch with that place every morning and then plan my physical activity for the day based on what I need for me.

4.  Mark Madison — Personal Trainer, Owner of Fitness 1-2-1

After doing personal training for the past 24 years, waking up at 4 am everyday, and training clients 7 days a week, I know that I have made a healthy lifestyle a way of life for hundreds of clients. The relationships and friendships that I have developed has been priceless. My clients have seen me get married and have watched my two children grow up. I wake up everyday at 4 am and know that I will touch and change someone’s life that day. That keeps me going.

5.  Richard Simmons – Fitness Guru and short shorts wearer

“That’s what we need going into the millennium. We need some positive, happy stuff.”

Also, “I might as well be gay. And not just because I love rhinestones and Barbara Streisand. But because I’m a sensitive person who is supportive of gay people the same way I’m sensitive to grossly obese people and ugly people.”

And there you have it.  Read along this week.  Maybe you will be compelled to move a little more.  If you already work out, maybe you’ll want to try something different.  Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it.

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  • Anthony

    Karen – great topic, and some really outstanding perspectives from an elite group of individuals. I am a firm believer that 90% of the benefit of a consistent and diverse workout routine is the mental health, and the physical health is an added bonus – at least for me. I also think that it is easy to make excuses in our hectic lives, but where there is a will there is a way – even if it means getting up at 5AM. You just have to find what works for you. I also can speak to Rob’s point of view firsthand. As I shared with Rob recently, I decided to change my goals to get out of my comfort zone, and fortunately for me, Rob likes to push me way out of that zone in his classes! So in the end, I’m not sure I have any other great wisdom other than the fact that working out 6-7 days a week for me, even being on the road 5 days a week, has allowed me to be better at my job and I believe a better husband and father – but you will have to ask your friend Karin to vouch for that ;-).