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I Stopped Working Out Daily. Here’s What Happened.

Exercise goals are crucial for staying in good shape and maintaining high productivity and focus.

Darius Foroux

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For the past few years, I’ve been setting a yearly focus for my life. In 2014, I wanted to work abroad and travel as much as I could. In 2015, I wanted to read more than 100 books in a year. And in 2016, I wanted to work out every day of the year.

I’ve done those things. I love setting a yearly focus because it gives you a clear idea of what you want to do with your time. You’ll be surprised what you can do in a year if you put your mind to it.

This year, my focus is to write more books (even though it’s not going great, I’m still working on that). But at the same time, I also don’t want to stop reading and working out.

However, that’s sometimes more complicated than it sounds. In January of this year, I got the flu. And when I came back to our family business, I underestimated how much work I had to catch up with. I also wanted to keep creating new content for my blog and online courses.

I thought to myself: “I can’t do everything, so I’m going to cut back on daily exercise.”


Here’s what happened.

  • Instead of daily exercise, I went to the gym 2–3 times a week. And I ran once a week. (this was by the end of January)
  • For the first few weeks, nothing was wrong, and I felt good. I was also productive.
  • But by the end of February, that changed. I started feeling tired by the end of the day. Something that never happens to me.
  • I also started writing less. I had a big buffer of articles, so I did post 2 articles a week.
  • By March, I was at a productivity low. Fortunately, I always stick to my productivity system. I managed to get the minimum amount of work that’s necessary done. But I stopped creating.
  • I started watching Netflix in the evening. I even watched an episode of a TV show called 12 Monkeys. It was complete shit. I much more prefer to read a book before bedtime.
  • So I got frustrated that I wasted my time.
  • And when I’m frustrated, I start journaling and reflecting more.
  • I looked at my habits. And I noticed I felt tired and got less work done.
  • Why? The answer was: EXERCISE.
  • Actually, a lack of it.
  • By April, I shifted my focus again: Get back in shape.

So that’s what I’m doing now. And if you want to get in shape too, it’s important to understand what you’re aiming for. For instance, I’m 6”3 and 181 pounds. But that doesn’t mean anything.

Most common measures like the BMI are pretty useless because they don’t say anything about your strength. To be honest, I don’t care about measures or even my exact fat percentage. Instead, I look at my fitness and how it impacts my daily life.

When I’m in good shape, I can:

  • Run 10K without stopping for rest.
  • Deadlift, squat, and bench press my body weight at least 8 times.
  • And do at least 12 pull-ups.

What’s that based on? My body and experience. In fitness, there’s no general rule. You must find your own goal. To me, a person should be able to at least lift or push the same amount as their body weight.

That helps you to function properly in daily life. When you’re in good shape, you’ll have more energy and focus.

Want to find your fitness goal?

Read books about fitness and health, watch YouTube videos, talk to experts, and then create a program that’s for you—not a 21-year-old body builder. Also, you don’t have to lift weights. Find something you enjoy and challenges you physically at the same time.

The cold reality is that if you don’t use your strength and stamina, you lose it. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect it. The same analogy that Zig Ziglar once used to stress the importance of motivation applies here:

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”

So if you’re not working out every day, you’re not doing yourself a favor. The quality of life decreases when you stop working out. And stop looking for silver bullets to feel better. I know, it’s not advice most of us like to hear. Exercising is hard. But that’s the whole point!

The easiest solution for a good life is right at your disposal: Your body.

Are you neglecting it or strengthening it?

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      This post originally appeared on Darius Foroux and was published May 15, 2017. This article is republished here with permission.

      Darius Foroux writes about productivity, habits, decision making, and personal finance.

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