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Five Ideas for Fitness

Date: 3rd May 2016

I recently wrote a column for Explore Magazine (that they called “Five Commandments,” but I can’t quite bring myself to call them that) on how I think “Fitness” can and should evolve over time. We probably aren’t going to be working out in the same way at 40 as we were at 20. What I didn’t do well in the article is work through why moving regularly is more important than “working out.”

The reason so many Europeans have historically been thinner than their North American counterparts is that they walk to the train station, walk to the grocery store, walk to the pub, just move some, every day. And they mostly seem to like it. And that’s the key thing to me – find something physical that you like to do, and doing it everyday. And when that “like” starts to burn out try new physical stuff.

Being an athlete just means making time for something physical every single day of your life. Walk, run, swim, climb, bike, ski, lift weights, do something that connects mind and body and most people seem to really enjoy it. It’s that enjoyment that has to be nurtured, supported, and fed new fuel in the form of changing movement if the flame starts to die.

Anyhow, here’s the link, I’d welcome your thoughts on it. I’m slowly chewing away on a book on the subject, your comments can help make it better, cheers.

Posted in: Blog


  1. Jordan   May 3, 2016 7:46 pm

    Thanks for adding this take on fitness. Because you are an athlete in many disciplines, and have been doing it for a long time, it is nice to get a simply-explained and sober POV on how to stay fit for the long haul. “Move everyday.”… Simple as that?! There is no fluff or excuse with that one. Now I am going to go move some kettlebells now, and then mark an X on my calendar, becasue I beat atrophy today.

  2. Will Gadd   May 4, 2016 8:39 am

    Go get it, every X on the calendar is a win.

  3. Nikolaj   May 10, 2016 2:45 am

    Oh, even with routine exercises it could still be fun. I just enrolled in a “100 pushes and 100 pulls for 50 days” challenge with some local folks at my gym. The challenge is to simply register 100 pushing and 100 pulling exercises (whatever the type) every day for 50 days. And it’s fun and motivating. I’m doing push-ups every so often when I take breaks at my job and for pulling I simply use a bar put on two chairs and do floor pull-ups. Fun and easy and an X in the calendar every day!

  4. Jason Rivard   May 21, 2016 2:56 am

    Will is dead on with his “move mantra”. I am just a regular guy; 9-5 job, father, husband, little time for personal fitness… or so I thought. Half an hour at lunch for a run, check. Bike ride uphill after putting my daughter to bed, check. Quick run to the store to pick up some emergency TP, check. The list goes on. While there are some days that are dedicated to climbing and other sports, it’s the days inbetween, the little things, that make up my all ’round fitness. It’s hard to take the physical way rather than the easy way sometimes, but I never regretted it afterwards. I deserve it, my wife and daughter deserve it too; to have a husband and a father setting the example by staying fit and taking care of himself on a regular basis. Wills “commandments” are not something we should think about doing someday, but must be incorporated in our daily lives with such things like saying please and thank you and washing our hands before dinner.
    Thanks for the article.

  5. Ken Hamel   June 3, 2016 8:36 am

    A great, simple, yet often overlooked approach to our busy, structured, cram everything in that we can lifestyles.
    My girlfriend often chides me because my approach has always been, upon waking up, what kind of workout do I get to do today? I love movement, working out, riding my bike, climbing, skiing and all kinds of stuff…down to just walking the dog. I’m 56(most people assume I’m mid 30’s, due to an active lifestyle AND good genes) and as happy and healthy as I was in my 20’s. Look to be active every day, or your cheating yourself!

  6. Nik H   July 7, 2016 1:06 pm

    Fitness has been a suicide cure/prevention for me as well as essential to my generally feeling good, not just healthy. I’m willing to bet that most of us regular worker-outers feel the same way, whether or not we consciously or actively articulate it.

    I agree with the “doesn’t matter what you do”, although I’d add that it should challenge/scare you on a fairly regular basis. Say, no less than once a month, probably no more than once a week. Doesn’t have to be death-fright, but a regular dose of fear of going in to a workout is (for me) a necessity for the health & happiness aspect.

    Finally, while I prefer that most of my workouts are done alone competing against my potential, it seems essential to happiness, variety, and mental health to schedule (for me) at least weekly workouts with a good and competent friend.

    Dig it,

  7. Alexis   January 2, 2017 11:43 pm

    I’ve read and loved all your posts about fitness and movement. As a graduated kinesiologist and an outdoor activities enthusiast, it’s my goal to get people moving everyday and stressing their system more often without feeling like they need to go suffer through a treadmill session at a crowded smelly gym. So thanks for spreading a very important message!

  8. Cory   June 12, 2017 9:16 am

    “Blow off that work meeting to hike up a hill—when you’re 70, still being able to hike up a hill will be far more important than the meetings you missed.” – Love it!

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