Ever since I can remember, fitness has always been an integral part of my life. Starting from elementary school, I was heavily involved with my community sports teams (soccer, basketball, baseball, flag football, etc.), but as I entered high school, I got into my high school wrestling team where things got a lot more serious and really changed my whole perspective of physical fitness, personal training and mental discipline. Not only did my fitness routine and exercise regime become more technical but my mental discipline really started to get tested during this time, especially when we were required to train twice a day (before and after school), or when our coach turned the heater on inside the wrestling room at full blast raising the room temperature to well over 90 degrees as we were required to train at max capacity. On top of that, we had to wrestle for six minutes straight for three rounds at full capacity (somewhat similar to the UFC) which might not seem that much, but please believe, going full throttle for six minutes straight will test you both mentally and physically to your breaking point. Not to mention, you don't want to be the first person to give up because of being "tired" or end up losing the match in front of your coaches, peers and all the audience members because just to be real, it's just embarrassing. I don't know if the mental and physical pain from all the training and wrestling matches was worse than the feeling of losing by submission from your opponent in front of everyone because that can be quite a humbling experience.
Looking back at it now, it's fair to say that my whole perspective of fitness has vastly changed and evolved throughout the years because when I was younger, physical fitness and sports were things that I did more for fun, when I was bored, to be socially active with my friends, and I just had a competitive nature at heart and loved the challenge. And obviously, I wanted to look good physically to impress the ladies as well as get that six pack ready for summer - which I failed to achieve more times then I'd like to admit lol. But as I got older and as my fitness routine became more refined and more technical, I started to realize how fitness was not only improving my physique but also how it was improving my mental well being as a whole. It was improving my work ethic, the quality of work I was putting out, my mental stamina was drastically improving, my outlook on life was more positive, my confidence was at an all time high, and soon I realized that it wasn't just a "chore" that I needed to scratch off my daily to-do list but it needed to be integrated into my everyday lifestyle. Similar to how we don't think twice about eating or breathing, fitness and exercise soon became second nature to me and has become an integral part of my daily routine. Once I realized all the benefits that fitness had with the mental and not just the physical, that's when my life changed completely.
You see, after I graduated university and started to enter the real world, my responsibilities and workload started to grow year after year, the pressures of life started to get more real, my ambitions and wanting to move up the ladder in my career started to hit me more, stress from everyday life started to pile up, living in the concrete jungle aka New York City for 9 years had many challenges in itself (you'll know what I'm talking about if you lived there or end up living in NYC - which I do highly recommend btw), and going through the process of leaving a W2 job that paid me a comfortable salary in order to try and start my own business has been and still is one of the most stressful, humbling yet rewarding experiences I've ever faced in my life. Period. We all face adversity throughout our life and stress is part of the game but I've learned throughout the years that being able to fully manage and release that stress in a healthy way can make all the difference in one's life, because let's be real, we all deal with stress differently whether it's good or bad. And for me, fitness and exercise has been that outlet which has now become my place of solitude where I can go to relieve my stress and help me to stay in control of not just my physical health but also my mental well being, which in turn, improves my quality of work, feeds my ambitions, helps me stay motivated at work and throughout my entrepreneurship journey, boosts my mood and energy levels (since exercise is shown to release mood-boosting chemicals in the brain such as Serotonin, Endorphins, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, etc.), helps me to maintain a positive mindset and outlook on life, the quality of my relationships, my confidence and the list goes on. That being said, we all know that exercise improves our physical health but here is a great article that explains this even further: 13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.
Lastly, I know that we are all at different stages when it comes to fitness and exercise, so here are 15 of the Best Exercises for Beginners to Try at Home, and for something a little more advanced and some of my personal favorites, here are 15 Most Important Exercises for Men and Women. The key is about quality not quantity because a lot of folks try to do as many reps as possible but their form is incorrect which can lead to serious physical harm and repercussions now or later down the line. Also, you can find a few essential fitness gears and equipments that I personally use that are extremely useful when it comes to staying organized, having to workout on the go, or just when you're hitting up the gym on a daily basis here: The Entrepreneur's Complex Store.Those are some essential items that will get you started but feel free to check out all the additional products available throughout The Entrepreneur's Complex. As I wrap this up, the key takeaway here is to take action and get started today (not tomorrow, not next week or whenever you "feel" like it) because the mental and physical health benefits are immediate and far outweighs everything else. With consistency, discipline, having a system in place and educating yourself on a few different workout routines (don't forget to check out those linked articles above as a good starting point too), you'll soon reap the benefits and feel first-hand how life changing fitness and exercise can be for you. With that being said, it's still the beginning of 2020 so let's be great, inspire others along the way and make this year the most successful year to date!