Happy New Year 2023! Some of my friends have been asking me to share what I learned in my journey of exercising daily for the past one thousand consecutive days. Now, before you start thinking “this person must be some kind of fitness guru,” let me assure you that I am far from it. When I first started this journey, I couldn’t even jump rope for sixty seconds without feeling like my lungs were on fire and my arms and legs were about to fall off. Somehow, against all odds, I managed to stick with it and now, and more than one thousand days later, I’m still going strong.
Consistency is key
One of the biggest things that I’ve learned from my daily exercise routine is the importance of consistency. Exercise is not something that you can do once in a while and expect to see results – it requires commitment and consistency to achieve your goals. I mean, think about it – if you only went to the gym once a month, you’d probably be pretty disappointed with the results (and your muscles would probably be confused and disoriented). By exercising daily, I’ve learned that consistency is key to success in any area of life, whether it’s sticking to a healthy diet, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, or working towards a long-term goal in your personal life or career.
Incremental improvements add up
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from daily exercise is that small, consistent efforts add up. When you work out every day, you may not see huge improvements in your fitness level from one day to the next. But over time, those small, consistent efforts add up and can lead to significant progress. So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results – trust the process and know that your daily workouts are paying off in the long run.
Discipline is a habit
In addition to consistency, I’ve also learned that discipline is a habit. It takes discipline to work out every day, even when you don’t feel like it. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Just like any habit, discipline becomes easier to maintain over time. So, if you can cultivate the habit of exercising every day, it will become easier to be disciplined in other areas of your life as well.
Commitment trumps excuses
If you can come up with an excuse, you can find ways to overcome it. Over the past more than thousand days, I’ve always found an hour to do a serious workout, even when I’ve been traveling.
Variety makes it enjoyable
Another lesson I’ve learned is the importance of variety. Sure, lifting dumbbells is great, but if that’s all you do, you’re going to hit a plateau pretty quickly. That’s why my coach and I incorporate a variety of functional fitness exercises into my routine, including free weights of different types, bodyweight movements, and plyometrics. Outside of my daily 1 hour workouts, I occasionally do yoga, hiking, and bicycling. Not only has this kept things interesting and prevented me from getting bored, but it’s also helped me become a more well-rounded athlete.
Master the basics first and then improvise based on knowledge
Speaking of boredom, one thing I’ve learned is that it’s beneficial to mix things up and try new things. As I’ve worked out every day for more than a thousand days, I’ve learned that it’s important to keep your body guessing. Whether that means doing a whole new kind of workout, switching up your routine, or simply learning a new exercise, it’s important to keep things fresh and exciting.
Daily exercise is good for your emotional health
Another lesson that I’ve learned is that exercise isn’t just about burning calories and building muscle; it’s also about taking care of your mental and emotional health. When I first started this journey, I was looking to get in shape, but along the way, I’ve realized that working out has become a form of stress relief for me. It’s a time for me to clear my head, release endorphins, and just feel good about myself. And I’ve come to understand that taking care of myself in this way is just as important as anything else in my life.
By making time for daily exercise, I’ve shown myself that I value my well-being and am willing and able to make time for self-care. This has had a positive impact on my mental health and overall well-being.Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and improve sleep. Plus, it is a great excuse to buy cool kettlebells that look like animals and mythological characters and other fitness tools.
Learn from an expert
I learned that it is critical to have a coach who takes your goals as seriously as you do and is an expert in their field. Here is a well-deserved, big shout out to my amazing fitness trainer, Julian, who has played a major role in helping me pass my goal of working out daily for 1001+ days. Without his encouragement, motivation, and sometimes tough love, I wouldn’t have made it this far. He’s like my drill sergeant, pushing me to be my best and never letting me give up. Sure, he may have pushed me to the brink of exhaustion on more than one occasion, and yes, he may have made me do burpees until my legs felt like Jell-O, but deep down, I know he was just trying to turn me into a lean, mean, fitness machine. And hey, it has been working! Plus, he’s hilarious and makes every workout fly by with his witty banter. Julian, if you’re reading this, thank you for being such an incredible trainer and for putting up with my unsuccessful attempts at excuses. You’re the real MVP (Most Valuable Personal Fitness Trainer). Thanks for the torture, I mean, encouragement!
Exercise has many benefits
In addition to the lessons that I’ve learned from daily exercise, I’ve also experienced a range of benefits to my physical and mental health. By working out every day, I’ve noticed that my strength and endurance have increased significantly. I’m able to lift more weight and do more reps than I could when I first started, and I have more endurance and can exercise for longer periods of time without getting as tired.
Regular exercise has helped me maintain a healthy weight (although I’ll admit, I still indulge in the occasional samosa or slice of New York pizza), improve my physical fitness, and increase my energy levels. It’s had a positive impact on my mental health, reducing stress and anxiety and improving my mood and sleep. And let’s not forget about the benefits to my brain function – exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function and brain health, making it easier for me to focus, learn, and remember (which is especially helpful when I’m trying to remember all of my friends’ birthdays).
Sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity
And let’s not forget about the importance of sleep – because who doesn’t love a good snooze fest? Exercise can help improve your sleep quality by making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. So, if you’ve been working out every day like I have, you may have noticed that you’re sleeping like a baby at night. No more tossing and turning, no more counting sheep – just pure, uninterrupted slumber. It’s like magic, except it’s not really magic, it’s the power of exercise. So go ahead, hit the gym and then hit the hay – you won’t regret it (well, maybe you’ll regret it a little if you have an early morning workout the next day, but take my word for it, it’s worth it in the long run).
My journey continues
So, what have the past thousand days of daily exercise been like for me? In a word: transformative. My daily exercise routine has been an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. It’s taught me the value of consistency, self-care, goal-setting (I use a system called OKR), and discipline, and it’s brought a multitude of benefits to my physical and mental health. I’ve become stronger, both physically and mentally, and I’ve learned the value of consistency, variety, and self-care. And while I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up this daily workout streak forever, I do know that the lessons I’ve learned along the way will stay with me for a lifetime.
As of January 1st, 2023, I have been exercising daily for one hour or more for 1,008 consecutive days. I have taken zero rest days and zero light workout days so far.
In 2023, my personal fitness goals are to learn to swim, improve my mobility and flexibility while still maintaining strength and power, and build a healthy, lean physique with low body fat. I also plan to improve the quality and quantity of my sleep by getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and to improve my cardiovascular endurance.
I encourage you to exercise daily
I wish that my story can inspire and motivate you to make exercise a part of you daily routine and experience the many benefits that it has to offer. So, if you’re considering starting a daily exercise routine, go for it! I highly recommend it – it’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. And if you’re struggling to stick with it, just remember that every day is a new opportunity to get moving and improve your health.
If my strategy and tips can help you, you can find them in my blog post titled Make Exercise Your Daily Habit that I wrote in the early part of my daily fitness journey.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with the kettlebell (and a post-workout protein meal). Happy exercising!