Welcome to the Mercola Fitness Plan! Congratulations on making the commitment for achieving optimal health. I believe that exercise is a powerful tool that greatly influences your ability to be fully healthy.
Combine it with the other pillars of health — proper nutrition, sufficient high-quality sleep, stress management, and holistic living — and you've got the perfect formula to help you move up the ladder to good health.
Many people think that exercise is all about shedding excess pounds and getting toned abs and glutes. But these are actually just a fraction of what exercise does. Being physically active, even when initiated later in life, can provide you with profound health benefits. Exercise helps you:
- Sleep better
- Lose, gain, or maintain weight (depending on your goal)
- Fight the common cold and flu
- Improve your resistance to infections
- Lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
- Improve your brain power to make you smarter
- Prevent and relieve chronic pain, including joint pain, osteoarthritis, and back and musculoskeletal pain1
- Banish depression and improve your emotional health2
The key to obtaining the benefits of exercise is to find an optimal exercise program and to stick to it. Look no further, because my fitness plan will help you implement the fundamental elements of a comprehensive workout, whether you're in the beginner, intermediate, or advanced stage. You will also get useful pointers to help you maximize every workout session.
Why Do so Many People Give up on Their Workout Routine?
"It's too tiring."
"It's too costly."
"It takes a huge chunk of my time."
These are just some of the excuses that people use to avoid adopting an exercise routine and sticking to it. They resent the idea of adding another "exhausting" activity to an already stressful day.
But exercise doesn't have to be stressful, expensive, or time-consuming. What you need to do is to figure out what type of exercise you actually ENJOY doing. This will help you get into a regular exercise routine. I also advise you to try these simple tips to help you enjoy your exercise routine:
- Move past your comfort zone. Don't be intimidated if you're not the most graceful or muscular person in the gym. Pay less attention to the people around you, and more to your workout.
- Set fitness goals. These are not just weight loss goals or muscle gain goals, but also overall fitness goals. Set certain goals to beat your previous records.
- Set your challenge level. Challenge is key to enjoyment. Make it your goal to set a workout routine that is challenging but not overwhelming.
- Listen to music. Music motivates you and helps keep you focused during your workout.
- Try shorter workouts. A short but high-intensity workout can hold greater benefits than a long one, including increased focus.
- Treat exercise as a stress relief tool. Exercising can help you release negative feelings. Instead of avoiding the gym, you will be motivated to go to relieve your stress.3
When Is the Best Time to Exercise?
Timing your exercise routine is very important. My best advice to make sure that you stick to your exercise routine is to do it first thing in the morning. Keep in mind that there are a number of things that can happen in the afternoon and evening that will take up all of your time. The result? You skip doing your exercise!
So for best results, I suggest exercising in the morning, preferably before you eat breakfast — we will discuss more about the benefits of this in the latter part of the fitness plan.
Does Having a Workout Partner Improve Your Exercise Routine?
A lot of people like having an exercise partner. Having a workout buddy allows them to socialize, have fun, and feel motivated. But if your workout partner is not fully committed to the workout, he or she may hinder your fitness goals.
I'm not saying that having a workout partner is bad — I'm just reminding you to choose one who shares your enthusiasm and determination toward achieving peak fitness. So, how do you know if your workout partner is getting in the way of your workout? Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- If he/she is more interested in talking than exercising
- If he/she does not support you while you do strenuous exercises, such as lifting weights
- If he/she always fails to show up during your workout schedule
In this case, you will be better off doing your workout routine alone. Another good idea is to hire a personal trainer. Not only will a trainer be able to teach you how to perform each exercise safely and effectively, but knowing that you have an actual appointment with a professional may also motivate you to go to the gym on a regular basis.4
Always Listen to Your Body
This is a reminder that I cannot emphasize enough when it comes to incorporating new diet and lifestyle strategies to achieve optimal health. Be extra careful when doing any exercise routine, because it may worsen your health if done improperly or excessively.
If you feel that your health issues are worsening with exercise, you should either stop or modify your program. Remember, if you violate your current limitations, your health may only take a turn for the worse. To slowly let your body adjust to exercise, start with as little as one or two minutes a day, and then work your way up from there. As your energy and health improve, tolerating larger amounts of exercise will be easier.
Good News for Men: Exercising Helps Naturally Increase Your Testosterone Levels
Testosterone, the hormone that’s most associated with “manhood” (although women also produce it at smaller quantities), plays a great role in male sexuality and reproduction, although it has other equally important yet lesser known roles, such as maintaining bone density and red blood cell levels and giving you a sense of well-being.
But when you reach age 30, your testosterone levels begin to decline, and continue to do so as you age. When this happens, symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, depression and reduced cognitive function, such as difficulty in concentration and poor memory, may arise.
However, there are effective ways to boost your testosterone levels naturally, and one of the simplest strategies you can implement is exercising.
A well-balanced workout routine that includes high-intensity exercises and strength training can actually have a significant impact on your testosterone levels. But remember that you need to incorporate other healthy lifestyle choices — consuming a wholesome diet that’s low in fructose and high in healthy saturated fats and optimizing your vitamin D levels are two strategies you must practice to see positive effects on your testosterone production.
The Success of Your Fitness Plan Is in Your Hands!
Your utmost commitment is necessary if you want to reap all the wonderful, long-term benefits of exercise. If you're ready to embark on this journey to physical and overall fitness, please download and fill out this Commitment Sheet.
I recommend that you print it out and bring it with you every time you work out. You can also post it on a wall in your exercise area. Nothing motivates you better than seeing your fitness goals printed out on paper! Please don't think of my fitness plan as a fad 90-day plan. This is a lifestyle change — one that holds radically positive effects on your health status. This is the first step toward a better, leaner, and healthier YOU.