I love working out. Really.
I didn’t always. I mean, I liked it enough to do it. More specifically, I liked the way it made me look & feel.
Working out makes me happy. Basically… Blissed AF.
Whatever happens in my body while working out – you know, those feel good endorphins – I love them and they work. OMG, do they explode a mood of goodness that follows me all day long.
When I have periods of not working out, I can always tell by my sense of well-being, or lack of it I should write. I don’t feel empowered. I don’t feel as lit up.
Working out makes me feel on top of the world. Every damn time!
I’ve been working out since I was 19 when I joined a gym, and fascinated by the community of bodybuilders, I joined the ranks to be a part of that community.
Back then, and until about a month ago, I worked out for the aforementioned feel-goodness, basic badassery, and to be in shape. For general health, too, of course.
But I read something a few weeks ago that took my adoration for working out next level.
In Dave Asprey’s Superhuman book and rock-star Dr. Peter Attia’s podcast, The Drive, I saw the vital importance of working out to live longer. A lot longer.
Not just the common, “Let’s strengthen my cardiovascular system and lifting weights will protect me as I get older.”
No, it was more interesting.
As I found myself re-inspired to live a long and fun full-of-vitality-life after reading Dave’s book and listening to The Drive, I implemented changes to take my longevity into my own hands.
This is not your basic, run-of-the-mill longevity either.
I’m on fire for seriously long longevity. In Italian we’d say, rovente
(scorching!) to describe how hot my fire is for this! I’m charging after what Dave Asprey is planning… living until I’m at least 180.
Yeesssssss, I’m saying it! Saying it out loud. Writing it for all to read. Language is vital and commanding. I’m creating the blueprint in my brain that my body will follow. Say and believe it enough times and your body will follow and start making changes to help make what you say happen.
Back to working out.
It’s not just for protecting bones or strengthening my heart. It’s not just to make me smarter with increased BDNF-awesomeness going on in my brain. (BDNF is brain-derived neurotrophic factor and that’s a powerful protein that helps you make brain cells and strengthen existing ones). It’s not just to make my mood awesomely happy through feelings of empowerment.
It’s beyond that.
It’s about stem cells.
I learned that even a single session of lifting weights activates stem cells! Whoa! You mean it’s not about having to do it a long time to make changes? No. Stem cells can be activated in a single session of lifting weights.
I want stem cells activated because those puppies are going to help me reach my goal of living a very long time.
The stem cells you’re born with will gradually die out and diminish as you age, but it’s not a totally finite supply; your body can still generate these fixer cells, if it’s fed the right nourishment. Boosting the specialty cells that help replenish your tissues is a strong defense against the symptoms and damages of aging. High levels of stem cells can mean a long, healthy life.
High impact workouts with weights and high intensity are ideal when attempting to increase stem cells. Intense workouts encourage more stem cells to be released into the blood stream. If you’re unable to do high-intensity workouts exercise can still be an effective tool to increase stem cells.
Working out has become a priority.
It’s not a “have to do” – it’s a “get to do.” See the difference? Cuz it’s huge.
Using the fantastic advice from the author of Atomic Habits, I’m changing how I refer to working out. It fucking works, too. It’s like magic. Try it!
“I get to work out!”
See for yourself. Don’t say, “I need to work out, I have to work out, I’m going to work out.”
Say, “I get to work out!” Hellz yeah!
Getting to the gym.
We belong to a gym in Italy and it’s perfect.
It has great equipment, cool people, and comes complete with “weird” Italian rules like necessitating a dedicated pair of shoes just for the gym. As Italians can be obsessed with cleanliness, you’re not allowed to wear street shoes in the gym. One must always bring a change of shoes – that you only ever wear indoors.
Funny, but I like it, too. It is very clean there.
Setting myself up for raging success.
When we move to Puglia next week, having a gym nearby will be the first thing I look for near our apartment. That’s what you do when something is important. You set yourself up for success.
I work out 6 days a week (most gyms are closed on Sunday in Italy). Therefore, I want a gym nearby. No friction getting there. No excuses.
The Current Workout Routine “I Get To Do”
I’m experimenting, but I’m bouncing with excitement to do cardio in addition to lifting weights. I’ve not been diligent about cardio in the past because it always bored the hell out of me.
Not anymore. Cuz now I’m on a mission, and I have tricks up my sleeve.
I actually look forward to cardio.
How? Habit Stacking!
I listen to inspiring podcasts that I really dig, while I perform cardio. The kind of listening that I can’t wait to do such that I look forward to my cardio because I’m rewarding myself with great listening. It’s my self-improvement learning time so I’m totally “Habit Stacking” (cardio + learning) in my favor (that’s another great thing to learn with Atomic Habits.)
Tip: A great habit stack is doing squats while I brush my teeth – that’s two minutes of squats twice a day.
I also have so many Audible books to listen to. In other words, I feed my brain with knowledge while doing the cardio. It’s amazing.
Each visit includes about 55 minutes of cardio (20 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the bike, and 20 minutes on the treadmill walking at a steep incline).
Then, I spend about 15 – 20 minutes lifting weights with the focus on one body part and doing super slow reps until failure. I spend a bit of time between sets doing things like walking lunges, jump squats, or other little activities of the like. I’ll likely increase this time lifting weights to about 30 minutes starting next week.
My split of workouts is such that although I directly hit, say, for example, my triceps only once a week, I indirectly hit them another day doing chest.
On Sunday (and other times at home during the week) I also maintain movement by doing some calisthenics. My favorite book about this is Convict Conditioning – highly recommend this.
And, I walk a ton living in Europe without a car.
I also habit stack while lifting. It makes lifting addictive.
In the past, I’d listen to music which can be inspiring. Great beats can really pump me up. Though it’s not as life-changing as what I do currently.
Now, when I life weights… with each rep I lip sync amazing things to myself. (It was a bit weird at first and now I friggin’ love it – can’t get enough of it.) I say beautifully powerful affirmations about my life, the life I want to live, the awesome things coming my way, how grateful I am. Oooh so much juicy stuff!
Y’all think I’m happy cuz I’m living in Italy?
It’s cool, yeah. La dolce vita and all.
But there’s more going on than just being in Italy.
I’ve been working on changing the programming in my mind for the past year, and it’s been unlike anything. in. my. life. Affirmations are a huge part of that so doing them while lifting weights is amaze-balls! Game-changing.
Join me in activating stem cells and expressing longevity genes by working out. Find things that make working out enjoyable and be inspired at what it’s doing for your life. It’s one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself, and you’re worth it!