A New Year, a New Mountain

It’s Monday 14 January 2019. A new year with new opportunities beckons. I’ve made a decision, I chose myself a new mountain to climb. No, wait, I chose two mountains to climb. Summits I intend to reach simultaneously. More on the second mountain later…

The first mountain involves the sport of triathlon. I’ve set small little goals throughout the year, all intended to make reaching the ultimate prize in April 2020 a reality.

I’ve never run a marathon, ever. In fact I haven’t been beyond 10 kilometers. I have also never swam further than 5 meters in my life. So, two of the three disciplines are going to present me with a proper challenge. The third discipline is cycling and I would like to think that I’ve got that covered.

Although I’m not one for dwelling on the past, I am a little pissed at myself for not grabbing the bull by the horns much earlier than January 2019. I’ve had this dream of completing a triathlon for three years now and, up to now, haven’t done anything about it. That all changed on the 14th. My brother send me a text message to meet him at the pool at 12h00. Like I said, I haven’t swam the length of an Olympic sized pool in my life. I figured I first needed a coach before jumping off into the deep-end. But on that day I decided, screw it, I’m giving this a go. I swam 325m. A small step for mankind but a giant leap for myself! Since then I bagged another 3000m. The point is this: procrastination will cause your life and your dreams to pass you by. It will steal your happiness and rob your life of meaning and purpose. Don’t stall, go out there and just do it!

In the meantime I’ve also ran my first 10k and a week later took 4min 30sec off that time! Needless to say that I’m very happy with my progress. That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced my fair bit of frustrations. Swimming is still far from easy and on most occasions I still swallow half the pool. But I intend on doing something about it. I found a coach and for the next couple of months I’ll work on my technique and get it right.

Looking back at the progress I made over the last couple of weeks I realised that the real rewards are to be found in the process. Yes, crossing the finishing line and getting the medal hung around your neck is great but it is only by embracing the process of getting there that the goal will be reached. Reaching small milestones, seeing progress and dealing and banishing the daily frustrations is where the fun lies. Too often the end goal overwhelms us and causes us to quit. Striving to be better, stronger and fitter each day will turn each and every step of the way into small victories worth celebrating and will keep you edging ever closer to achieving that goal.

So, whatever mountain you chose for yourself, get up and go climb it. Don’t delay another day.

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Wines2Whales 2018 – Event Report

The W2W is one of South Africa’s most iconic MTB events and this year it celebrated its tenth anniversary. It is a three-day stage race contested by teams consisting of two riders each. Due to its ever-growing popularity there are three races to choose from. The Chardonnay took place from 26-28 October, the Pinotage from 29-31 October and the Shiraz from 2-4 November.

Entries are notoriously difficult to obtain. I was lucky to be invited to participate in the Chardonnay by Werner de Wet, a friend with whom I completed the Solo Desert Dash during December 2017.

All three races follow the exact same route, starting at the Lourensford Wine Estate en ending on the coast in the picturesque town of Hermanus.

Stage 1: 69km and 1650m of climbing

W2W D1The climbing starts straight out of the start-shoot up the Lourensford Neck. The temptation is there to get sucked in by the hype, nerves and excitement of the start and race up the hill but that would be something you’d pay for dearly later on in the race. The ideal is to get into a rhythm early and to race you own race.

Once up the the hill you are rewarded with spectacular views of Stellenbosch and Cape Town before descending down a long and steep downhill. The first water point sits at 18km. It’s then another 20km to the second water point at Idiom Vineyards but between these two refreshment stops is the notorious Vergelegen climb – the toughest of the entire race. We encountered temperatures in the high 30’s, low 40’s making the ascend a brutal affair. Shortly after the climb the track winds down through some vineyards which was also the scene of my first crash. At nearly 40km/h I missed a route marker and my attempt to turn only served to send me flying over the handlebars and into a vineyard. Apart from minor damage to my front brakes and ego I managed to limp into the second refreshment station unscathed.

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Shortly after my fall – that white cycling jersey would never be the same again…

Shortly after the second water point, the Gantouw Pass – a compulsory portage section – provided the iconic challenge of the day. Carrying your bicycle up the steep incline in soaring temperatures was tough to say the least. The reward on the other side was some of the best single track in the country.

Day 1 was made all the more difficult by the extreme temperatures and a word of advice would be to take it easy on day one. The best is still to come.

Stage 2: 66km and 1350m of climbing

w2w d2Dubbed “Play Day”, Stage 2 is one of the race’s many drawcards, with sublime single track, manicured berms and mind-blowing descends. The first 25km flies by with the real fun starting as soon as you enter Paul Cluver via the new Rietvlei Roller. The thrills continue on the feature-laden rollercoasters of Raka, Swing, Ark, Cobra, Mamba, Boomslang, Pofadder, Jakkals and Pine Singles. Despite the heat and the exhaustion it is nearly impossible to wipe the smile of your face.

The Thandi switchbacks, which appear just after water point 3 at the 52km marker, are a sting in the tail before the thrilling, purpose-built KROMCO-PERI Bike Park.

On Day 2 I managed to stay on two wheels and it was definitely the most fun I had on a bike in a long time.

Day 3: Distance 72km and 1250m of climbing

w2w d3The third day is a challenging affair. Most of the climbing comes in the last 30km of the race so it would be wise to not empty the tank right from the start. The trickiest section of the stage is the Kat Pas descend just after the Houw Hoek trails. Caution is advised as this is a particularly fast descend on a rocky, loose and rutted surface.

The first water point (24km) is located at the Botrivier School where hundreds of school children line the streets, cheering on the riders. The next 20km takes in a large portion of the Wildekrans trails before rising to water point 2 at 43km. Its wise to pace yourself through this section as a nasty series of ups and downs await – the breathtaking Gaf-se-Bos and Hemel and Aarde trails will take your breath away (literally). The last few kilometres drop you into Hermanus and the magnificent Marine Hotel where we were welcomed by the very whales that inspired the event.

The FNB W2W is an event not to be missed and if you haven’t experienced it before it should be right up there on your bucket list.

Fear of failure and Perfectionism

fear-of-failureIf you’re struggling to get things done, chances are YOU are standing in your own way. And before delving deeper into the causes of your procrastination, here’s a thought I’d like you to file in the back of your mind:

“I don’t necessarily believe in talent but I do believe in hard work. It is amazing how talented you become when you work hard.”Clare Smyth

Comparing life to a race, two of the most common hurdles we place in our own way is trying to be perfect and being scared of screwing up. The only qualification I have to write about this is simply the fact that I’ve been in both holes and, after what felt like ages, managed to get myself out of.

Although I’ve always had the ‘it must be done perfectly or not at all’ tendency driving almost everything I ever attempted, the first hole I fell into was the fear of failure hole. Let’s call that the F-hole. To interrupt myself again – kids don’t suffer from perfectionism, it’s an adult disease.

Before I plunged into the F-hole, I experienced a series of stumbles which tripped me up so badly that I simply could not avoid tumbling into the bloody hole. The first stumble came straight after being admitted as a ‘legal practitioner’. Now, after exiting the courtroom in my, albeit silly looking, black gown I expected to start practicing as a lawyer. That dream came crashing down when I was called into the partner’s office and was told that the firm would not be offering me a permanent position. Yes, a proper Oh F@#$-moment. That was like getting a big red F back in school – symbolizing your poor grasp of algebra. The F for Failure also struck Fear into my heart. Fear for experiencing another Oh F@#$-moment.

Resurrecting my career by further studies in taxation and actually becoming a tax consultant went a long way towards erasing those memories. So much so that it gave me enough courage to jump off the proverbial bridge. After roughly eight years of climbing the corporate ladder I woke up one morning and quit my job to become a tour guide. Quite a leap that took most of my immediate family and close friends by surprise. So off I went, guiding people to remote destinations without a fear in the world.

But just like kayaking the Zambezi, the calm waters was soon followed by a series of rapids. The first being the strain, me constantly being on the road, placed on my family and the second and decisive rapid being the profitability of my new venture. It flipped the boat and for the second time in my ‘career’ I was handed the big red F.

The third stumble, which ultimately plunged me into the hole was a second failed business venture, this time in the fitness industry. The business grew at a steady rate and all seemed good until a large portion of the newly acquired clientele stopped paying their monthly fees – but still showed up for class. I closed up shop and so accepted another big red F, this time stuck prominently on my forehead, or so it felt. (Looking back now I must admit that my decisions back then was based on how I felt instead of the truth.)

And like most people stuck in holes I promptly searched around for a spade, found a couple and commenced digging myself deeper into the hole. Getting plastered over weekends was a spade I frequently used. Isolating myself, hiding if you like, was another favorite. These spades were also slowly but surely hacking away at every meaningful relationship in my life.

It was the deterioration of these relationships that provided the wake-up call. And although it lifted my chin and made me realize just how deep I’ve sunk it did not magically lifted me out of my predicament. The reason for my prolonged stay in the hole was the fact that I also suffered from a severe dose of perfectionism.

‘The next time I’m doing something it must be perfect’ I told myself. Blaming past failures on the fact that it was not done ‘perfectly’ but also using it as an excuse to linger in the hole, and even to dig it a little bit deeper.

Here’s how that worked. Realizing that I must get my shit together I started making to-do lists. Something like:

  • Update your CV;
  • Plan the week’s meals;
  • Do the shopping;

So I started with the CV. Googled what a proper CV should look like. Googled what a professional CV should look like. Started writing. Reviewed it. Changed the intro. Changed the font. Changed the template. Started all over again. No paper in the printer. Can’t print it in color. Fuck it. Not my day. The world has conspired against me…

And before I knew it the day has flown by and I haven’t ticked off a single item on my to-do list. Attempting to write the perfect CV took up so much time that I ended up buying takeaways thereby pissing off the rest of my household. Nice one, the hole just got a bit deeper.

It was not until I dumped the idea of trying to be perfect, and acknowledging that I’m not that I started to get things done. By banishing perfectionism it also removed lame excuses from my grasp resulting in me getting through my to-do list. You’ve heard this a hundred times: ‘Nobody is perfect’. Think about that and then bravely continue on your path knowing that it is only through making mistakes that we grow and learn.

With regards to fear, consider this: Failure is not having the courage to try. The only thing standing between people and their dreams is the fear of failure. Yet without failure we’ll never learn nor will we ever grow. Failure is therefore an essential ingredient for success. It offers us lessons and if we’re wise, it will guide us past the holes we fell in in the past. Don’t fear failure, embrace it – ‘fortune favors the brave’ my dad used to say…

So go out there and make it happen – no more excuses, no more fear.

 

The Power of Community – an underrated tool

funny-aerobicsThe other day my daughter had to prepare a short talk on ‘spectators’ and their influence on her life. She started off by stating that two is better than one and then went on to describe how we all are spectators of each others’ lives and that merely standing by and observing doesn’t cut it and that it is only when we give something of ourselves that we truly get involved in the game and transform ourselves from passive onlookers to active participants, thereby tasting what life is really about. A proper mouthful for a 16 year-old.

It made me think. On how many roads have I embarked just to be turned around without reaching my intended destination. Dozens, no, more. Now, with the power of hindsight, I’m not in the least bit surprised that on each of those journeys I’ve set off alone.

I won’t bore you with the tearful details of each (perceived) failure but I will say this: Had I embarked on those journeys WITH someone or at least FOR someone other than myself, I would in all likelihood have reached the destination.

The power of community is often overlooked and underestimated. It is especially true if your goal is reaching a place where you’re fit and healthy. Improving your health (and therefore your fitness) requires focused intention and consistent effort. It requires discipline when it comes to making daily choices. What it comes down to is changing habits and as we all know, changing habits is hard. Especially if you’re trying to do it alone.

Being part of a community, or harnessing the power of ‘togetherness’ is a powerful tool. And it is out there, and it is free. Being engaged in community will improve your health – and not just physically. Conversely, isolation will prevent you from becoming the best version of yourself. Alcoholics for example don’t get drunk in groups, they do however try to heal in groups.

Here’s the kicker: Health habits are contagious. For example, if you spend time with people who exercise, you are more likely to exercise. Same with eating healthy. The group you associate with often determines the type of person you become. This does not mean you should ditch all your fat friends. You are not only capable of being influenced, you can influence as well. If you keep healthy habits, friends and family are more likely to follow. Like I said, habits are contagious which means you can have a significant effect on those around you.

It won’t happen overnight however. You will most likely encounter some resistance. Chewing on a carrot while your friends are puffing away will draw the odd comment of resentment. By the way, that should be your sign that just maybe you’re associating with the wrong crowd.

And then there’s the small matter of ‘commitment’. To most commitment does not come naturally, we’d rather opt for the ‘no obligations’ route than be tied up, missing the point that commitment actually gives us freedom. The freedom to be who we want to be because it is only in the confines of relationships that we can let our hair down. Or fart out loud.

There is also comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in our battle to stay on track with our fitness and health goals. And being committed to a group or a couple of friends will cause them to be committed to you, dragging you along even on those days when you’re not feeling up for it.

You need not look far to start forging such bonds. Co-workers, neighbors, friends, parents of your kids’ friends – in today’s world of connections, groups and social media it should be quite easy to find a few like-minded individuals. A great place to start can be your immediate family. It’s a fact that couples who train together, are more likely to stay together so just maybe you don’t need to look any further than your better-half. After getting your better-half on board don’t be surprised if the kids follow suit. You might have started off thinking that you’ll be the inspiration but more often than not you’ll find that once those bonds have been established, you’re the one that is inspired for once you are surrounded by others who are just as committed to ‘loving thy neighbor’ as you are, you become the recipient of that ‘love’ as well as the giver of it. And only then will you transform yourself from a passive onlooker to an active participant in the joyous game we call ‘Life’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic of the EMOM – and keeping fit after 40

Don-t-count-the-minutes-make-every-minute-countI’m 44 years old and still like to think of myself as young and strong (I have a beautiful daughter and still need to be young and strong!). And that is hopefully the case for most of us 40+’ers still keen on being fit and healthy.

It’s not always easy though, to tailor whatever advice is out there to your specific needs. Take high-intensity training for example. For the last couple of years high-intensity training was and probably still is, the preferred training method for getting the best results in the shortest period of time. The advantage of going flat-out is well documented and of particular interest is the fact that it burns a lot of calories quickly.

There are a few pitfalls to consider before embarking on a high-intensity training regime and the first is your level of fitness and your ability to master the fundamental movements. If you’re unfit (overweight) and have poor mobility, you should sacrifice intensity and prioritize form. In other words, don’t ramp up the intensity if your form is going to go for a ball of crap. You’ll likely end up hurting yourself.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to fitness and health. Just because high-intensity worked for someone else, following that exact same regime is not necessarily going to work for you. Your body will respond differently to high intensity training than a 20 year-old for example. You’ll require different recovery protocols than an elite athlete and you’ll probably need to ease into it gently.

A third thing to consider is that high-intensity training is not only physically demanding, it also takes its toll mentally. Pushing yourself into that ‘deep, dark place’ during every workout will drain away your motivation to get up and repeat the process. If workouts are no longer fun odds are that you’re going to quit sooner rather than later.

Enter the EMOM – an abbreviation for every minute on the minute. It is a CrossFit staple and something I find more and more useful every day. It works like this. At the start of each minute you perform a set number of repetitions of a particular exercise and after that you rest for the remainder of that minute and so on…

EMOMs allow you to be creative in a number of ways. Firstly you can choose a time domain suitable to your level of fitness. Just starting out you can for example kick off with a short and sweet six minute EMOM of 8 air squats and 8 sit-ups. By the end of six minutes you would have banked 48 reps (24 squats and 24 sit-ups), meaning you just lapped the guy on the couch.

You control the intensity. Say you’ve breezed through your 6 minute EMOM, the next time you could up the reps and up the minutes. Going for say, an 8 minute EMOM of 12 air squats and 12 sit-ups. Equating to double the number of reps (96) of your previous workout, taking you only two more minutes. You get the idea.

You can easily keep tab on your progress. Making progress is a great motivator for sustaining effort. By adding minutes and reps you’ll be able to get more and more work done in a measurable period of time. You can always add weight and keep reps and time the same for exercises performed with ‘objects’. EMOMs make it easy to measure things such as reps performed, training time, weight etc. Again, you get the idea.

And then there’s the mental side. Compare having to do 50 pull-ups followed by 50 burpees for time, with having to do a 10 minute EMOM of 10 pull-ups (odds) and 10 burpees (evens). Most people can’t do 20 unbroken pull-ups let alone 50. Nobody will be licking their lips for having to grind through 50 burpees. To put it bluntly, workout 1 sucks while workout 2 seems doable. Doable because its broken up into bite-size chunks. I’ll jump up for 10 pull-ups knowing that it’ll probably take me 20 seconds thereby rewarding me with 40 seconds of rest before having to do it again. I’ll be much less enthusiastic about jumping up for 50 pull-ups knowing full well that I’ll probably fatigue by rep 20, fall down from the bar, not likely to be jumping up to complete the reps anytime soon. Go ask any guru how to eat an elephant and they’ll tell you ‘one bite at a time’. EMOMs make a seemingly impossible task seem manageable and if you perceive something to be manageable you’ll be up for it.

Truth be told, the possibilities are endless. You can do a different exercise every minute (on the minute), or you can do the same exercise for every minute. You can take a 5 minute breather between EMOMs and do a couple of EMOMs thereby burning a significant number of calories in a relatively short period of time. Training in, or with EMOMs are highly productive and from an injury perspective much safer than just going for it until you drop. It’s even fun.

Next time you’re dreading the prospect of completing a challenging workout, set the timer and work your way through it minute by minute and get it done.

Tips from a Stay-at-Home Dad.

Dad

Being a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) is the most rewarding, yet the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Never has the ‘all worthwhile things are hard-saying’ been more true for me.

It is difficult for a number of reasons:

It is not the norm. The world, society, call it what you want, dictates that the man be the breadwinner and the wife the caretaker. Men are wired to go out and earn a living while women are wired to take care of the household and raise kids. The point most are missing is this: Taking charge of the household, family finances and raising the kids are as necessary a task as earning money. The parent responsible for this, irrespective of gender, is contributing to the welfare of the family. Raising kids, for example, is not an innately feminine thing.

Because of the many misconceptions, stay-at-home dads will struggle with confidence while the working moms will just as often buckle under the pressure of being sole breadwinners. This puts more pressure on the marriage than is necessary.

Tip No 1: Becoming SAHD should be a conscious decision made by ALL parties involved. Yes, I understand that circumstances might force your hand (losing your job through no fault of your own) but in the end, what you do with what happened to you is still a choice. Like I mentioned above, your wife suddenly becoming the sole breadwinner will put her under pressure. It will strain your relationship and even more so when she perceives her situation forced upon her. Similarly, if you think that you have been forced to become a SAHD you will take three times as long to truly embrace your role compared to having made that choice yourself. So, sit down, talk to your wife, talk to your kids, make a decision – then embrace the role.

Tip No 2: Run your family (household) like a business. It will give you purpose and besides, its fun. And if somebody asks you what it is that you’re doing, you can answer them: I’m the family manager, I’m running the show. For example, divide the ‘family tasks’  into categories:

  • Finances
  • Food
  • Family and Friends
  • Time and Scheduling
  • Special events
  • Self-management

Then delegate the tasks to those best suited for them. For example, let the kids take charge of ‘special events’ such as birthdays etc while you handle the family budget. Just because your wife is earning the money should not mean you can’t take charge of the family budget, shoulder the big decisions and take responsibility for paying the bills. Just as you can take some of the ‘financial’ pressure off your wife, she can give you a hand (or ideas) on the food-front. The idea is to identify the weak areas and to seek help where you need it.

You can even take the model further by branding your family, complete with a logo, a slogan and core values. This is a lot of fun and gets everybody involved. More on that later…

Tip No 3: Get your shit together. You are now the ‘lead guide’ of your household and if the family is having a bad day it is likely because you didn’t manage the day well. There’s a lot of planning to do. Meals, shopping, chores and the kids’ schedule will wreak havoc with your time (and to a lesser extent, your finances) if you fail to plan properly. Sundays are great for family meetings during which you can discuss the dinner menu for the week, draft your shopping list and plan your schedule for the week. Planning properly will also reveal that you do have time to pursue some ‘ME’ stuff. Like getting fit, working on that hobby of yours AND even time to earn decent money while being a SAHD! Thereby showing the finger to the many misconceptions out there. Misconceptions such as ‘he lost his job’ or ‘he’s probably looking for a job’ or ‘he does not have any motivation’ etc., etc.

Tip No 4: Have fun. Though the number of SAHD’s is on the increase, and what you do is not as rare as you think, you are still very fortunate to be spending quantity and quality time with your children. Spend as much time playing with your kids as you do trying to accomplish all the other household chores that comes with the job. Make a conscious effort to devote some part of your day to playing. It’s a terrible cliche but time does go by so fast. Blink an eye and your kids will be off to school, blink again and they’ll ask for the keys to your car…

To wrap up, fulfillment comes from making a difference in the lives of other people and a SAHD has a unique and special opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of those he hold dearest. Remember, the most valuable asset you have is your time and knowing that you invested it wisely into the lives of your wife and your kids and experiencing their appreciation will leave you fulfilled and ultimately happy.

O, and realizing and understanding that your time is valuable will put an end to the procrastination and will get the things you’ve always wanted to get done, done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LifeFit – The type of fitness we really want

happyScientists and fitness fanatics alike have long struggled to define “fitness”. At first it was a purely physical thing. You strap something around your chest, jump and down or go for a run and the “device” will tell us whether you’re fit or not. This conclusion would be reached with reference to things such as VO2 Max, resting heart-rate and how wide your nostrils open when chased by a polar bear. All purely physical parameters.

Nowadays lines between fitness and health have become blurry. And thank goodness for that. You can’t really have the one without the other. If you’re physically fit chances are you’re healthy as well. And if you’re doc is satisfied that you’re healthy you’d at least be able to take the dog for a walk which bestows upon you some sort of fitness.

Physical fitness on the other hand, warrants a discussion on its own. Who’s fitter? The Kenyan that can run until the sun comes up or the body-builder that can bench-press a house? Greg Glassman would argue that neither one is fit. The one has loads of endurance and stamina and the other lots of power. The Kenyan can’t pick up a bag of dog food, having sacrificed power and strength for stamina and endurance while the body-builder can’t run around a track without life-support.

Glassman argues that there are ten physical ‘skills’ and that you’re only as fit as you’re competent in each of the ten skills (stamina, endurance, power, speed, strength, balance, agility, flexibility, coordination and accuracy). According to this the heptathlete would be fitter than Usain Bolt or Tom Walsh. I tend to agree.

What then would it mean to be LifeFit? Or fit for life? If fitness means to have some form of competence in each of the ten physical skills, LifeFit would mean to be that plus having some competency in the ‘other’ skills required to navigate life’s choppy waters. Putting up with your mother-in-law for a month requires endurance, even flexibility, just not the physical type. Mental endurance and flexibility are required. Helping an elderly lady carry her groceries across the street takes some form of physical strength but also a certain resolve or attitude. Same with pulling out a chair or opening a door for your wife. Without the necessary coordination (physical attribute), your plan to build ‘credits’ can have the opposite effect. It requires an awareness.

Glassman’s list of physical skills is exhaustive. I can’t think of any other physical skills I’d like to add to determine or define physical fitness. The list of the ‘life-skills’ are not so clear-cut but here’s mine:

  • love (I know, sounds corny but love always wins – just ask Morrie);
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • friendliness
  • kindness
  • faithfulness
  • humility
  • self control

Like Glassman, I’d argue that your happiness will only be determined with reference to your competency in each of the above ‘life-skills’. Improvements in coordination, agility, balance and accuracy comes about through practice. Whereas improvements in endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility comes about through training. Power and speed are adaptations of both practice and training.

Likewise, improvements in patience, friendliness, kindness, faithfulness, humility and self-control comes about through practice (and a bit of training) while love, joy and peace are the result of ‘adaptations’ of such practice and training. Go out in traffic and practice not to boil over when a taxi changes lanes without warning. Go stand in a queue in the bank and offer your place up for an elderly. Buy a cup of coffee for the person standing behind you in the queue. So many everyday situations can become your training ground. And training those skills will improve them.

Here’s an example. Next time your mother-in-law shows up uninvited, take a deep breath (patience), count to ten (more patience), smile (friendliness), give her a hug (kindness), tell her she looks wonderful (more kindness, friendliness, even humility), invite her in, offer her a cup of tea, listen to her stories. Easy, all of the above ticked. Love, joy and peace may not manifest immediately after she finished her cup of tea but your credit-rating will sky-rocket filling you with a sense of peace and even joy! And your wife will love you for it.

Improve your ten physical skills, improve your fitness. Improve your fitness, improve your health. Improvement in health will necessarily improve your life-skills. You’ll have more energy to engage in the activities that really matters. You’ll be able to mentally endure situations that would otherwise have caused you to have a minor seizure. You’ll have the discipline to go out and practice patience, friendliness etc. All because you feel good about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, you’ll be able to give more of yourself (which is nothing else than honing your ‘life-skills’).

The idea is to be fit for whatever life throws at us and the easiest first step towards achieving it is by getting off the couch and to start moving.