How To Exercise 312 Times A Year

How To Exercise 312 Times A Year

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I used to be a chubby kid. Most people thought that was cute. But it got out of hand when was in my early teens.

At age 15 I weighed 230 pounds (105 kg). I was fat. Three years later, I weighed 55 pounds less and I was bench pressing my old weight.

The truth is that being overweight sucks. And if you want to change, you need a reason. At that age, I wanted to impress girls. So I dropped the weight. It was surprisingly simple once I put my mind to it.

before and after running
On the left: (chubby) Me and my little brother Daniel chilling on our dad’s busted Mitsubishi with a ripped up football. On the right: Looking like a lean mean running machine on one of my daily runs past summer.

And I stayed in good shape until I finished college in 2010. But after that, I put on weight again. I started working a lot, traveling, drinking, eating unhealthy, and I worked out very irregularly.

And about three years ago I was a tired, unfocused, and lazy 27-year old idiot with a beer belly. I decided to change. And it took me more than two years to build a solid exercise habit.

Why do you want to exercise every day? How about more energy and focus? Or looking and feeling better? I don’t know why, but people have a health fetish these days.

I get it, boys and girls. Stop showing your incredibly muscular gluteus maximus on Instagram! They should call that app GuyswithoutshirtsandwomeninlegginsGram.

Anyway, we get it. Daily exercise has benefits. We know the why. In this article, I’ll tell you how I formed an (almost) daily exercise routine.

1.Think Of A Reason

Okay, let’s start with the cliché. But this is actually very important. When I was a teenager, I wanted to impress girls. Three years ago, I didn’t have to impress my girlfriend, but I wanted to have more energy so I could be more productive.

No reason? No change.

It can be as simple as, “I don’t want to be that person who is out of breath after three flights of stairs.”

Just make something up and believe in it. If you want to exercise daily and you have no idea why, you’ll think this when it gets tough: “What the fuck am I doing.” That’s the end of your daily exercise habit.

2. Exercise DAILY At The Same Time

This is where I messed up before. Have you ever said, “I’m going to work out three times a week.” And could never find the time? Your brain is constantly thinking.

“Should I go Monday, Wednesday, Friday? How about, Monday, Tuesday, Friday? Or how about Sunday, Wednesday, Friday?”

STOP IT.

You’re going every single day. There you go. I’ve solved that problem for you. Now you have more brainpower to work on useful things.

Also, you don’t have to wake up at 4 AM to exercise. I prefer to go around the same time every day. For me, that’s around lunchtime.

Pick a time that’s best for you and stick to it. That’s how it becomes a habit.

3. Work Out On Low Intensity

Look, we’re trying to build a daily exercise habit. We’re not trying to become an Instagram model. We’re trying to work out every day so we improve the quality of our life.

You don’t have to kill yourself every time you hit the gym or go for a run.

That took me a loooong time to realize. You can become fit and look good by working out on low intensity every day. Plus, you have fewer chance to get injured.

I’ve had serious back issues since I was 16. I played a lot of sports and worked out hard for years. But since I’m exercising every day, doing stretches and yoga moves, I’m 98% pain-free. That other 2% is credited to my idiocy, which probably will never go away.

Every now and then I still push myself hard. I’ll put on too-heavy weights on my squats or deadlifts. And then I’ll go spinning or running on the next day. Result? Back pain.

But that doesn’t happen very often anymore because I never exercise at 100%. I’m not a professional athlete/superhuman. I’m a regular human who wants to live a good life.

Also, if you’re thinking, “what’s low intensity?” Get at least 30 minutes of exercise that makes you sweat a little. That’s the amount most experts agree on.

4.Consistently Improve Your Strength & Stamina

I’ve learned that it’s much more productive to exercise moderately and increase your overall strength and stamina very slowly. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying I just go for a 30-minute walk every day and call it quits.

My goal is still to become a little fitter every day. I just look at those things over the span of a decade. Previously, I wanted to become stronger or run farther in 6 weeks.

Get to know your body. And up the intensity slowly every week. Keep in mind that you’re exercising every day. You’ll still become stronger and fitter — it will just take a little longer.

Understand that you’re doing the same thing tomorrow so don’t burn yourself out.

5. Eat Healthy

Every few months people get obsessed with old diets that resurrect. I don’t care about ketogenic, bulletproof, cave man diets. It’s all BS. It’s only about money and being right. I have no problem with that. I understand it’s a business.

I grew up in Holland. The Dutch diet is bread, cheese, milk, potatoes, sausage, and peanut butter (take that, you diet gurus out there). And yet, we’re pretty healthy.

Just follow your common sense. Don’t eat a lot of saturated fats, sugar, and processed stuff. And don’t drink alcohol every day.

Food is fuel. And you only need X number of calories per day. X depends on gender, age, and activity. Research that shit on Google.

  • Know how much calories you burn.
  • Know how much calories you take in (use Myfitnesspal).
  • Know the difference between good and bad calories.
  • Don’t take in more calories than you burn.

That’s about it. No complex or weird diets needed.

6. Cheat Once A Week

So your goal is to exercise every day. But we all know that’s not going to happen.

This article is not called How To Exercise 365 Days A Year for a reason.

We’re human.

And humans need to let loose every now and then. We’re not robots. Sometimes we need to watch crap on Netflix all day. And we also need to chug a jar of ice cream at times. Or eat two Big Macs in a row.

Why? Because it feels good. Just don’t make it a habit. Otherwise, you’re back to square one.

But keep the goal of exercising daily in your mind. Because if you plan to exercise 6 times a week, you probably go 5 times.

7. Track Your Progress

I have a spreadsheet. And every Monday I update it with my previous week’s exercise count. Last year I exercised 321 times. It was my main focus for 2016.

You don’t have to do the same. Just find a way to keep track of how well you’re doing. Getting a visual representation of how much you’ve exercised is very motivating and keeps up the momentum.

Look, I don’t take life that seriously. But I’m dead serious about my health. If it’s your goal to exercise every day, you can do it. On average, people exercise 3 days a week. That’s 156 days a year.

Even if you skip one day a week, you exercise 312 days a year: That’s double the average.

Challenge

With this, I challenge you to join me in working out daily. It’s one of the best life improvement strategies you’ll ever find.

If you’re in, commit to it by commenting below. Because once you say it, you’re half way there.

Now you just have to DO it.

Shit, did I just really quote Nike? That reminds me, I haven’t run today yet.

I’m out! (running)

Your turn.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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112 comments

  1. Well-done!! I’ve changed up my goals accordingly. Tend to take an “all-or-nothing” to things, including exercise and diet. Moderation is the better avenue. Don’t have to go all-in Paleo. A little bread is ok. Watching the sugar intake will have great benefit. Thanks for this. I’m in on the challenge. Craig

  2. Hummm. I don’t know. I am finally reaching some regularity with 3 times a week/45min. while pushing myself a little more. Actually all my schedules are adapted to that now. Would you still recommend I try excercising daily?

  3. Yes, I do agree with all your comments and it was great to reinforce them once again. Like the Idea of keeping a Record of our activities – it should definitely motivate us to go ahead. 🙂

  4. An excellent article Darius. I started doing some of this over the past year. I track most of my dietary Fitbit info in a spreadsheet for later analysis (I’m a data nerd), and created a daily note on Todoist for exercising. I really like the “cheat” idea as I have had some motivational trouble because each week is becoming a “7-days, everyday, rut”. I will take your challenge and advice, and give myself the odd day off. Thanks again!

  5. Hi Darius, I commit to your challenge. I’m using the 30 day fitness challenge app. Already on day 6 now. Cheerios.

  6. I’m in, but no spreadsheet for me. I’m either doing everyday or I’m not (and my back and neck sure feel it when I don’t). I’ve been doing about 4 times a week, but now I’m moving to everyday, because I feel better on those days (and yeah, deciding which day = wasted brain power.) 🙂

    My reason? It helps with my pain (I do T-tapp), my energy and emotional stability.

  7. This was great – and affirming, since I had already put some thought last week into doing something like this for 2017. Count me in! I have my Fitbit and my food-tracking app, Lose It! (I’ve been using both for years now) and I’m ready. I did workout yesterday, by the way, with some resistance-band training – so 1 down, 364 (or 311) to go! My struggle is not with weight, but I want to feel better in (and about) my body. At 50, with four young grandchildren, it’s important to stay as physically strong as I can be. 😉

  8. Thank you Darius. Yes! I will do it. I will exercise 6 days a week for 30 minutes, I already eat healthy, I like the one day/week cheating. I will need to better keep track of my progress!

  9. Thank youuuu for the realness & motivationally friendly kick in the butt it’s needed sometimes
    …k who’m I kidding it’s needed often

  10. 60th birthday this year so time to get serious. Have always done something but never consistent; both parents died of cancer so I don’t want to continue that legacy. At least 312 days in 2017, I want to feel fabulous at the end of this year and beyond 🏃

  11. After feeling ashamed from not ever staying on track, I’m motivated to take your practical advise. I’ve got the fitbit, the calarie app and the tunes. I just need an unwavering reason to enjoy the pain. I’m fired up for today!

  12. Thank you for your Inspirational article! I really like your point of view. I read it this morning, and immediately made plans to take an exercise class. I just finished and feel great! I’m in.

  13. Hilda says: I am in. Started today. Thanks Darius for having a desire to share. It’s not my first rodeo but I’m thankful we can all begin again. Feeling positive.

  14. Wonderful article. I was out of shape, overweight and feeling a bit out it. Tried the “proven” exercise and diet approaches and was very dissatisfied. After much reserch, my focus became the quantity of calories consumed versus those burned. Also gave myself 5 years to achieve my health goals. I will be adding more forcus on steadily increasing strength, stamina and flexibility. Keep up the good work!

  15. I’m in. ..but i have an unusual obstacle and would welcome advice
    I work in television and my schedule at work is never the same
    Any suggestions on how to overcome this?
    When I had a job with regular hours. ..it was easy
    2 days in a row this week, I worked from 8am to 1am. Power napped and repeated
    Do 4hrs sleep
    Today i work from 3p to 11 p and back tomorrow for an 8a to 4p shift
    You get my drift
    How to overcome this? Ideas very welcome!

    1. Hey Wendy! I would never sacrifice sleep for anything. Irregular hours is always tough. Most people I know who done it succesfully found a way to integrate exercise with work.

      They either exercise during their lunch break or before/after work. They are always prepared. Bring your gear with you, always. And when you have the chance, hit the gym or go for a serious walk. It’s always difficult. But the benefits of exercise are even greater when you work many hours.

    2. If something feels to hard to achieve, you just divide it into smaller chunks. While 30 minutes is recommended to get your metabolism work faster, you can just commit to walking 3 minutes once an hour. During those 3 minutes, you can just wander around, or take the stairs as it is good exercise. The point is you move around and don’t stay sitting for too long. And if you work for 8 hours, the total time you walk becomes 3*8=24. Better than nothing, right? Also, don’t forget to drink water once an hour, too.

    3. And btw, if you think once an hour is too much interruption, you can walk for 6-8 minutes in every 2 hours. You just fit it in to your own schedule.

  16. I’m in and commit to the everyday vs. 3 to 5 per week. Makes more sense and I want to see change, not a holding pattern. Since was off work this week, I got to work out 8 of the last 8 days and feel great! (Of course it’s easier when we are off work, but it is a matter of priorities).

  17. I will try it. I do power plate 3 times a week and it S not enough. Thanks for the motivation. I think I will start running.

  18. I am following this same since last 3 years and found my strength, endurance and stamina increased over a period of time. Now after a circuit training for half an hour, I need hardly 1 minutes break to come back to normal. I really loved this new change in me and hence will be continuing it forever.

  19. Darius I’ve been exercising pretty consistently for the past 8 years and out of nowhere in the last month I’ve really hit a wall and started to lose interest in going to the gym. I think this is just what I need to reignite my exercise routine – I’m in!

  20. Hey Darius.

    Interesting article. I’ve been struggling with exercising every day. And it’s certainly a goal to integrate some sort of exercise to my daily life.

    Have you heard of Jonathan Bailor’s book The Calorie Myth? It’s my favorite nutrition book and Bailor does not exactly agree with the idea calories in, calories out.

    I’m wondering what’s your take on that. Cheers.

      1. Thanks for your thoughts. I see your point, totally legit.
        And still so many people are struggling with dieting and a healthy lifestyle. And counting calories won’t do them a favor, personally.

        I don’t think keto or bulletproof diet is BS. Just my take.

        Anyway, it’s a great article as your encouraging many people to move their body. Brillant!

  21. I have to work in front of computer and I find it hard to motivate myself to go out and walk for 30 minutes, plus the air is quite polluted where I live. So I decided that, once an hour, I walk for 3 minutes and drink a glass of water as it is so easy to forget drinking enough water. This way I won’t have to count on internal motivation to exercise. This may not be as effective, but better than nothing for those who have to sit while working.

  22. Superb article!! All the points connecting to me perfectly.I have been doing all of them except the “Keeping Track of the progress”. Will include this also and make a ‘Healthy 2017’ my top priority.

    Thanks!!
    Rohit

  23. I have been doing workout since three years, now a days I become lazy and am afraid of my lower back pain if I do wrong stretches and moves it may hurt more this is my concern, with this reason I m skipping the exercise daily. Is there any good article about back exercises, please share with me. I really appreciate.

  24. Yes! Doing it! I’ve been subscribed to your emails for almost a year and I really respond to your no bullshit practical words. Your reminders to work a little every day for your goals and not getting anxious about the end goal resonate with me. This year I am striving to cultivate a daily writing practice and maybe launch a travel blog. In my daily writing I will record my daily workouts! Thanks for the challenge!

  25. I’m definitely committing to this!! My workouts will have to be modified because I’ve torn the ACL ligament in my left knee (making the mistake of going from sedentary straight into HIIT workouts over and over again….sigh…I wish I found balance sooner!) but I want to be in my best health for surgery and recovery!! 🙂

  26. i am on this…i can quite relate to what you have put here darius…being on it for the last 20months, day in day out, making it a ritual sort of thing, restraining myself from the heavy food..net result is..able to wear slim fit shirts and trousers, you get that awesome feeling when you look in the mirror,and a mental agility that keeps me energetic throughout the day….its a mojo thing…

  27. Thanks. Last year after my summer holiday, I went straight to the gym on January 13th and 14th and NEVER went back all year. Always some excuse and now I’m a year older, heavier and less mobile! You have set a good challenge!

  28. I am almost doing this for the past 10 years. I am now 75. However certain modifications are needed in my routine and defenitly will follow the suggestions. An useful article

  29. Fantastic advice, Darius. As an older woman, my body can’t cope with punishing workouts. So your point on low intensity exercise really resonated with me. I go walking now (and, yes, that does count as exercise!) My aim for 2017 is to cover 2017 miles, that’s roughly 5-6 miles a day.

  30. As a senior in high school, I feel the importance of taking advantage of My physical condition while I can. And even though I have no idea what I’m doing, I know that I want to see how far I can get in a good direction. Thanks for the advice!!!

  31. You’re thorough and calm. I sense absolutely no scheme in this, and even better, I see no link to your $__.__ book series on how to fix my life. I’m subscribed and loving this so far. Thank you Mr. Foroux (hahah thorough Foroux)! I’ll definitely be reading you regularly.

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