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Real People, Real Results

Straight from the horse's mouth

By

Updated December 16, 2010

The news these days is full of dire statistics about the health of America, or lack thereof. We hear a lot about people who don't exercise (around 58% of us according to the CDC) and even more about the consequences of obesity and overweight. What we don't hear much about are those other people--the 26% of Americans who do exercise at least 3 times a week.

While there are people who struggle to stay healthy, there are others out there who've figured out how to do it, and not with diets or pills or plastic surgery. These are real people with jobs and families and obligations, just like you. Who are these people and how did they figure out how to stay healthy in our busy, sedentary, fast-food world? Hear from some real people and get inspired by what they've accomplished.

The Real Life Benefits of Exercise

One of the most popular reasons people start exercising is to lose weight. But, what about health and quality of life? We all want to look good but, too often, that seems to be the only reason people exercise. What about the deeper, more lasting benefits of exercise like feeling good? Having more energy? Liking yourself more? Here are some benefits my forum members have experienced from exercise:

Minotaur: "I've said for years that since I started exercising, I am much more confident in myself and I even like myself better...I know that I have qualities other than my waist size."

Personal trainer, Conrad900, describes pulling himself out of the doldrums: "I'm thinking about working out, about the sensation of control, power and intensity, about very literally lifting a burden off my body and how good it felt. I was lighter, at least metaphorically. I was smiling despite the incredible tug of gravity against whatever object was in my hand trying to drive into whatever Hades awaits grumpy trainers."

Neenaw: "I'm feeling MUCH healthier from eating well...That, along with exercise is making me feel better within myself and I have tons more energy now.,,more lively and enthusiastic whereas before I was a sluggish coach potato...My view on junk food now is just - "I'm not putting THAT **** in MY body!"

WileyJames: "Before I started working out, I ate pop tarts and whole milk every day for breakfast. I didn't think much about it."

LincolnB: "An accomplished athlete once said, 'Everything I learned in life I learned on the lifting platform.'...Learning how far you can really push yourself in the gym will teach you things about yourself that you might not learn otherwise."

Get Faster, Get Stronger, Get Leaner

So what about the physical benefits? Obviously weight loss is one side effect, but check out some of these other improvements:

LincolnB: "Started when I was 36. Weighed 148 @ 6'1", bodyfat was ~15%. Now I'm 46, 165 lbs., ~8% bodyfat."

Conrad900: "When I was 22 years old I was 127 pounds and just learning to cross country ski....I just won my division (I'm 34) in a California APA powerlifting meet...for deadlift...All my training is centered around play. If it doesn't lead to a fun and functional outcome, it isn't worth it."

Sdiego2: "I am a 54 year old female...I started out unable to walk the distance from one location to the next...Now I go anywhere from 30 to 45 mins at 3.0 and lift 65 to 100 lbs...I have lost only 26 pounds, but I wear 2 sizes less in all my clothing."

LisaTX1: "Got serious again about minimizing carbs and dropped back to 118.5, which seems to be about my ideal spot. Have gone up a plate on every machine I use for upper body."

Dustin07: "Got married in Nov. 2003... since then...Lost 30lbs...Lost two pant sizes. Last year started hiking a particular hill that was 1200' elevation gain, 1.25 miles to the top...I now do it in about 45 minutes on a casual day."

Rosemeyerrm: "A year ago I was...doing 5 minutes of squats with a 24 pound body bar...Now, I can do three sets of squats with 120 pounds on my back...A year ago I did lunges for 5 minutes with NO weight. Now I did three sets with 60 pounds...Then, barely enough cardio. Now I can run an 11 minute mile."

Cindycat: "Perhaps the greatest improvement I've seen is to my back muscles. First time in, I could only lift my torso up into a level position with legs three times...I now do two series of 15."

Eely: "Started around November. Lost 15 pounds...Here are some of my lifting improvements: bench press - 40 to 70 pounds, chin ups - 0 to 2, squat - 45 to 75 pounds. I also used to not be able to run at all. I literally couldn't go for more than a minute or two without getting side stiches. I recently ran a mile without stopping. =o)"

Changing your lifestyle isn't easy, but maybe it helps a little to know what's in store for you...what real people experience when they exercise. Not just weight loss but a better life. Come visit the forum for more inspiration or to provide your own.

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