You call exercise torture? I call it glory.

August 29, 2013 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Fitness, Freedom

[This post is part of a series on my daily exercise and starting and keeping challenging habits. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Emotionally, I don’t want to do burpees nearly every single time I do them. As you probably know, I do twenty twice-daily. (Here is my overview post on burpees.)

Starting is never easy.


If you think you have a harder time starting to exercise than others, I think you’re wrong. I don’t think anybody has it easy. Just some people developed skills to overcome the emotional challenges we all feel.

Rationally, I want to do them, but my emotions oppose my rational thoughts.

I use willpower to start my set. (Here is the first post on my series on willpower.)

I have to work mentally to start nearly every set.

I use my self-talk to put my mind in the mode of believing I want to do them by talking to myself about them in terms of friendship and how good I’ll feel after. (Here is a post on the most effective exercise I know to become aware of your self-talk in order to improve it.)

The self-talk never fully gets my mind believing I like the burpees until I start them. As far as I can tell, thoughts alone don’t create belief. I need to act and feel the reward from those thoughts for them to become belief.

I use empathy gaps to trick myself into a situation where I’ll do the exercise. (Here is the first post on my series on empathy gaps.)

I start to do one burpee. By the time I’ve gotten started, I feel like I might as well finish the rest. Yes, I will myself to do 5% and coast the remaining 95%.

That’s how much harder the mental part is than the physical part — at least twenty times harder for this exercise.

When I finish I’m exhausted but glad I did it. Proud even. As many times as I’ve done them, each new set makes me proud and feeling good.

I overindulge in feeling the emotional reward. I enjoy breathing heavy. I look at myself in the mirror and remember I was chubby as a kid.

I share my joy of doing the exercise with others (like writing this post) to create public accountability, to attract people who share my goals and will help me, and to repel people who won’t. (Here’s a post on the value of overindulging and sharing reward.)

Your body benefits from the physical effort — where you burn the calories.

Your mind benefits from the mental effort, probably ultimately more valuable in life.

The need to overcome this resistance and develop your willpower to create that drive and the results to your body, is why I say the body physically manifests your thoughts. (I wrote more on that idea here.)

I have no complaints about my body. Think of how confidence in your body affects your relationships. I eat and drink what I want when I want. Think of how that freedom affects my daily behavior. My physical and mental exercise helps in every part of my life that requires effort and vice versa.

I call this process discipline — mental and physical discipline.

Why do I value discipline? Because it brings freedom. The pleasure of eating whatever I want, however valuable, is nothing compared to the reward of the freedom to think or do whatever I want. (Here are the words of a master on discipline and freedom).

Learn to make Meaningful Connections

with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.


  • Step by step instructions
  • Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
  • An excerpt from my book

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4 responses on “You call exercise torture? I call it glory.

  1. You can’t say that exercise is torture. Exercise is good to improve health and physical fitness. It is a key source to lose weight and improve physical performance. Exercise regularly at least 30 minutes in a day it burns fat, control blood pressure, boost energy, make strong bones, reduce pain and prevent from many diseases.
    Lakewood personal trainer

    • I agree!

      Well, I exercise less than thirty minutes per day, but I exercise every day. Beyond the health benefits you described, I find it improves nearly every part of my life — my relationships, how well I sleep, my mood, and so on.

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