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Finding the balance; Fitness Vs Life

Posted on in Health & Fitness

Someone asked the Dalai Lama what surprised him the most? He responded:

“Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health when sick. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; He lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

All of the above raises an interesting take on the lifestyle balances and choices that we make on a day to day basis.  

Having previously worked in the prison system for several years, I have made some interesting observations. Convicted criminals that go through the system and the majority are seriously fit. I guess the point is that if you are on lock-down 24 hours a day with only time passing you by, the natural thing to do is to train and to train hard and train often. The irony of the matter is that when they become “ripped” it could be perceived as miss-spent time in a single sex, enclosed environment.  Of course you don’t have to be confined to HMS pleasure to achieve these results.

During exercise, endorphins are released in the body that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm. Now this brings about a feeling of euphoria which can only be a positive thing when you’re locked up 24-7 and staring at a brick wall for the majority of the time. Needless to say that some of the above topics are probably not on the agenda for a fair few years for those unfortunate enough to be incarcerated!

In many ways situations outside of the judicial system make finding the life balance difficult. Certainly in terms of finding the balance between life, work and health, many people constantly struggle to achieve balance as they juggle multiple competing life priorities. Finding the balance represents a mammoth challenge for many ‘free living’ individuals on a daily basis.  For personal trainers that can help their clients to achieve life balance, you will be held in high esteem.  Exercise can have a huge effect on wellbeing and also the wellbeing of those around you, and thus should be a starting point in finding this balance.

The point that I am trying to make is that life is all about prioritising what is most important to you, making the right choices and feeling fulfilled. Barriers to exercise are everywhere you look but in order to feel happy, exercise is a necessity and something that has been pre-programmed into the human race. Think about this the next time you come out of a 45 minute spin class or a good session in the gym. How many other things in life are there that can naturally replicate this feeling? Taking the body to a high metabolic level and using the power of the mind to overcome the pain, discomfort and trauma of high intensity exercise only then to feel the euphoria and high self-esteem that follows is the human equivalent of a Jedi mind trick. This is indeed a force!

In a modern society, particularly in Britain and in today’s economic climate, we are expected to work hard and long hours in order to pay the bills and if we’re lucky, have a bit of money in excess of these requirements. Now ask yourself this, if you are working 40-50 hours a week, when are you going to get the time to enjoy that money that you worked so hard for? On top of that, when are you supposed to exercise?

Try to overcome the barriers that life throws in your way. Try training at different times of the day, training in different environments and introduce every-day living activities to make you naturally and habitually more active.  Try different intensities and vary the types of exercise that you do.  Think outside the box and be as creative as you can about trying new activities. Above all else, use the force!

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Leo Smith is the Manager for gym instructor courses at Discovery Learning in the UK.  Leo is a health and fitness professional and an experienced Personal Trainer.




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Guest Thursday, 17 April 2014

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"Hi Stu,

Just wanted to drop you an email to thank you properly as I didn’t get a proper chance to on

Just to say many thanks for the excellent training you delivered in Birmingham and your willingness


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