The shorter version of this interview originally aired on episode 2 of D³: LIVE & INTERACTiVE, streamed live on January 4, 2012. D³: LIVE & INTERACTiVE full length episodes are available on-demand a few days after the live show. Watch >>

The theme of the last D³: LIVE & INTERACTiVE was starting something – starting something new, something different in the new year. Given the theme of the show, I thought I would share with you the “something” that I started and perhaps inspire you to treat yourself to some physical and mental health goodness.

The Story

Just about two years ago, around this time, I realized that I was letting myself go. I was letting the pressure and stress of work eat years off of my life. The lack of sleep was just further adding to the bodily damage. The pounds were packing on. So on and so forth. The point is, it wasn’t good. I realized that I was putting taking care of myself second to my work and career. That’s when I decided that something needed to change.

It wasn’t easy to make changes to the way that I was accustomed to being, but it needed to get done. New Years was the perfect time to make them. With inspiration drawn from deep down inside (a personal thing – to each his/her own), my sister dragging my butt with her to Energy Fitbox classes, love and support from my wife, I started something – something healthy – and two years later, I’m enjoying the difference in mood, mental clarity, productivity, focus, and of course, all of the physical benefits of exercise (muscle tone, weight loss/control, etc.).

Pablo Grossi on Exercise, and Physical and Mental Health

For this month’s show, I wanted you to be able to hear about the importance of exercise as part of your day to day life directly from the man who helped with my “something healthy”. I took the crew (which currently consists of me and my laptop, which does in fact have a personality of its own) with me “on the road” and “sat down” with Pablo Grossi, owner of and instructor at Energy Fitbox, to get his thoughts on why exercise is so important, especially for those of us who usually work long hours, usually under a lot of stress, sitting all day and every day at desks, and not being very active.

Download: WMV (HQ, MQ) | MP4 (HQ, MQ, LQ) | MP3

Pablo’s Advice

  • … on shaking off stress – “The stress is always there. You have to, somehow, shake it off a bit, and the only way to do that is to be active. Whether it is in a class environment like this [Fitbox], whether it is going for a walk, a jog – as long as you do something active, your body will reward you for that.”
  • …on diets – “Diet is huge. You can exercise all you like but if your diet is not good, you’re not getting any benefits.”
  • …on sleep – “Loosing sleep or sleeping only a few hours a night is equivalent to being intoxicated. You’re not functioning at your best. You might be grinding through and pushing through, but you’re not functioning at your best…. It’s best to try to find a way to sleep. With exercising, you’ll sleep better at night because you get your body tired and then your body says “OK, let’s sleep.” and then hopefully you can then turn your mind off. That’s the key.”
  • … on commitment to exercise – “Start with one day a week. Start with something challenging one day a week. If not, go for a walk everyday for half and hour. If you’re committed to your projects, you want to do the best for your projects, then you want to have the most clarity in your mind, and you want to be able to put your best foot forward…. If you want to be committed to your project, you need to be committed to yourself first.”

Bottom Line

The bottom line is exercise is healthy not only for your physical state of being but also for your mind. Day by day, that’s not top of mind, and so you let it go. The lesson to be learned here, or my hope for sharing this with you, is that you don’t! Take the opportunity of a new year to step back and reflect on what’s really important – you. At the end of the day, if you’re not around or are physically and/or mentally it to reap the benefits of your work and career, what was the point?

If you haven’t already, start something healthy today.

Other Inspiration

Recently, Frederic Harper (@fharper) started his new “something healthy” project called “Hack Your Life”. Follow his blog, Out of Comfort Zone, as he completes one personal challenge per week to “hack his life”.

Join the Conversation

What are you doing to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

Special thanks to Pablo Grossi and Energy Fitbox for helping out with this project.