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Fit for Life: Do You Just Want to Have Fun?

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Exercise is not fun, it's work. So treat it as another necessary part of your day.

Who said exercise has to be fun and exciting? Is eating/ showering/ driving, brushing your teeth fun and exciting? Do you change these routines to make them more interesting? Do you try handstands while eating to break up the monotony? Do you hop on one leg in the shower so you wont get bored? How about driving to work extra fast and in reverse, just to change things up? I know this sounds incredibly ridiculous, but I see this kind of stuff in the gym everyday, people trying to be "new/cool, and cutting edge and exciting", with their fitness routines, just to change it up, and be more interesting.

It’s Not Fun…It’s Work…

Let's be completely honest with ourselves, exercise isn't very fun. Unless you disguise it with a bicycle, a lake, or a soccer ball, it’s a grueling challenge to not only find the time, but to also take the actions to get it done! If it were easy and fun everyone would be doing it, and we wouldn't be in such a physical mess to begin with. It’s estimated that only 14% of the US population exercises in a regular, effective program. So with this being said, let's accept it for what it is: exercise is work, and it’s something that we need to do more than want to do. It doesn't have to be complicated, or fun. You do not need to add variety to every single workout, and you do not need to add variables and tricks to every exercise.

News flash!

Here’s a news flash: adding tricks for variety or fun not only looks stupid, it is dangerous. There is no need to do this. Nor are most people ready to veer off the path of basic lifts and primal movements such as the squat, lunge, press and dead lift. Saying that, I do like to vary my routines, but a client needs to master certain tasks and moves, first. I change sequences, but practice the same movements. If I were to constantly change exercises, mastering them becomes difficult. I see people doing push-ups with their feet elevated, when their lower back is so arched it looks painful. In truth, not many people perform basic push-ups correctly anyway, so progressing before you "own" an exercise leads to injury and poor performance. I saw one guy balancing on a stick with a med ball and his feet on a balance board, while doing a push-up. Why? There are so many ways to vary the push-up without performing a circus act, why try so hard to be different? Another example, doing jump lunges, using erratic, ballistic movement patterns – what do they do? – they set you up for a knee injury, instead of just mastering a normal lunge. I see these silly and dangerous moves all the time in the gym – the other day a woman was attempting to squat standing on a bosu platform. When she attempted to do one, her knees bent about 20 degrees, while she over flexed at the waist, meaning she lacked enough flex ability to squat on solid ground, let alone on an unstable one. Across the gym a guy had the same issue, only he put on knee wraps and a belt, loaded the bar with 300lbs, and exercised poor form, instead of lowering the weight and doing it correctly. I realize all these people have good intentions, and everyone that laces up their sneakers and goes to the gym deserves credit, but I hate to see people setting themselves up for injury, or best case, lack results and waste time.

(Not) just the basics

My advice to you is to master the basics: the push up, the pull up and the squat. Be able to perform these exercises perfectly before you progress, and add variations. Treat exercise as another necessary part of your day. Go in and get it done, use the gym as a tool towards your goal. It doesn't have to be glamorous or dangerous or exciting. One of my instructors always said: push something pull something, squat, and do something rotational and you have a routine. Simple, safe, and effective. When you realize all the good you are doing for your body – hey – it just might be fun for you, too.


Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: [email protected], check out his website at www.fitnessprofiles.net or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.


Related Slideshow: New England’s Healthiest States 2013

The United Health Foundation recently released its 2013 annual reoprt: America's Health Rankings, which provides a comparative state by state analysis of several health measures to provide a comprehensive perspective of our nation's health issues. See how the New England states rank in the slides below.



All Outcomes Rank: Outcomes represent what has already occurred, either through death, disease or missed days due to illness. In America's Health Rankings, outcomes include prevalence of diabetes, number of poor mental or physical health days in last 30 days, health disparity, infant mortality rate, cardiovascular death rate, cancer death rate and premature death. Outcomes account for 25% of the final ranking.

Determinants Rank: Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For clarity, determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community and Environment, Public and Health Policies, and Clinical Care. These four groups of measures influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these inputs will improve outcomes over time. Most measures are actually a combination of activities in all four groups. 

Diabetes Rank: Based on percent of adults who responded yes to the question "Have you ever been told by a doctor that you have diabetes?" Does not include pre-diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy.

Smoking Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are current smokers (self-report smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke).

Obesity Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/

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6. Rhode Island

Overall Rank: 19

Outcomes Rank: 30

Determinants Rank: 13

Diabetes Rank: 26

Smoking Rank: 14

Obesity Rank: 13



1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. High immunization coverage among adolescents

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians  


1.High rate of drug deaths

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in heath status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/RI

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5. Maine

Overall Rank: 16

Outcomes Rank: 25

Determinants Rank: 12

Diabetes Rank: 23

Smoking Rank: 29

Obesity Rank: 28



1. Low violent crime rate

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Low prevalence of low birthweight  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High rate of cancer deaths

3. Limited availability of dentists

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/ME

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4. Connecticut

Overall Rank: 7

Outcomes Rank: 15

Determinants Rank: 4

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 4

Obesity Rank: 12



1. Low prevalence of smoking

2. Low incidence of infectious diseases

3. High immunization coverage among children & adolescents  


1. Moderate prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low high school graduation rate

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/CT

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3. New Hampshire

Overall Rank: 5

Outcomes Rank: 7

Determinants Rank: 5

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 11

Obesity Rank: 22



1. Low percentage of children in poverty

2. High immunization coverage among children

3. Low infant mortality rate  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High incidence of pertussis infections

3. Low per capita public health funding

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/NH

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2. Massachusetts

Overall Rank: 4

Outcomes Rank: 14

Determinants Rank: 3

Diabetes Rank: 10

Smoking Rank: 7

Obesity Rank: 2



1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians & dentists  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/MA

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1. Vermont

Overall Rank: 2

Outcomes Rank: 12

Determinants Rank: 1

Diabetes Rank: 4

Smoking Rank: 9

Obesity Rank: 5



1. High rate of high school graduation

2. Low violent crime rate

3. Low percentage of uninsured population  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low immunization coverage among children

3. High incidence of pertussis infections

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/VT


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