With a background in physical fitness for fifty years, as a professional athlete and now amateur athletic nut, the bottom line of training always reaches for one question. Should my workout be for pain or pleasure?

The stock answer is that a workout should be accepted with suffering.

The exception is when there is stress at home, or job, or from the workout itself.

As a racquetball player who ran marathons and biked across America, my daily training for one decade without ever missing a day except for tournaments was:

  • Bicycle one hour into the wind
  • Run seven miles
  • Racquetball match for one hour
  • Weights for 30 minutes
  • Practice for one hour
  • Bicycle into the wind for one hour to hone
  • Wind down jog for 30 minutes

It is seen from this regimen that there was a combination of intense, painful exercises alternating with moderate ones. The menu was devised to keep the appetite up each morning on rising from and each evening on going to bed.

A purely intense routine is superior for any serious athlete or as a life experiment for the amateur, but in my case there were the stresses of writing articles and books, and a loud household. Also, I discovered over the years, training itself becomes a mental strain from which a break to fun workouts should be added.

Training for fun or profit begins with a choice in location. The advantage of being able to step out the door of home or office at any time of day or night to train cannot be overemphasized. A workout begins with the first step, and if it is directly into the workout there is the advantage of inertia. And there is less time lost from life; Otherwise, why live.

The first step can be onto a bicycle of the neighborhood, jog in the park, or hike along a mountain trail.


Virtually every place I ever chose to live was with location for training in mind. If you are, or are planning to become, a pro at a sport, then take root near other pros or a mecca of the activity.

When physical fitness becomes a lifestyle rather than a hobby or job, the highest peaks are reached.