I hate exercise. I have friends who love it. They describe the feeling of having to get up and move throughout the day. They tell me it relieves stress and anxiety. “The endorphins give you a natural high,” they say. Personally, I don’t have the same experience. I find exercise very monotonous and solitary. I’m not engaged at all.

kilimanjaro_2006

Here I am at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. The elevation is 19,341 feet above sea level. I made this ascent in the fall of 2006, when I weighed 223 lbs.

Even though I don’t enjoy exercise, I do know it is important to my health. I realized the remarkable effect of exercise on my health when I worked with a personal trainer in 2006 to prepare for my ascent to the top of Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world. Located in Tanzania, Africa, the mountain rises to 19,341 feet above sea level. Working with a personal trainer three times a week for two months, I was able to develop physical stamina and improve the performance of my cardiovascular system to withstand the physical challenges of decreased oxygen at the high elevations near Uhuru peak, the highest summit on the Kibo crater rim of the mountain.

Through that experience I learned that I need a partner to enjoy physical exercise and to challenge me to reach my fullest potential. I also learned (and continue to learn) ways to exercise more effectively and prevent unnecessary strain and damage to my muscles and connective tissues.

I’m honestly extremely lucky to have a fitness trainer that I like to work with who motivates me and makes exercise manageable in my daily life.

Nobody but Vince, my trainer, is able to get me out of bed and moving post-call. I’ve learned to accept my limitations over the years and look at small “wins” – even when it is doing cardio on the elliptical trainer with my eyes closed in a zen state (he calls my movement “sleep cardio”). Moving in small ways is still better than not moving at all.


For this hack Vince and I used my small home gym to continue our regular routine of resistance and circuit training in combination with cardio with the goal to maintain lean muscle mass and cardiovascular health. Here are a few of the exercises we did this morning at 8:00AM. The reason I look so sleepy is because I am: Vince literally woke me up by ringing the doorbell. I fell out of bed and together we jump started the day!

Are fitness trainers necessary to lose weight and be healthy? Absolutely not! But do they help motivate and provide accountability to include fitness into your daily life? For me the answer is a resounding yes. I’m extremely lucky and grateful for the ability to work together with Vince on my fitness.