The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle

La Paz, Mexico boat on clear water

Balandra Bay, La Paz

After my parents pep talk in the 9th grade, I realized there were two things I had to do in order to survive high school: 1) use my brains and 2) develop some pythons.  In other words, getting good grades, joining student government, and being a history buff wasn’t enough. Sure, I may have an easier time getting into some fancy college, but how was I supposed to get into girls?  “Hey pork chop, did you know that General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, marking the end of The Confederacy and the Civil War?  Lez go out tonight!“”Girls, Girls, Girls” by Motley Crue played incessantly in my head at the time. Frankly, I can’t imagine it being much different for a lot of other teenage boys.

I made it a rule to balance the mental with the physical by playing sports. As a teenager, I had a strong fear that I was going to be stuck in nerdom if I didn’t. I was a study machine who needed balance. The sports that attracted the most groupies were football and basketball, but I was too chicken sh*t to bang down low. I chose tennis instead, which had decidedly less groupies. Good thing all you really need is one!

In the 11th grade, this cute girl slipped a note in biology lab with a cut out from Teen Magazine entitled, “You Know Your Boyfriend Is A Keeper If..”.  To my surprise, #1 said: “Your man is the captain of his high school varsity tennis team!”  Shwing!  As captain of the HS varsity team, needless to say we had a frolicking good time….. studying for our biology lab final of course.


As an old man now, I look back fondly at high school and chuckle.  For some men, physical attributes seem to take a back seat to career and wealth accumulation. “Who has the time?“, we often think to ourselves.

Rationally, we let ourselves go once we find our honey because we figure that our quest is done. If she likes our big guts, she must really love us. Maybe some women feel the same way.  As soon as I get married I’m chopping off my hair!” confides a girlfriend. Chopped hair post marriage is a big fear for many men, but I’m sworn not to tell her fiance. What to do?!


It’s not easy getting old.  My knees creek and it takes longer to recover from any physical activity.  Yet, the physical pain feels so good afterwards, I can’t help but keep on going.  The problem with doing anything to the extreme is that things break down.  We burn out, we get bored, we just stop doing it all together.

Part of the reason why The Yakezie Challengers are encouraged not to post everyday is because the risk of burn out is so real.  Every single Yakezie Challenger shall succeed and nobody shall drop out!

Part of the way to ensure longevity is to match all mental activity with proper physical activity.


* After every written post, do 120 sit-ups and 60 push-ups. Write 3 posts a week, end up doing 360 sit-ups and 180 push-ups.  The more you write, the more you exercise!

* After every hour of reading (work or pleasure), do 10 minutes of yoga or stretching. Read 6 hours a week, ensures an hour of peaceful limbering.

* After every TV show or sports game you watch, play an hour of your own favorite sport. If you don’t play sports, go for a hike or a bike ride.  If you can’t go outside, spend the time cleaning the house.


By creating a mental to physical connection, you create better balance in your life. The link encourages you to do more of something you should do, while reminding you to do less of what you are already doing too much of.

Now if I can only remember the name of the girl from bio lab who slipped me that note. Off to do some sit-ups!

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Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. says

    If you are passionate about you do, be it for a corporate employer, blogging, athletics or a hobby do you really need to worry about “balance?”

    I walk a lot, play soccer, bike, scooter with the kids but abhor exercise for the sake of exercise. Does this mean if I write a post then do my sit-ups that I would have to write another post to remained balanced :-)
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Are You Earning A Living or Living An Earning? =-.

  2. says

    I hear ya on the knees creaking! In my case it’s actually my hip joints popping, ouch! However, I do stay active and I love biking! So I guess that’s how I balance my indoor/outdoor activities and mental peace of mind.

    As for the whole groupies thing, women lust after men who exhibit huge amounts of testosterone, but we marry men that are just the opposite. This may explain the groupies flocking to basketball and football games, but marrying men who play tennis or don’t play sports at all (like my husband!).
    .-= Little House´s last blog ..The Young and The Homeless =-.

    • says

      Ouch, that does sound a little painful! Biking is great, and one of the #1 activities here in the SF Bay Area. I think we invented mountain biking up in the Marin headlands!

      Hmmm, marrying men who play tennis or don’t play sports at all… interesting theory!

  3. says

    I absolutely love running… Back in Canada and England I used to run and plan. The more I had to plan and sort through in my head the longer I would run. If I had less plans I would go on a hard run to work out some stress….. Here in Cairo the air is too polluted and the roads are too crazy, so as mentioned in my recent posts I have been doing home workout. Having the workout and workplace in the same space is kind of strange but somehow they have merged into one and are both equally important to me.
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Now Insanity – Continuing The Workout At Home Trend =-.

      • says

        I’m not sure I am ready to show those pics yet to the world….
        Maybe i’ll do it with the Insanity pics… Even if I was ripped I would feel a little shy!

        I improved a lot, as much as the infomercial is an annoying piece of crap and Tony Horton
        is a big frat boy with crap jokes…. It’s still awesome :)
        .-= Forest´s last blog ..Now Insanity – Continuing The Workout At Home Trend =-.

  4. says

    “Chopped hair post marriage is a big fear for many men, but I’m sworn not to tell her fiance.”
    – This was a battle in my house! But, at least, from the pictures you have seen thus far I am winning.

    I don’t excerise nearly enough! I really really like the idea that every time I write a post I am going to throw in exercise into the mix. Challenge Accepted
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Evan By The Numbers March 2010 =-.

    • says

      Ah, so you are one of the men who fear chopped hair! Yes, you are winning. The good thing with women who chop their hair, is that if there is really a tussle in the household, women can just grow it back.

      Whereas for us guys……. we can’t grow back our lean abs!

  5. says

    Tennis, eh? Well there’s worse for your knees. (Do I hear squash!)

    I’m falling to bits a little too, but it’s not through want of trying. Old age does catch up with us.

    Not wanting to play the coach, I’d suggest older people be a bit wary of dropping straight from a hunch blogging position to doing squats and pressups. Ideally go for a 5 minute walk to warm up first, and swing your arms! :)

    Anyway, a long-winded way of saying I totally agree. Fitness is a bit like saving money, which is a bit like blogging – the more you put into all of them, the more you get out, but a little and often and regular is fine.

    As for your lady friend who is planning to cut her hair the second she gets married… you wonder why I don’t get married? ;) I’m too romantic for it. And I need a woman who is able to let her hair down!

    Obviously goes twice for guys letting themselves go, too.
    .-= Monevator´s last blog ..Cash is king, or cash is trash? =-.

    • says

      Actually, I am a burgeoning squash fan/player! Love to play during the rainy winters!

      Swing your arms and a 5 minute warm up first? Is this an English thing or something? In America we go straight for the trenches!

      I like the buzz cut on women myself. Liberating! :)
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Treat Your Job As If You Won The Lottery =-.

  6. says

    Without question there is a mind/body connection! For me I work out 5 days a week. Play with the kids and talk with wifey. Read and learn, learn learn! I’ve gotten much better with handling stress and an important factor.
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..Ginnie Mae Investing =-.

  7. says

    “studying for our biology lab final of course”, LOL. The physical aspects of anatomy?

    Physical with the mental, huh? Since the weather has been colder and my time has been on overload… no physical activity for me. *sigh* Now that the sun is starting to shine again I am going to hike again. I miss it so much. That physical exercise totally recenters my mentality. Even if I just hike for an hour.

    Your pains of growing older remind me of how my husband quit baseball because his knees hurt and he couldn’t get up the next day. Just can’t hang like the younger boys anymore. LOL. But he can still out climb me when we hike. It takes me a little longer.

    And I wish I did like golf so I can get out on the green with my man. Instead we hit the bowling alley, at times. Hmmm… write a post, then exercise. Thoughtful concept. Will consider.
    .-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday: Weight Loss Happy =-.

  8. says

    I really like the following line in your post:After every TV show or sports game you watch, play an hour of your own favorite sport

    In fact, I like it so much, I’m going to create a system for my son that tracks hours spend watching TV and hours sent on sport or physical activity! The make sure they cancel each other out weekly!

    How does that affect me? Well, I’m planning on doing the non-team sports with him.

    I’ve so glad spring is almost here, I’m tired of being stuck in the house!!!

    Great post, I like how you tied in your other post to make a more complete article!!!

    • says

      Sounds like a plan to me Don! Don’t let your son fall into nerdom like I almost did, or maybe still am.

      I don’t intentially tie any of my other posts into my post funny enough. It just so happens that I remember I wrote something that ties in with the current topic and voila! Best, S

      • says

        It’s funny this article flows very nicely, with the links just adding to the great flow!
        You’ve had some in the past that had a more important messages, but this one hits at home with me. Maybe it’s the Motley Crue reference :)

        Ahhh, memories!!!

        • Mneiae says

          The man who wrote Automatic Wealth for Grads makes everyone in his family exercise while watching TV. He figures that if you want to veg out and not think, you might as well do something for your body and not sit on a couch.

  9. says

    I like Don’s idea of balancing sports with TV for his kids. Since we’ve been cooped up for so long this winter mine have been watching way too much TV.

    Since I haven’t been able to hit the gym at work as often as I would like to I’ve taken to using my littlest ones as free weights. My two year old loves it when I lift him from the floor to the ceiling and we practice our counting, and my five year old likes me to lift her up and do military presses. I sneak in some exercise and they get to have some fun.
    .-= David @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..Not-so-bad news is the new good news =-.

    • says

      LOL, nice. You using the little ones as shoulder exercise builders and medicine balls? Military press, nice. Can never escape the habits of the military!

    • says

      LOL, sounds like a good way to get the kids involved in physical fitness at a young age! Smart move!

      If the kids have a positive experience with working out, and have fond memories, they’ll be more apt to also workout as they get older. And be happy to do it as they do.


  10. says

    Why are basketball and football more likely to attract groupies? Could it be that they are cheered on by the cheerleaders? I dunno, I always had a thing for smart, quiet guys in high school (nerds? maybe but who cares?).

    I did not know that bit about men fearing the hair chopping. . .but it all makes sense to me now. I mentioned chopping recently and my husband kind of said, “uh . . .” I’m not talking about a brush cut, sheesh. I’m actually laughing out loud at this right now. You have taught me something . . .

    As for bringing balance to a non-physical activity like blogging (or studying, or writing or whatever). I like to do yoga–but I need to do an hour of yoga. Not 10 minutes. I also like getting outside for a walk or bike ride (but it’s sooo cold right now!). I also find cleaning and cooking therapeutic. After this morning’s blog posts, I made a batch of tortillas, double chocolate cookies and lunch for my in-laws. (I think if you can cook like that, you should be allowed to have any haircut you want ;).
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Vegetarian nightmare: Meat greener than spinach? =-.

    • says

      Hour of yoga is tough for me, but hey, like I wrote in the post every one hr of reading = 10 min of yoga, so 6 hrs of reading for 1 hr of yoga a week sounds pretty balanced!

      I’m glad to have given you some insight on how guys think regarding chopped hair! It’s very true, and frankly, most guys realize it’s inevitable that women cut their hari short after enough time during marriage. It’s just the way it is. But, to give you more insight, b/c guys FEAR chopped hair and other things, many guys don’t want to get married.

      Just read Monevator’s comment above!

      Yes, with all that yummy food, you should DEFINITELY be able to cut your hair whatever way you want!

  11. says

    I’m a desktop licker too, sitting and writing, writing and sitting, and then a little more.
    After every 4o minutes or so I throw on my favorite music, and dance manically to it. It’s the best workout I’ve ever come up with.

    After 5 minutes I’m so exhausted that I can continue with my desktop work.

    .-= Mars Dorian´s last blog ..Whatever you think, think the opposite =-.

  12. says

    A really good thing to do is to juggle, as it requires both your left and your right cortex to work.
    It’s a little easier than squatting too.
    Besides that I often stretch, it’s good to increase the bloodflow. After sitting down or typing in a cramped position, that’s a nice change. I’m sure you can read all about it on RSI websites if you want more detailed info
    .-= Experimently´s last blog ..Interview with Maren Kate from =-.

  13. says

    I love to play basketball. I’m going to be able to start playing again in a few weeks from recovery of lower back surgery. For me lately, I’ll do 100 passes up and down our stairs going up and down. It’s about as intense as I can get right now. I just walk as best I can. By the time 100 hits, I’m sweating really good and feel tired but great. Yoga is also a great second. I try and block out at least 45 minutes for it and just let myself go and meditate. So if you have stairs guys, stretch and warm up a little, then run up and down 100 times, it’s fun!

    • says

      OK, I might try the stairs. I got a lot of them in my house! Don’t hurt yourself playing basketball with a surgically repaired lower back!

    • says

      I love basketball too, but the injuries, oh the injuries have forced me to stop. I’ve twisted both ankles and wrists, and got in fights. It’s not worth it anymore.

  14. says

    I was the football meathead in school… the tennis guys were too preppy and skinny for me to fit in and there wasn’t much of a following at a school that worshipped football. As for the following aspect that you bring up… At least in Wisconsin it’s just part of the culture. Friday night high school football means hanging out with friends late at night and beating up on the rival school. More of an us vs them feeling I think than tennis which is just 1vs1.

    I get my best blogging ideas at the gym so I bring my notebook along… maybe I should lift with my glasses on?
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Planting Dollars on Blog Talk Radio with Ask Mr. Credit Card =-.

  15. says

    You just struck a nerve! TENNIS is my game and I can’t play enough of it. I am so happy its Spring soon so I can start playing much more! I lvoe the sport, but its darn expensive when you have to play indoors!

    Also, I don’t know how you had such coherent thought processes in high school! I was always just playing sports, and hanging with friends, never trying to balence myself, or engadge more in activities other than sports…impressive!

    • says

      Nice! Fellow tennis player. Addicting ain’t it? Just came back from playing indoors actually, and although it costs $20 for two people, it’s cheaper than $80-100/hr for two people in NYC!

      I was coherent b/c my parents knocked some sense in me in the 9th grade to stop screwing around so much. I hint at it in a previous post linked in this one. I’m thankful my parents didn’t allow my to slack off too much, but I could have done better. Oh well!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..The Government Is Sexist And Nobody Seems To Care =-.

  16. says

    For our mental and physical balance, I’m not much for prescribed activities such as two-sit-ups-for-each-completed-blog-paragraph, etc. To balance all my hours at the computer, I like to walk a few miles daily around Central Park and various city neighborhoods. The walks are energizing, fun, educational, entertaining, high on drama sometimes and a tension reliever all in one shot.

    My a post on daily exercise was from a different angle:

    • says

      If you saw my abdomen’s before and after picks since I started this site, you would be impressed with this “prescribed activity”!

  17. Boris says

    Hi, Sam,
    Yoga is a good practice… I am convinced that 10 minutes help a lot if you practice consistently.
    I highly recommend the book “Core performance” by Mark Verstegen. The exercises in that book are amazing. They seem simple, but once you practice them, you feel the transformation.
    So I do some days some exercises from Core performance, other days yoga or abs…
    The important thing is regular practice and enjoying what you do.
    All the best!
    .-= Boris´s last blog ..Your mission, should you decide to accept it… =-.

    • says

      Sounds good Boris. I may just have to check out that book! I really enjoy sports, hence why I play so often. I hate working out on the other hand. It feels so pointless.

    • says

      If you are in your mid-20’s Y&T, you are young as a green bananana! Come back to this post 10 years from now and let me know how you feel :)

      • says

        hahah I’m a green banana with spots already =)

        Okay I will, hopefully we’re both still around then!
        .-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..Yakezie Challenge Mid-Week Round Up Volume 2 =-.

  18. Charlie says

    I try to go to the gym during lunch a few days a week. It breaks up the day, takes my mind off work, and doesn’t eat into my evenings when all I want to do is go home and relax.

  19. says

    @ Admin Reply:

    Actually when my stomach starts resembling a basketball, I do pick up a weight or two to stave off blimptom.

    Your comments on indoor NYC tennis brought back memories of past tennis days when in the winter, we used to play at the ultra-cheap (or maybe it was even free) uptown Armory. The catch? Hardwood floor surface. With all the tennis ball bullets torpedoing back and forth, it was like playing on a firing range.

  20. says

    I didn’t have such a good balance in high school tending toward the “I’m too cool to study hard side”. My mom would always say to me, “Kelly – the kid’s you call “the nerds” now will have the last laugh in the end, ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!” And she was right and I smartened-up, MARRYING the nerd and the captain of the tennis team:)

    I love the idea. I’ve always had a tough time with balance of any kind and managing stress. I think my weakness is getting motivated to clean the house and the mental havoc living in messiness creates . So I’m going to take your idea and tweak it, after I post to my blog, I’ll commit to cleaning one of the million things on my to-do list! Thanks for this.

    • says

      Haha, nice. Your mom is a wise one! However, you enjoying life in HS and then going after the nerd tennis team captain was ultimately the smart move.

      I will be really interested in reading your post on how you “beat the system”!

      You must be very attractive, b/c according to my knowledge the successful nerds who were ex HS team captains always get the ladies in the end! lol

  21. ctreit says

    You picked up the old Latin adage, “Mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body, didn’t you? I try to follow that adage, too, but like so often I take everything to the extreme. For example, after sitting through the 6-hour Level II exam for the CFA designation I ran 22 miles right afterwards. My challenge is to get myself back into balance. A few beers do wonders. Can we add a third leg to this adage somehow? Something with “cervesia” maybe?

    • says

      Great saying! Actually, I’m kinda uneducated so I appreciate you highlighting it. I will have to use it. I’m a Samurai, so I use Japanese proverbs instead.

      You pass Level II? That’s one arse kicker yeah? 22 miles sounds like the right amount of balance for the amount you studied!

      • ctreit says

        Also passed Level III but without running. Went straight to beers with that one. How many beers do you think balance Level II and 22 miles? Or should I ask, how many glasses of sake?

  22. The Rat says

    I’m not sure if I can answer the reason as to why there are more groupies in b-ball and football instead of tennis – maybe because the balls are bigger! LOL

    In all seriousness though, you hit the nail on the head when it comes to striking a balance in life as it related to physical and mental connections for a healthier lifestyle. Recently, I’ve been working harder on the physical side of the balance to ‘balance things out’ (if that makes any sense).

    Great thread. It’s a good motivator in a sense that it stresses the importance of balance for a better life in general.
    .-= The Rat´s last blog ..100th Post From The Rat =-.

  23. says

    Definitely sounds like a great idea. I have some trouble pushing myself enough when I’m at home. The way I was able to offset that was with at home workout programs. It’s helped me save a ton of money off of a gym membership that I never found the time to drive over to and get a good workout in. There are some great at home exercise programs out there such as P90X, Insanity and others depending on what type of exercise you like.
    .-= diyworkouts´s last blog ..Tony Horton on Avocados: The Poor Man’s Butter =-.

    • says

      Home work outs sound like a good medium. I do home Yoga for 20 minutes a session, which I find enough to capture my attention and do enough body elongation. More than that though, and I get bored.

  24. Tim says

    I agree with the need to have balance between the sedentary work activities and physical exercise. I think it really helps to move slowly regularly(i.e. walking for 30 minutes a day) as well as doing stretches,joint mobility work or yoga to keep from developing the slumped posture that many desk jockeys develop from too much time at the key board and bodyweight exercises like pushups,pullups,cartwheels,sprints,fartlek,etc.

  25. says

    Interesting, you’ve just described my early morning routine: a little keyboard time, a few reps of pull-ups, answer a few comments, do some push-ups, work on the budget, then swing the hammer around…

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