Ready, set…

Recently, I started dragging my feet on the way to a workout. My excitement for fitness had started to fizzle. I had hit a plateau where it felt routine and, well, boring. While I exercise regularly – running, biking, surfing and working out at the gym in bad weather – I realized a key ingredient was missing from my routine: lenchompetition. I missed the adrenaline rush you get from playing against someone. In New York, we fight a lot of worthless battles – jockeying for space in a crowded subway train, competing for the attention of a bartender and, yes, scuffling in the street for a cab.

Team sport offers us something healthy to fight over. After struggling to get excited for a long run, I knew I needed to feed off someone else’s energy. I needed to compete and I needed to win – or at least try to. I’d thought about joining a soccer team, but it’s hard to commit to a regular game schedule with my irregular travel schedule. Tennis allowed a little more flexibility. I could schedule matches with other people on the ladder anytime over a pretty basic website. Also, I played tennis fairly regularly as a kid and figured I could pick it up again with a few more decades of play in me yet. So I joined a league in my neighborhood (I’m lucky enough to live near some pretty good city courts).

During my first match, I came out strong but fizzled quickly. My serve had enough authority to convince me I still had “it.” I took a game and my opponent took two. He took a third and I took another. It was a match! But my serve vanished by the time the score reached 5-2, at which point I lost the set.  With the mantras of my childhood tennis coach repeating “Look alive boys! Ready positions!” pulsing through my head, I launched into the next set. My opponent and I battled to deuce four times with multiple break points. I played better the second set, but lost 6-0. By the end I was exhausted. But the match was easily one of the most fun workouts I had had in months. Lost but not defeated, as the saying goes. With a little competition back in my life I learned something I had totally forgot: losing can feel very good.

Here are three more ways to be a good sport.


All you need is a pair of shoes…

Let’s be clear: Getting into running can be painful. Practically no other sport challenges the body as immediately as running. It’s high impact and new runners can expect some pain in the knees, side stitches and, of course, those shin splints. But if you can break though the initial barrier with regular runs – never pushing yourself too hard – you’ll be running pain-free in a short matter of time.

Running is pure exercise; all you need is a good pair of sneakers, but getting your gait analysis is key to finding the right ones. Most people don’t even know that running shoes are made for certain gates (over-pronators, under-pronators, neutral). Chances are you might have even spent years in the wrong shoes and it could be contributing to knee pain or joint discomfort right now. So once you find the shoe you like, stick with it. I’m partial to a pair of Brooks running shoes (I’m on my fourth pair).

If you’re brand new to running, do three 30-minute runs per week. Don’t worry about distance, just get running for that all-important half-hour. If you need to stop or walk, don’t sweat it – but keep at it for a few weeks. You will notice increased stamina very quickly, and soon you’ll be counting miles and buying your second pair of sneakers to replace your worn out ones.


You’ll be stinging like a bee in no time.

If you want to start floating like a butterfly, you’re going to need a good gym and a good coach. Boxing will not only get you in excellent shape, it will help build mental toughness as well. And, of course, you’ll be able to take out some pent up frustration on a bag. When you join a gym, get yourself a good pair of gloves, hand wraps and some new shoes. This assumes you have shorts and a shirt. Once you start training with a partner, you’ll need headgear, a mouth guard, a groin and/or chest protector and sparing gloves.

Geared up? Then you and your instructor can work on your stance and your punch. Forget about bouncing around like Mohammad Ali; that will just waste your energy and wear you out. Instead, focus on keeping your weight evenly distributed on your feet with your knees bent. Hands should be up in front of your face with your dominant hand in back. After working on some basic footwork, you’re ready to start throwing punches. Remember to exhale as you throw your punch. Clench your fist and muscles on impact and release as you pull your hand back. It’s key to stay relaxed.

And there you go… stinging like a bee.


Learn swimming now and you can do it for life.

Learn to swim today and you can do it for life, thanks to the low-impact nature of the sport. It’s also a great way to mix up your exercise routine.

Make sure you get a good pair of goggles. I find those with a solid nose bridge piece leak less, but that depends on your face shape. Experiment with a few models until you find the right fit. And guys, time to ditch the board shorts for something a little more streamlined; there are tons of options that will drag less without going full on Speedo.

When you’re just getting your feet wet as a swimmer, aim for doing 20 minutes non-stop. You can rotate strokes but the breaststroke and freestyle will probably be your go-to moves. Make sure to vary your pace with a few fast laps to get the heart going. Soon you’ll be working on flip turns and getting up to 60-minute swims.

What sports do you play to stay fit (and actually stick with it)? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Kelly
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    Nice post…I am wondering, however, how does one “clench your fish.”

  2. Jeanne
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    Swim boxing?

  3. Jim
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:07 AM | Permalink


  4. alexredgrave
    Posted December 8, 2014 at 6:11 AM | Permalink

    Ah, "clenching your fish" is a little known technique. But for clarity's sake (and not to carry the April Fool's joke too far) we fixed the typo.
    Thanks for the sharp eyes.

  5. Posted January 21, 2015 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    All or the exercise techniques are best and helpful if we shall do it in a proper manner. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Posted January 22, 2015 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    What is the proper way to use the exercise machine? I want to start the exercise and just want some help here. Thanks

  7. Posted January 28, 2015 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

    Sport is driven by enthusiasm.

  8. Posted March 30, 2015 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

    This is indeed a great blog post. I need motivation to start exercising again. Since last year I stopped hitting gym. No doubt now I'm very getting very fatso each day (actually an average fatness I've now). Thus I really like the way you return to form and I'm planning to start doing fitness workouts again to achieve body fitness.

  9. Posted April 28, 2015 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    I can definitely relate to the part of starting off again on sports or physical activites. I think, well at least to me, every sport enthusiast or gym goer has that moment of losing the enthusiasm we once had at first. I guess it really has to do something with the excitement we have for a certain activity. The fun we have from doing a sport and the goal or result we want to get from doing them.. I get excited with new things or sports that are unique and unusual but fun! Ever heard of the JUMPING STILTS trending now? check this site. it's like the stilts the female assistant of the villain in Kingsmen was using. It gives you a higher jump and it's just fun! it feels like walking on the moon and it's easy to do flips on it. You guys might wanna check it out and add to your sport. 🙂

  10. Posted April 28, 2015 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

    by the way i forgot to say the stilts are also for velocity running noot just for jumping. It really is awesome so as to say!

  11. Posted June 11, 2015 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    Remain sure of what would you do, do not ever assume what would you do a thing wrong in the eyes of others . Not necessarily because others judge ap ayang you did it wrong .

  12. jasa burn cd
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    I am happy as long as any sport healthy.

  13. Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    I absolutely love running but my knee joint is giving me grief. I may well need a joint replacement or take up a less impacting sport.

    Swimming is one of the best all round exercises for sure. It is awesome for folk that have arthritis and other joint problems because it is a non weight bearing sport so this is an option.… for swimming goggles.

  14. Posted June 18, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

    hi, no understand. Help me?

  15. Nabil
    Posted June 19, 2015 at 8:55 AM | Permalink
  16. Posted June 25, 2015 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    as clever – clever we hide faults , someday would be found as well .
    So , we better talk honestly rather than having to bear greater risks .

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  18. Posted July 2, 2015 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    as clever – clever we hide faults , someday would be found as well .
    So , we better talk honestly rather than having to bear greater risks . – See more at:

  19. Posted July 3, 2015 at 12:56 AM | Permalink

    Setiap orang pasti memiliki kekurangan dan kelebihan masing-masing. Jadikanlah hal itu sebagai warna dalam hidup dan jangan jadikan kekurangan yang kamu miliki sebagai sesuatu yang dapat menghentikan langkahmu.

  20. Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

    Kegagalan belum tentu akan menjadikanmu seseorang yang benar-benar gagal selamanya. Namun, kegagalan merupakan sebuah motivasi untuk masa depan lebih manju. Jadi, jangan takut gagal untuk lakukan yang terbaik.

  21. Ethel
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    Sport gives us healthy inspiration to fight over. After passing confusing time to get excited for a long run, I sort out I require to achieve someone else’s energy. I needed to finish and I desperate to win – or at least try to. So you also go try Minecraft for free.

  22. Posted July 13, 2015 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    Playing some sort of team sport has always helped me stay fit. Not only because of that activity, but it keeps me going and motivated to work out regularly.