Prior to entering the mortgage industry nearly 10 years ago, I worked as an operations manager for a large health and fitness organization. I was also a competitive bodybuilder during that time which feels like an eternity ago, but was an interesting experience nonetheless. Since then, I have still actively and consistently exercised even when it’s not convenient (it never is!) because I know of all the benefits associated with it. In this issue, I am going to briefly dig into my personal training roots to discuss how living a more active lifestyle can and will help you become more productive in your professional life, and ultimately, in your career. Let me start by clearing the air regarding a couple of the most popular excuses that produce failure. First, no one is too busy to exercise. It’s a matter of setting it as a priority in your life. If you don’t feel you have the time, make the time. Second, no one is burdened with uncontrollable body fat or obesity. While we are all genetically different, it’s a matter of lifestyle more than genetics. Believe me, body fat is simply stored energy reserves from excess calories and limited movement. It’s that simple. If you’re reading this you’re likely sitting at your desk in front of the computer. How often are you in this position when writing loans in our immobile profession? If anyone needs to make the time to exercise it’s us. Making excuses is much easier than making commitments. With the primary excuses aside, I feel consistent exercise of any kind will provide significant benefits to anyone’s business. From my own personal experience, I know that I am more productive during a week where exercising is involved than if it were not. I’ve also witnessed this in others from their increased drive and clearer focus. Here are a few of the production-related benefits associated with exercise: ►Increased energy ►Increased self-esteem ►Increased mental focus ►Increased strength and stamina ►Reduced depression ►Decreased stress levels ►Enhanced quality of sleep ►Increase in endorphins to the brain These benefits can directly influence your quality of work and business, but do not include many other health factors of living longer and feeling better while potentially avoiding serious sickness. Working out consistently allows you to get more done in less time, with clear and focused goals met more easily. I’m not saying that you cannot be successful or productive without exercise, but I am saying that you can be more successful and productive with exercise. So what will it be? Exactly where do you start? Here are a few pointers: ►Have a plan: If you workout at home, find a plan or some ideas online. If you workout at a gym, meet with a personal trainer to get a routine established. ►Set the time: Make sure you have a consistent day and time during the week that you will exercise. This could be first thing in the morning before work, during your lunch break or after work. Choose a time that is most convenient and will allow for consistency without interfering with family. ►Set a goal: Always keep written goals and track progress. ►Enjoy it: Make sure you enjoy your workouts and change it up as often as needed. Tip of the month … Since on this topic, I might as well throw some health tips in here. Never skip breakfast, it’s very important. If you are not aware, breakfast simply means “breaking the fast” since you have obviously not eaten while sleeping. The brain runs on glucose and I’m assuming you need to use it during the day (at least I hope). Eat five to six smaller balanced meals per day preferably two-and-a-half to three hours apart to you’re your metabolism up and insulin levels in check (learn about the glycemic index when selecting carbohydrates). This will not only help you think and feel better, but it will also decrease your waistline and increase your paycheck. Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals (OAMP). He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431 or e-mail a[email protected] or visit AndyHarrisMortgage.com.