The Running Writer: My path to whole life fitness with Dai Manuel

whole life fitness dai manuel running writer

Part one in a four-week series.

There are a few popular sayings–“put your money where your mouth is”, “practice what you preach”, “talk the talk, walk the walk”–that encourage purveyors of information to be really, really careful with what they say. This is especially true for anyone giving any kind of health advice, yet the media is inundated with food fads and easy exercise routines that “sound crazy, we know, but you’ll drop eight pounds a day!” Those outlets rarely put their money where their mouth is, which is no good for me.

At LifeTree, we do things a little differently, and since we’ve just published a book on fitness–Dai Manuel’s Whole Life Fitness Manifesto–I figured that, if we were going to talk the talk, it was only fair that I walk the walk. Or to be more accurate, run the run, jumping jack the jumping jack, and burpee the burpee (Dai loves burpees). That’s right–to prove that the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto is the real deal, I’m going to step away from the keyboard and into my runners to complete its four-week Power 30 program.

As described in the book, this will include 28 days of whole-life fitness, creating a healthier body, mind, and spirit in 30 minutes a day (that’s only a measly 2% of your 24 hours, as Dai points out). This 30 minutes includes:

  • 15 minutes for a workout-of-the-day or moving with purpose
  • 5 minutes of meditation or mindfulness
  • 10 minutes of personal development

By pairing this Power 30 with the book’s other advice–through his words, Dai serves as guiding spirit on everything from personal motivation to meditation to time management to nutrition–I’ll transform my body, mind, and spirit, for 28 days, into disciples of Dai’s Whole Life Fitness Manifesto. I invite you to go through this transformation with me, sweat, soreness, and all!

The Starting Point

I’m not a fit guy. I always thought gyms were for jocks and running was for refrigerators. Spirituality was for new-agers and personal development was always pointless–my mom says I’m perfect already!

But Dai’s zero-to-one approach to fitness makes it easy for anyone to jump in–even if they think push-ups are best done one at a time. Instead of feeling inadequate or out of my element, Dai makes it easy for me to jump into the program by asking a simple question:

Why are you here?

If you can answer that question–you’re here because you want to be happier, because you want to live longer for your kids, because you’re tired of getting tired–then you’re all set to start.

So what’s my why?

When you listen to Dai speak, or watch him enthuse others in his videos, it’s clear that he has a passion for life and a boundless energy feeding that passion. I think I can speak for all of us when I say I want that passion and energy–and I’m hoping the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto is where I can find it.

With my “why” in place, it’s time for me to start my Power 30. See you on the other side!

Day One

exercise shoes choices

Decisions, decisions….

How else would you start a fitness routine if not with a bout of incessant worrying? “Do I want a shirt that wicks or one that breathes? Did I drink enough water, or did I drink too much? What if I don’t have the right workout equipment?” That last one comes from one of my favourite vignettes from Dai. As the owner of a chain of fitness stores, he was frequently faced with customers who had countless worries about their training regimen. Faced with so much intimidating equipment–I personally think gyms look more complicated than a space station–they would become stressed out and were tempted to quit before they even began. Dai would tell them the same thing every time: “Just buy the shoes!”

“But Dai,” I’m sure I would’ve asked, “do I get running shoes, aerobic shoes, court shoes, trainers, cross-trainers–”

“Stop,” he’d undoubtedly say. “Just buy the shoes.”

So, with the entirety of my equipment ready–a pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and the mandatory all-in mentality–and after a brief warm-up as outlined in the book, I set a timer for 15 minutes. Go!


Wait, that was it?

If this 15-minute workout is all Dai is asking, then there is no excuse for not having enough time. Not only did I finish the workout on my lunch break, I managed to do it while making lunch. And hell, I didn’t even need my shoes!

The rest of my Power 30 went just as quickly as the workout. It felt like I barely sat down before my five-minute meditation was over, and I enjoyed my ten minutes of personal development so much–watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead while I ate my stirfry–that I quadrupled it to 40 minutes.

And it wasn’t like I was sacrificing my precious lunch break for my Power 30, either–not only did I have more fun than usual doing the program, the activity, meditation, and personal development left me more excited and energetic than watching YouTube or playing Candy Crush would have. Combine that with one of Dai’s healthy food suggestions–perhaps some greens sautéed with tofu and a big glass of warm water–and the three-o’clock brick wall disappears.

So with that I am one day closer to my goal, the completion of Dai’s four-week-long Power 30. And with the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto‘s structured guidelines and simple workouts, I feel confident that I’m going to reach my why–even if I’m neither a jock nor a refrigerator.

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Paris Spence-Lang

Paris Spence-Lang

Paris is the Publishing Coordinator of LifeTree Media. When not working on the next bestseller, he can often be found reading one.
Paris Spence-Lang

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