Most people don’t understand or appreciate how and why the body works. I am passionate about the relationship between the body and the brain. I believe that people who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things, and that exercise is one of the best ways to feel good about oneself.

Your body feeds and protects your brain. Every system in your body is designed to support your brain, from your cardiovascular system, which pumps it full of oxygenated blood and nutrients, to the neurological system, which gives it the pathways to issue orders to your muscular/skeletal system, which in turn produces motion.

The reason I’m focusing on this physiological fundamental, in this post, is that most people neglect their body, even though it’s our most important asset when it comes to turning our dreams into reality. Your brain is your command center that decides whether you can or can’t do something. It is completely dependent on the input it receives from your body. Feed your body bad foods, and your brain slows down, making it harder to make decisions. The same thing happens when you don’t exercise or get enough sleep.

I’m Living Proof

Exercise helped me beat asthma, and it gave me the confidence to try out for my high-school rowing team. My success in rowing led to being recruited to the Naval Academy, where I gained the courage to try out for the SEALs. As a SEAL, I became a student of exercise and learned how to use it to unlock my potential. Exercise led me from the SEALs to business school to inventing the Perfect Pushup. Exercise has been my swim buddy throughout my life. It’s given me the confidence and courage to face my fears, the stamina and strength to go after my dreams.

Dreams Take Time, Stamina and Momentum

Did you know that exercise combats about fifty different ailments, from diabetes to depression? Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy foods are your best medicine. Exercise also helps build stamina—it fires up the can-do endorphins and is your single best defense against giving up! Getting enough sleep helps the brain function properly, so you can concentrate, think clearly, and process memories.

Exercise strengthens the body, and the more resilient the body, the more endurance you have. The more endurance you have, the more effectively you can execute your plan. Going after a dream takes time, stamina, and momentum. Life has so many distractions that it can be easy to drift off-course while following a dream. You need to build a habit of executing your plan D-A-I-L-Y.

Exercise is Part of Executing a Plan

Your plan is only good if you can execute it. Plans are only plans until you turn them into actions, and exercise can help keep you going when you feel like giving up. I consider exercise part of executing a plan. I do it first thing every morning. It stokes my engine all day as I tackle the intricacies of executing my plans.

When you’re stuck, really stuck, and you want to turn around, head for home, and give up for good, take a one-hour break and get your heart pumping. Pick any exercise you enjoy—I like using the rowing machine — and then return to tackle the problem. I promise you will have a new outlook and a clear mind ready to solve your particular problem. It works every time.

I’ve also found push-ups to be the single best exercise when I don’t have time for a row or a run. Push-ups engage all the major muscle groups, and you can do them anytime, anywhere. In fact, I use them to help me stay awake when I need a mid-afternoon boost. Start with sets of three to five repetitions throughout the day, and you’ll be knocking them out with ease in a couple of weeks.

Still not sure how to get started? No problem—try the plan that I’ve outlined in this post, “Exercise to Execute. It’s an exercise-habit-forming, twenty-one-day plan to help you work toward your goal. I find that the best time to exercise is first thing in the morning; it’s too easy to tell yourself that you’ll do it later in the day and then find excuses not to. Don’t make any excuses; just do it!