Tag Archive: exercise

Frum and Fit: Are We Fulfilling Our Torah Obligation to Take Care of Our Body?

“If a person cared for himself the way he cares for his horse, he would avoid many serious illnesses.  You won’t find a person who gives his horse too much fodder; but he himself eats to excess.  He makes sure his animal gets proper exercise to keep it healthy; but when it comes to himself, he neglects exercise even though this is a fundamental principle in health maintenance and in the prevention of most illnesses.” Maimonides, Hanhagot Habriyot (The Regimen of Healthcare)

As a frum Jew, what are your priorities?  Read this article to get a fresh perspective.

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Michael S


Michael’s Story



Michael S

Contact Info






Geographic Location

Bergen County, New Jersey, USA


Lose weight and the flab around my midriff, become more muscular.

What made you decide it was time for change?

My pants needed to be lengthened – the same pants that fit me just fine a few years prior – and my mother-in-law happened to mention that a man’s pants typically ride higher if he’s put on weight. Initially, I was incredulous, and couldn’t believe I had put on any weight… then I weighed myself – nearly 210lb (I weighed 185lb when I first got married 5 years before) ! I decided enough was enough. My father had a triple bypass operation for his heart before he turned 50 years old, and I was determined that I’d do everything in my power to avoid a similar fate, and become the husband my wife deserved and the father my children needed – I needed to be around for them for as long as possible.

Starting weight (lb)


Current weight (lb)


Were there any medical/health issues that improved because of your transformation and, if so, please describe?

I’ve been working out and eating right for two and a half years now. I have more energy all the time; I hardly go to the doctor; and I’m generally happier – probably due to my better health, but also because I’m more disciplined now and more in control of my body and my life. Being able to fit into nice clothes is also a plus 🙂

Were there any emotional/psychological issues that changed because of your transformation and, if so, please describe?

See above

How long did your transformation take?

2.5 years

What [special] foods did you eat, if any?

Whole grain carbohydrates; more vegetables, particularly green vegetables; healthy fats, including nuts and flaxseed oil. I also eat smaller quantities of food more regularly, being careful to eat every 2-3 hours to keep by metabolism up.

What foods did you avoid or only eat in moderation, if any?

Processed carbohydrates; simple sugars; and saturated fats and fried foods.

What exercise(s) did you do, if any, and how often did you do them?

I started off doing P90X (a 6-day/week exercise regimen that includes weights, cardio, and yoga), then I moved on to P90X Plus, and then Insanity (a 6-day/week exercise regimen that’s mostly cardio). Now I do a mixture of everything, including weights 4 times a week, cardio 6 days a week, and yoga once a week. I keep busy, but have fun. I even started taking dance classes (hip hop) – great exercise and very enjoyable.

Did you use a specific weight loss program such as Weight Watchers ®, Atkins™, etc. and, if so, what? Was it helpful?


What were your biggest challenges and how did you manage them?

Shabbat and Yom Tov were, and continue to be, the hardest part of keeping healthy – it’s a dangerous combination of good food and little exercise. My family has been great and has really curbed the amount of junk food we have in the house, but it’s still there in moderation, and it’s there whenever we go to friends’ houses as well. I’m addicted to cake and cookies, and other junk food too, so having enough discipline and self control in these situations is very hard, and I’ve slipped up on many occasions, but you have to forget about what’s done, move on, and take each day meal by meal. Finding a healthy balance can be difficult, and is different for everybody.

Did you encounter any particularly difficult challenges on Shabbat/Yom Tov or during smachot and, if so, how did you manage them?

For me, it’s easier to not have any dessert than to only have a little – it’s tough to maintain that self control once the first taste hits my lips. Still, I try to enjoy Yom Tov and have dessert in moderation. I also try to fill up on salad before I consider eating starchy carbohydrates and junk food.

Did you encounter any particularly difficult challenges due to religious/familial obligations (e.g. minyanim; studying/learning; caring for children; maintenance of the home; communal responsibilities; etc.) and, if so, how did you manage them?

Not really. My wife’s been very supportive and understanding, and has been there for me every step of the way while I’ve adjusted my diet with healthier food and my schedule to fit in more exercise. I also started exercising early in the morning so that I still had time for my family.

What other advice, if any, would you like to impart to the Frum & Fit.com community to help them become and continue to be the best they can be?

The hardest part to becoming healthier is realizing you need to and then summoning up the courage to make the change in your life. Once you’ve made the decision to change, finding a good support system and a knowledge base is crucial to success. At the end of the day though, it’ll be you who makes every decision – the choice is yours and yours alone.

Weighing In on Obesity in the Frum Community

Excellent article regarding obesity in the frum community.  “One of the main hindrances to following a healthy lifestyle, however, may be the fact that it’s simply not stressed, suggests Dr. Singer. “It’s hard to go a week without hearing that we need to be learning more Torah, but you can go years without hearing a rabbi say we need to exercise.” – so true!

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Healthy Lifestyles

Excellent and lengthy article regarding self-preservation according to halacha; discussion topics include obesity, smoking, and vaccinations.  Multiple sources quoted.

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Does the Torah Encourage Exercise or Consider it a Waste of Time?

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The Mitzvot of Health and Exercise; Practical Directions and Mystical Insights

A Rabbi extols the virtues of exercise, good health, martial arts, and Chinese medicine.

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Exercising 10 Minutes a Day Can Boost Life Expectancy

Don’t think this means you ONLY have to exercise 10 minutes a day… 😉

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