Vanity or Vitality?

In Health is Wealth by Paul MelellaLeave a Comment

Have you ever wondered what drives or inspires you to exercise? Or maybe a better question is, what should inspire you to exercise? I believe most people have subconscious reasons that drive them to eat well, exercise and look their best. I recently had a conversation with a friend about my personal training and the amount of time I put into that particular area of life. It is interesting how each and every one of us has a different definition of success, and most of all, put certain areas of our lives in a certain list of importance or priority.

Growing up my parents put the majority of their time towards two areas of life. For my father it was work and family. For my mother it was family and taking care of the house, as I define in my book  (organizational discipline). I don’t believe that having a certain area of life in any particular order is right or wrong. It all depends on how one person defines or perceives success or happiness. For my friend… he worked for a company which gave him certain hours to be home at 3pm, allowing him to be with his three kids. Having dinner as a family and working those hours made him happy, very similar to my father. His wife stays home and has her own clients that come to the house. She also gets paid to watch some other kids before and after school, besides their own three children. So she is busy, very similar to my mother who raised and took care of five children. They very rarely exercise, and if they do it is for a limited time and is not their first priority.

So going back to the conversation… my friend kind of “challenged” me on  the time I invest in my training. In a round about way he called me selfish and thought that there is more to life then having “abs.” I listened and wanted to understand his point of view, but I would be a complete liar if I said that I wasn’t totally pissed off at his comment. But I had great self control 🙂 and wanted to see where he was coming from. It helped me realize that each of us have different reasons why we do certain things in life and why we put certain activities, habits or people in a certain priority. My friend, much like my father, has a tremendous amount of potential and could open his own business… just like my father could have too. But they both decided to work for someone else so they could be home in time for dinner with their family. I respect that and am grateful that my parents both made that sacrifice. I am different. I am an entrepreneur and wanted to own my businesses. I am typically not home in time to have dinner with my family, but my wife and I have morning tea with our kids every day before school. So we make up for that time in the morning while most people leave for work early in the morning.

quoteFitness and health for me is a priority! When I really thought about what my friend said to me, I took some time and meditated on it. Of course I want to look good, and yes having a fit body is important to me. Why? Because I am a fricken martial arts professional and business life coach. Who the hell will hire me to coach them if I am an overweight guy who doesn’t live and breathe that lifestyle? But it isn’t my driving force. Yes, health-vitality and fitness is my personal number one area of life. It comes before relationships (meaning my wife) and it is before family (meaning my children) and it is before work too. Sounds crazy right? I could have the best supportive wife in the world… the most outstanding kids and a stellar business. But if I am sick… have cancer… have a heart attack… or my health is bad… everything else doesn’t mean shit. I am not saying that my areas of life are right or wrong, it’s just my definition of success. I need to spend my time within my CORE FOUR areas of life each day. Which means… to eat and exercise to the level that my personal body needs to improve, spend quality time with my wife, focus on my kids, and of course have focused activity at work. To me, that is creating success in my world and having balance in all four areas of my life.

So is it vanity or vitality? I would say both because personally I want and need to look fit for what I do for a living. But living a long healthy and vital life is a priority to me. I want to live to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have more people to inspire and help… there are more places I want to see and visit. We have only one life to live and I personally want to maximize my experience within my lifetime. Training is also a stress relief for me. I operate eight companies and most days I have a ton of things going through my mind. If I don’t train, I will go crazy. I also need to have what I call business stamina. Which means that I need to operate at a super high level for long periods of time. I continuously say that I am going to live to be over 100 years old and be fit, vital, vibrant, and of course have all my marbles. But in the end… it comes down to WHY you exercise and your personal motivators and reasons to live a healthy lifestyle.

I came up with something called T.A.G. What does it stand for? Triggers. Accountability. Goals.


What is a trigger? It is something that drives you. It is your driving force, or why you do something. Training, eating well and exercise is something that is extremely important to me. I want my children to be healthy, fit and eat wisely. I truly want to inspire them to live a healthy and active family fitnesslifestyle. They see my wife and I wake up at 5am to train. They see me meditate in the morning, they sit and drink wild green tea with us, they see us drink goji berry juice and wheat grass, and eat healthy meals. Both my wife and I actively train in the martial arts and continue to teach daily. We both want to walk the walk and lead by example. Why? So our children will follow our lead and pass down those positive, healthy habits. That is one of my driving forces.

My original martial arts instructor died very young, I believe we was in his early fifties. He was not in shape; he was overweight and didn’t take care of himself. At one point he was a National Tae Kwon Do champion but he stopped living a healthy lifestyle. I watched his wife close their martial arts business soon after he died. I now see my grandmaster who is almost 70 years old. He is a strict vegetarian, meditates hours a day and physically trains like he’s in his twenties. As I am writing this blog post, he is in Korea training with his master on his quest for enlightenment. That is inspiring to me… that drives me. One trigger is based on fear and the other, inspiration. These are some of my triggers that keep me exercising and living my lifestyle.


My wife wakes up every day at 5am to train. She meets my younger sister and they work out together. Now, don’t get me wrong, there have been days that she has gotten a text from my sister saying she’s not going, and then stayed in bed relieved. For the most part… meeting someone or having a scheduled appointment forces you to wake up early and work out. That is why hiring a coach or trainer is extremely powerful. Even though I consider myself to be a fitness professional and even a coach, I still hire a trainer twice a week and schedule fitness classes into my calendar. I also schedule days to meet my staff and partner Chris Berlow to do our martial arts training. Scheduling and meeting other people helps hold us accountable. Recently I have been having my coaching clients email me every morning when they wake up. We call it the “Uncommon Club.” The objective is to wake up before 6am to exercise or work out. I typically wake up around 5- 5:15am during the week to meditate, and I now have a couple of clients who are beating me to the clock and emailing me before I email them. If they don’t email me, I send an email out asking them if they are common or uncommon? One of my clients emailed me last week, but it was after 6am. I responded by telling him that that he didn’t make the uncommon club. The next day he woke up at 5:00am and beat me to the email. It is cool to have that accountability to be inspired to wake up and exercise before arriving to the office.


I believe having something to work towards will keep us inspired and on track to continue the lifestyle. This year I registered for a half marathon and a Ragnar Relay race, which is a team of people who run over 200 miles over a two day period. It is crazy but so much fun. My wife turned 40 this year, so as a gift I hired a personal trainer and it includgoalsed a fitness coaching, training exercise and meal plan for three months. At the end of the three month challenge was a photo shoot that included a professional photographer, makeup artist and hair dresser. So her inspiration was to train for her photo-shoot. I have never seen her more focused and determined over those three months. She didn’t drink any alcohol or cheat on her meal plan. Believe me, we eat and exercise super hard, but I do like to enjoy myself at least once a week (okay maybe twice a week) 🙂  But she didn’t. She remained focused on her goal. She lost over 14 lbs. and 18 inches in the three months of following her routine. The photo-shoot was a HUGE inspiration and kept her disciplined on her outcome. It is important to set some kind of goal towards your training… that’s why martial arts is so successful because students have belts to earn and work towards.

In any event, the bottom line is to understand why you either exercise or why you should exercise. Whether you want to look great at 40, want to be an inspiration for your children, change the way your family lives their life, or live to see your great grandchildren. Understand what drives you and get someone to be accountable to and set goals. My mindset is, if I don’t exercise or eat well, I die. It is like breathing. So screw everyone else and get up off your ass and live a healthier lifestyle!

Please be sure to leave a comment and I will reply as soon as I can. Remember to share if you care. I would greatly appreciate it if you took the time to share on Facebook or LinkedIn.  If you have any questions, you can always email me at and it will be my honor to serve in any way I can.  If you would like to find further information about how Empowered Mastery can help your personal life or business… please visit our website at

Live Life to the Fullest!

Master Paul Melella Jr.


Tips from this article

  1. Understand or define why you exercise or why you should exercise.
  2. Find a friend, hire a trainer or make appointments for scheduled classes or work outs for accountability.
  3. Set reasonable fitness goals to inspire you and something to work towards.

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