Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

It was the Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving of 1995, in that forsaken 2:00-4:00pm window, the time when no one wants to be in the gym working. Not the coach. Not the janitor. And definitely not the growing sophomores of the Kankakee Valley High School Junior Varsity Basketball Team.

Hmm… No basketball rack in sight… Do you know that means in an Indiana high school basketball practice? Either we were being disciplined or we were going to work our tails off in the workout of our lives. It was the latter.

To say the least, we worked off the turkey. We persevered through several stair laps, down-and-backs, suicides, defensive slides and drills, charge-takings, and probably a few non-mentionables. While I have mostly good memories of the militaristic basketball practice, nothing remains with me more than this takeaway, as voiced in so many words from our coach, Mr. Orsburn:

“Boys! Right now, you’re in the best shape of your lives. But don’t forget–After 72 hours, your body starts getting out of shape. Keep working!”

An hour after I got home, I still resented the coach for running us so hard on a holiday weekend. After a shower and another hour, I felt more amazing than at any time of my life. Now, I respected the coach more than ever. What’s more? It was my favorite basketball season of my life, albeit as a result of working harder than I’ve ever worked. A driver’s license and a coming of age of sorts, I will never forget this 72-hour lesson.

About 24 years later, and I can remember that practice and my coach’s words.

This year, I turned 40 years old. A new parent now, I want to be there for my family for many, many years to come. When starting to work out to take care of my body, I recalled coach’s words from that practice.

And that memory sparked an unforgettable 2019, and further inspired my own version of the 72-Hour Rule. What started as an Orange Theory membership, running a five-mile race in February, and casual exercise grew into much, much more. This was the year that changed my life and my lifestyle, forever.

Here it is…


Rule: Every 72 hours, I’ll complete a one-hour workout.

This may be a workout, running a 5K road race, bicycling a charity ride, or something else. Keeping the physical body active and in shape affects all other parts of my health. This year, I completed 12 races, for #12in2019 (see video below). In January, 2019, I joined Orange Theory–a decision that changed my life. Here’s…

What I lost: 35 pounds, insecurity, jiggle

What I gained: 3 belt loops, confidence, tone


Rule: Every 72 hours, I’ll take a one-hour break.

No doubt, I expected to earn the physical benefits of working out every 72 hours. Based on my upbringing and hard work ethic, I can grind through nearly any physical challenge. What I grossly underestimated, however, were the mental benefits from working out. Now, I do the physical work just to earn the mental benefits–that feeling inside my head 30-60 minutes after a grueling workout. There’s nothing like it. It clears my head and puts things in order, almost like defragging my mental hard drive.

Personally, I compute, process, problem-solve, and navigate so many decisions and situations every day, that if I don’t take time to decompress once every 72 hours, I may eventually blow–like a volcano. Therefore, I intentionally veg out. I’ll go on my phone, watch a recorded TV show or Netflix, go for a walk, or even just sit on our screened-in porch, albeit without my screen.


Rule: Every 72 hours, I’ll express my feelings to people I value. 

Some of our basic human needs are to love and be loved. It’s healthy to express love for people we value, as well as to receive love, respect, and appreciation from people we value.

Think about it… When was the last time you said: “I love you?”

Think about it… When was the last time you heard: “I love you?”

Every 72 hours, seek to express and receive.


Rule: Every 72 hours, I’ll make a spiritual connection.

Not everyone holds my values, beliefts, or religion. Yet, most of the time, when interacting with everyone from the atheists to the most devout Christians, we usually arrive at the same conclusion: there are forces greater than us at work, and those forces ultimately determine our destiny.

Making spiritual connections grounds us. It gives us purpose, perspective, and direction. It humbles us, checks us, and disciplines us.


Here’s my journey that shaped my 72-Hour Rule. Thank you for your encouragement, support, and feedback all along the way!

Twitter-Search: “@KyleHamstra #fitat40

Wakelet Collection: #fitat40 #12in2019 #keepburning

My 12 finishes from 12 races (ranging from 5Ks to 8Ks) in 2019 Video:


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