For most people, it's easy to justify missing a workout.
We're busy, we're tired-and oh, did we mention busy?
For Stevenson fullback Mark Weisman, no excuse is good enough.
Busy? Clear your calendar.
Tired? Suck it up.
Sick? A light workout won't kill you.
On vacation? Where's the hotel gym?
Going out of town to a wedding? Set the alarm clock extra early, or skip the cha-cha at the reception.
"I would either work out really early or after the wedding, late at night," Weisman said matter-of-factly. "I don't like to miss workouts. When we get a day off, I'll do some extra core work, maybe do some running or ride the bike. If I'm sick, I'll try to go out and at least run a mile or something. We went on a cruise last year and every day I worked out.
"That's what I have to do. I just have to work out every single day. I feel weird if I don't. It's like I feel empty, or naked, without a workout.
Clearly, Weisman is a workout fiend. But that's enabled him to also be a workhorse.
Just ask the Patriots. They got plenty of mileage out of Weisman this season.
The 6-foot, 230-pound senior averaged 23 carries per game and rolled up more than 40 against Lake Forest and Warren. He was often quoted after such monster games as saying that he wasn't even tired yet.
"It's the workouts I do. I work out really hard so that by the fourth quarter I'm doing just as well as I did in the first quarter," Weisman said. "I take my workouts very seriously."
And that certainly has paid dividends over Weisman's three-year varsity career, particularly this year.
With 1,657 yards, 22 touchdowns and a gritty reliability that was tough to match, Weisman put together a season worthy of high recognition.
He was recently named all-state and now, the Daily Herald has named Weisman the captain of the 2009 Lake County All-Area football team.
"There are a lot of great players in Lake County so this is an honor," Weisman said. "This is a really great way to cap off my career. I really wasn't sure what to expect this year but we had a really great season."
Weisman carried Stevenson - sometimes literally with his yeoman-like efforts - to a sparkling 9-0 regular season and a North Suburban Conference Lake Division crown.
"Mark is such a great young man on and off the field," Stevenson coach Bill Mitz said. "I felt so strongly about him that right after the season ended last November, I immediately named him captain for this season.
"The way he prepares himself for a season, the way he never misses a workout and is so serious about football - I was sure some of it would rub off on the rest of the team."
Well, Weisman's work habits certainly did him a lot of good.
He basically did a complete transformation over his four years in the program.
"Mark didn't walk in the door blessed with all kinds of physical attributes," Mitz said. "It's not like he started out 210 pounds and running a 4.6. He was 145 pounds as a freshman. He's gained weight and strength and speed.
"He's never missed a workout, which is amazing considering the level at which he works out. And he's always doing extra. He's worked for everything he's gotten."
Weisman says he's been fiercely motivated by his future, and by fear.
Playing football in college has always been a goal. So has staying ahead of the curve.
"I don't ever want to feel like someone out there is getting better than me because they're working harder than me," said Weisman, who closes out his career with nearly 3,000 rushing yards. "When I work out, I always try to get an extra few reps in, just to stay ahead of my competitors.
"The coaches always say, 'Are you ever going to take a day off?' And I say, 'When I'm done playing football I will.' "
Well, that won't be any time soon.
Weisman will be playing football next fall at Air Force.
He may be one of the few plebes to actually be excited for all of the physical challenges - and we're not even talking about the football part here - that will await him on a daily basis.
"This summer I've got to do six weeks of basic training," Weisman said. "Then I'll go right into football (preseason practice) after that.
"I'm more interested than worried about it. I think (basic training) will be kind of fun."
Spoken like a true workhorse.
Past Lake Co. all-area captains
2007: Jon Janus, Lake Zurich
2008: Cameron White, Antioch