Along with the opportunity to speak in front of some of the best young volleyball players in Southern Alberta, I also had the chance to spend an evening with one of my favorite people -- my sis. We talked about life, passion, what we want most and it got me thinking...
One of a kind
I bring up our evening of pizza, wine and good conversation because along with some tasty indulgences, we also had some pretty great conversation. She asked me how I'd changed in the last few years and it really got me thinking about the things I pour my time and energy into and why I do them.
Health and fitness has become a big part of my life (my daily routine). For better or worse when friends or colleagues think of me they also probably think about squats, deadlifts, salads for lunch or some combination of those three.
I love it, I'm passionate about staying fit and trying to be in my best shape. Before I dive much deeper into the internal justification and motivation for all of this body moving and healthy eating I want to point out -- I am not perfect. I miss workouts, I'll pass up a gym day if work gets too busy or if I have the chance to catch up with friends over lunch instead. I also don't eat perfectly all the time. But I do eat better than most, most of the time and for me that is a sustainable way of maintaining the health and physique I want.
I'll pass on the donut or the treats at work on Friday. I'll pack a salad instead of going out for lunch during the work week. I'll give up a bit of the joy of eating on the day to day so I can look and feel better.
So why do I do it:
Because it matters
Joel and I spent last weekend harping on young kids about the importance of good nutrition. We were fortunate enough to give nutrition seminars for the Lethbridge Volleyball Club U13 - U17 teams. It's funny, Joel and I spent a lot of time brainstorming how to make nutrition a bit more interesting to these kids who could probably get away with eating however they want and still perform at a high level.
What we settled on was the simple message that eating well sets you up for a lifetime of performing at your highest level and living with optimum health. Sounds like a line when I read it, but it's true. Building the proper healthy eating habits, at any point in your life, but especially when you're young is going to carry over into the rest of your life.
Life's funny that way, if you 'take years off your life', you're losing them off the end, so that whole net present value thing comes in to play. It's easier to sacrifice tomorrow when you get to enjoy the benefits today. What I try to think about when I consider compromising on my good habits is that not only am I potentially 'taking years' off the end, but I'm also reducing the quality of each of my subsequent years too.
A bit morbid, maybe, but we only get so much time and I want to make the most out of every single minute, and this is one way I know how to do it. Eat well + workout = lifelong health and performance.
Because I like looking my best
I tell my wife I workout for her
She sees through that in an instant. Tiff gives me a hard time because she knows, as much as I hit the gym to look great and stay fit, she's just benefiting by association.
It's like your friend who tells you he's bought his new house so he can entertain more. Sure you'll get the benefit of hanging out in a beautiful home every month or two when he finally gets around to having a soiree, but he's the guy that gets to live with the in home stereo system and hand scraped wood floors every day.
I workout because I like to look my best. Embarrassing admission: I have a physique log. I take selfies of myself every few weeks or months to keep an eye on my physique, make sure I'm not slipping or starting to pack on any unwanted pounds. I store it in my phone (I really should figure out how to hide that folder).
I can't do anything about the fullness of my hair, the size of my nose or the general symmetry of face, but what I can do is get in the gym and get jacked! It's something that I've spent most of my adult life doing, because guess what, I feel better when I look my best.
Because I like feeling my best
This one goes hand in hand. Right now I'm talking about the emotional state of feeling better. Being mean and lean at 175 lbs offers a certain boost of confidence.
Knowing that you look good naked has a way of working itself into your general demeanor.
Aside from the mental aspect of feeling better. I can wholeheartedly say that spending consistent time in the gym working on core fundamental movements (squat, dead, pull-up, press) has helped my joints, has improved my conditioning and has allowed me to feel my best, on the whole.
Sure there are days when I hurt from a tough legs day or I can barely move to take my shirt off following a good shoulder workout, but that is the trade off for feeling my best every other day. To me it's worth it.
Because I want to be better than my kid for a long, long time
This is what we're dealing with these days. Young kids have more access to sports, information, experiences then ever before and the age limit for 'prodigee' status is getting lower and lower.
Now, I know my kid has a lottery ticket size chance of become the next Connor McDavid or Rory Mcilroy, but I also know that he's growing fast and before I know it he's going to be the one beating me at 21 and outracing me across the soccer field. I'm just trying to prolong that point as long as possible.
By focusing on keeping my body as strong and fit as I can, I get to be the best role model to my son and my future children. They not only will get to see the dedication I put into maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but they'll be continually reminded of it as I take them to school on the squash court.
I'm doing this for me. I'm doing this for my family. I'm doing this for life.
Live your best life!