What does health mean to you? What does good health empower you to accomplish?
First and foremost for me, health is about feeling good. When I’m active, exercise helps with my mood, and confidence and I perform better overall. I’m a better part of my family and a better friend, and find that I don’t get irritated as often.
Good health is like a flywheel made up of diet, sleep, exercise and mindfulness. They all feed off each other. You remove any of those, and the flywheel breaks! It’s been a challenge for me getting all of these things synchronized, but when they are, it’s an incredible feeling.
How has your health and fitness evolved over time?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into health and fitness. But as I’ve gotten older, there’s a huge de-stressing component to staying healthy. I’ve gotten to enjoy the process more than the end goal.
I’m not an athlete. I don’t have a championship or gold medal I’m training for. So seeing how, day-by-day, I can add one additional rep or 5 more pounds to a lift, or one new jump rope trick, are the challenges I set for myself now.
It’s fun to push personal boundaries. I want to know what my body is capable of physically. And I want to increase my healthspan and lifespan as much as I can.
Tell us about your first scan. Were you excited? Intimidated? What were you hoping to find out?
There’s all sorts of indicators of health—how fast you can run, how much weight you can lift—but I love using BodySpec as a quantitative metric for health. If I scan at regular intervals, I can set real measurable goals based on measurements I consistently track.
When I did my first scan, I definitely underestimated how much body fat I was carrying. Now, at the end of the day, body fat percentile, weight, BMI... they’re all just numbers. But I did want a baseline measurement and I needed a starting point. I wanted to be comparing apples to apples when it came to measuring my progress over time, and I have found that quarterly DEXA scans are a great way to check in and see what kind of progress I am making.
What do your current health goals look like? Has COVID affected your fitness regime for the better or worse?
When the pandemic started, I said--okay, now I don’t have an excuse, I’m going to be quarantined for months; let’s try to get in the best shape of my life. My first baseline scan, I measured in at 18% body fat. So I set a goal to see if I could get to the 10% range.
For 9 months, I yo-yoed. I didn’t make consistent progress, and I was trying to use willpower to force myself to reach a goal. But this wasn’t sustainable. And even if I could will myself into making a few weeks of progress, I’d throw it away with a poor week of inconsistency.
But the last 3 months of the year, I changed my mindset to focus on the day-to-day goals instead of the end goal. Instead of willing myself to achieve my goals, I focused on building a system. And just like that, with that shift in focus, all the progress that hadn't happened before, started to really click.
It was almost like by focusing on the daily system, the goal I set and reaching it became inevitable. It didn’t feel like so much of a chore. I started enjoying the exercises I was doing instead of going all out every single training session. I started to actually enjoy what I was eating.
I was doing all this cardio that I thought I “had to do” and not really enjoying it, but then I discovered two forms of cardio that I actually enjoyed: going on walks and jump rope! I found myself actually looking forward to my daily walk or jump rope session, and being excited to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow, which hadn’t happened before.
That was a big learning for me: the moment when I realized that I wasn’t running on “willpower” but instead, I had a daily system of exercise, diet, and sleep that I looked forward to each and every day.
Did seeing your scan results change anything in your approach to your health and fitness goals?
In December, BodySpec gave me a quantitative measure that I had improved and reached the goal I set.
To be candid, there were times when I found myself thinking about my goal, and thinking that something magical would happen when I hit 10% but the truth is, it wasn’t a magical moment. Nothing magical happened when I hit my goal. And it doesn’t end there!
The bigger moment was seeing I could set a challenging goal, break it down into a system, and put in the work to commit and hit the goal. That was the most rewarding thing; proving to myself that I could do this.
And I realized what people mean when they say that life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Don’t get me wrong, the final destination or reaching the summit of a mountain can feel amazing, but the daily “non-scale” victories—all those little victories along the way—are oftentimes even more enjoyable than the final destination.
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