THE FIT EXECUTIVE CHRONICLES - #1
“THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE WAS 20 YEARS AGO. THE SECOND BEST TIME IS NOW.”Chinese proverb
If you are like most executives I have worked with in the past 20+ years as a kinesiologist, you devoted your 30s, 40s and probably a part of your 50s to growing your business. You have worked hard. You have worked long hours, and while doing so, may have neglected other aspects of your life along the way, such as your health.
Many of my clients began to work with me in their early 50s. They sought my guidance once their business had a solid foundation and daily operations were running smoothly because this corporate stability equated to an increase in leisure time. Sometimes clients sought out my help after they sold their company, while others may have recently received a reality check from their physician, warning them that it was time to take care of their health before it was too late. Regardless of the reason that motivated a client to begin exercising and become more health conscious, the majority expressed regret for waiting to be healthy late in life. Their preoccupation with work resulted in many of these people finding themselves in poor physical condition, many being overweight, pre-diabetic, having high blood pressure and even some experiencing ongoing heart problems. Despite neglecting their health in earlier years, one thing remained constant: almost all of them wished they had started sooner.
The title of this chronicle is a Chinese proverb that I absolutely love: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”. Yes, maybe you should have taken better care of your health twenty years ago. But you did not. So what? The second best time is today. What if you are 50 and overweight? What if the results of your last bloodwork were terrible? Fortunately, you can have a fresh start today which is much better than the alternative of doing nothing, further delaying yourself from achieving your health aspirations. You see, the human body is a marvelous and intelligent organism capable of adaptation at any age. You can get stronger, fitter, develop good cardiovascular capacity and become leaner regardless of your current age and condition. I have had clients who lost 20 to 30 pounds well into their 60s.
You gain weight when you are in a caloric surplus most of the time, meaning you eat more calories than you expend. Comparatively, you lose weight when you burn more calories than what you ingest. Accordingly, this same rule applies whether you are 20 or 60 years old. It never changes. A muscle can be trained and become stronger in your 20s, as well as in your 70s. It is the same muscle, the same human tissue with the same capacity for adaptation. Undoubtedly we slow down a bit physically as we age, but our bodies can always improve when it is forced to do so, for example, through the means of exercising. It is never too late. The only certainty is that if you do not do anything about it, your health will continue to decline. So, what do you have to lose?
Another common worry amongst people who want to improve their health later in their lives is how long will it take before they can see tangible results. My answer is simple: does it matter? Does it matter if it takes 3 months or 2 years to lose 25 pounds? Does it matter if it takes you 6 months before you can run uninterrupted for 30 minutes? Absolutely not! The idea is that you have an opportunity to improve your health right now. A change in habits can allow you to live a comfortable life for the remainder of your days, thus permitting yourself to enjoy the fruits of your hard labour. If 2 years is what it takes to make sure that you age well, can travel, be a grandparent, enjoy a healthy body, then 2 years it is. Another perspective to look at is, try to remember when you first started your business, many years ago. Most of us worked extremely hard in the early years. We invested the time, energy and money, with very little immediate return. Despite this, we kept going. No matter how many challenges we had to surmount, we persevered because we knew our effort would be merited in the long run. And it was at some point. Evidently, the same principle applies here. You are not going to lose weight in the first few weeks of training and cleaning up your diet. That being said, you must keep moving forward, you must keep taking daily constructive action for it to pay off someday. And it will pay off someday, trust me.
Regardless of your physical condition right now and whatever age you are today, please understand that you can only improve by exercising, eating better and managing your stress. There is no reason not to do it. Let go of the past, let go of the regrets and the guilt of not doing this sooner. You cannot go back and change the past. The only thing that you have control over is the present moment. Today is the perfect time to take action to build a better future for yourself.
Therefore, make 2022 the year you claim back control over your health. To help you, I will, in the next 52 weeks, share the insight I have gained through 20+ years of experience as a kinesiologist and a professional trainer by providing my best advice and guidance. I will reveal the “real-life” strategies that I use daily to help my clients. Through this blog for the next year, I will do my best to inspire you to act by providing you with tips adapted to your busy lifestyle that can help you live a healthier and happier life. Most people wish they could start exercising and eat better, but feel stuck, hopeless and have no direction on how to actually start. And sadly, for the aforementioned reasons, too many never get started. I am here to guide you on how to begin your fitness journey and help you maintain the healthy habits you choose to adopt. For now, ignore the thought that you are too far gone. You are not and can only get better from here. Plant the tree today. It is your best bet.