I’ve also shared my physical fitness results since starting with a trainer just over a year ago.
So as many people are making health-related resolutions at this time of year, I want to revisit the subject in hopes of encouraging you to become more healthy and wealthy in 2017.
You’re Saving Your Life
After my workouts I often take the long way home on foot. I try to get in at least 14,000 steps a day and going the long way gets me home at 10 am with 7,000 steps in the bank. It’s a great start to the day!
On those walks I usually listen to podcasts. They help pass the time as well as help me learn something new.
One podcast I’m really enjoying now is The School of Greatness. The guests Lewis Howes has on are FANTASTIC!
In early December I listened to an episode with CrossFit founder Greg Glassman. His perspective was very interesting, especially how he described what CrossFit was trying to accomplish.
I’ll get some of this wrong, but here’s my paraphrase of their thinking:
- Millions of people die every year of chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, etc.).
- Much of this is caused by 1) a sedentary lifestyle and 2) poor nutrition.
- CrossFit’s goal is to save lives by getting people off their couches and eating right.
- They do the former by focusing on functional movements — exercises that involve both strength and cardio and that “flow” in a natural way to mimic real-life movements.
- They do the latter by recommending eating “meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”
Greg addressed the question of getting hurt by comparing the alternatives of 1) living a sedentary life versus 2) living an active life. He made a compelling case that it’s far more dangerous, risky, and deadly to sit on your couch as chronic disease will get you. He didn’t mention this, but quality of life will likely be far worse too.
He also made one statement about exercising and eating well that really resonated with me:
“You’re not just getting fit, you’re saving your life.”
As you probably know, I’ve been working out with a trainer since the fall of 2015. In that time I’ve gone from 28% body fat to 16%. I gained a substantial amount of muscle in 2016 which was my goal. In 2017 I’ll focus more on nutrition to lose more fat and get myself down to 13%-14% body fat.
Last summer I went to my doctor and had some blood work done. I just got my results in late November (he had them, I just didn’t set a follow up appointment until now). I’ve been tracking my cholesterol since June of 1998 when I discovered I had borderline high cholesterol. I’ve recorded 12 tests between then and now and my most recent results show:
- Third lowest number for total cholesterol
- Highest number for HDL (good cholesterol)
- Second lowest number for LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Lowest triglycerides number
- Lowest cholesterol/HDL ratio
It was the best combined set of results I’ve had in my life and all results were within the recommended ranges.
The only time that comes even close to these results as a group was in 2005 when I was 11 years younger, had been on the Atkins diet and lost 20 pounds (eating bacon and sausage for breakfast every day), and was biking 2,000 miles a year all over Michigan.
These current results were the result of basically exercise alone. Imagine what I could accomplish with exercise AND nutrition! That’s why I’m focusing on eating right in 2017.
All other (non-cholesterol) measures were within acceptable ranges as well. No diabetes indicators (which is great as it runs in my family).
Greg was right. The numbers show it. I’m literally not just getting fit, I’m also saving my life.
And that’s not all. My fitness has almost all but eliminated serious back issues that I have had for 25 years, making my quality of life way better now than it’s been in a couple decades. If you’re interested you can see where I’ve come from (and how I did it) by reading Physical Fitness and Financial Fitness.
Health and Wealth
In the posts linked above we’ve seen the benefits of taking care of yourself. Some highlights:
- Heading to the gym has been linked to higher pay — 7% more for men, 12% for women
- One extra hour of sleep per week can result in 5% higher wages
- A chronic lack of z’s is also linked to a host of illnesses, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease
- A very healthy person pays $120k less in healthcare costs from age 65 to 85 than a less fit person
- Studies show that midlife fitness leads not only to lower medical costs in retirement but also to bigger nest eggs. Healthier people have an extra $500k in net worth as they hit retirement age.
- Exercise helps protect you from numerous costly ailments, from diabetes to stroke, with lasting, sometimes unexpected benefits (like a better back)
- On average, obese workers earn 2.5% less than those with normal weights
- Being overweight costs an extra $65k over 40 years
- Between the cost of cigarettes and health-care-related costs, smoking can cost you over $1 million over the course of a lifetime
Add all these up over time and by earning more and spending less, being in shape can almost single handedly make you wealthy!!!
You Can Be Healthier and Wealthier
I’m writing this in hopes that I can encourage you to improve your health and nutrition this year. It doesn’t have to be what I did or even close to it. But start moving and just make simple eating adjustments (like eliminating soda and sugar). Your health will thank you and your finances will too. And your quality of life will likely benefit as well.
So consider me an older brother, father figure, or trusted friend when I ask you to consider making a resolution or two to better your health and nutrition in 2017. If you do, you’ll enter 2018 both healthier and wealthier.