This is a 3-part series on what I do each day to stay in top condition in my forties.
2019 was a pretty big year for me, both personally and professionally. A big part of this was realizing that I had not really modified my training, nutrition and lifestyle habits as I entered my 40s. This led to me realizing at 43 that I was a bit overweight, not as healthy as I should be and going in the wrong direction. The interesting thing about hitting middle age is that you do just about everything more slowly than you used to, except when it comes to your bad habits. You seem to get a lot faster with those.
We get better at eating bad food and can seem to eat a miraculous amount of it. Alcohol? Yep, I can drink a lot more wine than I used to be able to, mostly sitting on the couch watching Game Of Thrones.
The problem is that this isn’t sustainable. Well, no, it is…. just not for very long. My problem has always been that I have pretty good genetics and can get away with a lot, but be careful about riding that good genetics train too long. That thing runs out of steam at some point.
Looking back on it, I was about 20 pounds overweight. Some of my health markers were also going in the wrong direction. My triglycerides were at 200 and my hormones weren’t happy. How did I fix this?
Well, when I was in the Marines I was pretty good at regimenting things, so I decided to go in that direction. I developed five action items.
- I cut out alcohol. Completely. This did not happen over night. It took a while to create this change, but it was worth it. People often tell me they only have one drink per night, or just on the weekends. That’s cool, as long as you remember it’s poison, and it does in your body what any poison does. The real question is: Do I care more about my health and fitness goals or more about drinking? Hey, if it’s the latter I actually don’t care. You’re an adult and you can make your own decisions. You just have to be realistic about the consequences. We all know someone who drinks all the time and has a six pack. Guess what? You’re not him. Or he’s 25. It worked back then.
- I stopped eating out. I might eat out once a week. Why this change? Food quality is one, but the other is that it makes it really hard to…
- Track my food. How can I expect my body to perform optimally if I really don’t know what’s going into it? Having calories and macros that swing wildly all over the place also does not help with body composition or health.
- Schedule my life. Everything is scheduled from waking up to meal times to workouts. Just to be clear I am not someone who is good with schedules. Like any habit it took me months to re-develop this one. But guess what? If things are scheduled they’re a lot harder to forget.
- I started using the Whoop band. There are a lot of fitness trackers out there now (and I’ve tried most of them) but I don’t think they compare to the level of analytics that I get from this device, particularity the in-depth HRV analysis and Strain Coach option. You can check it out here.
This whole process did not happen overnight, but it laid the groundwork for where I am at right now. Hormones going in the right direction, Triglycerides at 100 (down from 200) and thirty pounds lighter. Where I am currently at I am now bringing calories back up and increasing weight training, which should level me out about 160, which will be down from my original weight of 185 and up from my current weight of 156.
An important takeaway from that last paragraph is that this is a process. Optimizing your body composition and health is like writing a good mystery novel. There is a lot of experimentation, evidence collection and following of clues.
Next up we’ll look at how I start my day.
Read More: Why The Kettlebell Swing?