A dozen years ago I weighed 60 pounds more than I do now. At that time, I didn’t have the energy required to do my work and my doctor was beginning to worry about some of my numbers, discussing the possibility of putting me on medications. It was a massive wakeup call and I got to work to change my life and health!
I was reminded of my fitness transformation this snowy weekend as I dug into my pal Tony Robbins new book Life Force: How New Breakthroughs in Precision Medicine Can Transform the Quality of Your Life & Those You Love.
Tony is an entrepreneur and philanthropist; however, most people know him from his in-person and virtual seminars. I speak at Tony’s Business Mastery events and have seen Tony in action dozens of times. He jumps around the stage for many hours over several days, delivering valuable information and engaging with audience members.
The sheer physicality required would be tough for anybody. Yet Tony is 62 years old, is 6’7” tall and weighs 280 pounds. Amazing.
In Life Force, Tony shares much of what he has learned to take control of his own health so he can be at his peak. Tony’s most important message is that each of us should become our own “Health CEO”, educating ourselves and making appropriate changes.
Becoming fit and healthy
In my experience, when you optimize your health, it becomes more likely that your business will prosper. And when you are in good health your personal life will be more fulfilling.
It’s easy to say you’re going to get fit and healthy. Actually doing it is another matter!
A dozen years ago (photo on the left) I knew that I needed guidance so when I embarked on my health and fitness quest, so I read many books. There was a bunch of conflicting information out there so I was determined to learn for myself.
I'm glad I did because now I feel great and am at the top of my game (photo on the right).
Here are some of the books that helped me over the years:
When I decided to embark on an exercise program, I was thinking I would just increase the time on my elliptical machine. However, Horton’s book made me realize I had to mix it up. One-size-fits-all diets and exercise regimens just don't work.
I focus the idea of “muscle confusion” which Horton made famous in his P90X fitness programs. For more than a decade I have been doing a variety of physical activities nearly every day. Over the course of a typical week I swim, practice yoga, lift weights, do Pilates, and crank out some good old-fashioned pushups and pull-ups. Weather permitting, I love to hike, mountain bike, and surf.
By mixing up the way I exercise, I became fit quickly and I have kept up daily exercise for more than ten years because it doesn’t get repetitive and boring.
As I was beginning to lose weight at the start of my exercise program more than a decade ago, I wanted to reach a target weight and was frequently pointed to Body Mass Index (BMI) as an important measure. Reading Timothy Ferriss’ book made me realize that weight and BMI aren’t the best measures of fitness.
You can be completely out of shape and score well with BMI. On the other side of the equation, a super-fit professional athlete with lots of muscle will often show BMI numbers that say they are overweight or obese.
Far better for me than how much I weigh, or my BMI index has been knowing my Body Fat Percentage. This is my goal and the best indicator of my fitness. I’ve been at about 6 percent body fat for many years, and I feel great.
Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don't Have To by David Sinclair and Matthew D. LaPlante
Reading Lifespan was an eye opener. Over many thousands of years, humans didn’t live much beyond 30 years old because we were designed to live just long enough to reproduce. The authors say that “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.”
I learned a ton about how to live a healthy lifestyle and how that increases the odds that I might live into my 100s.
Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding by Daniel Lieberman
The fascinating idea in Exercised is that we humans weren’t designed to exercise. Our natural state is resting, which is one reason why we love sitting on the couch.
Lieberman asks, “If exercise is healthy (so good for you!), why do many people dislike or avoid it?” The stories that answer that question are fascinating. We travel all over the world to see how people live and move. We learn what’s natural and what isn’t.
Managing your own health
These books and my own experiences have taught me that it is important to manage my health like a CEO manages a company. About five years ago that important lesson helped me a great deal.
I needed an operation to remove a non-cancerous tumor from my left ankle. It was quite large — about 2.5 inches long and 3/4 of an inch in diameter. The operation took more than two hours with two surgeons working on me because the tumor was embedded in my tarsal tunnel — the place where blood vessels and nerves go from leg to foot — making it a complex extraction. The operation went well, and I’m fully recovered.
Just as Tony Robbins says, I took charge of my own health during the visits with my surgeon leading up to the procedure. I wanted to avoid taking powerful and potentially addicting painkillers. Many doctors hand out opioids like candy, leading to hundreds of thousands of people getting hooked on pills with a significant percentage of them gravitating to heroin.
I investigated alternatives including medical cannabis which is legal in my state and discussed that with my doctor who... laughed at me! When this happened, I wrote a story about my personal experiences in the medical system.
I’m glad I took charge!
Important note: Becoming the CEO of your body is just one aspect of good health. It is also essential to work with your doctors and other healthcare professionals.