So do I feel 40? Nope. I am probably the fittest I ever have been in my life. I work out daily, and can do things at 40 that my 20 year old self could never dream of doing. I Olympic lift, I do gymnastics and body weight exercises, I strength train with deadlifts and squats, and I work on my mobility daily. I also watch what I eat (for the most part, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies!) and try to hit my daily calorie and macro nutrient goals.
But the thing I really want to address is stated right in our mission statement for our gym:
BECOME THE STRONGEST VERSION OF YOURSELF!
What does that mean? Like many things, I think it means many different things to many different people, and it depends on lots of factors that make up who you are as an individual. But for the sake of this blog, I want to address a specific area of becoming stronger.
That is just being a better person.
No one cares if you can do 20 unbroken pull-ups, squat twice your body weight, deadlift 375+, or run a 6 minute mile if you are just a miserable person to be around. So with my 40 years behind me, allow me to make some points to take home to becoming a better person:
BE POLITE - Be nice to the drive through guy, the coffee shop girl, the dry cleaner, and the waitress. Say please and thank you. A little kindness goes a long way in ways you cannot begin to comprehend. And on that note, be polite to your significant other. When did it suddenly become OK to speak to strangers better than you speak to them? I have heard spouses, partners, and friends yell and belittle, be rude, cut off, and flat out ignore their significant others and friends, yet be so polite to strangers on the street or other friends on the phone. Remember - it's hard to kiss the lips that chewed your butt all day!
BE AFFECTIONATE AND INTIMATE - This is more geared to us in relationships, but a hug goes a long way too. So does holding hands, kissing, snuggling, even wrestling! Walking arm in arm is not just for love sick teenagers! You are only as old and curmudgeonly as you act! And for heaven's sake, if you are married.... sleep in the same bed!!!! So what if she snores? So what if he tosses and turns? One day, when you are old, you may be the one waking up in the middle of the night in a bed all alone... wishing that the person you built your life with was lying beside you. But it will be too late...
I love seeing the older generations in the store, strolling down the isles holding hands. I think that is definitely missing from our society now... I see less and less couples doing it, mainly due to my next point....
PUT DOWN THE PHONE - It was really hard not to use stronger language in that one since I am so passionate about this one. What is up with all of these couples on dinner dates or friends out that every one has a phone in front of their face? What about the person or persons sitting across from you. You came with them- BE WITH THEM.
Attention is one of the most precious gifts you can give, and let's face it, you are just not that important to the rest of the world that you can't put down the phone and spare a few uninterrupted hours with your spouse, children, or friends. As Eric Thomas says, "the cell phone is not bringing you nothing but a bill!" I know, some of us have to have it for work, but happiness is not being tied to work at every moment of your life. Disconnect to truly CONNECT.
TURN OFF THE TV - Building on the point before... same concept. I can still remember when I spent most of my time outside on my bike, and rarely sat in front of the TV unless it was Saturday morning cartoons or watching Star Trek re-runs with my Dad. People used to TALK, not sit in front of the boob tube and forget everything else around them. On your death bed, do you think you will wish you had spent more time watching TV or playing on that smart phone? NO. You will wish you had spent more time talking and truly BEING with those that you love.
Go outside, get fresh air, go for a walk, and INTERACT with your loved ones... whether it be a girlfriend, boyfriend, Wife, Husband, child, parent, or friend. My kids are growing up so fast, and I wish I had spent half the time with them that I did sitting front of an electronic device!
CALL YOUR PARENTS - and if you are lucky, your Grandparents. As I stated before, our Earth-bound lifetime is not infinite. They wiped your butt and kept you fed, at least you could do is call once in awhile. And always LISTEN to what they say.... you never know what golden nugget of wisdom they may impart in idle conversation.
MEDITATE - Okay, so you don't have to do any funky poses or hum, but take the time to quiet your mind and quiet your head. If you have a commute, turn off the radio and ride in silence. It's cathartic.... the hum of the road always helps me when I am struggling with the deepest decisions or difficulties. If you are religious, pray. If you are athletic, walk or run. Take the time to be alone, be still, and be quiet. Breathe. Be.
Just 5 minutes a day will do wonders for your mental state.
READ - There is wealth of information,knowledge, and entertainment out there... use it! People read less and less... and you can usually tell it in their vocabularies. Take the time to indulge in a fiction, to read something educational, to learn some history once in awhile. Your mind has to stay sharp, as well as your body. Never stop learning and improving.
GIVE - It's good for the soul. Ever heard of a U-haul following a hearse. No? Me either. You can't take it with you. Take the time to give back, regardless of what it is. It doesn't have to be money, but you can volunteer or donate. Or, for extra credit, you can GIVE all of the things I listed above to your family, loved ones, and friends.
Doing these on a daily basis will do wonders for your body and your spirit, as well as strengthen your life and relationships. Work on it a little everyday. Then hit the gym and give me some burpees!!!!
Just kidding... not really.
You are only as strong as your weakest link, regardless if it is muscle, brains, relationships, or mental health. All said, I want each and every one of us to BECOME the version of ourselves that is STRONGER, FASTER. HARDER, and BETTER than anything we have ever thought possible.
Let's hope the next 40 takes a little bit longer to get here...
BECOME THE STRONGEST VERSION OF YOURSELF!
Owner / ACE Certified Personal Trainer
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
IYCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Strength Camp Acworth