On Saturday, my Garmin smartwatch told me that my ‘fitness age’ is now 33.5. This is eight years younger than my chronological age, and apparently as low as I can get it using the Garmin app.
This is not a surprise to me. Covid absolutely battered my lungs from January to March. So I decided to do something about it, and built up to running every single day.
Willpower is necessary to form habits, but then willpower is necessary in life in general. So yes, get a personal trainer as this guy has done. But someone shouting at you to try harder is an extrinsic motivator. What you need to do is to develop intrinsic motivation to go harder and be better.
We all know the benefits of regular exercise, from living longer to better mental clarity. However, it is notoriously difficult advice to digest, especially for someone in their early 20s who hasn’t even experienced a real hangover. The gist of the advice being that money and career success will come if you work at it. But prioritise your mental and physical health and your day-to-day work will improve. It’s much easier to stay in shape than it is to stagnate and rebuild your fitness. Your 40 year-old self will thank you.
For a long time I’ve know this to be true. During periods of consistent exercise I’ve had more energy and mental clarity throughout the day. My personal outlook on life is generally better as well. Not to mention that outdoor activities with friends are more accessible and less daunting. Despite this, it has still always been a struggle to stay consistent.
A wave of “habit fetishism” has swept through the West in recent years with books like Atomic Habits regularly topping the best seller lists. It’s a tantalising concept as it sells an easy way to “live the life you’ve always wanted”.
It may work for some, but very few people who try these techniques actually “live the life of their dreams”. What keeps fit people going to the gym on a regular basis isn’t wearing their running shoes to bed at night. It’s discipline and accountability.
This brings me to the best investment I’ve ever made: A personal trainer.