For me, health and fitness are not things that run counter to, or even alongside, being productive; they are a key part of productivity. Mental and physical health are central to my ability to operate, they provide focus, they provide clarity, they provide a space to think and to depressurise; but the main thing that they have taught me is ownership.
But what do I mean by “Health and Fitness”? Well, it means whatever you want, my definitions of being mentally and physically fit will be different from yours, it will also involve different activities and different outcomes. Physical fitness can be measured; having a low heart rate, normal blood pressure, weight, BMI, Cholesterol, all of these things will give you an indicator of how empirically healthy you are, but what it actually means to you, or me, will be different.
For me, being physically and mentally healthy is about being the best version of me that I can be, in many different dimensions:
• Physical: This is about both the empirical measures of health; I want to have a low resting heart rate, healthy blood pressure, low cholesterol, etc; but it’s also about how I feel. As I said, this is a very personal thing, and if I don’t feel that my training is working then I’ll change it. I want to feel strong, I want to feel focussed, and I want to feel that when I train, I’m working hard at whatever that is.
• Mental: Whilst 16 years of training has undoubtedly changed my physical appearance, the more profound change has been mentally. I’ll talk about ownership in a moment, but the improved confidence, clarity of thought and focus have changed my life significantly more than any of the physical changes that I have seen; and when we talk about learning how to say no, confidence helps a lot.
• Professional: As I mentioned in the point above, training has taught me ownership; one thing that is always true is that 200kg is 200kg, and if you can lift it on one day but not the next then the only thing that can have changed is you and your approach. What you ate, how you warmed up, how much sleep you got; all of these factors will affect your ability to perform, and they are all entirely in your control. As are all the factors around your professional performance, and mine.
Of the three bullets above, ownership is core; training has taught me that all of the elements are owned by me. How I approach each session, my attitude and focus during my training, the results, are all in my gift, they are all in my control, they are all owned by me; and as is true of training, is true of all things. My focus at work, at home; my ownership of my professional results and of my personal challenges as both husband and father.