Does Health Really Matter If You're Fit?
Are you as healthy as you've led yourself to believe? Surprisingly, if you're anything like me, you really don't know.Why not?Well, it's likely because we get so caught up in trying to build the perfect body, we forget to measure our health."So in truth, in the process of building a better body, we regrettably may forget all about our health." In other words, we're so busy training harder and harder to achieve the coveted six-pack set of abs, and we're working even harder running on a treadmill every morning to peel off those layers of stubborn fat from our bellies... So in truth, in the process of building a better body, we regrettably may forget all about our health.
Interestingly, many people believe that health is a byproduct of living a life full of physical fitness. That health is attained in the pursuit of building a better body.So I thought too.You may remember (from a previous, "Truth Matters" Editor's Letter of mine, where I revealed one of my life's biggest "Ah-ha moments")... I confessed to using anabolic steroids. I'm not proud of it. But, I want to be honest because in all good friendships, you need to show your warts if you want to strengthen the relationship. Anyway, at the time, while to any ordinary passerby I must have appeared-on the outside-to be super healthy, I was actually killing myself on the inside. Day by day, the substances I was using were damaging my health.It wasn't until years later that I had an epiphany which would turn me on to the constant pursuit of building the best body my genetics would allow, and later, would help me discover my purpose: devoting the rest of my life to teaching others how to do the same.
During this time, however, I learned something profound: in life, we either move toward health or closer to death. Sadly, in my experience, I see most people choose to wait until the later nearly happens-like a heart attack hits, an ulcer strikes, or a bout of cancer erupts-before they put their lives in order and get on the "health-kick" bandwagon. (Sometimes, unfortunately, they wait until it's too late though!)"...we 'think' we are healthy, but in fact, there's a good chance we are not that healthy after all." The truth is, there is no in-between. Yet, that's where most of us live. Right smack dab in the middle. In other words, we "think" we are healthy, but in fact, there's a good chance we are not that healthy after all.
Make no mistake. Health is hard to measure. Think about it. That's why it's so hard for most people to take a multivitamin. You take it. You don't necessarily feel healthier the next day. Or the next. Or a month later for that matter. So, you stop taking it.On the other hand, when you take a fat-loss pill, or a creatine-based supplement, if it's a quality product, after about a week or two, you see noticeable results. You can measure it. That's why we so easily fall in love with developing our physiques and yet can lose sight of the level of our health. I have to admit, up until about four years ago-when my wife and I had our first child-I thought I was relatively healthy. So I wasn't overly obsessed about my health. At 30 years young, working out with weights regularly, eating smart, nutritious foods, I "felt" pretty healthy. Little did I know how much abuse those anabolic agents, which I had taken over ten years ago, would have poisoned my health.
Then I attended a seminar in Denver, Colorado, where I was first introduced to Michael F. Roizen, a preventive gerontologist from the University of Chicago. I was invited by some fellow entrepreneurs who, like me, worked long, stressful hours during the week, didn't always get the proper amount of sleep every night, and wanted to hear what Dr. Roizen had to say about the subject of health.What was really intriguing was, unlike what I assumed I would learn that day... I came away with more than just how healthy (or unhealthy) I really was: I learned something entirely new... something he called our "Real Age."You see, Dr. Roizen has developed a scientific practice around his theory of Real Age. Basically, he's compiled a way to determine your biological age, which may, for better or worse in many cases, be a lot different than your chronological age-your calendar days.
During the seminar, I learned that Dr. Roizen had spent the last nine years compiling a list of over 100 health-related factors. Among them, tobacco and alcohol use, diet, prescription and over-the-counter drug use, your parent's health, even pet ownership and the highest educational level you've completed. He then diligently reviewed thousands upon thousands of scientific studies concerning various lifestyle, psychological, and health-related issues and weaved all of these factors into a questionnaire to determine your "Real Age." Depending on how well you take care of yourself, your Real Age might be years younger-or older-than the calendar indicates.
"Dr. Roizen's objective is to help you identify how healthy, or unhealthy, you really are-despite what you may think of yourself-and then offer up sound advice on how to correct it."The questionnaire is rather arduous. It takes up to 45 to complete. But, in my humble opinion, it's well worth the investment in time. And make no mistake about it, my friend, if you've taken your health for granted, be prepared for a shock. After you complete the questionnaire, Dr. Roizen then explains how to follow a personalized "age-reduction plan" using a range of methods, from quick fixes (like wearing a helmet while bicycling) to moderately easy changes (avoid overexposure to the sun and radon exposure), all the way to the most difficult changes (reduce the stress in your life).
You may be surprised to discover there's no earth-shattering advice from him, by any means. The advice is practical and seems almost common sense. What I found most interesting, though, was discovering what my biological age was, versus my chronological age .Needless to say, Dr. Roizen's objective is to help you identify how healthy, or unhealthy, you really are-despite what you may think of yourself-and then offer up sound advice on how to correct it. In fact, he then shows you how to knock 10 to 20 years off the stated biological age, depending on how far you exceed it.You can take the Real Age test for free, online.
To calculate your Real Age, by taking the patented Real Age test, simply click here. Once you know your Real Age, you'll receive personalized recommendations, health information, and solutions to help make your Real Age younger. By the way, it may startle you to find out that the first time I took the Real Age test, my biological age revealed a 48-year-old man. (Remember, I just turned 34 in August.) To say I was disappointed in myself would be an understatement. Just imagine. As someone who has, for over 15 years, taught and made a conscience effort to live by the fundamental truths of residing in a strong, healthy body. I was devastated. However taken back I was at the time, instead of blaming it solely on my chemically abusive younger years and accepting it as my punishment, I chose to use this upsetting news to provide me with the motivation to start making fundamental changes in my life.
Believe it or not, little changes were all that was required....like wearing a bike helmet (which I always thought was for wimps), whenever I went on bikes rides on my mountain bike. I started taking CO-Q10 supplements, daily, for my heart (which I always ignored because I told myself that was only for "health nuts"), despite the fact that both my grandfathers had heart attacks at an early age. Again, like I said. Little, "healthy-minded" things."Making better choices not only adds years to life but, as Dr. Roizen indicates, it also slows your speed of aging now. The choices you have made until now not only affect your life expectancy but also your Real Age. "These little things, as they added up, started to make a significant difference in my biological age.
In fact, over the course of the last three years, I'm proud to say my Real Age is now below my chronological age. I'm 30 in Real Age. Think about it. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?! Making better choices not only adds years to life but, as Dr. Roizen indicates, it also slows your speed of aging now. The choices you have made until now not only affect your life expectancy but also your Real Age.So, does your devotion to physical fitness and the aesthetics of your physique define your level of health? I'm sure you'd like to think so. But, besides regular visits to your primary physician for annual "check-ups," how sure are you about your overall health? Wouldn't you like to know? Finding balance between fitness and health is the hallmark of living in a strong, healthy body... and living your absolute best life!