These last few years have been a bit stressful, to say the least. It wasn’t until late February, that I started to feel normal again.
As I look back, things were much more stable for me pre covid. I was a bit sleep-deprived, but overall, I was healthy and I was in a solid life routine. My health markers were in line with a 43-year-old man who ate well and exercised regularly. My blood pressure was a perfect 120/80, my A1C was low, my cholesterol was well under 200, and the right ratios of the HDL- good and LDL- bad cholesterol. I was making sound choices and the numbers spoke for themselves.
But Covid hit-BOOM!- it completely derailed me. My workout routine suffered and my dietary and lifestyle choices weren’t in line with my goals. I had this “YOLO” mentality, but in hindsight, that was really just a defense mechanism to cope with the stress. I was struggling badly. I would occasionally get panic attacks and knew it was all stress-related. When I had the courage to take my blood pressure, I remember it being somewhere around 145/100 consistently. But as most do, I just put my head down and focused on the task at hand. Go figure, I prioritized the business’s health, but chose to ignore mine.
Recently, someone who I consider a dear friend suffered a heart attack. He’s fine now, but it rattled me. It just was too close to home, and I knew that if I didn’t change, given my family history, it was only a matter of time before it happened to me.
I decided to schedule a physical and have my blood drawn. I went a step further and ordered a plaque screening for my heart and now it was time to wait for the results. I’ll start by saying, my blood pressure is finally back to a normal 120/80. My plaque screening results reported no signs of plaque. That was a relief! But, then, my doctor called me with my cholesterol scores and my numbers have spiked. I wasn’t surprised since I’ve become a buffalo wing connoisseur these last few years. In a lot of ways, I was excited to get this news because I needed a kick in the butt to clean up my act and start making smarter choices. I know this all sounds strange for a gym owner to admit, but it’s true, stress is truly a killer and Covid (being shut-down, protocols, etc…), coupled with finding, building, and moving a new gym, I lost my way.
Here’s how I plan to get back on track: for starters, I plan to limit foods high in saturated fats such as fried foods, unnecessary cheese, or bacon toppings, and stop “seagulling” my son’s French fries. I’m also excited to add back in some healthy fats like avocados, healthy nuts, and my favorite, salmon. Finally, get back into the routine of taking Fish Oil, which is a no-brainer. I get mine from Bruce Calderone in case you care for a recommendation. These small decisions alone should place me on the right track. I promise not to be a complete robot and have a little fun now and then, but right I need to practice more discipline and get back into my daily healthy flow.
But what about you fellas? When was the last time you got blood drawn or scheduled a physical (I say “fellas” because men statistically suffer poorer heart health than females, as well as ignore routine doctor’s visits)? How has your stress been these last few years? Do you have a history of heart disease or diabetes in your family? I guess my real question is, what’s it going to take for you to take action for your health? Many, unfortunately, wait until it is too late. Let’s start talking about our health like it’s the stock market, or your favorite sports team. Because without our health, stocks, sports, work, family— NOTHING matters.