You may find this hard to believe, but when I was in my twenties, I was a brick house. Planet Fitness would have referred to me as a lunk. I spent hours in the gym, running, playing sports, gobbling creatine and egg whites until I resembled Luke Voit. I was so statuesque, I had designs of running off and joining the porn industry.
If you look at mortality vs level of strength and cardiovascular health there is a ridiculously high correlation. All the evidence you site is anecdotal vs data driven. Those young athletes who die of heart attacks have been undergoing cardiac disease for years, it’s just not discovered because most 20 year olds don’t get CACs. I love to lift because it calms me down and it is exactly what I needed after a day running a trading desk. For me it’s a meditation and I know it’s a hard habit to keep if you don’t love the process as opposed to the results just like learning to write. Don’t fool yourself, if you wanted to you could, and if you had kids an not cats you probably would. I also make choices that are not optimal but I never try to explain to other people that they are good choices or even reasonable.
I think you underestimate the power of nutrition, exercise, and body composition. The elite athlete who overtrains, the 100 yo obese smoker, and Stephen Hawking are all outliers. The average human would benefit greatly by taking care of their body.
Just look at the rate of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These are preventable diseases if only we would keep our bodies physically fit. Also, I would love to see the research that indicates 50% of how we look is genetic. I could stop exercising, overeat processed food, spend more time on the couch, and become obese. That's not genetic, it would be 100% a choice.
Your anecdote proves that point as well. Your choices in your 20's gave you the body you had, just as your choices do the same today.
Jared, I tend to agree with this analysis. I try to take care of myself, but not to a fanatic degree. I walk quite a bit, including a loop that I do at least once a week, and preferably twice. It is 1.1 miles around, and the elevation difference from bottom to top is about 275 feet. I try to keep my time under 22 minutes, but some days are slower. In any case, I plan to keep doing it as long as I can.
And since I will be 70 next month, who knows how much longer that may be. I try to eat healthily, and not too much, but again, I am not fanatic about what I eat or avoid. I do appreciate the counsel of my wife that it is better to prevent than to repent, and I try to use that line when temptation is placed before me.
I can also say that my weight is within a pound or two of what it was when I was 35, but sadly the distribution has changed. I had a buddy one time who told me that as men age, we tend to suffer from furniture mover's syndrome. That is, our chest falls into our drawers. I resemble that remark.
In any case, when it comes to the health benefits of exercise, I believe that most of the benefit accrues from the first 10-20% of the effort. A moderate amount is MUCH better than none, and the law of diminishing returns sets in quickly beyond that. Unless of course, you happen to enjoy the process.
Either be a brick house or overweight? Not sure an 8-10 hour a week workout plan with an all spinach diet is the only option. I’d bet there are a few things you could switch up and consistently do to make a big difference after a year or so. Especially as determined as you are. Just start by spending a few minutes a day getting your heart rate up while doing something you enjoy and see what happens.
I wish you had continued this very well written personal perspective to society as a whole and thrown in the topic of the new weight loss drugs(magic wands) coming out. I would value reading your brains arguements and opinions.
Enjoyed this but don’t understand why someone as intelligent as you won’t take an hour or 2 to exercise and make it a daily habit- like writing and reading market information. Always love your stuff and do respect your pov.
Bezos was def in shape before he stepped down, but it was for sure in the later part of his tenure as CEO.
Great read, Jared. You discuss many of the counter arguments to the approach you have taken in an interesting way.
Approaching 60 myself, I find that eating is overrated, and exercise is often a drudge. In contrast to my younger self, I find great enjoyment, growth and insight in a meditation practice. As you rightly point out, as we go through life our perspective changes and along with that so do our values.
I am 6' 3" and used to weigh 195. That was my ideal weight. Slowly over years gained weight until 235. I decided to simply bike and lost 20 lbs while eating the same foods. I stopped biking because my back would hurt and started walking. I have now maintained weight between 210-215 for a couple years.
The most important thing is to feel good. I stretch, do ab workouts. Sometimes both at my desk. Mentally I do meditation sometimes only minutes. While I may not get to my 195, I am happy being in my late 50's in fairly good shape. But the most important thing is to feel good.
" I don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror". That, as Al Gore might say, is the ‘controlling legal authority’. 🪞🏻
The body carries the intelligence of all the generations before us. The brain is only one tool that creation has provided for our life.
I love this Jared. It's a counter and a complement to a piece I wrote on the work of David Sinclair https://simonmaughan.substack.com/p/the-science-and-ethics-of-ageing
This includes some tips for keeping the brain youthful, which is what matters as medicine can keep the body going to the point where brain deterioration is becoming the biggest killer.