07 May Your Quest For Physical Excellence
Physical Excellence. Isn’t that what each of us really wants to have in some way? No matter where you with your level of health, fitness, and physical state, chances are you want more. I don’t think there’s any chance that you don’t care about your own level of physical excellence, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
I think the big question is, what is “physical excellence” to you?
Maybe by describing my journey towards physical excellence, I can help you be clear on what it means for you, because it WILL be different for each one of us.
My journey really started when I was 15 years old (and I’m in my early 40’s now). It’s been a long journey and I’m not there yet, but I am excited because I feel like I’m getting closer to the destination (yes, after all these years).
Maybe you could say I was there back in my 20’s when I was competing in bodybuilding. I competed for about 6 years, starting when I was 19 years old. I was in peak physical condition on competition day, of course. Competitive bodybuilding changed my life in almost every way possible. I don’t think I would return back to the stage, but I am grateful for all the things I discovered about myself during those 6 years.
Again, was this my physical excellence? I don’t think so, at all. Physical excellence today means so much more than coming in “in shape” for competition that’s based on someone’s subjective opinion on how I look that day compared to the other competitors. Like I said, bodybuilding is an absolutely fantastic sport and I would not trade my experiences for anything in the world, but physical excellence is more that just looking good on stage under the lights on competition day. It’s so much more than that.
After my competition days, I fell victim to the ‘busy’ bug. That means I got too busy to remember what is important which was my health and physical being. I never stopped training hard through the years. As a a matter of fact, the hard, intense training is something I always pride myself on.
But other things suffered like my nutrition. My nutritional habits got sloppy and my physical state wasn’t as much of a priority, sadly enough. Between going to school. pursuing a higher level education, work, career, family, and other things, the fire wasn’t there quite like it had been when I was younger.
I think you can guess what the result was. Let me tell you, it sure wasn’t ‘physical excellence’ in those years. Far from it. Through the years I still maintained my interest and passion in health and fitness, just not as much for myself. What I mean by this is that I still always had a hand in health and fitness in some way. I always read about it and stayed on top of what the ‘latest’ was. And, again, I never stopped training myself.
The turning point came just a few years ago when I discovered kettlebells. I’m not going to get into the entire story now because I want to share with you the point of this article, which is defining physical excellence. But, yes, it was kettlebells that changed it all for me and got me back to “who I was.”
With my personal resurgence and my own quest for physical excellence came the definitive answer to what physical excellence actually is. Physical excellence to me is many, many things. I’ll list them here for you and briefly expand on them. These are different for me now, much different than in the past. As I list my terms, think about what yours are?
This is the short list that really captures the essence of what physical excellence is to me.
- Being Strong: I have specific strength goals. I have more passion and desire to be strong NOW, than ever before. Why? Personal fulfillment, challenge, overall well being, and many other reasons. Being strong is extremely empowering. While I definitely had strength goals when I was younger, it’s very important to me now to meet my own challenges and perform at a certain level. Strength is not just being strong, it’s a skill.
- Having the Right Body Composition: Needless to say, being fit and in shape is highly important to me. I never want to feel embarrassed about my weight or body composition. I don’t have to look like a competitive bodybuilder walking down the street, but I want to look extremely fit, muscular, and have low body fat. Not only for me, but to be a role model for my family. This isn’t about ego, it’s about living fit, healthy, and feeling good about yourself.
- Having High Energy & Outstanding Performance: This is vital to physical excellence. Your energy may be your most important asset. If you don’t have the energy to perform, you’re not going to be very successful. I eat for maximum energy and performance by eating nutrient dense foods and timing foods appropriately. Personally, I have found that lower carb diets are vital to improving sustained energy without the typical “carb crashes.” I’m not going to go deep in that topic right now, but eating for energy and performance is a critical component for physical excellence.
- Having Endurance: I want to have endurance to be able to do what I want, physically. So, if that means running around and playing a game with the kids, playing a game at the park, go run some sprints, or doing some high rep kettlebell training (ex, the kettlebell snatch test). I want to do what I want without getting winded or feeling out of shape, it’s pretty simple.
- Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Going back to eating for energy and expanding on that. Living a healthy lifestyle is doing the right exercises to meet my goals, it’s eating healthy everyday, it’s getting the appropriate rest I need, it’s taking the necessary supplements I need, it’s avoiding toxic things or things that could deter my performance and health. It’s also being committed and making my health one of the top priorities in my life. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, you’re health really must be a top priority because it’s paramount to everything else. Agreed?
- Moving Better: Not only is performing, feeling, and looking better a part of the quest, but MOVING better is essential, as well. As we age, we can lose our ability to ‘move’ properly. What do I mean by that? Here’s a simple example, when we were toddlers, we could easily do a ‘rock bottom’ squat down to the ground. Could you easily to that now? I hope you can but, unfortunately, people can lose their abilities to perform simple functional movements for a variety of reasons. If we lose these abilities and then expect to put higher level performance (i.e. exercise) on top of that, it could mean big trouble, specifically injury. Having proper ‘movement’ skills is definitely a major part of my quest for physical excellence. Moving better means functioning better.
- Constantly Learning: The quest for physical excellence must also contain the ability to constantly learn and improve. And learning is not enough. Implementing what I learn in required. The only way to continually improve is to learn something new and practice it. Physical excellence is a journey of continuous improvement or Kaizen. One of the secrets to success in anything is to become a lifelong learner. Constantly learning about your body, what works, and what doesn’t is highly important for you to attain physical excellence, whatever that means for you. Point: Never stop learning!
There are probably more things I could list, but this captures things pretty well. I just shared with you my personal views on what the quest for physical excellence means to me. I’m pretty sure we all want it, maybe not in the terms I mention here. Maybe your views are much more simple than that. No matter what, the more clear you are about what you specifically want, the more likely you’ll get it.
So, I ask you, what do you want in Your Quest for Physical Excellence?