The other day I met with a potential member who wanted to explore what the Bodysmith was all about. Since I love the opportunity to share what we hold as important at the Bodysmith—community, support, hard work, results—I couldn’t wait to get started.

We call these meetings with potential members “Strategy Sessions” because they are an opportunity to sit down with a person, learn about their lives, and get the foundational information needed to develop a strategy to help them achieve their goals. In these sessions we’ll discuss nutrition, recovery, and exercise before we sketch out a plan to begin their journey.

The petite woman sat across from me and said she wanted to be “toned and feel better about herself.” This is a common and reasonable goal, right? But what she said next, or at least how she said it, struck me. “I know I can’t be where I was ten or even five years ago, but I think I could be better.” Then her smile faded, her gaze dropped to the floor, and her brow furrowed. I got a distinct impression she didn’t think she was “good” now.

After gathering more information on her life and experiences with nutrition and exercise, the next step was to measure her body fat percentage. She had been tested the month before and shared her results.

When the test finished, and I read her results she barked out an obscenity and began to put her shoes on (not what I expected!). “So you’re disappointed,” I said. “Yeah to put it mildly,” her eyes rolled. She was angry now but I thought I’d press my luck if I wanted to recalibrate not only her expectations, but her current state of mind. And because our percentage of body fat results showed she had improved her body composition in the last month. In other words, she was showing significantly less body fat than the previous month. “You’re disappointed in your results. Compared to what?”

“To what I used to be.”

There it was. The ancient enemy of progress: comparison. Comparisons to celebrities on the covers of magazines. Comparisons to the famous athlete or the annoying friend who can “eat anything” yet still look great. Comparisons to ourselves at another time in another place in our lives.

Remember when she had come in saying she knew she couldn’t be as lean as her younger years? Sounds like a realistic state of mind, but when given positive results she fell right back to a comparison to her younger self.

You Can’t Turn Back Time
The truth is none of us are going back. A time machine, though useful, is not happening anytime soon. And let me break it to you: hormone replacement, a new sports car, the greatest workout, or a revolutionary new supplement regimen isn’t going to turn back the clock, either.

We know this, right? We know time passes and things change…we change. We know that pining for something from the past just leaves us empty, dissatisfied, and in a bad place. You don’t have to be particularly old for this to be a truth. It’s universal.

But if you’re thinking that I believe we should just give up and stop trying to improve ourselves, you’re wrong. We can all be better versions of ourselves no matter what that means to you. Sure, the game has changed. We’re not only older, but our experiences and situations are likely much different than even a few years ago.

So to all those out there who might be beating themselves up about being something they can’t be anymore, please stop. You’re up against the very nature of existence: time. And if you want to be the best you can be, you need to be able to work with where you are now, not where you once were.

Hey, right now I’m just trying to be the best fifty-year-old Brad I can be. Who are you trying to be?

–Brad

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