If you had a time machine that could take you back to yourself when you were younger, would you use it?
This isn’t a “change your life” question, though. I’m not talking about going back to alter some specific moment that could save lives or alter history. Rather, would you return to a particular period in your life when things were “simpler” or “happier?”
Over the last year, I know this desire has occurred to me. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend more time with a deceased parent or loved one? Who wouldn’t want to feel like they could alleviate some regretful decision?
This can be a pretty heavy topic, so let’s talk about how this relates to our shared interest: fitness. And let’s look at this question through a more focused lens: would you give up what you have now to be your younger, more fit self?
Let’s Meet Brad The Younger
I’ve spent decades focused on fitness in one form or another. In my youth, I spent years training alongside powerlifters and bodybuilders. And let me tell you, those guys know how to train hard! Two-hour workouts. Two-a-day workouts. Six days a week. It is truly a lifestyle.
But I’ve also spent two years training for kettlebell competitions with a professional coach. That was a challenge, too, grinding out ten-minute sets till I broke..literally, a shoulder injury sidetracked my sure-to-be illustrious career :).
And, I was nothing if not diverse. I’ve done my time as a cycling fanatic, racking up 10,000 road miles a year, primarily on a single-speed bike.
I don’t want you to think anything from this other than the fact that I LOVE to exercise. I love geeking out on the science of it all. I love the achievements. I love the community. But I have also always loved the other benefits as well; strength, endurance, health. It’s a pretty empowering feeling when you can push your body and mind beyond the limits of what most people allow themselves.
But now that I am a man of a certain age, things are different.
Times Have Changed
I’ve had to face the fact that my workouts aren’t exactly what they used to be (or what I want them to be) for a variety of reasons:
Time To Get Real
Think about your own life and how your life and priorities have changed. Then consider that a high level of fitness and training demands time. Then, ask yourself the question of what is not just possible, but desirable. I know I no longer have the time to spend hours and hours working out or riding, and I suspect many of you don’t either.
Don’t get me wrong, I can still dream about tearing up the hills or busting out max sets of squats. The difference now is that I have accepted the fact that I can’t have that life anymore, and I have no regrets about it.
Instead, I pride myself on being real and aspirational. I still commit myself to exercise every day and WILL get back on the bike, but I will do so in a balance with everything else in my life. In other words, I try to keep it realistic.
Now, back to our time machine.
Consider The Cost
If I went back in time to my younger, more fit self, I would, of course, regain some huge advantages: youth, health, seven percent body fat. All great things, right? But what would those things cost me? That youthful fitness took time, and we are always losing it. Stuff I spend my time on. Time working on my band and business. Time spent with my staff and members. The joy of my dog…
Now ask yourself what you would give up to have the energy and opportunity to recapture the glory of your youth by traveling back in time to your younger self in order to improve your fitness. How many hours with your spouse, friends, children, grandchildren would you give up?
There’s no correct answer by the way. Maybe you would give up some of what you have now for what you might have had then. And maybe you wouldn’t. Whatever your answer, I hope it makes you think.
If you want to drop me a line to let me know what you decide I’d be glad to hear about it.