Q: When you were in the best shape of your life?
A: Interesting question, and one that I almost answered before the truth behind it all struck me. I just had a birthday (yesterday, actually), which is when this question came up. That’s because the past year (when I was 33) was when I launched newbodi.es, started running and dropped to just over 6% body fat (at least for a month before my hernia surgery), so it would seem like that year would take the prize.
The same year also saw me get double hernia surgery, re-herniate a disc in my back, tear my lateral meniscus in my left knee while re-tearing the medial meniscus in the same knee. So, it would also seem that this would not be a podium-finishing-year.
But that’s not what struck me. What struck me is how answering that question with a finite year from the past resigns me to view the rest of my life as downhill. That isn’t right at all. See, if you are on the path of health and fitness, and are enlightening your mind and body, then each year should be successively healthier than the year before, and you get into better and better shape. Obviously, there will be a point where age overtakes lifestyle, but surely I am not there yet if you look at people like Dean Karnazes (if you don’t know his story, you MUST Google him – super inspiring and amazing) and Harold Shaw.
So, if I had to pick a year from my past, it would be my 33rd. I am in the midst of dealing with the tears in my left knee, so I’m not at my peak right now. But I will get through this, just like I did with my double hernias, my herniated disc (both times), and every other adversity that could lead me to sit on the couch and eat Oreos (the basic theme of my childhood). I have a feeling 34 will be a rebuilding year where I take more time than I did after my hernia surgery to make sure I don’t get reinjured while building my running mileage back up, and then it will be a nice curve upward from 35 onward.
I was talking to my wife about this on my birthday, and how I want to do a half marathon before I’m 40. If the fittest year of my life has already happened, and I couldn’t do a half marathon then, then surely I can’t do it in the next six years. But I can. And I will.
When was I in the best shape of my life? I don’t know, it hasn’t happened yet.