“Having it all” is a seemingly popular and understandably enticing idea, but the truth is that it’s a naive and frankly immature fantasy. The simple fact is that no one can possibly have everything.
It’s not the easiest realization, but, indeed part of becoming an adult, in my opinion at least, is coming to terms with it and accepting responsibility for it – what we can and must subsequently do is decide on the select things that we do want to have and, thusly, what must be sacrificed to prioritize those things.
And though not having it all is a sobering and seemingly depressing idea, with a little bit of mental legwork, you can decide that things you sacrifice are things that you don’t actually need.
In my early and mid twenties I, like most guys my age, wanted to get as big, strong, and ripped as possible. But I’ve realized a few things as I’ve gotten older:
One, doing that takes a lot of sacrifice – of time, of energy, of money perhaps, and of many indulgences that many would say make life worth living.
Two, there really aren’t any practical benefits of going from “good” to “amazing” fitness, so to speak.
Three, it’s within my power to actually decide – and I have – that I don’t need to be as big, strong, and ripped as possible. Indeed I’ve realized that my prior motivation to do so was largely driven by insecurity, and not by anything actually worthwhile.
Giving up on the the demigod physique is an example of something I’ve sacrificed. And why? Because time, energy, simplicity, flexibility, freedom, and ease are all more important to me than everybody who doesn’t actually give a shit that I have bulging biceps and a rippling six pack or that I can deadlift over 500 pounds.
And that word ‘ease’ precisely encapsulates why sacrifice, in addition to being something that is unavoidable to begin with, is a critical component of efficient health and fitness. Sacrifice is the only thing that is 100% efficient, by it’s own definition – you get a result in exchange for merely giving something up, in other words for zero time and effort.
What can you think of that you don’t actually need, and can thus sacrifice at “zero cost” so to speak? For example:
Maybe you’re willing to sacrifice variety and palatability. Well? That’s a great way to keep a diet under control – no one ever got obese eating plain apples and potatoes every day.
Maybe you’re willing to sacrifice a little comfort. Well? If you can tolerate the extra hunger from calorie restriction you can save time and energy that you would have otherwise had to spend on being active in order to keep the energy equation balanced.
Or maybe you are one of those people who’s willing to sacrifice more time and energy than most. Well? Then you can enjoy eating more food if you’re active enough to offset the calories.
The main point of this post, besides that sacrifice is unavoidable to begin with anyway, is this:
“Zero cost” sacrifice is, I think, the most effective and important way to actually dial in on an efficient health and fitness regimen that you can sustain. The more you can think of and implement, the better.