When did you realize your regular approach to health was no longer working?
I did a routine physical when I was 35 and we were about to have our first child. My numbers were wildly out of whack (my weight was 35% higher than in college), and I was terrified about what would happen if I didn’t take action. I was embarrassed that I had let it progress this far.
What made you feel like you were in control of your health?
Control feels static, and I've come to understand that your body is not! I’ve focused on re-engaging, listening, and adjusting to how my body feels in various states of stress. I may not have ‘control’, but I can adjust based on what my body is telling me at any given time.
What made the biggest difference?
I had a realization that it’s not one thing - it’s a thousand little ones. In some ways that makes the job easier. You don’t have to eat, sleep, exercise, and manage stress perfectly. Life must be lived, and it’s about recognizing and adjusting all of those health levers when things get out of whack.
What does ‘good health’ mean to you today?
I believe that it’s about balance and doing your best without being obsessed.
What is your favorite unexpected health hack?
When I was in Finland, I became quite fond of the sauna. I still love to do both wet and dry sauna as a way to detoxify my body as well as extend the impact of my training efforts post-workout. (Post-sauna ‘long drink’ optional but welcomed). :)
What do you use to track your health?
I use a variety of tools to record and analyze workout data, but the number one overall health indicator for me is heart rate (HR). I check my HR with a Polar chest strap and use the Elite HRV app to measure heart rate variability every morning. It also helps me to intuit when I may be sick or overtraining, and I find that sleep quality can have a major impact on my ability to handle physical and mental stress. Meditation/breathing exercises are also a key part of my routine.
What eating approach works for you?
I follow two basic rules: 1) fuel for the workout ahead, and; 2) don’t try to be perfect. I shoot for 75-85% which gives me flexibility to enjoy myself - a fundamental factor for happiness.
What moment in your life best captures sisu?
I’m not sure that sisu can be expressed as a moment. I think it has more to do with a consistent, gradual approach, deeply rooted in core belief. I’ve embedded this approach in my approach to health; focusing on long-term gains versus a quick fix, or any single metric for success.
What's your biggest claim to fame?
I won my school spelling bee at age 12. It was epic!