… and, lose 4cm off your waist!
(Yes, this is about personal finance…)
I should have done this years ago, but finally I got around to making it a priority. I blocked out my diary for 3 lunchtimes a week for 12 weeks, and January through to March I will religiously spend 3 hours a week in the gym. More importantly, I booked a personal trainer.
Why did I decide to use a personal trainer? A few reasons. Time is a precious commodity, for everyone. The days seem short and life is busy. According to my ResMed S+ sleep monitor (which I bought at Christmas, and recommend) over the last months my average bedtime is around 1am, and average number of hours slept is about 6 hours per night. Not unusual for a lot of professionals working here in Singapore. So, I felt that drawing on the advice and experience of a professional in the fitness arena would help me make best use of those three hours per week.
Moreover, I’ve learnt over the years that a commitment to myself is the easiest to break. Things come up, short term emergencies and unplanned urgent stuff appears, and it’s so easy to set aside my own personal objectives ‘just this once’. I know that if I had simply decided to go to the gym three times a week for three months, new year’s resolution style, then it’s an absolute fact that I wouldn’t succeed in keeping to that commitment. BUT, by booking, paying for, and blocking out in advance those 36 specific hours, I have maximised the chance that it will actually happen.
Now, EVERYBODY IN THE WHOLE WORLD knows how to lose weight. Eat less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. And EVERYBODY IN THE WHOLE WORLD knows how to get fit. Do more exercise, don’t live like a slob. This isn’t a Trumpism - literally we ALL know how to lose weight, get fit, live more healthily, and ultimately prolong the time we have on this planet to enjoy being with our loved ones.
If we ALL KNOW IT.. then WHY are obesity rates and associated health problems surging over recent decades? According to the CIA world factbook, 35% of adults in the United States and United Arab Emirates are obese, as are 30% of adults in the UK, Canada and Australia, and 23% of adults in Finland and Germany, for example.
Looking at these statistics made me think of a parallel - about a third of adults in USA have no retirement savings, and about 20% of UK adults have no retirement fund. Countries like Australia and Singapore have the right idea, with compulsory retirement savings into a Superannuation or CPF respectively. But universally people still aren’t saving enough for retirement - on average in developed economies, 60% of elderly peoples’ income comes from public sources. We all KNOW we need to take responsibility for our own retirement, and save more. So WHY don’t we?
Like many people I suspect, over the years I have gone through phases of going to the gym, or being more strict with myself on diet and lifestyle. The problem I have found is this: I didn’t really have a plan, and to be honest with myself, I didn’t really know what I was doing. There are a dozen different fitness machines in my condo gym, and maybe a hundred different potential exercises .. which should I do? What is my training plan? How do I start? What will give me the best results? I don’t have a clue.
Yes, I could read the books, get the magazines, invest a lot of time into creating my own master-plan. But it’s clear to me that my very best approach is to hire a professional with the experience and knowledge about what works, who can immediately create a personal plan FOR ME.
I only have three hours a week for this stuff. I don’t want to spend a hundred hours of personal research just to make sure I’m doing the right thing. Furthermore, over the years I’ve picked up a few injuries - knee, ankle, hand. At age 51 I don’t what to be following some random fitness regime that was designed for blokes 20 years younger than me. I want the BEST chance of meeting my goals. That means getting professional advice.
Not having used a personal trainer in the past, I don’t have a benchmark to compare Chris against. But my job is working with people, and I think I can recognise an expert when I meet one. I never guessed that someone in his job uses spreadsheets as much as I do. Maybe, he’s the best personal trainer in Singapore, I couldn’t say. But I DO know that results speak for themselves.
In my first session I was 85.5kg and 32.9% body fat.
Three weeks later, I was 2kg lighter. My waist measurement was 4cm less, and my body fat now 29.2%. i.e. I’d lost over 10% of the fat in body.
- Am I happy? Too right I am.
- Am I motivated to keep going? Absolutely.
- Was there ANY chance at all of getting the same result by myself, if I just did my own thing? ZERO.
Yesterday, as I was sheepishly admitting to a couple of glasses of wine during the week, Chris responded thus: “Well, just make sure to keep your eyes on the prize.” A great expression - ‘prize’ means something worth working towards, making sacrifices to achieve, delaying gratification to obtain.
Chris is reminding me that a bit of delayed gratification now will help me achieve the results I seek in two months’ time.
In just the same way, I advise my clients: prioritise saving from your income now, to give yourself the best chance of living the life you want in retirement.
Perhaps we have uncovered the reason why so many millions of people are obese and unhealthy, even though we all know what we need to do. Success requires a specific defined objective, and a detailed proven action plan of how to get there.
Success also needs some sacrifice now; plus from time to time, a reminder to ‘keep your eyes on the prize’.
So there you have it. My job description redefined.
I am, in fact, a personal trainer for your finances.
PS. If you get in touch with Chris, mention this article. I might get a discount on a protein shake! ;-)