This isn't something one expects arty folk to say, but I genuinely owe an overwhelming percentage of my present physical state to being an actor.
One of the first lessons my 15-year-old self learnt after properly committing to the actor's path was why elite athletes remain "match fit". I learnt this quickly (and, admittedly, the hard way).
When I was shooting something, on stage somewhere, or about to audition for a potentially life-changing gig, I was doing all the right things: exercising daily, eating right, and hitting the pillow when I knew the pillow needed hitting. I understood stamina, energy, and clear, radiant eyes were required when on the job.
Yet, the periods between saw complacency creep in. Which, if you've jammed at the Dojo for any amount of time, know is something we have very little tolerance for.
Y'all are all badass ninja warriors, so you mightn't be able to relate, but what this meant for us was every time I booked a role or secured a shiny audition, a panicked get-back-to-match-fitness-ASAP dance ensued. As you will be able to appreciate, however, is how quick turnarounds can be. Meaning occasionally, I'd be rocking up to an audition (with X hours notice) unfit, spotty, and sleep-deprived. Of course, it was and is still possible to book. What killed me was knowing I hadn't shown up as my best self.
Flipping the script
It didn't take long before I vowed to find a better way. Living out of alignment had become unbearably painful. If you know, you know.
So, I did a 180 and joined my elite athlete brothers and sisters on the stay-match-fit bandwagon. Over time (this being key), I got to the point where if you'd asked me to self-tape in an hour, I'd be ready. Unsurprisingly, I'm still upholding this approach twelve years later.
Just so we're crystal, this isn't a manifesto for aspiring to unrealistic or unhealthy standards. Instead, it's a recommendation for living as close to the best version of our physical self as possible, as consistently as possible. It's about crafting a holistic lifestyle that sits at the sweet intersection of excellence and sustainability — for us. As a result, this will inherently look different for everyone.
If you can't be the sun, be a star
While our individual definitions of "excellent" and "sustainable" will differ, there are a few meta-strategies we can all employ. But before we put the cart in front of the donkey, we need to paint a picture of what our best physical self looks and feels like. This can be super loose at first. We'll inevitably refine as we go.
Some amigos find it helpful to put pen to paper here. Others prefer to verbally brain-dump to a voice memo. Whatever sails our ship. But give the question some thought — what does my best physical self look and feel like? After all, we can't get to our destination if we don't know which direction to head.
Again, so we're as crystal-y crystal as crystal-y possible, this isn't about blindly chasing six-pack abs or the perfect waist-to-hip ratio. For some homies, that just is the best version of their physical self. They came out of the womb that way. For the rest of us, it's gonna be a different tango. This is where defining the feel is super damn empowering. For instance, I know I'm not "model pretty". That's fine. That's not my packaging. But I sure as hell know I feel as close as I'll ever get to that if I eat clean and, consequently, enjoy a complexion that follows suit.
This may/may not help (so please feel free to ignore), but we love this poem, and it kinda captures the spirit of what we're here to convey.
If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun, be a star;
It isn't by the size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!
~ Douglas Malloch
Now for the tactical-practical.
Looking and feeling the best version of our physical selves comes down to three main factors, regardless of whether we're a sun or a star. We've also included two bonus thoughts for those who like extra homework (hi, friends 👋🏼):
- Exercise. Some form of movement daily. We use our Training Menu to schedule these sessions (under the Skills Pillar) to ensure they happen.
- Nutrition. The basics are broken down for y'all here. As a nerd sidebar, I've personally found following an Ayurvedic-inspired approach a game-changer.
- Sleep. Again, we have the basics covered for you legendary humans here.
- Dental hygiene. Perhaps a no-brainer, but the power of a bright smile can't be understated. Also, serious dental work can be expensive. Brush, floss, and say hi to yo' local dentist every 12 months or so.
- Sunscreen. Cancer Council Australia advises wearing sunscreen when the UV Index hits 3 or above. A relatively small ask for a potentially massive payoff (i.e. avoiding skin cancer and premature ageing).
Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.
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