Learning how to use food for fuel and adopting a strict exercise early on can help keep your body working at full capacity. In the decades that follow, those types of healthy practices can help you stave off otherwise avoidable ailments like high blood pressure and heart disease.
“Forming good habits when you’re in your 20s will be easier than if you’re trying to develop them when you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s,” Rowley says. “At that point you may have to change your whole life around to implement them. Another reason to adopt healthy habits early on is so you can apply them to other areas of your life. That’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger did. The tools he learned in the gym helped build his movie career, and eventually got him into government.”
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You’ll Make a Lasting Impression
Hiring managers and potential employers notice your appearance. So when you dress, look, and carry yourself like a disheveled blockhead, you’ll be pegged as a sloppy worker.
“Whether you’re in a suit or plumber’s uniform, being lean, fit, and in shape gives off the impression that you’re disciplined, hard-working, and intelligent,” Rowley says. “If you’re in your 20s and just getting out of school, it helps your career by telling people that you have the ability to get the job done.”
When you’re trying to get ahead, having the energy of a sloth won’t get you there. A healthy diet, strict exercise routine, and proper sleep hygiene are a crucial trio in maintaining energy and focus.
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You’ll Learn to Fail
The continuous challenge to lift more weight, blast out one more rep, or shave a fraction of a second off of your mile time will inevitably include numerous failures en route to achieving your goal. And that, Rowley says, is what sets the stage for successes later on.
“The first thing a bodybuilder learns is that failure is good,” he says. “If I fail, I grow. And that’s the opposite lesson you’ll learn in the business world. But the thing to remember is that the most successful people fail. They don’t cry over it, but it’s part of the journey. If you’re not failing, you’re not doing anything worthwhile. So take that failure and success you’ve experienced in the gym and bring it into other parts of your life.”
“Typically, psychology will follow physiology,” Rowley says. “If you’re not feeling confident, start moving your body in a confident way. And when you’re fit with strong muscles, you move with confidence. Again, it’s about taking the lessons learned inside of the gym and using them in other areas of their lives.”
“Those structured goals that you use in the gym where you’re doing something on a regular basis to get a predictable result can be a training routine for life,” he says. “Find habits that are working for others, whether it’s a schedule or training routine, and use them yourself. It’s a very effective way to achieve success.”
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You’ll Find it Easier to Stay in Shape
“Staying in shape is easier than getting into shape,” Rowley explains. “And not being in shape opens you up to having other stuff pile on like type 2 diabetes, or extremes like cancer and heart disease.”
When you tack on what life throws at you — relationship woes, money problems, family commitments — starting from scratch when you’re older becomes more even more difficult.
“Taking care of your body when you’re young also keeps estrogen levels in check,” he adds. “Some guys in their 30s and 40s are pair-shaped and have breasts because their estrogen levels are too high. A bodybuilding lifestyle keeps your hormones and body fat under control.”