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Health as a bank account

With summer vacations coming up, I’ve heard from a couple folks who worry they’ll get flabby spending a few weeks away from the gym. I used to share this sentiment, but I’ve learned to treat fitness like a bank account, where you can build up savings and then make some withdrawals.

This concept only works, however, if the deposits are significant, and high intensity. Here are some examples of what the pain of discipline looks like, for me:

Running stairs

This is me running the stairs in my high rise condominium, 5:26 am. There isn’t much traffic in the stairwell at any hour, but I run the stairs before the building is awake. I don’t want to drip and pant all over everyone in the elevator when I ride from the penthouse floor back down to the basement, three times total.


Jump rope

When my gym was closed for COVID, and then required masks, I learned that I didn’t need an air conditioned, mirrored, wood floor aerobics room for jumping rope. Now, on my rope-skipping days, I drag up to the top corner of my parking garage: a rubber mat, a chair, and my gym bag. During the summer, the humidity engulfs you as soon as you open the parking garage door, while in winter, I strive to block out the distraction of the wind blowing through.


Making health deposits doesn’t have to be all torture though. When I take a fasted, Zone 2 walk in the sun, I’m combining three of the four building blocks of overall health.


When it comes time to make withdrawals from my health bank account, it’s not just for summer vacation, however. For example:

On a particular night my wife can’t sleep, and for some reason at 3 am she turns all the lights on so neither of us can sleep.


For breakfast, I eat a traditional Venezuelan corn flour muffin, which always seems like a good idea at the time, but not so much later.


I arrive at the gym and find the door locked, because 1) a pipe burst the night before and flooded the place (true story from Feb. 2022), or 2) the dude with the key has overslept.


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