In the minds of most, a guy in his early 40s striving for excellent physical health is likely having a mid-life crisis. And to be honest, there was point when I thought that maybe I was. After all, despite working out and doing my best to stay in shape during my 20s and 30s, I never looked and felt then the way I do now at 42. But then again, health and fitness was never really a priority when I was younger. So what changed between then and now? Simply put: I became a dad. To twin boys. But the answer is far more elaborate than that. The first 12-18 months following the birth of my sons was tough. My boys barely slept, and neither did I. I was working full-time and functioning on 3-4 solid hours of sleep a night. Coffee, sometimes 8-10 cups a day, kept me going when all I really wanted to do was crash. And hard. There were no planned meals. When I was hungry, I mindlessly ate whatever was available and simple to prepare. And, of course, there was no exercise. I know….none of this is exactly earth-shattering to parents of newborn children. But eventually, my lack of quality sleep, increased caffeine consumption, poor eating habits, and no exercise caught up to me. My immune system was the weakest it’s ever been. I was constantly sick. My weight was down, but my cholesterol was up. Way up. And just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, I began suffering from prostate issues. At age 38! I certainly didn’t need my doctor to tell me to eat better, exercise more, and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, but when he did it further justified the importance of doing so. How could I provide my family with the care they needed, when I couldn’t even find the time to care for myself? At the time, sleep was still an issue, so I decided to start with what I could actually control: my diet and exercise. I became a member at the onsite fitness center where I work and started spending my lunch hour exercising instead of eating with my co-workers in the cafeteria. I began incorporating healthier meals and snacks into my diet and started tracking everything that I ate. I joined online fitness accountability groups to help stay motivated and gain valuable insight from other members. And most importantly, I created a plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish in both the short-term and the long-term. And when those goals were met, I just created new ones. And so, here I am….more than 4 years later….arguably in the best shape of my life. Now what? I’m just going to keep moving forward. My health and fitness is now a life-long commitment. And as soon as I understood that, it became so much easier to stay focused. Missed a day or two at the gym? Ate 5 slices of pizza? WHO CARES!! When health and fitness becomes a lifestyle, these types of setbacks are relatively minor and certainly not significant enough to derail your progress. And best of all, my boys (who are now 5) recognize how important staying healthy and active is to me that they will often emulate the things I do….which is really cool because I want to be a great role model for my kids in ALL aspects of their life. So, am I having a mid-life crisis? I guess it still depends on who you ask. But one thing is for certain….I don’t expect to have a health crisis any time soon!