“Five pounds of fun” is a way of thinking about diet and fitness. To me, it is another way of saying my wife’s mantra, “everything in moderation.”
I learned this saying from my friend, Peter Taunton, this weekend while my son Ben and I were his guests for a pheasant hunting trip at Sutton Bay in South Dakota. Peter is a successful serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Snap Fitness, a global leader in the personal fitness business with more than 2000 locations worldwide.
Peter is in phenomenal shape physically and a fun guy to hang around with. He leads an organization at Snap Fitness that helps people reach their personal goals and he exemplifies that in the way that he conducts his own life, too.
The way that this saying came-up this weekend is that I was telling Peter about my having just had an executive physical, getting back positive results and that my doctor attributed these results to the fact that I am diligent about exercise.
I told Peter that my experience at the Park Nicollet Executive Health Program also included a nutritional analysis. It was during this part of the visit where I accepted that I have an opportunity for improvement and that doing so will increase my chances of maintaining a healthy weight for years to come.
After telling Peter about my eating habits for a few minutes, I asked him, “what’s your secret?” (He could be on the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine) He responded, “Joel, I use a ‘five pounds of fun rule’.”
Peter explained to me that, through years of personal exploration, he understands that for him a daily fitness training regimen, a healthy weight and a sensible diet are important. He steps on a scale daily and has a target weight where he feels best and looks the way that he wants to.
Peter also knows that both his work and personal lives can take him in lots of directions. Sometimes, relaxing the high personal diet standards that he holds for himself is not only part of having fun but perhaps unavoidable. It is here where this gets interesting for me.
Peter said that he has determined this “five pounds of fun” as both a positive and negative indicator for himself. The way that he looks at it is like this:
If he’s five pounds above his target weight he does a bit of self-analysis to determine what’s been going-on and makes the necessary adjustment to pull things back into line with where he wants to be. This may be diet, a change in an exercise regimen or a demanding travel schedule. Whatever the case, he stops, takes a look around and does what he has to to get himself back where he wants to be.
When Peter does this, it’s not in a “beating himself up” kind of way. I see it as more of a self-awareness attitude and a commitment to personal excellence. He is a guy that likes to have fun, understands the importance of relaxation and when he’s doing that he helps people around him feel good.
If he’s five pounds under his target weight, Peter takes this as a signal, too. He asks himself if perhaps he’s going too fast and needs to slow-down. Peter knows that, for him, low energy and a feeling of being run-down are not consistent with where he wants to be or help him to perform at his best.
I am grateful that Peter shared this saying with me because I like the simplicity of it. “Five Pounds of Fun” can be about weight or it can be about personal development.
What if I have business goals set for myself and I use this theory as a metric for how I am performing? Have I determined where I need to be and an acceptable range of performance that puts me in a position to reach my goals? What do I do to adjust when I find myself outside of this target?
Sometimes the important relationships in my life may start to feel distant or strained. The “five pounds of fun” philosophy can help me think about what’s going on in my life and make adjustments so that uncomfortable feeling goes away.
To me, Peter Taunton’s “five pounds of fun” rule is about balance. This is something that we all struggle with at different times and I appreciate it when a friend shares a personal philosophy that I can relate to.