Only One Body

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my mentors – Mike Boyle.  Over the length of my career, it’s quite possible I’ve learned more from Mike than anyone else in the field of strength and conditioning.  Mike has that special gift of taking complex stuff and making it simple.  That’s probably what drew me towards him as I was getting my start as a personal trainer.  Always pushing the staus quo, he’s a lifelong learner who I continue to learn from this day.  Oh yeah, the guy gets results too.  Mike is the owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning just outside of Boston, MA.  A true legend in the field, he’s someone you should know and someone you can trust when it comes to the best in strength and conditioning knowledge and methods.

What follows is an article written by Mike years ago that always resonated with me.  True to form, it’s simple and on point, and I hope it hits home with you as well.


Imagine you are sixteen years old and your parents give you your first car. They also give you simple instructions. There is one small hitch, you only get one car, and you can never get another. 

Never. No trade-ins, no trade-ups. Nothing.

Ask yourself how would you maintain that car? My guess is you would be meticulous. Frequent oil changes, proper fuel, etc. 

Now imagine if your parents also told you that none of the replacement parts for this car would ever work as well as the original parts. Not only that, the replacement parts would be expensive to install and cause you to have decreased use of your car for the rest of the car’s useful life. 

In other words, the car would continue to run, but not at the same speed and with the efficiency you were used to.

Wow! Now would we ever put a lot of time and effort into maintenance if that were the case!

After reading the above example, ask yourself another question. Why is the human body different? Why do we act as if we don’t care about the one body we were given? 

Same deal. You only get one body. No returns or trade-ins. 

Sure, we can replace parts, but boy it’s a lot of work and it hurts. Besides, the stuff they put in never works as well as the original “factory” parts. The replacement knee or hip doesn’t give you the same feel and performance as the original part.

Think about it. One body. You determine the mileage. You set the maintenance plan.

No refunds, no warranties, no do-overs.

How about this perspective? One of my clients is a very successful businessman. He often is asked to speak to various groups. One thing he tells every group is that you are going to spend time and money on your health. 

The truth is, the process can be a proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your health can take the form of a personal trainer, massage therapist, and a gym membership, or it can be money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and plastic surgeons. Either way, you will spend money.

The same goes for time. You can go to the gym or the doctor’s office. It’s up to you. Either way, you will spend time. 

Some people say things like “I hate to work out”. Try sitting in the emergency room for a few hours and then get back to me. Working out may not seem so bad. Much like a car, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. 

However, in so many ways the body is better than a car. With some good hard work, you can turn back the odometer on the body. I wrote an article a while back (Strength Training- The Fountain of Youth) that discussed a study done by McMaster University which showed that muscle tissue of older subjects actually changed at the cellular level and looked more like the younger control subjects after strength training.

Do me a favor. Spend some time on preventative maintenance. It beats the heck out of the alternative. Just remember, you will spend both time and money.

Mike Boyle