Optimizing Your Health with Quality Over Quantity
Updated: Sep 6
By Nate Sleger
We all want to live a healthy lifestyle, but it can be hard to know where to start. My recent guest Sean-Michael Doty has trained Olympians, so he knows a thing or two about optimizing health and performance. In our conversation, he shared some great insights that can help anyone improve their health, even if you're not an elite athlete.
Sean-Michael explained that Olympic athletes have the ability to "delay gratification" in pursuit of their goals. While we may struggle to resist temptation, athletes anchor themselves to their ultimate vision. Sean-Michael said:
"I think for athletes, they have this one anchor that moves everything in the same direction, whereas we can be pulled in a lot of directions."
So while eating an entire pizza may derail our diet, an athlete stays focused on performing at their best.
This doesn't mean we need to be as strict as Olympians. But we can learn to "optimize" different areas of our lives, rather than neglecting health as we pursue other goals like career advancement. As Sean-Michael put it:
"Oh, I chose to optimize maybe my social life more than my physical health. Maybe I chose to optimize towards, you know, my career and I neglected being able to physically stay fit."
Rather than an "all or nothing" approach, Sean-Michael recommends optimizing our routines with quality over quantity. For example, three 30-minute workouts per week can be a starting point, focusing on truly effective training rather than just putting in more time at the gym. As he said:
"I think you wanna set yourself on the journey of habit...If you're getting the ball rolling, you need to commit to the process of it. And I think the results will come once it becomes a lifestyle."
Sean-Michael also emphasized starting small and building sustainable habits over time:
"Make it smooth for yourself, make it simple, start with [something] very manageable...Now we'll do three days, we'll do 40 minutes at the gym. Now we'll do 50, now we'll do 60, now we'll do a fourth day."
Through this gradual progress, we can make health an ongoing "journey of habit" integrated into our lives.
Some key takeaways:
- Anchor yourself to a health vision rather than getting derailed by temptation
- Optimize routines for quality over quantity of time invested
- Start small and build healthy habits over time
- Make a manageable commitment like 3 short workouts a week
- Focus on effective training for the time you spend exercising
What's one small step you can take today to start optimizing your health? Committing to a walk after dinner? Swapping out an unhealthy snack? Or setting a reminder to meal prep on Sundays?
As Sean-Michael emphasized, you don't need an Olympic training regimen to lead a healthier lifestyle. Just focus on quality over quantity, and take it step by step.