A Unicorn’s Guide to Health and Glory Through Compound Interest

If anyone told me just over two years ago that I would spend a large portion of time swinging a cannonball between my legs and deadlifting barbells for fun… I would have laughed out loud.

But then came Snatched in Six Weeks in October 2011, and it just now hit me: I’ve been doing exactly that for two years! What the what?!

This is some sort of health and fitness record for me, so at the two-year mark, I have to stop and ask, “What have I learned in the two years outside of Snatched?”

What made this time different? Advanced age? Dragon balls? What?

If you religiously stick with a makeover style program for six weeks, it makes sense that you will see results. But how do you keep that transformation? For six months? A year?

I think long-term success “post-transformation” can be explained by the idea of compound interest.

It’s All About Compound Interest

Compound Interest is defined as:

Interest that accrues on the initial principal and the accumulated interest of a principal deposit, loan or debt.

Simply put, compound interest is interest that is paid on interest that is paid on that interest, allowing your initial investment to grow exponentially over time.

Of course, just like everything else, it’s really just a metaphor.

If your initial principal is a six-week makeover program, then how do you build on that to keep the results?

1. Showing up and doing something is better than not showing up and doing nothing

Whether it’s showing up to class or showing up to your kitchen to prepare healthy food — you have to show up!

Some days, especially as you are making this lifestyle your own (post transformational journey), it may not be easy. Showing up is a habit. Just like not showing up was a habit before.

So, whatever it takes to nail the class/training/nutrition, you have to find a way to show up that first time. Or to show up that first time after you missed the last time. The sense of satisfaction at having made that good choice will make it easier the next time.

The good news? Once it becomes a habit, you just start to do it without thinking as much about it. Each time gets easier.

2. Engage in Risky Business

For me it all began by just showing up that first day of class, and then I slowly began taking new risks physically in classes and in my training.

The willingness to take risks started to spill over into other aspects of my life – my job, my creativity, my social life. Turns out, my brain didn’t know the difference in the type of risk! To my brain, a risk is a risk is a risk!

Taking risks—stepping outside that comfort zone, being just a bit more vulnerable than the day before—is powerful.  And each time I take a risk, it builds on the success of the risk before.

3. You Are Not the Internet

We live in a world of amazing technology where we can get so much information in a matter of seconds. Seconds. It’s awesome, isn’t it?

Awesome… except that a side effect of the glory of technology is that we have become more impatient. If we have to wait ten seconds for the landing page, we complain about how slow things are, roll our eyes and order a latte to keep us occupied during this unacceptable delay.

We have come to expect answers and results instantaneously. For everything. So we search for the magic answer that will make things move faster in every aspect of our lives.

But the truth is, not everything happens in an instant. It’s patience and persistence for the big win. Continuous improvement is a long-term commitment. Be patient.

4. You Absolutely Have a Choice

Sometimes we feel like we don’t have a choice. A choice to eat healthfully. A choice to get to a class, a choice to give your all to something, a choice to be there for someone else.

True, things don’t always go the way we hoped or anticipated. And sometimes there are obstacles in our path to glory. And we are left with what we feel is no choice but to (at least temporarily) abandon our goals.

But I have learned that the trick is to find an alternative. Greatness lies in the ability to find choice when seemingly there is none. Feeling like you don’t have a choice is also a choice.

5. Mindf*ck:  Long, Hard and Often

A good mindf*ck goes a long way. Whether it’s believing that the protein pumpkin bread is “real” pumpkin bread, or seeing yourself as more of a badass when you train in a certain shirt, or whether it’s listening to a special playlist for motivation on the way to doing deadlifts.

If it makes you think you’re stronger, or more in control, then you probably will be! HA! Psych! Mindf*ck your way to peak performance.

6. Take Ownership

When the six weeks of Snatched was over, I had a moment of feeling like a baby bird that had been pushed from the nest by its mother, having to learn to fly by myself. (Oh, the drama!)

But really, I just needed to take ownership of my journey. The six-week program taught me how to fly. Whether or not I decided to try out my wings was up to me.

Still, after a period of time, even with the best training possible from the MFF gurus, you can become… complacent. Let’s face it, the novelty wears off after a while.

Ask yourself if you are giving your all to your training and nutrition. You have control over that part. Wherever you are at any moment — own it. Take responsibility for your progress, slow or fast, good or bad.

It’s work to maintain your new lifestyle! We all make poor choices sometimes. It is unreasonable to think that we will never stray from exemplary nutrition/fitness habits.

But be kind to yourself. Own where you are, then find your way back to the road to glory. (It’s still there for you!)  How you choose to handle these moments will ultimately define your journey.

7. There’s Strength in Numbers

When you find a friend/group that is supportive of you, and honestly celebrates your success, participate! Offer support! As I was surprised to learn in Snatched, just showing up to a group of people who are your teammates makes you feel accountable to that group. And, the group support can actually make everyone go the extra little bit that they thought they couldn’t. Energy is definitely contagious, so why not catch it? There’s a reason a group of unicorns is called a “blessing.”

At MFF, we talk about getting 1% better every day. Sometimes 1% seems like such a small number. Until after doing pushups on your knees for months the 1% compounds on itself, and one evening six months later, you go home at 2am and suddenly you are in your underwear doing your first full on pushup ever.

And then six months later you suddenly do your first plyo pushup. I used the word “suddenly,” but we all know that those pushups came about by working for months. Months towards getting 1% better every day.

And months composed of days of 1% better translate mathematically into (how cool would it be if I were so good at math right now) a lot better! Interest on interest on interest!

Creating results is easier than creating habits to maintain those results. You have to stick around to see the big win. It’s about the consistency. The repetition. About compounding that interest every day. Not every day is going to reveal big progress, but if you take your money out of the bank, the interest stops compounding. If you keep investing in getting better, you are going to collect big on that compound interest. You can bank on it!

Want to join a fitness community that will help you continually invest in your long-term health and hotness? Sign up today for a Health & Hotness Strategy Session at Mark Fisher Fitness.


Stella Kaufman is an OG Ninja from before there was even a Mark Fisher Fitness Clubhouse. She is the editor for the MFF blog and runs the Tasty Ninja recipes page on Facebook. She loves to share what she’s learned along the way, especially with her fellow unicorns and Ninjas.


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