The other night I found myself in a cab around 1-am coming back from the train station from a nice trip up to visit some friends. I sat up front while a couple GW students got I'm the back. the second the doors shut our driver went off. He started talking at like a mile a minute, yelling, cursing, more or less going crazy about how the Redskins came so close on this last one. I'm pretty sure it was the overall fatigue I was feeling that led me to not being worried for my safely, but I thought to myself, this guy just wants to bitch a little about his team.
After the GW kids got out, we continued on up towards my place. This is when the conversation went in another direction. He began talking about how he needed to get a few extra hours in before the holidays because he not only had six children of his own, but three grand kids as well. This guy was 47. He then proceeded to tell me just what ones lifestyle would have to be like to end up having such a large family...too much information. then he went on another tangent about child support, his friend the cop who had six kids with six different women. He talked about trying to feed the family, pay for cigarettes and booze (both of these started on the day his first child was born), and the ability to generally enjoy his life how he saw fit. And all the time he kept saying one phrase, over and over again at the end of almost every one of these statements. "It is what it is."
Now this got me to thinking, as I lay in bed after I got home. What an interesting perspective this guy has chosen. His assumption is that life is, drinking, smoking, children, child support, multiple women, not enough money, multiple jobs and cheering for football. And there's no need to complain about it, because it is what it is. But that is just not true. not at all in fact. He clearly wasn't happy, he clearly had a strong desire to express just how unhappy all this stuff made him. And it made me realize what the true statement of a good, healthy life should be: It is whatever you want it to be.
While I thought about this, my mind wandered of course, to the things that generally occupy my thoughts: fitness. I all of a sudden began to recall statements made by friends and clients, and conversations I have had with people frustrated with their fitness level and overall health. So often I have heard people say that they just were not built to finish a race, or don't have the genes to be lean and muscular, or don't have the chemical make up to follow the proper nutrition program. That sounds like "it is what it is" to me. To me, those people are finding a way to get out of the fact that to make a change, a serious change in their lives, they will have to work extremely hard. And for the most part, people just don't want to do that. Now if someone chooses to lead the life they lead, without complaint or worry at all, then that is not a problem to me. I in no way think that all people need to be incredibly fit to be "worthy of my approval". What I am talking about here, is the person who is truly effected negatively by his or her life and struggles with certain things day in and day out. If that is the case, don't just sit there and accept it, do something about it! Whatever it takes. Get on the computer, research it, ask around, find the experts, become an expert, travel if you need to, take the time to focus on this because THIS is what your life is. Your job, your condo, your car, your TV, your smart phone, your clothes, those are not what make you into the healthy, happy person you aspire to be. It's you, it's your support, your family, that make you and shape you. Find the support, find a way to be healthy, trust me, it is out there for you to easily find, if you are only willing to look a little deeper than normal.
Two examples: a client of mine came in for his initial consultation. He was in his mid-teens, and a good 30lbs overweight. He was a pretty good baseball player though and really wanted to see himself step up his game. One of the first things he said to me was that he was sick and tired of being fat and out of shape, and he would do anything to get fit. So, I took him up on that and pushed him. He trained with me (mobility, strength, power, conditioning) three days a week, on his own with
conditioning, stretching and light strength three days a week, and I helped him get on a better nutrition program. What blew me away about this guy was that he just ran with it. He game in early, got some extra speed work in, really took to heart everything I gave to him and put every ounce of energy into each workout. He wanted it. And he was rewarded for his dedication to positive change. Within four months he had dropped 25lbs of fat, looked lean, increased his squat from the low 100's to the mid 200's, was pulling a 300+ deadlift, could rep out pull ups andhad increased his 60 yard dash time by over 4 tenths of a second and his home-2nd time (for catchers) to under 2 seconds. But best of all, his game improved. He had a great year, crushed the ball, and ended up spending the summer at a prestigious baseball school in Florida. He woke up one day and decided the life he was leading was not the one he wanted, so he made it the way he wanted.
Second: a female client of mine who came in way overweight, lethargic, and with barely the ability to comfortably walk for any extended period of time. She told be that besides wanting to lose the weight, get in shape and all that basic fun stuff, she wanted most to learn how to run. In fact, she had registered herself (on a bet with her older brother) to run the Army 10-miler only six months away. Her dedication to this was one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen. Her and I ran once a week and strength trained once a week, but it was what she did on her own time that was so great. She ran. She ran structured times and distances, hardly ever missed a session, rain or shine. Her excitement could be felt every time anyone simply talked to her; her energy changed, her nutrition changed, her entire life changed. And in the end, to date, over 25lbs lighter, she has run three 10-milers, and is registered for her first half-marathon! She made the choice to change her life, and she damn well changed it!
I hear tons of stories like these all the time, from friends, reading, my own life, but it's inevitable that I hear them because i work in the fitness industry. I hope that these stories begin to occur more often because there's no such thing as "it is what it is" or, that's just the way it goes" or "that's how life works"; you can do whatever you want, if you really want it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.