Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why Your Health Is So Important To Me!

Another Saturday training session on the books! We had a great session, with everyone feeling like they could have done more and still we were out for 50 minutes, twice what the schedule called for! I think everyone should be as proud of their efforts today as I am of all of you!

That being said, there are many who have not even made one session yet and at the risk of offending, you need to make this a priority. The question begs to be asked; “If not now... when?”

I thought I would share with you why this is so important to me and why I may be a little pushy on this subject. Hopefully give you an understanding of where my passion comes from.

Each and everyone of us has our own reasons for wanting to do this. For some its just simply to shed a few pounds. You may not even be that convinced that you need a lifestyle change as much as you just want to get rid of the pounds and move on. Still, for others you may have been told by your physician that you needed to make a change. You may be committed to losing the weight, but still figure once you've lost it you'll be able to get back to normal. There are certainly countless other reasons for undertaking this program. For most of you at this point, to take part or not is still a choice. Count it a blessing that it is still exactly that... a choice you can make.

Here's my inspiration:

I have been an on again off again runner and fitness enthusiast my whole adult life. Through March of 2008 I had run 4 marathons and countless shorter distance races. I had even competed in a bodybuilding competition in my late teens. And yet, that didn't mean I was always in great or good or even fair health. I certainly knew how to take care of myself. I am after all a Certified Endurance Fitness Trainer and Personal Trainer. And still, knowledge doesn't guarantee results, action does!

Its funny, if you asked most people who knew me they would tell you that I was active, I mean I was a marathoner you know! What most people didn't realize was that I was the “Grand Poobah of Yo-Yo'ers. No question that in spite of everything I knew; I ate the wrong stuff, drank too much and even smoked! Great example of health, right?

Monday May 18th, will be an anniversary for me. It will be exactly a year ago and 60 lbs heavier that in the middle of a 40 mile bike ride I had my heart attack. Yes, at 45 years of age, my refusal to apply what I knew caught up with me.

You might at this point be thinking; “That could never happen to me!” Guess what? I thought the same thing. To a person, everyone who knew me thought it should have happened to them not me. I was after all the active guy.

My one concern in telling this story is that you might take away from it what some of my friends did. If the healthy guy has a heart attack, then what's the point, I might as well have another beer and a cheeseburger!

The fact of the matter is, I only appeared to be healthy. I am a big guy, frame-wise and so even with an extra 60 lbs of body fat, I didn't appear to be overweight. I had that “Week-end Warrior”, “Guy” mentality that said I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted, drink what I wanted, when I wanted and then just workout once in a while and everything would be honky-dory.

As an example; I had almost a full year to train for my first marathon from the time I signed up until the time I had to run. Guess how many times I ran during that year? 300? 200? 100? 50? 20?

How about none of the above! I literally ran 10 times in the year leading up to my first marathon. Everyone knew I was training for the marathon. What they didn't know was that I would go home from work, put on my workout clothes, sit down and turn on the TV and never get out the door. Pretty soon all I did was think about putting on the workout clothes and just go right to the food and TV routine.

Don't get the impression that if you are genuinely active, you are no better off than if you just say forget it, because I was not the stellar example of health everyone thought I was.

The fact remains, when I hear someone talk about how they are going to get active and healthy and then they come up with every excuse in the books as to why they don't, I know exactly what's going on in their brain at that moment. I've heard, given, used and created pretty much every excuse you can imagine as to why tomorrow is a better day to start getting healthy than today. You can't surprise me with one I haven't at least thought of at some point in time.

Truth is; you still have a choice and that may not be the best thing in the world. I don't have a choice.

Actually, I do. Live or die!

Which would you chose? I've opted for living. I've kind of grown accustomed to it!

You have lots of choices that I no longer have. If you are a Weight Watchers member, you have a points system that pretty much allows you to eat anything on the menu as long as it falls within the allotted points. I don't! I am a Midwestern boy at heart. Which means I do love food! Food is now fuel for me. The leaner and more pure it is the better and enough to keep me running in top condition is all I'm really interested in. I have zero cravings anymore. Why? I want to live and after a year of very pure eating for fuel, I just don't' crave anymore. I know by how I feel exactly what type of fuel I need and that's what I eat. No more, no less!

You have the choice to be active or not. I don't! For the rest of my life, I have to constantly work to improve my cardiovascular endurance and cardiovascular strength. Its not an option, its a must!

Fortunately for me, I find extreme joy in running! And, now that I'm actually doing it on a regular basis, I'm enjoying it even more.

Don't get me wrong, I love my active lifestyle. So much so that I'm training for my first ultra marathon next January of 50 miles. Its just that getting to this point became non-optional.

So I hope that you can understand, that when I am pushy about getting you out to our training sessions its not for me. Its that I would never wish what I went through on anyone... ever!

And when you throw out your excuses, I'm not being judgmental, but in the back of my mind I do hear myself throwing out the same excuses over a year ago. Trust me if you haven't figured this out already, once you come up with one way to let yourself off the hook, it just gets easier and easier with every one.

No one who has been to our training sessions would walk away saying anything but how enjoyable walking with the group is. I truly enjoy it myself. I also enjoy the solitude that a long run by myself brings.

Please get active, while you have a choice. I will do everything in my power to help make it something you enjoy now and for the rest of your life and yet it all begins with you!

Have an incredible day and go get active!


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