The parallels of life
You know what I love about sport? It’s a fantastic analogy for life itself. The drive it takes to push yourself further, to give 110% and push past the excuses is what makes people great athletes. That same determination carries over into our lives…how we cope with set-backs, overcome challenges and rise above the noise of life. Fitness and sport are synonymous and feed off of each other. The harsh reality is the majority of people these days are non-competitors. We’re too busy or too tired or just disinterested. Our priorities are skewed and it’s slowly killing us. Check out the fast-facts on obesity in the US:
The sleeper cell
So can you guess what’s killing more people than anything these days? Not gun-shot wounds, exposure or other trauma. By a staggering lead, it’s heart disease.
Take a look at the people around you and then take a look at yourself; the writing is on the wall. It’s easy to see what will set you apart from the masses (pun intended). The single most important thing you can do if you want to make yourself hard to kill is get fit.
No one expects you to transform overnight, but get started by doing something. Turn off the TV (trust me, it won’t miss you), get out from behind the computer and use your body. Honestly, the hardest part is acting on the decision to get moving, but you’ll be glad you did after the fact. I’ve never regretted a PT session; it makes you feel better…period. Even for the folks that workout regularly, it’s a love-hate relationship and we have to continually remind ourselves of the benefits. Athletes enjoy better sleep, improved mood, longer life-span, injury prevention and are generally more useful humans.
Cut the crap
Too many people rationalize why they can’t workout…my knees are bad, I don’t have time, gym memberships are too expensive. Try using those excuses when you’re running for your life, fighting off an attacker or lifting a wall section off your friend. In spite of your excuses, there’s always a way to improve your fitness and let me be the first to remind you that you don’t need equipment or weights- the weight is already on you. Push-ups/Sit-ups/Lunges/Squats/Dips/Flutter-kicks/Planks/Running…they’re all challenging and they’re all free…no membership required.
A well rounded program will incorporate all of the core components: Cardiovascular endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy. You might be able to back-squat 900 pounds, but if you can’t touch your toes you’ve got a serious gap in your training. Predictability is the enemy. Our bodies have the incredible ability to quickly adapt to physical stressors, so change it up. Vance Havner says, “A rut is nothing more than a grave with both ends kicked out”. Become a jack of all trades when it comes to fitness. The real world will destroy the guy that can only do one thing well. Your workouts will be more interesting if you’re adding variations and your capabilities will grow exponentially. An added bonus is that the movements in your physical training have extreme value in everyday routines and emergency situations alike. Check out the video below for a quick demonstration.
What about food?
Let’s not forget that diet is equally important. If you can achieve self-discipline with exercise, you can do the same with what you eat. It’s not within the scope of this article to cover what a balanced diet is, but a good rule of thumb is: eat quality foods and use moderation. In our house we balance lean meats and plant-based foods. For more information, check out the Paleo-diet and the documentary “Forks over Knives”.
Invest in yourself
Whether its diet or exercise, the moral of the story is that you should compete against yourself daily. We’re all human and occasionally we’ll mess up, but we’re only one decision away from getting back on track. Fitness equals greater quantity and quality of life…who doesn’t want that? Or a better question may be- do you want it bad enough? I have to warn you that there are short term side effects: soreness, heavy sweating, fatigue and cramping. There’s also long term side effects: muscle definition, fat loss, better fitting clothes, increased range of motion, attractiveness to the opposite sex, etc. So is it worth it? I’d say so…your life literally depends on it.
There’s a quote from Young Guns that wraps this up best: “You have to test yourself every day, gentlemen. Once you stop testin’ yourself, you get slow. And when that happens, they kill you.”