"The burden of not trying is heavier than the barbell will ever be," is a saying etched in large chalk letters at a CrossFit in Ohio. For each of us individually, the emotional and physical burden of an unhealthy lifestyle can be a lifelong struggle that eventually leads to feelings of unhappiness and chronic health conditions. In the United States, physical inactivity has become a huge health crisis, equated to our generations version of smoking. The social norm of not moving has become so commonplace that currently only 55% of adults get the physical activity they need to be healthy and it is estimated that by 2030, 83.4 million Americans may suffer from three or more chronic diseases and 50% of the population could be affected by obesity (ACE, 2018).
There are strong correlations between chronic disease and obesity, and both of these epidemics can be traced back to one basic human action: physical activity. Currently, the childhood obesity rate for ages 2-5 is 8.9%, which you thin would be fine, right? I mean there is such a thing as baby fat. However, when we see this percentage grow to 20.5% by the time kids are 12-19, we can no longer blame it on normal baby fat, but must admit something else must be trending. (ACE, 2018)
To give you a little more perspective on our current health crisis in the U.S., have a look at the following statistics, all referenced at the end of the article.
Step Up Washington
An Act that is not getting enough attention at the moment is the PHIT Act, which would make physical activity opportunities like personal training, sports league fees, and group fitness classes, more affordable. For example, your gym membership or your child's sports team fee would be paid for, at least in part, by the government. Not only does this make an impact at an individual level, this would immensely help with non-profits like Healthy Futures, Fitness Without Borders, and others requiring government grant funding and fundraising to offer their services (Fritz, 2018).
Introduced in March of 2017, this bill currently has a meager 3% chance of getting enacted (H.R. 1267, 2017). Why is not important to lawmakers? I miss Michelle (Obama). If you find this issue to be relevant and something you would like to advocate for, follow this link to PHIT America's website to learn more about the movement and ways you can help.
So, if you have stumbled on this article because you've found yourself in the 45% category, then you are in the right place. You are obviously not alone in your struggle, and I am here to remind you that you can do anything if you are willing and open to change and commitment to something that will be harder than the convenience of swinging through the drive thru on the way home.
Here are some stories on incredible people who have undergone amazing change in order to reclaim their health and lives. Also, please explore the site, there are countless tools and resources on here that can help you along the way.
Cabarles, M. (2018, May 1). How ACE Influences the Cycle of Inactivity. ACE Fitness Journal, 15(5), 6-7.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physical activity do children need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm. Accessed 4-21-2017.
H.R. 1267: PHIT Act. (2017, March 1). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1267/text/ih
Fritz, J. (2018). Learn About Revenue Streams for Nonprofits and How They Get Income. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/where-do-nonprofits-get-their-revenue-2502011
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Ghandi once famously said that our beliefs become our thoughts, which then become our words, our words then become our actions. Our actions then become our habits, our habits our values, and our values our destiny. This is undoubtably true of athletes when we think about how so closely confidence is linked to success. Without jumping around the page too much here, as a former collegiate and professional athlete, I can firmly recommend five strategies that help form strong habits and cultivate a confident mindset.
Choose your circle wisely
Who you surround yourself with has a tremendous influence on who you will become and is reflective of who you are now. These will be the people who are either going to the gym with you to get up extra shots or the ones egging you on to come to a party with them. They'll be the ones who are skipping class or getting an extra hour of study hall with you. Bottom line: do they make you better or do they bring you down?
Seek the Truth
It takes a person of high character to actively seek out information (particularly about themselves) that they may not want to hear, but need to hear. This is where your circle comes in to play. Surround yourself with people who care about you so much they are willing to tell you something you need to hear in order to help you, and are willing to say it even if it makes you mad or upset. Remember, it's never easy to hear those types of things, the saying "the truth hurts" exists for a reason, but it will ultimately make you better.
No matter how much or how little success you are having at this moment, do not stop working. You have to believe in your ability to reach your goals and that hard work will pay off, it always does. Now, there is a massive difference between believing in yourself and being entitled to an outcome because you think you've worked hard for it. This goes back to having solid people you trust to be honest with you.
Here's the kicker though, you must be receptive to what they say and at all costs avoid shooting the messenger! You are enlisting the help of someone to give you a different perspective than your own, which is absolutely critical for your growth as a player and person.
Have selective hearing
The one voice you need to be listening to, even if you are not religious, is the voice of faith. Faith, or believing in yourself, is the voice that will tell the critics and fans to be silent, because they don't know your process. They don't know the sweat, blood, and tears that you put in; they don't know what you are working towards; and really, they don't know you.
Trust the process
If you haven't noticed already, the four lessons before this are all interwoven in some way. Ultimately, these all constitute your process, and when you are confident that you are doing things the right way, which is in accordance with your values and vision, then you must trust that with persistent action and work, you will get to where you want to go.
There will undoubtably be times you are tested on this, and your tests may come at times when you aren't ready for them, that's why it is so important to have good people in your circle you can lean on and to help you through. They are there not only to tell you what you need to hear, but to be positive with you when you are having a hard time doing that for yourself.
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Skinny, low calorie, weight loss, why does everything have to sound so diety? In America, we live in a strange paradox; overall, we are a very unhealthy country but are totally obsessed with health. Weird, right? Contrary to popular belief, healthy food does not have to taste like a shoe, and weight loss oriented goals do not have to eliminate all the enjoyable things in life, case in point: the svelte enchilada and mindful marg.
In this article we are staying away from words like skinny and weight loss because more negative connotations typically come to mind than positive. Personally, skinny makes me think of the underweight models seen on magazine covers or the housewife on an obsessive journey to get back to her high school weight. When I think weight loss, I think of the focus obsessively being on weight, numbers, and literally loss. This does more harm than good to our psyche, while the process should instead be about how it makes us feel (stronger, more energized, more in control of our life, etc. ). When I imagine svelte on the other hand, I see someone who is strong, lean, elegant and healthy. It is less diet and more lifestyle, as is being mindful about what you eat and how it affects you; thus, the mindful marg! Okay, a little cheesy I know, but let's get to how to make this healthy and delicious dinner!
This recipe is so simple and delicious, part of me wants to cry tears of joy. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but this is an amazing alternative to a normal margarita that, according to Livestrong.com, will run you between 450 and 1100 calories (depending on size), and between 50-150g of sugar. Holy crackers.
In a sense, there are two extremes with alcohol consumption, the people who heavy handedly pour their drinks and those who obsessively count portion size or restrict consuming them altogether. Being mindful is a balance that falls in between these two extremes. It's nice every now and then to have a drink at the end of a long day, and when paying attention to your health, in general it's important to know what you put into your body. Mindfulness is knowing that you can substitute your standard ingredients for alternatives that are going to be way better for your body, and drink in moderation by picking 8-12oz. glass sizes and leaving the 16-20oz. glasses in the cupboard.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day in women, and 2 drinks per day for men. A standard drink is 12oz. beer, ~5oz. of wine, and 1.5 ounce shot of hard alcohol - the higher the proof, the higher the calories.
Going to try this recipe out or have any you would like to share? Post about it in the comments, we would love to hear from you!