If you listened to our radio show on Sunday, you may have noticed that I was pretty pumped up about the subject (Sports & Fitness). With this post, I want you to bear with me. I’m going to throw some numbers your way. I may even delve into a little tough love. But the very first thing I want you to take away from this post is that I have no intention of selling you a single thing (including my own book). My entire motivation for this post is to SAVE YOU MONEY. Well, that and to help bring balance to your life (assuming you need it). Some of you may have stumbled onto this post and realized not a single word applies to you. I appreciate your time in reading nonetheless.
For those of us that are looking for a little different motivation in our health and fitness, please note I’m going to express opinions and suggestions that have worked for me. They may not work for you. They MIGHT work for you. Before we begin, here is the greatest advice I can ever give…Ready?
USE MULITPLE RESOURCES.
If the doctor gave us bad news, we’d get a second opinion, right? Same rule applies here as well. The great thing is that I’m going to give you links to FREE resources to learn more yourself. I’ve done a lot of the homework for you. All you’ll have to do is click the link. Oh, and you have to get started on your own fitness program too. So…here we go.
Americans have a love affair with sports. I sure do. During the summer, it isn’t uncommon for me to sit and watch a complete baseball game, from first pitch to final out, on any given day. That’s on average of 3.5 hours of television. Sure I get up during commercial breaks, but often I’m parked right there in front of the idiot box. And I’m not alone. Here are some numbers that help illustrate our love of sports;
43,700 The number of hours of television sports coverage in 2009. (Nearly 5 year’s worth of TV in 1 year.)
80 Million Number of Americans utilizing the internet for sports content (PER MONTH).
$8 Billion The amount of money U.S. adults spent on sports logo apparel in 2009.
Sports is big business. The Los Angeles Dodgers just signed a television contract with Time Warner Cable for 8 Billion dollars. We’ve all seen what players’ salaries look like, right? The amount of time and money spent on the sports industry is a direct result of fan involvement. These leagues are not empires because nobody is paying attention.
And what are sports? Movement, athleticism, competition. These athletes are in prime health. Well, some of the lineman in the NFL maybe aren’t in prime condition, but you get the point. We watch (and throw money at) men and women who are healthy and fit.
Sure, why not? They get paid millions, right? They should be in prime physical condition. That’s the argument. You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. Problem is…it doesn’t work that way. Those athletes aren’t getting paid millions when they’re in high school or college. Ok, ok…they don’t have the same responsibilities as you or me. No family, mortgage, etc. I agree.
So then, let’s put that into perspective…You and I ARE NOT professional athletes. Agreed? Agreed. Remember this, because I’ll come back to it later. It is important. It will be on the test…
So let’s get back to numbers. Since we have a love of sports, and we spend a CRAZY amount of money on it (remember I didn’t even give you the statistics on how much money we spend to SEE sports, just what we spend on apparel) we must surely want to emulate those athletes, right? Sure we do. We want to be healthy. The numbers prove it;
$20 Billion The amount of money U.S. spends on weight loss products/services annually (2009).
$45 Billion The amount of money U.S. spends on clubs/gyms/fitness industry annually (2012).
$500k – $1 M. Average salary of celebrity endorsers of weight loss or fitness products/services.
Wow, those celebrities are getting paid a lot of money on top of what they already get paid to do, like film movies/tv or play sports! We certainly pay attention when those celebrities tell us something, right? We’re spending a lot of money, we must be fit. Uh, huh. Look at these numbers:
80% Number of U.S. adults over 25 that are overweight.
35% Number of U.S. adults that are obese.
17% Number of U.S. children that are obese.
Still with me? We love sports, and we’re spending more money on apparel alone than the GDP of Haiti. We spend more for gyms and weight loss products and services than the GDP of Sri Lanka. So what is happening?
The truth is I don’t know. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying we’re lazy. I think that’s part of it. Remember, I told you I’d be tossing around a little tough love. But understand this…This statement includes me. I know the struggles that I’ve had with weight and fitness are in large part contributed to my laziness. If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll find that is part of it too. If you’re not being honest with yourself…well, you should probably start. For you. Not for me. Think about it.
We have to take responsibility for ourselves. We all have jobs, kids, careers and a myriad of other things that get in our way. If we let them. And it’s easy to let them, I totally get it.
But let’s talk about the alternative.
A friend of mine has health issues. Some of his issues are simply a bad hand he was dealt. But some can be directly attributed to him being technically obese. I say technically, because to look at him you wouldn’t necessarily think he’s obese. He is very tall and quite honestly, just a big guy. I care for him deeply, and have done my best to motivate him to get started on a simple routine to lose weight but he has simply made the decision that his health issues are what they are.
I get it. You can only get started when you’re ready. But my fear is that it will be too late, and readiness will stem from regret, and by then he may not be in as great a position physically to make a change. What frustrates me most is that he is an AVID football fan. This is frustrating, because he cites money as a big reason he doesn’t do more to get fit. And then I discovered that, without fail, every year he buys the DirecTV NFL Gameday package. It gives him every NFL game on Sunday. He watches hours and hours of television on Sundays during the season. Instead of watching what games he can for free on basic cable or network television, he spends what amounts to a yearly gym membership:
$299.95 Cost (per year) for DirecTV’s NFL Gameday package.
$359.88 Cost (per year) for basic membership to 24 Hour Fitness.
So I said let’s take a look at the alternative. Celebrity Chef Paula Deen’s husband Grover was overweight and having health issues. He needed knee surgery, but he didn’t want to have it. Instead, he decided to lose weight, which he did (60 lbs.). Now he doesn’t need the knee surgery. He was so determined that he motivated the rest of the family to get healthy. Now they’re a success story on the cover of People magazine!
The alternative is that Grover changed his lifestyle and now doesn’t need a painful and costly surgery. The icing on the cake is this thought – If he had stayed his original weight and had the surgery, he most likely would still have had knee problems because of the weight. The costly and painful surgery most likely would have been for naught. My opinion, of course, but think about it…
My friend is most likely going to continue to have health issues until he is forced to have a surgery of some sort or another. It breaks my heart. I won’t give up on him, but for now he serves as a reminder that the priorities we make can have serious consequences.
One thing I want to touch on again. The Deen family decided to get healthy together after being motivated by Grover’s determination. That is important because so often we feel like we have to climb these hills of achievement on our own. And the simple truth is…
You’re not alone!
So now let’s get into the motivation and free resources. The real reason you and I are here today.
Let’s start with this great article from U.S. News, which gives us the 10 Excuses for Not Exercising, and Why They Won’t Fly. I’ll list them below with my own comments, but read the article for more FREE tips:
- Too Busy. This is number one for a reason. So many of us have such busy schedules that we just don’t make the time. Not that we don’t have the time. We have the same amount of hours in a day that Einstein and Newton had. Other people are doing this, so can we. Do you have 5 minutes in your day? Good, then start with this 5 Minute Workout from Huffington Post Healthy Living. Don’t like that one? Do an internet search for “five minute workouts” and see what you come up with. And remember, if experts say you should work out 30-60 minutes a day they also say it doesn’t have to be in a row. Do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. Or do fifteens during the day when you can. I used to work out at work. Seriously. When I managed distribution operations my desk was a standing desk out in a warehouse. When the crew would go to break I would do fifteen minutes of deep knee bends or other stretches and balancing exercises right at my desk. We have the time.
- Too Old. I’m not even sure I want to dignify this excuse. Fact is you aren’t. You don’t have to push your body to extremes like mountain climbing to get fit. A regular walking routine is a great way to start. Of course, if you wanted to climb mountains there isn’t an age limit for that. Did you know that Dick Bass, the first man to summit the highest mountain on all seven continents, was in his 50s when he started his quest? At the time in 1984 he was the oldest man to have summited Mt. Everest.
- I Hate Doing It Alone. A lot of people are like this. I’d actually prefer to be alone while “working out”. When I’m being active in the wilderness I like to be with others. Either way, if this is a reason you aren’t focused on being fit, the excuse stops here. There are a TON of free resources on the web for you to find like minded individuals willing to exercise with you. Don’t believe me? Follow this link to begin your search for a Fitness Meetup. It’s free to sign up and join existing groups. There you can find other groups with similar interests. You can also check social networking sites or search for other resources. Be careful not to get involved with a shady group. You could also recruit friends, family and neighbors. There are plenty of ways to find a buddy.
- It’s Too Boring. This one, I get. I hate exercising just to exercise. There are a million different ways to mix things up and keep things exciting though. Here are some of my tips. I’ll ride a bike one day, hike another, lift weights at home, surf on the weekend or go skating on my skateboard. The mixing up the routine helps to keep things fresh. The other thing I do? I mix watching television with working out. I’ll put on a game in the bedroom, close the door so I’m not bothering anyone and then I’ll lift weights. I’m watching TV and getting fit. I LOVE IT. My iPod is a handy little buddy to keep around, too. I put on my favorite Barry Manilow album and hit the training trail and I’m less inclined to make excuses why I can’t complete my routine.
- Kids Get in the Way. Read the article for some great suggestions, but here is my one tip. Get the kids involved. Take them for a walk or out hiking. Have a pool? Get them in there with you and go for a swim. Have babies? Take turns with your spouse watching the lil’ ones while you each go out for a run. Or put them in the stroller and take them with. I LOVE this suggestion for one simple reason, it helps teach your kids the importance of making your health a priority. If they see you do it, they’ll do it themselves.
- My Back Hurts (or other pain). This one I understand. And it’s legit. To a point. Lying on the couch isn’t going to get your back into shape. For me, it’s the knees. I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis at age 15. Deterioration of the cartilage in my joints. Specifically my knees. That doesn’t stop me from doing what I want to do, with limitations. First and foremost, anyone who knows what they’re talking about is going to tell you that rest is an essential part of your exercise routine. It is. With that said, remember what I said was important to remember? I said it was going to be on the test? That’s right…We’re not professional athletes. That means we don’t need to be pushing our bodies to extremes for the benefit of performance. That means we can stop looking at the workouts that top athletes do and say “I can’t do that because I have back/knee/hip/whatever issues.” Running is a great and cheap way to exercise, but if you can’t run you can still walk, right? How about swimming? Have a pool? How about a community pool or a nearby beach? Swimming is wonderful exercise and relatively low impact to joints. Biking is another great, somewhat low impact exercise. You don’t have to push to perform. Consult your doctor, do your research online and DO SOMETHING. And then rest. Relax that back, those hips, that knee. And then DO SOMETHING. And then rest. Lather, rinse, repeat…
- I’m Too Fat. Like with age, I have a tough time even qualifying this excuse with a response. When I hear people say this to me as their reason for not doing something/anything to be fit and lose weight all I’m really hearing is “I’m too lazy to do anything about it.” Tough Love. Seriously. Being too fat isn’t a reason you can’t start exercising. Being fat might be a reason you can’t run three miles, but it’s not a reason you can’t walk one. It isn’t a reason to not start. Like sitting on the couch because the back hurts. Sure, you’re not moving it and everything feels good, but sitting stationary is only making the back worse long term. “A body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest.” I’m not saying being overweight is necessarily caused by laziness, I’m saying using it as an excuse to not do a little each day to get fit is caused by laziness. Are there exceptions? Maybe. But are we being honest with each other?
- I’m Thin Already. This excuse was kind of new to me. I’ve only ever heard this excuse from teenagers as a reason not to eat well and/or exercise. Read the article for more information.
- I’m Not a Gym Rat. I’m not either. I loathe the gym. All the guys in ripped t-shirts either looking at themselves in the mirror or looking at all the girls. For me, a gym is like a cheesy 80s singles bar. I can’t take it seriously. Besides, it costs money, and my whole point of this post was to save us some money. I like to lift weights occasionally, but I do it at home. And the only weights I have are two dumbbells. Sure, my weights cost me, but there are options. Empty milk containers filled with sand or water make for great DIY dumbbells. Anything with weight and something that serves as a handle will do. Not a do-it-yourselfer? Research exercises online that simulate/replace the movements of weight sets. A local playground should have monkey-bars suitable for pulls ups. Everyone has a floor for push-ups. Sit ups are…well, you get the point. 90% of my exercising does not involve weights. I like the flexibility of natural movement. My backpack filled with food, clothing and other wilderness essentials is really all the weight I need to practice with. Walking, running, hiking, swimming, playing basketball (or other sport)…these are all outdoor, out-of-gym activities. Oh, and if you’re still set on buying some dumbbells and lifting at home, hit the yard sales before running over to the local Big 5. I can almost guarantee you somebody in your neighborhood has given up on fitness and is willing to save you the $$ by offering their stuff for cheap. Just don’t let that stuff end up in your yard sale next summer.
- I Have Arthritis. Still not an excuse not to do something. In fact, more of a reason to find something that works and get to it. Stretching exercises or yoga might be perfect to get you started. Consult your doctor, do a little research and learn more.
Still with me? Good. I know this post is ginormus, but keep with me. I’ve got more for you.
Here are some of my favorite links, sites and suggestions to help you get started with a plan. Hey, I’ve done this much FOR you. Now it’s your turn to click the links and see for yourself. Oh, and one other thing…I’m here to help you and cheer you on 100%, every step of the way. We may not be able to go for a run together, but shoot me a message and share your accomplishments or send me an email and confess your struggles. Trust me, I’ve been there. In many ways, I’m STILL there. I can help, if only to help you get back on the routine and get going again. But you have to reach out. I don’t know from here if you need an encouraging word. Okay? Here are those links I talked about;
www.GabbyAndLaird.com – Gabby Reece is a model, fitness expert and pro beach volleyball icon. Her husband, Laird Hamilton, is arguably the most innovative and skilled professional big wave surfer of all time. Their website is chock full of great resources for health and fitness. From detailed exercise routines to personal motivation plans to great tasting recipes (all free), this site has it all. It is hands down my go-to site. They have products to sell too, but they have great quality content for free. And don’t mistake their pedigrees, this site is for EVERYONE. They are big proponents of doing what you can.
www.WalkAtHome.com – This is my wife Sandra’s go to site. The creator of the Walk at Home fitness series, Leslie Sansone is a nationally recognized fitness expert and writer. Her site includes a blog with tips, resources and more. The Walk at Home dvds can be purchased at Walmart (a cost, I know) but the website is free.
Remember I said my goal was to get you started on fitness and save you money? I found this video, for free on YouTube entitled Easy Walking Workout at Home. I watched the first minute. It’s a little dated, but PERFECT for those that want to get started on the walking workout without having to spend any money. YouTube = Free. Nice.
Looking for something a little more challenging? Already on a fitness plan but want to up your game? How many of you have seen commercials for P90X? How many of you have purchased it? What about Insanity Workout? Are you still doing it? Are you considering it but haven’t bought it just yet? Am I asking a lot of questions right now? Ha ha ha…Check this out.
I’m interested in P90X, but there is NO WAY I’m spending that kind of money. So I found this guy – Jason Croxford aka BetterBody90. He’s already spent the money for both P90X and Insanity Workout, and his YouTube channel is a video diary of his progress. Bonus for us is that he works out in front of the camera, giving us a FREE look at the exercises involved with each program.
DISCLAIMER – YouTube is a wonderful and free resource for researching nearly anything. But as I’ve said before, do your homework. Research proper techniques for exercise before beginning any routine yourself. Don’t pick the first joker on YouTube or anywhere else on the internet and start following their lead. You are responsible for you. These are suggestions for FREE resources. I’m giving you a head start, but you’re going to have to put in some effort yourself. Got it? Good.
Anyway, not all free resources on the internet are low impact. You can really find stuff out there to push you to extremes, if that’s what you’re looking for. I have a couple of friends that are training for big mountain climbs this year. They will need a routine to get them prepared. Here is one I found, from Fit Climb – A Mount Rainier Training Plan. Now, you don’t necessarily have to be planning on climbing Mt. Rainier to do these exercises. If you just wanted to be in killer shape, and push yourself this might do the trick. Check it out.
Need some more resources? Use your smart phone and download an app to help you get started. I haven’t started using any apps to help me, but I am looking into it. Here are some articles from Yahoo, Gizmodo and Huffington Post, with suggestions to help you find what you’re looking for.
And did someone say food? My favorite subject. Look, getting fit and being healthy isn’t the same unless we incorporate food into the discussion, right? What I love about Food Network’s website is that they have an entire section dedicated to Healthy Eating.
Finally, as I mentioned on the show, the one investment I highly recommend is a great pair of shoes. Whether you are walking, hiking, running or working out at home, a good pair of shoes is a must. I rarely spend a lot of money on clothing. Really. I look for deals and sales. Heck…I shop at Goodwill. I get all of my t-shirts there. But what I won’t skimp on is my shoes. They are where the rubber hits the road, and I want to take care of my feet. I’ve been training recently in a pair of Brooks Cascadia 7 trail running shoes. I’ll be posting a user review soon, but wanted to give you a sneak peek on my thoughts now. I’m really starting to love Brooks for one specific reason, they are customer focused. They specialize in running, but shoes are shoes. And I don’t run, I walk and I hike. Bad knees and all. The Cascadia 7 shoes are great for the trail. They are light, breathable and offer a ton of grip. I never worry about my footing while wearing my Brooks. I’ll be keeping my eye on what more they have to offer. And their motto is “Run Happy” – How cool is that? Their website has some fun videos and resources as well. Check them out – Brooks Running.
Whether you invest in Brooks, Nike, Reebok or some other shoe, take care of your feet. They are a vital part of your health. 🙂
Now, some serious motivation.
As I mentioned before, I’m here as a FREE resource to cheer you. 100%. But you have to make the effort to reach out and let me know what you’re thinking. I can’t do it for you. After all I’m here and you’re there, wherever there is. I’m willing to take the time to read what you have to say and offer my thoughts, opinions and help in any way I can to keep you energized about fulfilling your goals. I’m not the end-all/be-all, but I’m something. Unless of course you don’t reach out. Then I’m useless to you. Just remember, you can’t complain that nobody is cheering you on if you keep everyone in the dark about what you’re trying to do. Teamwork, baby. Teamwork.
Life is balance. You can have dark without light. Cold without warm. Peanut butter without jelly…well, okay, but you get my point. Life is balance. What does that mean? It means you can’t have success without failure. What I’m trying to tell you, is that at some point during your journey to better health and fitness, you’re going to fail. Failure isn’t failure unless you give up. Failure is just Mother Nature’s way of telling you that you’re not ready yet. Add failure to the list of excuses you aren’t exercising but it won’t fly.
Honestly, there isn’t anything special about the people who turn their health and fitness goals into reality every day. It isn’t like they’re doing something you and I can’t. Except not quitting.
Let’s put this in to perspective. We’re not professional athletes, and failure is actually a good thing. We can break up our fitness during the day (instead of doing it all at once) and there are countless resources to help us that don’t cost anything. So, what are we waiting for?
I wish you happiness, success and balance!
Nearly two years ago I lost thirty pounds. My life has changed dramatically, in more than a few ways, and well…I gained back almost ten pounds. But I’m back to working on strength training, cardio exercises and losing a little more weight. As I write this I’ve already lost the weight I gained over the holidays. I don’t want this post to be any longer than it already is, so I’ll offer you this. Sign up to receive a copy of this post as reference tool and I’ll also email you a personal letter detailing my steps to getting fit and losing weight. Maybe they’ll work for you, maybe they won’t. But hey, it’s another free resource for you to consider.