I am not usually one for ‘inspirational’ quotes, to me, they wear off too quickly it seems. However I have seen this one floating around a bit, and it has resonated.
A bit over 13 years ago I decided to get off my arse and do something about what I looked and felt like. I had had enough of waking up tired, of being lethargic and out of breath after only a few steps, of feeling like shit after eating (well, overeating actually), of drinking far too much alcohol and feeling like crap because of it. I was tired of being tired.
And one of the things I recall I did, only once, was complain. I woke up one morning, came back from the loo and got on the scales. I was horrified, I stood there and looked in the mirror and thought ‘ I am 27, why do I look and feel 57??’ I went in and said to Jodie, ‘I am not happy with me, I need to do something.’ That was my complaint.
That afternoon I started, it was a small step, but I got into it. I walked my dog. To the corner and back. I was puffed, I was red in the face and I was embarrassed. But I got up again the next day and did it again. And day after day I added a little more. I gained momentum as I went.
This is usually where I tell you that you need goals, you need something to motivate you, to keep you going. And yes you do, but this post is different. I changed things, added them in, but the thing mostly was that I actually did something.
I didn’t talk about it and not do it, I didn’t seek out help and not take it up, I didn’t come up with excuses or reasons not to change, I didn’t put things before my own health and self-worth. I made it a priority and I stuck to it, day in and day out.
I am not saying you have to go down the path I did and make health and nutrition your life, but I am saying you have to fucking change something you do if you want to change what you look and feel like. I reckon it might scare the shit out of you if I said to you that in 10 years’ time you will be the same as you are right now. So then if you don’t want to be the same in 10 years, you will have to stop doing things the same, it is simple logic.
Yes I am throwing the Nike slogan at you. You have to get out there and do it.
It will be hard.
Sometimes you will want to stop.
There will be times you think other stuff is more important.
You will want some birthday cake.
Social gatherings will still go on.
You know what though? The world turns regardless of if you exercise and look after yourself or not. When I was growing up I would hear in movies and such that ‘you gotta look out for number 1’, usually uttered by a mob boss or some shady character in the story line. So it gave that negative connotations for me, as it may have for you.
As I have gotten older I realise that it isn’t look out for number one, it is look after yourself. You simply must. If you do not, others will have to in time. If you cannot look after yourself and your health, how can you look after those near and dear to you?
What sort of example are you setting your kids by running yourself ragged and then eating crap and slumping on the lounge every day???
Technologically we are more advanced than we ever have been; we are contactable 24 hours a day. Whatever it is, there’s an app for that. Yet more people are falling ill each and every day to lifestyle related diseases. Heart disease, obesity, some cancers, type II diabetes. The average clothing size for men and women has increased over the last twenty years. And don’t take this the wrong way, I am not trying to fat shame anyone here. But if you are carrying excessive fat reserves, and you are inactive and you eat quite poorly, then you are a major health risk. Yes you are beautiful, yes you can be happy in your skin, but type II diabetes and heart disease gives zero fucks about your happiness in your skin. We need to shake off this old myth that going to the gym and eating well is an exercise in vanity. Exercising and eating well is about being well. You can still carry a bit and be what the old societal norms considered ‘fat’, but you have reduced your risk of dying younger than you should.
For too long to me we have had this perspective that going to the gym is about looking good. Fuck that, it is about preserving yourself to be healthier when you are older, to show your children what it is like to live a healthy happy and fruitful life, to not complain about shit that gets in the way of what you want, to being a better version of yourself day after day after day. All you need to do to better your health is be better than you were yesterday. One more serve of vegies, a piece of fruit instead of a snack bar, a walk instead of lying on the couch watching mind numbing TV, a catch up with a friend instead of sitting home alone, throwing a Frisbee or hitting some golf balls instead of posting pics on Instagram or reading the comment on Facebook.
Get out there and stop letting other things get in the way of your health. I am going to go through some things I have heard as to why people don’t want to start. Now keep in mind this is after almost 10 years in this industry.
I don’t have time. Oh my, the same as the kid at schools the dog ate my homework excuse. We all have the same hours in a day. I see single parents with a full time job and sporting and community commitments make time for themselves to exercise.
I need to do X,Y or Z for my kids. Awesome, allow your kids to let you neglect your health, it will be great when those same kids have to help you bathe and wipe your backside for you.
I have to get fit first. So why on earth would you need my help once you were fit? We help people find their fitness, we don’t all work with elite level athletes, and you don’t change your own oil in your car before sending it to get a service at the mechanics do you?
I am issuing you a bit of tough love here. I have heard all sorts of reasons for not exercising ranging from the ‘ yep I can see how a bout of pneumonia will prevent you from moving right now’ to the, ‘oh but in a weeks’ time I have a night out planned, so I couldn’t possibly start today’ and everything in between. Yes there are things that will prevent you moving, but those reasons are few and far between.
If every time you have thought about starting an exercise program, losing a few kilos, getting in shape for a milestone event like a wedding or reunion, eating better, or just living a healthier life you have prioritised something else over it, and made that excuse, you are going to NEED to do something different to get started to get what you want. And the first thing is stop using excuses to put living healthily down the order of your priorities.
About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Having lost over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. He is also an avid if not tragic St George Illawarra Dragons fan.