Performance v. Health


As children we grow up with athletes projected as the ideal picture of health. We grudgingly eat our vegetables to grow up and be strong like the athlete we admire so. What we are not told, is how unhealthy some of the rigorous training can be. An athlete is trained to handle these rigorous activities and lifestyle habits, via progression over years. However rigorous training on that scale poses many safety concerns for the average American looking to get fit and healthy. In America we look for fast results, as fast results are demanded of us. We assume those who drop weight fast are on the right track to health. While discipline is certainly a worthwhile characteristic to strive toward, when it becomes a controlling force bleeding into other aspects of life (relationships, jobs, etc.) it can be negative. Health is about balance and well-being. When you push your body to do too much too soon, you can end up with injury, illness, and sometimes even death. Don’t freak out because of the “D” word. I have reassurance for you ahead.

Health to me, is defined as the state of overall physical condition and well-being, and is influenced by many factors. Factors influencing health and wellness can include psychological, physiological, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental, occupational, and more. Health has become the target many Americans aim for as preventable diseases have grown in prevalence and been uncovered. So much information is available out there and at the tip of our hands. Too much information. It is easy to get overwhelmed and confused by the excess. It can be frustrating and hard to achieve the results you want. When extreme products/programs/services are offered we jump at the chance to make up for lost time. We are willing to make extreme sacrifices on our bodies for the sake of “health.” All the while we are damaging our bodies, esteem, and future capacity.

When a product or program throws around fancy terms like “performance,” “metabolic,” “fitness,” (the list goes on…and on) we get a moment of excitement. I could become like the athlete I admired as a child in just 20 minutes a day. Maybe I can look just like the model who graced the cover of my favorite teen magazine; I could be the next cover model on Vogue or Shape with the purchase of this product..and become wealthy and find perfection. Suddenly everything looks sunny and even your dog is perfectly dressed and children pristine. It is important to be realistic when setting goals. We all know that many of the people gracing the cover of products are photo-shopped and still secretly hold the image as realistic, even expected. Stop it! Where have I heard that before? 😉

Any change worth the emotional, financial, time efforts we throw at it should be effective and a step towards something better. Our expectations need to be readjusted. Be willing to take the path less traveled. It only seems daunting because we choose to see it that way. What about enjoying the ride? Remember as a child how you dreamed of being grown up and in a profession you loved. Now there are days, where at least I wish I could be 5 again at Grandma’s. Sometimes there is fulfillment and adventure in the journey to a healthier you. You discover you have more guts than you thought you did. You can do that pretzel yoga move. It is not impossible for you. Yes, YOU! It may take time to work out bugs and navigate barriers, but it is worth it. In the end you will build confidence, reduce stress, have more energy, and find new things you enjoy and can enjoy for life. These are benefits you cannot accomplish by racing to get to the finished product. You will either get burnt out, injured, or bored. Don’t rush through even a workout. Take time and think about your form and progress. Calm your mind from all the racing it has done. You can maybe work through one problem as you are working out, but remember this should be a time to relieve stress.

Some workouts push you to your true max and provide for great strength gains. Those workouts are not healthy to do every day. You have to build a foundation of health and grow from there. A strong sturdy building has an excellent foundation. True health should not mean injury after injury. Anything we do poses risks for injury, but there are things you can do to mitigate them. When you have a good foundation of strength you can then move on to more complicated moves. The progression continues as you challenge your body in new ways. When your muscles are not all being trained equally, your risk for injury or worse goes up drastically.

It may not be flashy, but slow and steady wins the race. Why did our grandparents share the tale of the tortoise and the hare? There is a reason flashes are impressive and die quickly. Be a growing fire that burns for good. Enjoy the journey to getting healthy and don’t be afraid of taking baby steps or reasonable leaps. Speak with a professional and see what is right for you. Bring a friend along and take the road together and spread the word: It’s okay if I am not Alex Morgan or Michael Phelps. I am me. No one else can do what I am here to do, and I can be fit and healthy one day at a time.


Health = Wealth


So often we associate healthful living with a high price tag. Just the thought of paying for another gym membership, gear, healthy food, and so on can have us racking up numbers fast. Whatever motivation we had to change is going, going, gone. Well I am here to remove some of those barriers. Being healthy can shrink your bottom line and your waistline.

You do not need to have a gym membership to get healthy. You can join a class, as many local schools and churches offer them for only $5 a session. You don’t pay if you don’t go. You can always hire a personal trainer to visit you once in a while to create a program at home with what you have. At-home equipment can be inexpensive. Cardio can be as cheap as a pair of running shoes, dancing video game, or a $10 fitness video. Just keep moving. Strength training can be inexpensive too. Use your own body weight to lift and lower. You can use household products as weights (cans of soup, milk jugs, kids,  etc.). Be creative.

Making your free-time activities (as rare as they may seem) more about actually being active can save you money. Just think about the cost of a movie-night out. The toll can quickly turn into $25 a person if you get a small snack and drink. That doesn’t account for dinner. If you replace every 2 normal movie-night outs with watching the sunset as you walk at the park, heading up to a local gym for a round of racquetball (guest passes are usually available cheap),  stay in for a dance-a-thon, or play kinect/ Wii U active games against your buddies you could save quite a bit over the span of a year. Obstacle races are becoming popular, why not make your own mini-version? Imagination doesn’t have to be left in the school yard. Maybe even have a yoga night at home where you eat a light Indian dish and try new poses. Get creative and make sure it is something you will actually enjoy.

When it comes to healthy eating, it can seem impossible to cut costs. We all have heard that organic is healthier for you. The costs at the store can make your wallet want to duck and cover sometimes. There are good deals, and knowing where to get them is key. First you prioritize what is most important to buy organic. The fruits and veggies with a thin layer of skin are usually the top of the list. Plan some of your meals to be vegetarian to help lower costs elsewhere. You can also compare store prices against local farmers markets. Meat sources can be expensive and full of hormones, so limiting their amounts can help you cut costs. Try to make some dishes that normally call for cheese without it. Let the natural flavors shine. Take one white sugar product out a week and replace it with something fresh. Look in your pantry and see what you already have. Try to plan some meals with those items.

There are ways being healthy may seem to cost more upfront. In the end though investing in your health saves on other costs. Think about how many times you have to buy bigger clothes to accommodate your bigger size. After shopping you may go eat something to make you “feel better” and not cook what you already had planned. Then there are the medications, tests, and surgeries that you have to help pay for because of the symptoms of your lifestyle. They quickly add up! Also think about long-term care when you age. You can either have something to give those you love or need it to care for yourself. Without realizing it, you have robbed yourself and the people you care about of the best you there is. You are pretty stinking great, so don’t do that. 

   Fat-laden meals,  self-defeated attitudes, harmful relationships, sedentary lifestyles, stressful jobs will catch up with you eventually. Learning to limit or even eradicate these things from your life can improve your quality of life so greatly, you will wake up in the morning and go absolutely ape. When you allow these shadows to cloud your true self, it effects your back pocket as well. You can be healthier one choice at a time, and gain back the money you earn one dime at a time.