This article written by Next Level owner Colby Schreckengost, was published in the August 2014 issue of the Haymarket Lifestyle magazine.
Just over a month ago a 55 year-old man came into our facility for a fitness evaluation. We do them for every new client so that we can assess their overall fitness level, determine physical limitations, learn about their diet, and take them through a short workout session. As we began to discuss his medical history, he revealed to me, “My doctor told me that I have entered the beginning stages of Type II Diabetes and he put me on medication. I’m already on meds for my high blood pressure and high cholesterol.” He went on to say that he now weighs more than he ever has in his life, and he feels awful. He’s only 55!
Does he remind you of someone you know? Maybe even yourself? Do you feel like you are “circling the drain”? Unfortunately, in this day and time this is becoming the norm. Middle aged people are eating, drinking and smoking their way to a shorter life or a more restricted lifestyle at alarming rates. Here are some eye-opening statistics on obesity in the United States from the CDC website.
-More than one-third (34.9%) of all adults are obese.
-Men aged 40–59 had a higher prevalence of obesity (39.4%) than did men aged 20–39 (29.0%) and men aged 60 and over (32.0%).
-Among women, the prevalence of obesity did not differ between those aged 40–59 and 60 and over (39.5% compared with 38.1%).
No doubt, you already know obesity CAN KILL YOU. It’s strongly linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, diabetes mellitus, and even certain cancers, e.g. colon, breast, and prostate cancer. Not to mention, arthritis and other orthopedic complications, depression, and poor quality of life.
Yet, we continue to shut those scary statistics out. We continue with our current lifestyle and find every excuse there is to not do something about it. If you have an excuse, I’ve heard it. I’ve listed the most common below – do you find your excuse there?
· I’m fine the way I am, I want to enjoy my life and not deny myself those pleasures! Getting healthy and staying active will not only deliver you freedom and happiness, it will give more time and energy to enjoy your family, travel, and be more productive at work. A healthier you will emerge if you follow the “80%-20% rule”! Most of the time, exercise regularly and eat healthy; every now and then eat a piece of cheesecake and splurge. Many of our most successful clients find it easiest to plan and look forward to a Friday or Saturday “Cheat Night,” where they dine out, enjoy their favorite beverage and indulge in a dessert. The key is to make those indulgences the exception instead of the rule.
· I’m too old: It’s never too late to start. Did you know we have a dozen clients between 62 and 71? They participate, at their own pace, in the same workouts the rest of our clientele does. They lift weights, they run, and they jump. You would be amazed at what you can accomplish! I know it’s hard getting some older adults to exercise – I couldn’t convince my very own father to exercise and eat healthier until about age 70. He turns 76 this month and is healthier than he was when he was 65! Just make sure that when you are considering gyms to join that they offer thorough evaluations and can provide any extra instruction/support you might need to get started.
· “I don’t have the time!” There is no doubt that we are all busy. We have more demands on our time than our parents had. The fact is, you have to prioritize where and when you spend your time. How much of that time is spent on the couch in front of the TV, or scanning through Facebook on your tablet? Think about it this way: If you exercise 4 hours per week; that’s only 2% of the hours in a week. Isn’t it worth it to invest 4 hours per week in yourself to ensure that you’re healthy and mobile when you’re in your 70’s and 80’s?
· I can’t afford it! It’s really not an excuse; it’s a choice! We’ve found a way to afford multiple computers, TVs, tablets and smart phones in our homes. Most people spend between $400 and $700 per month on a monthly car payment. You’ll invest hundreds of dollars in those “must haves,” but you can’t invest in your health? You can choose to prioritize your health when it comes to your budget, can’t you? Think about it this way. How long will that new car last? Less than 10 years, and for most, it’s on to the new one in four because you tire of the model or see something nicer. You can’t get a new body when you tire of it, or it wears out. It has to last 70, 80, or 90+ years! There is no better way to invest your money than in your health. Plus, there are plenty of activities that you can do that don’t cost a thing (biking, walking, jogging, push-ups to name a few.)
· “I have a lot of injuries!” Think about the special Olympians or our war veterans that continue to exercise after losing a limb or experience a life altering injury. You can find a professional trainer to help you work around your injuries. Many of our clients have existing injuries and our trainers are there to provide them with alternative exercises to accommodate their needs. There is always something you can do, you just have to ask!
· My kids get all of my disposable income and time! We have so many kids that come in to our athlete training, and parents often sit and watch the workouts. Ironically, we have adult classes going on at the same time! Kids will be more likely to make exercise a lifelong habit if they see you exercising and committing the time to a better lifestyle. If you don’t take care of yourself you may not live to see your children graduate from college or have the opportunity to spoil your grandkids.
· My diet is not that bad! “My husband eats and drinks anything he wants and he’s skinny as a rail; all I have to do is look at a donut and I gain 10 pounds.” Everyone is different and their body reacts to certain foods and training programs differently. The key is figuring out what works for you! The best plan is to avoid fast food, processed foods, and foods that are high in empty carbohydrates. Many gyms offer nutritional coaching, so you might want to consider a gym that meets both your workout and nutritional coaching needs.
· I hate exercise and going to gyms! The key is finding a way to move more. Gyms aren’t for everyone, though for most people it’s a matter of finding the right gym and the right program at that gym. People work better in packs! You’ll find that by working out in “packs” that you’ll be more motivated and more likely to keep yourself coming back. So, find your pack, its’ out there. Consider a gym that offers group coaching. Group Coaching is led by a coach that not only demonstrates the exercises (which you do at your pace using weights and forms appropriate for your personal needs), but also helps you throughout the session by correcting your form in order to maximize your results. Group classes are led by an instructor and you follow what the instructor does as the instructor’s pace. Beyond the obvious differences, we find that our Group Training members share a lot of camaraderie and they really support each other. The main thing is, don’t give up! Keep trying different facilities or activities until you find something you like; but not the local donut shop!
· Eating healthy is too expensive and takes too much time! No doubt, you have to work harder to create healthier eating habits. You also have to think and plan more. It has been proven that you can eat healthy on a budget. You don’t have to go organic; but eating more fruits and vegetables won’t break the bank, you just have to shop more often and make sure that you are consuming the fresh food. Keep working at it. It might just pay-off by lowering your medical bills.
· Eating healthy is boring! YEP! It sure is – if you keep cooking the same foods the same way over and over again! There are numerous websites that post healthy, gluten-free, delicious recipes. Try enlisting other family members to find recipes that appeal to them and cook together. Staying consistent with healthy nutrition is the key to fat-loss and great health. Eat plenty of salads, eggs, chicken, salmon, Greek yogurt, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale and fruit and smoothies. Keep plenty of these foods in your home. Stay away from the breads and the pastas except on special occasions.
Final thoughts and advice:
1. Move more, Eat Less!
2. Seek a professional for help; you wouldn’t trust an auto mechanic to do your taxes would you?
3. Tell everybody about your goals and create some accountability partners amongst your workout buddies and lunch friends and at home with your family.
4. Drop the excuses! They’re like opinions, everybody has them and most of them stink!
5. Your body carries your spirit! You’d better care for it!
6. The time is NOW! Don’t wait until the end of the year when you’re making your New Year’s Resolution. Every week, every day, every hour that goes by is a wasted opportunity. LET’S GO!
You’re probably wondering what happened to that 55-year old man I mentioned at the beginning of this article. I am happy to report following his evaluation; he began a 3-day per week training program with us accompanied by walking on his off days and incorporating our healthy eating strategies. So far he has safely and smartly lost 17 pounds in 4 weeks. He feels great and you can see it in his face and the way that he is carries himself. People like him are why I do what I do for a living!
Colby Schreckengost is owner/director of training at Next Level Fitness & Performance in Haymarket, which specializes in Sports Performance for Athletes and Life-Changing Body Transformation for Adults. Next Level trains over 600 athletes per year from beginners to professionals and over 300 adult clients. Colby holds a BS and MS and is a former strength and conditioning coach at the University of Tulsa. He is a certified personal trainer and Sports Nutritionist. He also holds certifications with the Titleist Performance Institute and is a certified Functional Movement Screen Specialist. For more information on getting started at Next Level, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.754.0161.