This Body Holding Me….

Happy Wednesday Friends,

This post might end up being a bit of a rant. I will have good intentions in my heart as I write it, but you must know that I am actually quite frustrated. Please bear with me though, because you may learn something, or I may write something you find provocative, and then you can drop me a comment and we can start a conversation. As the title of this post suggests, the topic today will be our bodies.

I recently read a news story from November 2009 that says more than one third of Americans age 17-24 are unfit fors military service because of physical and medical fitness related issues. My favorite quote from the article comes from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who says, “Young American’s lack of overall fitness for military duty is a national security threat”.  Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t that disgusting? In a different paragraph, a Pentagon official derides these potential recruits for not being able to do pushups, pullups, or possessing the ability to run. Essentially, this means that if the United States were to be physically invaded by  members of some rogue, terrorist nation,  a significant portion of the general population would not be able to defend themselves. Scary, right?

(When this goes down, it is not going to be pretty.)

In a time when an incredible  amount of technology is employed everyday to make our lives “easier”, the vast majority of Americans can’t even find the will or desire within themselves to take care of the only “thing” they really ever have in this world; a physical body. If they can’t even understand how their body works, if they  don’t know how to maintain a healthy, functioning, balanced self, what difference does anything else make? At this point, I don’t want to hear anything about people not knowing how to take care of themselves; ignorance will no longer be considered a good excuse. There are libraries in every city and the Internet is widely available. We have unprecedented access to all different kinds of nutritional information, and advertisers and marketing agents  have gone so far as to actually put warning labels on the crap that can kill you. Yet, an overwhelmingly large portion of people still choose to make unhealthy, deadly decisions.

But I digress. These are general, blanket statements, and they don’t apply to everyone. I know a few people (hello, Crossfit Woodstock!) who make a conscious effort to live well and be healthy and fit. I know a few people who make an effort every day to test the physical limits of their bodies, to increase their level of fitness, and experience a more fulfilling lifestyle because of their effort. I even know a few people who make a conscious effort to push their bodies beyond conventional limits, to achieve superhuman and fantastic feats, just because they believe they can. These people train safe, play hard, eat well and THRIVE!  But, these type are a small minority, and that fact frustrates me.

Think about this: our bodies are the only faculty we possess for registering experience. How we react to, and interact with, the world around us is directly determined by the quality of our experience, and the quality of our experience is directly related to our levels of health and fitness.  If you feel like crap, you will probably behave like crap, and your general level of fulfillment will be crappy!

This is where I see the Living Revolution evolving. I want to be part of changing how people view their bodies, how people use their bodies, and how people think about health and fitness. I want to give people the tools and knowledge to improve their overall quality of life, one rep at a time. I want to teach people how to eat well, train safely, and play hard. I want to teach people to love their bodies, to care for their bodies, and to use their bodies in the most optimal way possible. Want to come with me?

What kind of “body” are you? How do you incorporate physical fitness into your everyday life? What is your favorite way to test the physical capacity of your body? There are so many conversations that could come out of this topic!! Drop me a comment and let me know. Until next time…

Peace.Tobias.

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8 thoughts on “This Body Holding Me….

  1. I am one of those lucky people that really craves exercise. I don’t just do it because I think it’s important to take care of my body; I don’t just do it because I enjoy it. I do it because I feel like crap when I don’t.

    That doesn’t mean it’s easy. These days I’m getting my lazy ass out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to get to the gym before work. I do things that hurt, and sacrifice in other areas of my life to make my workout routines happen.

    So if it’s hard for me – and I am naturally driven to make it happen – it must be incredibly difficult for other people. Most everyone would agree that it’s a good thing to do, but we need to be really motivated when life gets in the way of healthy choices.

    My motivation is to have some fun and not feel like crap. What motivates people for whom exercise is a chore??

    • Thanks for your input, Debbie :). I think having fun and not feeling like crap are excellent motivators, and I agree with you that many people just don’t have that motivation in their lives. Finding ways to convince people to take care of themselves seems like a silly thing to do, but how else are we going to make this world a better place? I think showing people the example you set, and showing them how awesome it feels to be able to do whatever you want to do, and not worry about injury or pain, is the best idea. Keep up your hard work in the gym, and keep setting a great example for women who aren’t yet on your level, but want to be! Thanks for reading my words and thank you for participating in the Living Revolution!

      Peace.Tobias.

  2. Thanks Tobias this is a great post.

    I have to admit I am one of those americans who has let myself go and not care. Why don’t I care? Because it’s hard work and I am lazy. This isn’t always the case about me but for the most part, I struggle with the mind over matter concept. It is a fight that I am not willing to give up on and will CONSTANTLY get back up and fight, no matter if it takes me the rest of this life.

    I wrote this blog quiet a long time ago and thought you might enjoy:

    Socially Acceptable vs. Socially Encouraged

    Being overweight is socially acceptable. Eating too much is socially acceptable. Watching hours of TV a night is socially acceptable. Being out of shape is socially acceptable. Eating fast food is socially acceptable.

    Being slim is socially encouraged. Eating healthy is socially encouraged. Going to the gym is socially encouraged. Being fit is socially encouraged. Ordering a salad at dinner is socially encouraged.

    If being unhealthy is socially acceptable and being in good physical shape is encouraged. Why do we (in our minds and actions) do what is only acceptable and not encouraged?

    Lets look at a few words that just struck me this morning:

    *Unhealthy* = harmful, detrimental, injurious, damaging, bad for you, insanitary, and unwholesome.
    *Healthy* = fit, well, strong, in good physical shape, hale and hearty.
    *Unfit* = out of shape, flabby, in poor condition, ailing, weak, and out of condition.
    *Fit* = healthy, robust, well, in shape, vigorous, athletic, and on top form.
    *Acceptable* = satisfactory, suitable, good enough, up to standard, tolerable, and all right.
    *Encouraged* = confident, expectant, positive, and buoyant.

    Do I want to be harmful or damaging? No. *I want to be strong, hale and hearty.*
    Do I want to be flabby and ailing? No. *I want to be robust and vigorous.*
    Do I want to just be good enough or suitable? No. *I want to be confident and positive.*

    If what I want is not compatible with social acceptability, why do I convince myself in the face of temptation that socially acceptability is equal to my desires and dreams? When that couldn’t be farther from the truth of my heart.

    • Beth,

      Thank you so much for posting this! I appreciate your openness, and for sharing your personal experience on this public forum. I agree with you that it is a daily (and sometimes minute-to-minute) decision whether to live a healthy lifestyle or to “let yourself go”. Personal responsibility and accountability play a part in making healthy choices, but what helps even more is the support of people who care about you, and want you to be the healthiest version of you. With the support of strong, active, inspirational tribe, there are no limits to what you can achieve. That is what is great about being a part of Crossfit Woodstock, and developing healthy relationships with other people who are engaged in struggles similar to yours: we can lean on each other, and work to undo the stigma of “socially acceptable” and create positive, effective behaviors that will manifest healthy, happy people. I look forward to continuing this journey with you, and I am excited to find out what we can learn from each other. Thank you so much for reading my words, and thank you for participating in the Living Revolution!

      Peace.Tobias.

  3. Tobias–

    I really admire your drive to get people to engage in their own well-being, and take advantage of the fact that– yes, they are alive. The fact that so many of us feel no urgency about that fact is sad, if not frightening.

    I recently made a list of 1-year and 5-year goals for myself, and one of them was to return to a level of fitness I consider “elite.” And I have to give you quite a bit of credit for this, but I believe I’ve found a path that will help me achieve that goal within a short timeframe. What’s more, I’m starting to interact with a community that takes fitness, vigor, body-mind connection, and other factors relating to THRIVING very seriously. Meaning it’s a lifestyle change, not just a short term goal. Your work– it’s already working. And I’m excited to be a part of it.

    Cheers my friend, and to everyone else who digs what this guy has to say.

    –Mat

    • Mat,

      You have already made significant gains at Crossfit Woodstock, and it makes me happy to see you work hard every morning! Thriving, not just surviving, is what I am trying to inspire people to do, and it all gets a whole lot easier when we are surrounded by others who are striving toward similar goals. I agree that it is a lifestyle change, and indeed, it will be something that consumes you because it is something that you must work at, in some capacity, on a daily basis. Not enough people realize that this mentality of THRIVING must extend to all aspects of life, not just health, fitness and wellness, but I think you are one of the few who “gets it”. I am proud to be on this journey with you, and I appreciate the work ethic and positive energy you bring to the gym every day :). Thank you for sharing your input, and for reading my words, and most importantly, for participating in the Living Revolution!

      Peace.Tobias.

  4. I dig the post, and agree that the Self that people invest in is translated into the social sphere, for sure. I’m not fat I’m skinny, and I go back and forth, from feeling strong and coordinated with physical training that I enjoy, to the opposite, fatigue and aching from playing with my daughter(should be fun). From focussing on goal and enjoying the pursuit of accomplishment while working to balance that mind-body chi, to the dumps with poor sleep and malignant anxieties just hanging-out in whatever form. When the dumps come I need to step over them and continue to listen to that interconnection, remembering to smile at what I’m after, untimately me, and me angaging you with better energy, so more you too. When I don’t do this I loose weight fast, focus less and (I hate to admit it) show my girl and people, and life in general, a less than badass dad/person/respect. I see this of myself and know it’s a choice that I’m in control of but still, there I am, uncomfortable and stressed-out. I use to have a hard time accepting how some could become so disadvantaged by choice(obesity, disabling obsessions with mirrors, actors for who they choose to follow) but accept that people will always transition into someone new, it’s just up to them with what messure of balls, or vaginas, they choose to push the envelope and watch it bend. I like your encouragement for folks to activate themselves toward fulfillment, by toning how they register experience. I personally get frustrated by workouts that suck, but the knowledge of what it is that I’m engaging: a mind-body potential that extends beyond me, that I control and value, because it’s worth more than the physical action I test it with, is an extremely valuable thing to me. Daily its valuable, and can see myself get weak beyond the physical when I don’t make the effort to coordinate and show some respect to what I depend on and expect a lot out of. This idea could spiral out into perceptions of how much time we have and vitality we charge everyday and eachother with. Like a dead limb before it pines away from lack of use, minds and our experience of life receives the same deal. Choose what it takes to step into the life I need, to feel alive, or give it to my shadow? Your encouragement helps prevent lethargy and instead of wearing the crutch like a crown, I feel your calls to celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing 🙂

  5. Tobias I just love you! Thank you and to others for being transparent and interested in living a life of fitness fulfillment and possibly an extraordinary life at that!

    For me, using my body and my mind in the fitness arena keeps me in the game of life. It is the thread that holds me together. No it isn’t easy, no I don’t always like it and quite often I have to listen to the choir of voices in my head that say “you don’t have to do this”…. but I recognize the actions that I need to take in order to feel extraordinarily alive!!

    I look at it this way: we are all kinda schizophrenic in the head and at any given moment, amidst the onslaught of voices, we have to choose what we think, say and do. I have accept all of these voices, but the more I can listen to the impeccable ones the quieter the negative ones get. Eventually negative/destructive voices go away as I have witnessed…but I am not fooled, I know they are lurking.

    As a personal trainer /instructor, I can tell you this: when people feel important, when they are encouraged, when they are believed in, when they are pushed beyond what they think they are capable of ….they “get” how fitness/health can change their quality of life!!

    Let the conversation continue and community of support grow….♥

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