Your Health and the Holidays

Let’s get real, folks.  The holidays are a hard time for fitness and nutrition.   It’s so easy to give up on taking care of yourself during this time, with all the obligations of family and the pressure to make things perfect for our own families during this time of the year.  We say, “Let me just get through the holidays and then I’ll do it in the New Year!”

The New Year is a big time for the fitness industry because everyone decides that they will make a change later, after all the craziness subsides.  But it’s important to start building those good habits and intentions now.  This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  Why not set yourself up for success in the New Year by starting now?

Nobody’s perfect with nutrition around the holidays.  There is SO much temptation.  But cheat days are a necessary thing, and the actual holiday is the ultimate cheat day.  But it doesn’t have to be that way for all of November and December.  Start making good choices now for the rest of the days.

Nourish your body with lean meats, fruits, and vegetables.  Start moving your body.  Join a gym, sign up for personal training, start the work now and set yourself up for success in the New Year.  If your health is a priority, then TAKE the time for yourself.  You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

 

The Benefits of Weight Loss

HeroFit provides personal training services for anyone at any stage in their quest for fitness. But because of my own journey, I specialize in helping those who are starting from level zero. At my heaviest, I weighed in at 320 pounds on a 5’8″ frame. In this post, I wanted to share my experiences in leveling up as I began to get healthy.

In my own experience, there was a mental cause for allowing myself to get to an extremely deconditioned state, not to say that there are not hormonal and other physical health issues that cause excessive weight gain. The mental health issues can be depression and/or anxiety, such as in my case, or physical health issues such as injuries, disease, or surgeries (which also affect mental health) and many other causes. For me personally, I was in an unhappy marriage. That marriage ended, and I had limited experience with therapy. I am a very private person, and the idea of unloading my problems on a complete stranger has never appealed to me. I have come around on that since then, and encourage anyone with mental health issues to seek professional help. I am on anxiety medication now, which has improved my quality of life.

That being said, exercise was a huge help for me. At 320 pounds, my first experience with regular exercise was walking. I had to move back in with my parents for a few months after the separation, and they live at the bottom of a very steep hill. Just beginning with walking started my journey, and with obese clients like myself at that time, sometimes that is the best you can do. At HeroFit, we start with that. The treadmill, or elliptical machine, is a great start for cardio for obese clients.

“Obese” is an emotionally charged word. You have to look at it as a medical definition. It’s clinical, without judgement. Although, obese people certainly face judgement in our culture. Even some medical doctors dismiss you if you don’t fit into the medical definition of the correct weight for your height. I am currently 193 pounds, but at my height on their charts I am overweight, no matter the amount of lean muscle mass I’ve achieved. When I was obese, I felt invisible. People’s eyes just seem to slide off of you.

If you join the HeroFit family, you will NOT feel that way. If you come to me, you know you need to make a change. I’m not going to beat you over the head with that, because I’ve BEEN there. I know how hard this journey is. I did the research in my own quest to be the best version of myself, for my family. In forming this business, I furthered my education to get certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Let me share that knowledge with you. Look folks, this is a part-time gig for me, a passion. I’m not trying to make a shit-ton of money here. I just want to help. Help me help you!

Let me tell you about the things I noticed as my body started changing.

1) I didn’t have to park further away from other vehicles to squeeze my body out of the door of my car.
2) Healthy food actually tastes amazing, if you take the time to learn about using herbs and spices to flavor it. More blog posts to come with healthy recipes! The trick is substituting healthier ingredients.
3) I love to hike, and I love the outdoors. Even if I wan’t quite at the aesthetic look I wanted, it didn’t take long before I could reach the peak of any mountain trail I attempted to enjoy the view. And I was able to reach the peak with my wife and little girl, who both love the outdoors.
4) I have been performing in community and professional theatres in the Metro-Atlanta area for years. The first time I realized I could do things like standing up from the stage without difficulty, or doing dance or fight choreography without running out of breath, it was a whole new world for me!
5) I always wanted to study martial arts. As you’ve probably guessed from my memberships page, some of my favorite superheros are the street-level guys and gals who are martial artists. Two years ago, I took the plunge to study Kung Fu and now our whole family is studying karate at Premier Martial Arts in Powder Springs.
6) You just have more energy in general. This will help you get out of bed in the morning and give you stamina throughout the day. Whatever your profession, or hobby, or side hustle, the level of productivity you gain cannot be overstated!
7) Oh, and I almost forgot! The first time you travel by air and you don’t need a seatbelt extender! Or you don’t have to try and shrink yourself so you don’t overcrowd the people next to you! That’s huge.

I’m sure I could think of more benefits, but now it’s time for bed. If you want to experience these benefits, drop me an email at GetHeroFit@gmail.com! I can’t wait to help you achieve your goals!

What is a Hero?

This was a big philosophical question for me when the idea for HeroFit was born into my oversized noggin. Here’s my two cents:

I think a hero can only be defined by someone else. A good friend of mine, a drill sergeant in the Army and retired, once told me a hero is a soldier who didn’t come back. Those most people see as heroes in our country, i.e. military, police, first responders; these folks tend to get squirmy when you call them a hero to their face. For them, it is a job they chose in order to serve their country or community.

For me, growing up, my heroes were in popular culture. Movies, novels, and oh, yeah, comic books. Mythology is not just what we learn from old religions, it’s also what we read and watch in our culture today. In all these stories we read about heroes overcoming great odds, making sacrifices to serve others, and the greater good.

My daughter, who is eight, calls me her hero. Even that makes me squirmy, because it’s a big responsibility. It’s something I have to earn, every day. As a father, I think I have to earn that by teaching her along with her Mommy, who is also her hero (and mine too), about this world, about life, about health, and about right and wrong. It’s also about just being present.

I could never claim to be a hero, but if my daughter thinks I am, then I need to earn it. I realized that we can all be everyday heroes to the people in our lives. When I was diagnosed with Diabetes in 2014 it was not unexpected. I had been steadily gaining weight for awhile, and was warned repeatedly that I was pre-diabetic. I have watched several members of my family struggle with the disease for most of my life. But when my A1c results crossed that threshold, that was it. It took three months of poking myself with a needle to decide that I had a choice to make. Yeah the needle sucked, but the idea of not being able to live out my life with this amazing family, nor to see my daughter go to college, or get married, or see my grandkids was what turned me around.

So how does all this fit in with fitness? That is what a personal trainer is all about, isn’t it? Does dieting and exercise make you a hero? No. But the quest to get stronger, to do things you were never able to do before, to live life fully is pretty damn heroic. Physical strength creates mental strength. The mental benefits of exercise to fight depression and relieve stress and anxiety are well-documented. When we have those conditions, it makes it much harder to be present for our loved ones, both mentally and physically. For our employers and our customers. For our churches, communities, and friends. If you can’t make time to care for yourself, you won’t be very good at taking care of anyone else.

I think being a hero is also about sacrifice. There are things you have to sacrifice to lead a healthy life: junk food, time, money for gym memberships and/or personal training. But in the grand scheme of things, these are small sacrifices that lead to great benefits. In my next post I’ll talk more about the benefits I saw in my journey.