My love for animals was certainly born during this time of my life. Anyway, I have a generally hard time with meeting people, mainly because I love alone time. I like just sitting back in my chair and relaxing, or just listening to music loudly with no one around. It’s a habit I still contend with to this day. Up to this point in my life, I now believe one of the biggest reasons why I became overweight is not just food, but my inability to establish healthy relationships with other people. You see, the old term “Birds of a feather flock together” isn’t just some silly proverb from the old times days, it is a pretty legitimate trope about life itself. If you drink and do a lot of drugs with people that do the same, then it’s going to be pretty hard to lose those particular habits. If you hang around only people that follow one particular creed or political affiliation, then you are pretty much never going to see the other side of the coin (unless you are so arrogant that you disregard it otherwise). Fitness is no different than any other habit, and there has been a couple times in my life where I had the opportunity to change my life but failed to take the next step.
In high school, a few of the guys on the basketball team noticed I had a pretty good shot, even though my ball handling skills were putrid. Either way, they must have mentioned it to somebody because I actually got called in to the dean’s office (which I visited only twice in my entire school career) and they asked me if I wanted to play with the school’s summer league. Since my high school had a really competitive program and the guys on the team were the cream of the crop, I thought it would be a good way to finish out my final two years in high school. But I got injured, and even though the guys on the team still respected me, I never made an effort to be friends. I instead went into journalism where I met one of the best people (not just teachers) in Dave Cosgrove, who helped shape a love for journalism and writing. I still regret not seeing him before he died a couple years ago, but I was still a broken person mentally, afraid to reveal the overweight and listless person to people that once knew me. I had another chance to make some “fitness” friends in college when I would routinely play basketball at the University of Arizona recreation center. Since I was one of the guys that showed up early, I kind of developed a little rapport with a group of players that liked showing up early so they can get more court time and play. Unlike the guys that would show up later in the afternoon and early evening, who played to show off, we just played because it was fun and wanted stay in shape. I should have made an effort, because they all appreciated my efforts even though I was the most out of shape out of all of them (at least in terms of having a soft body). I ultimately stopped playing when I got a job and started the long winding road to being out of shape and overweight. What I’m getting at here is the idea of connectivity, creating bonds with people for the expressed reasons of maintaining a fit and healthy life. In the past, I always pushed that mentality aside, merely due to the “loner” mentality I had in my mind that worked so well for me for so long. I touched on the subject once before, illustrating how important it is to have a like-minded partner in marriage when it comes to health and fitness. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2014/03/love-and-fitness-good-combo-workout.html
Since it is pretty hard to find a good vegan woman that is into weights and running and competing in events like half marathons and eventually triathlons (when I get a bike!), I got to find other ways to help myself stay on task. One thing that certainly helps me is the fact I have Jon to help guide me down the path (and in some instances, Christa as well). Now I know personal training is an expensive endeavor, one filled with empty pockets and sore muscles, but one thing that continues to come to light is the need for human connection. Humans in general are a social being, so the divisions that are created in society are self-inflicted wounds created by class, religion, race and politics. Having that physical presence there to help push me along has been pretty essential in my body reformation. Truthfully, I don’t know where I would be if Jon and Christa didn’t make the extra efforts to push me along the path of health and fitness. Without them, I wouldn't have the people that are asking me to run at six in the morning on a Saturday (which I didn’t do because I was up late with my family the previous night). Without them, my first half marathon would be the one in Oro Valley in a couple months rather than the spectacularly viewed Lake Powell half I did last year (my car would have never made it to Page, Arizona). Without them, I might have no reason to go to the gym. It’s good having those kind of people around to keep me moving forward, and I say this due to a good article about virtual personal training. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/10782652/Does-online-personal-training-work.html
It’s a pretty big social phenomenon right now. Hire a personal trainer from afar and get the professional advice you need for a fraction of the cost! Easy right? Now I think this is kind of a cool idea, but you have to be the right kind of person to do this. You have to be a self-motivating individual that is good at setting goals and precedents in a singular fashion. This is where I believe the phenomenon will be a large failure. I know, I am much different than most people in this world, but one thing I do have perspective about is the mind of a stubborn overweight person that thinks they can flip a switch and start losing weight (which is probably a majority of the overweight people). It’s just not that easy. Telling yourself to turn on an app on your phone and go through with the instructions of a person from a distance is like waking up at the sound of your alarm when it first goes. You might hit the snooze button a few times, and eventually you just sleep in. When you look at the pros and cons of online personal training, the positives always seem to be more mentally motivated. You have someone to encourage you along the way. You have an expert giving you advice on what to do. It’s less expensive. But then you see the negatives, and that is when the real world applications of fitness and having someone next to you come to light. Your progress is hard to measure from a tangible standpoint. It’s difficult to correct motion. And one that wasn’t mentioned…. the person being trained can easily blow it off because the commitment is not in reality. I think this is why I try to avoid fitness apps so much, even though they are the next big trend and they are already filling up the internet with reviews and social media. But that seems to be the extent of the study, for the social aspect seems to be outweighing the actual “gains” aspect. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/21/health-fitness-apps_n_6510940.html
According to the research, most fitness apps seem to focus heavily on providing support for the whole ordeal of “exercising.” With all of the connectivity to social media platforms, fitness apps make it easy for someone to show off their workout regimen, drawing praise from people for that they do. But this is where the language becomes kind of murky in regards to the study. While you are getting support for doing that one-hour run and that 30-minute Spinning session, there is no conclusive proof that promoting these workouts to the general public is really changing the health of the person. Behavior and attitudes toward fitness is an interesting part of the process, for you can boast about doing all of the work you put in the gym, but if you are only doing it because you think it will counteract all of the pizza you eat, it might not produce the results you need to succeed. One thing I have gotten used to in regards to my own social media connectivity is the fact no one likes my posts anymore. While it might be some people are getting annoyed by me doing that, it might also be because I have changed expectations around me, that me running six miles or doing a one-hour workout followed up with a short three-mile run is no longer a surprise or praise worthy, but an expectation. People have gotten so used to me posting this stuff, it would take something unique to really garner some attention (at least that is what I have told myself to think, for it may be people are just tired of seeing the posts, hehe). So without this digital validation, I have to continue to rely in the real world validation.
The best remedy to a good workout regimen is desire and commitment, but it still helps to have a good influence along for the ride. http://www.today.com/health/workout-partner-boosts-calorie-burn-5-traits-great-fitness-match-2D80438710 I think this is why I am thankful to have Jon around, mainly because I am not too far behind him in regards to some workouts (while I am way behind on others, hehe). I like running with real people like my friend Jaime, having a chance to gauge my ability and have a little competition in that respect. I’m starting to get into hiking these days, even though the idea of traveling some place to walk up a mountain when I could just walk around my neighborhood is free is still something new to me. But then again, I am an anomaly in this world of ours, where I believe the real world needs to keep the online world in its place (hence why I want to actually meet some of my Facebook friends this year). I think this is why it remains an important mantra in my life to find like-minded people on our path to what we want to be, even if it is for that expressed purpose. The alternative of bad health and chemical dependence of antibiotics is something I’m not terribly interested in. Even though I’m much more disciplined in regards to self motivation, it is still pretty cool to have that workout friend next to you, telling you to push it and convincing you to dead lift 225 pounds 50 times as opposed to 205. Fitness apps and virtual training are good for some people, but I like the real thing.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.