Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
July 3, 2019
Okay, so there was a great comedian that could have been one of the best and most admired comedians in the game named Bill Hicks. He died in 1994 at the age of 32 and was pretty well known for his riffing and his ability to make astute observational comedy. He was basically a foul mouthed, more “real” version of Jerry Seinfeld’s cookie cutter style. Anyway, 25 years after the fact, his place in comedy is still discussed in a lot of ways, especially since people are kinda judging him on his misogyny and other non-politically correct stances about drugs. Why do I mention him? Well, he said something that still resonates with me to this day and puts into the grand philosophical question of our day. If we are living a finite life span and due to inaction, our world is degrading, do we really need to stay healthy and exercise? Hicks put it in his style like this, comparing long time lothario Yul Brynner with jogging enthusiast Jim Fixx. The set-up was about a commercial that was made with Brynner AFTER he passed away. “I’m Jim Fixx and I am dead now…and I don’t know what the fuck happened. I jogged every day and ate nothing but tofu every day and I am dead. Yul Brynner smoked and drank and got laid every day of his life and he is dead….shit!” What makes the moment even more ironic, despite Fixx’s desire to bring jogging to the mainstream, Brynner actually lived a longer life while Fixx died of a heart attack…while jogging (perhaps this is why people hate jogging?).
The point that's so astutely expressed by Hicks could ultimately be a precursor to the whole “You Only Live Once” moniker that saturated the last decade and still has some remnants to this day. Of course, Hicks died from pancreatic cancer, which could have been a part of his pro-smoking, pro-drugs, pro-alcohol lifestyle that coincided with a lot of comics in his day. The simplicity of his message still resonates and leads to the ol’ Calvinistic sect of Christianity. You are doomed to damnation anyway, so you might as well just accept it and stop pretending to be something you are not. I know, I wonder why Calvinism is not all that popular these days. We are all going to die, and if you have the right kind of people on your social media feeds, it will either be a combination of the Center for Disease Control, the Illuminati, the TriLateral Commission, Nestle or the State of California. Heck, our idiot president thinks the body is a battery, with just a finite amount of energy which is why he does not exercise (but still finds plenty of time to golf). Whether you believe we are in The Matrix of the Earth is flat, people seem to have a lot of doom and gloom about their bodies and their health. If anything, this brings the idea of fitness into an existential conundrum. Why our the options and information for good health more available than ever, but we continue to get unhealthier as a country?
I pontificated on this a couple years ago, theorizing that the problem maybe lies in the fact we have too much information. The internet has so many different ideas to work with, and so many promise quick results that perhaps people are just biding their time. I know I used to think that. I used to think fitness was a switch and BOOM….waistline reduces. I never knew it was a trial and error period, a self realization of poor self esteem and eating disorders coupled with a stubbornness to get better at a much faster rate. I injured my lower back when I tried doing 355 pounds on a deadlift when I had not done deadlifts in a couple months. I injured my shoulder trying to snatch 140, when I was still struggling with 120. And I gained weight when I let the doom and gloom of my job drive me back to a sedentary life as well as a new and more aggressive form of stress eating. I could have given up…I mean I gave it the college try for seven years and I am still overweight and not aesthetic to my liking. But is it all for naught? Am I wasting my time with fitness when ultimately I am going to die and I still struggle just to avoid the potato chips aisle at the store?
Personally, I am not wasting my time. Yeah, there have been struggles along the way and I gained weight and have tried dieting to some degree, but I never gave up on the weights and such. I used my parents workout equipment and killed it even though they only have two 45-pound plates and no dumbbells over 30 pounds. It was so taxing that I knocked myself out for a day. I’m gonna have to show up earlier to get three workouts in a week and do it at a safe time of the day. Here is the one thing that will separate whether you want to be Yul Brynner or Jim Fixx. Regret. You see, Brynner was a heavy smoker and near the end, he willingly did that anti-smoking PSA to help tell the future generations to wise the hell up. https://youtu.be/JNjunlWUJJIAnd if you are a movie freak like me, the Yul Brynner in that commercial looks nothing like the bald headed bad-ass from Westworld and The Magnificent 7. He looks sick and wasted to say the least. Yeah, he got just about everything he ever wanted but you can sense a great deal of sadness in his voice. Bill Hicks was a heavy smoker and died from his own hand, unable to speak in the last month of his life after making his mark as an often times astute observer of modern society. His last words were to friends over the phone because he was too sick to leave the house and his voice was almost gone. As for Fixx, he set off a revolution that created new industries. He made running interesting and since his book was published in 1977, major city marathons are forced to use lottery systems and qualifiers due to the glut of participants. Cross country became a viable sport. People may not know who Fixx is but he left a real legacy. So yeah, I might die in the middle of a back squat some day or maybe get hit by a car while running or something (provided I can get my running up), but I know there will be no shred of regret knowing I am doing what I can to be better.
Gains and cuts and numbers and times are what people will say is the main theme of fitness in this world, that it is sometimes a narcissistic pursuit to perfection that can never be reached and people are merely trying to show off how powerful they are. So why bother? Some people might judge me for blowing off this sentiment, mainly because I have no issue with blowing off supposed “E-Sports” athletes or Muk Bang YouTubers (people who literally eat obscene amounts of food) while others defend them and say “its a living and there is money in it,” but hey, we all have our own societal subsets. Sitting in front of a TV and drinking Mountain Dew will never be the equivalent to squatting 400 pounds or running four miles in 36 minutes. I don’t care how much money these e-sport guys can potentially make. Same goes for the people that can out eat me in one session. You ain’t setting any examples or doing anyone any favors.
Now I didn’t mean to get all doom and gloom on you all, but it just sort of became that way. Decisions meant to change the “self” are not easy to look at, and this is why so many people just choose to not address it. This is why the fat acceptance movement is something I rarely talk about anymore, for no matter what science I use for my arguments, people will always use personal happiness as the key argument point. Yeah, eating at an all you can eat pizza buffet is awesome, but what do you think you are doing to yourself? And why are you complaining about having to pay extra at XXL or pay more for bigger sizes at some stores? Don’t you see these people are conspiring to make you think being heavy is okay so they can overcharge you on various staples like clothes that you really need and then make you spend thousands and thousands of dollars on medical procedures and hospital visits later in your life which makes you easy fodder for soothsaying health gurus or medical doctors seeking to give you quick fixes or maybe the government is doing this to aid Big Pharma because we have to keep feeding them money so they can get their executives $150-dollar an hour personal trainers and second yachts and so those that cannot afford to save themselves with drugs and medical procedures just dies thus meaning population control leaving the said business elite as the only healthy ones in society thus creating a bifurcated society of snake oil salesmen and consumers and, and, and……
What the hell happened? Yikes. See what I mean. The final thing is this. Get to the gym. If you need some help or just need someone to whoop your butt, hire a trainer. And if you get a fitness club membership…use it. Be the best you and you will live with few regrets. The only regret is why did I not start this fitness thing earlier?
About Parsons Training
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
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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.