This story is very personal to me. This topic is even more personal to me. Over four years ago my father passed away. When that happened my beliefs around health, exercise, and life in general changed. My father, like most of the clients I work with, was a busy guy. He was busy selling all of his time and energy for The American Dream. He spent his weeks working long hours as a truck driver. He spent his weekends either working on his house or working on his side business. His goal was always to work really hard and then peacefully enjoy retirement. Except, that never happened.
My father, like most people, struggled to stay on track with his health and fitness goals. He would exercise for a period of time. Then he would fall off. The cycle would repeat itself a couple times every year or so. Most of the time his stress levels were through the roof. Most of that stress could have been avoided. He also carried a lot of extra weight that effected his health. Growing up watching my fathers example I too made many of these mistakes. I sold my soul to work, lost copious amounts of sleep, and lived a high stress life for a long time. But, when my dad got sick, and later passed it really made me take a look at my own priorities. I think the lesson will resonate with some of you.
I got into my career in the fitness industry at a relatively young age. I was twenty- two when I began coaching. I remember having conversations with my father about taking his health more seriously. Partaking in exercise more often, making different choices with his eating, etc. I remember he would always have a reason why he couldn't do it; I have too much going on, I like eating the way I do now, etc. I really wish he had taken a look at the big picture.
I have been coaching now for over eight years. In my time coaching I've had thousands of these conversations. I see the same patterns in a lot of the people I work with. They sell their souls to work. They invest big money into their homes and cars. Most of them are silently ignoring their gradually rising waistline and blood pressure. If this strikes a chord with you I want to pose a question; what is the fucking point? When your clock expires your job will have your position filled within a months time, maybe less. The nest egg you've been shelling away for retirement will get passed on to the next generation. Now, don't get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with hard work and having nice things. But, not if it comes at the price of your health.
This is where the point of this post comes in, look at the big picture. In the big picture you can replace your career, you can replace your car, you can replace your home, but you cannot replace yourself. Shouldn't investing in yourself be your top priority? You're right there aren't any guarantees, but investing into yourself gives you a greater chance at beating the odds of life. Investing in your health might make other things take a bit longer. Maybe you can't redo your kitchen for another year or so. Perhaps that promotion at work takes a bit longer than you expected. But, if at when it does happen at least you will be healthy enough to enjoy it.
To hit this point home I want to share one last piece of the story. I remember right before my father got sick he built this beautiful deck on the back of the house. He had grand schemes of having all of his friends over and enjoying the summer nights with my mom in front of a nice roaring fire. My parents used that deck a handful of times before my father got too sick to enjoy it. It broke my heart and still does to think about this. So, what's the point? Focus on your health. I'm not just talking about getting active and eating well. Keep your stress levels in check. Take some time for yourself. Don't work yourself to death. If my father had made his health a higher priority it may not have saved his life. But, unfortunately we will never know. I am willing to bet it would have made a difference. Next time you think you're too busy, look at the big picture.
My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.