Monday, November 12, 2012

Fit for family

This weekend, I’m making a trip back home to visit with friends and family.  Among others, I’ll be visiting my 2 (and a half!) year old niece.  The last time I was home, I learned a very valuable lesson -- be careful what workouts you do before visiting a kid that age.  I knew I was going to be away from my gym for a few days, so I squeezed in tougher workouts before I left.  I hit my arms the day before the trip and legs on the morning I flew out of town.

And then there was that first evening with my niece.  Any parent will see this coming...  I sit down on the floor with her.  ---  She runs to the other side of the room: "Uncle Dan, come here!"   (Okay, on second thought maybe it was something like "Unca Dan, comeer!".) I get up and go over there...

That lasts about 30 seconds... until she runs back to where we had just started.  "Unca Dan, comeer!".  So, I do -- my legs and lower back beginning to ache from the morning's workout.  As soon as I hit the floor again, she runs to the toybox in the next room.  "Unca Dan, comeer!"  I just couldn't keep up!  My legs were way too sore to get up and down and up and down.  The entire evening was like that.  Toybox to play area to kitchen and back to toybox.

My inability to keep up was self-inflicted.  Had I known better, I wouldn't have pushed my workouts right before my visit.  You can bet I'm not making that mistake again for this visit.  My legs are fresh!!

But imagine you are in the same position with your niece or nephew -- or your young and energetic grandchildren -- and it is your weak legs and compromised fitness level that is holding you back.  Imagine you just don't have the energy anymore.  Imagine you are carrying around so much extra weight that you can't keep up.  That's the reality of so many people out there.  

The real problem I see is when people don't see it as a problem.  I just simply won't let a compromised fitness level keep me from getting everything I can from the limited time I get with my family.  Some people train to look like the cover of GQ.  Some train to look good on the beach -- and, yeah I'll admit it, I want to look as good as I can, too.  But, more importantly, I train for life.  I stay strong so I can be strong.  I keep active so I can be active.  And, these days, I train to keep up with a 2 year old little girl back home.  

Think of this next time you think fitness doesn't matter to you like it does to others.  Think about the people who mean the most to you and what it is going to take to get everything you can out of your time with them.  Think about not having to sit out when everyone else is doing something fun.  Think about being able to keep up with growing grandkids -- and being strong enough to pick them up for just a little longer.

That's worth taking the stairs when others take the elevator.  It's worth replacing that greasy burger with grilled chicken.  It's worth trying out intervals instead of just yammering away with a friend on the treadmill.  And yeah, it's worth picking up a weight or two every now and then.

Okay, rant done, soapbox returned.  Enjoy your weekend.

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