The beauty of having my own website is that I can write about whatever the hell pleases me. Of course, my hope is that whatever I write becomes an entertaining (or at least bizarre) way to pass the time, but the truth remains that I can write a thesis on the contents of cat shit if I want to. In fact, that might not be a bad idea for later. For now, I would like to talk about fitness and what it means to me. Keep in mind, this will not be peppered with product promotions or methods for getting a really toned taint muscle. I just want to discuss some things that are important to me.
I completed the Spartan Beast this past weekend in Sacramento. This 14(ish) mile mud run was filled to the brim with tough terrain and physically exhausting obstacles, and it was the hardest test of fitness that I have ever encountered. This was my third and final Spartan Race for the year, and its completion awarded me with the Trifecta medal, which is given to those who complete all three lengths in one calendar year. These events are tough, and they are meant to stand alone in the mud run world as the most difficult in existence. These are not the “jump in icy water and run through Taser wires” type of courses that runs like Tough Mudder provide. These are the “cut yourself on barbed wire before carrying a seventy-five pound bucket up a ridiculous hill and dragging a cinder block around for a while” type courses…all while balls deep in mud and other odd substances. Spartan Races are fucking hard.
I say all this, not to brag (though I am proud of the accomplishment), but to say that fitness is not about comfort. Achievement itself is not always comfortable. I do not complete Spartan Races because I enjoy causing myself pain and exhaustion. I can’t even say that I really enjoy running. I do it because I have a desire to test myself. I have a desire to prove that I can accomplish any goal and overcome any obstacle. I do not want to sit at home and watch the world progress. I want to be a part of that progression. I want to be a knight on the field of battle, and I want to be on this planet for as long as I can be.
This is why I don’t understand the mentality that some people have towards fitness. There is this trend running rampant that suggests that people should love their bodies for what they are and that no one should ever criticize a person’s choice to be overweight. I don’t believe in this, and I use the word choice because I believe it very often is. A fitness goal does not need to include looking like a model or a professional athlete. There should not be pressure to be what you see in magazines. The goal should be to be healthy. Regardless of how much you weigh, you should strive to live a lifestyle that will keep you on this planet for as long as possible in a way that will allow you to fully enjoy your life and the lives of your loved ones. I don’t understand why this is such an offensive desire to have. Sure, be happy with who you are, but don’t be satisfied knowing that you can’t play with your children at the park because you get winded too easily or that you may not see your daughter get married because you died too early in her life. If you don’t care enough about yourself to work at staying alive, then do it for the ones that love you.
If you are obese, you will probably never look like an MMA fighter. You will probably never finish a triathlon or be featured in a swim suit calendar. But guess what…no one gives a shit. As much as you think people care, they really don’t. Even the assholes of the world are just looking for something to prey upon in order to make their worthless lives seem meaningful. When they go and crash into whatever orifice they call home, they don’t give a shit what you look like. What I believe turns people off is the subconscious impression that a person has given up on life. That sort of thing is certainly hard to witness. Human beings have an instinct to survive, and certain things fly in the face of that instinct (drug use and alcoholism come to mind as well).
What should make you feel bad is that, because of your weight, you are unable to fully live your life. You are unable to enjoy things that fit people take for granted, and you are putting yourself and your family at risk. I like to look at things from a zombie apocalypse point of view. If zombies (or terrorists, home invasion robbers, rapists, etc) show up tomorrow and try to destroy everything you love, will you be physically able to protect yourself and your family? Will you be able to chase down a kidnapper as he carries your child away? Will you stand a chance, or will you sit back and let it all end? To me, fitness is not about the way you look or the way society views you. It is about survival, and it is about protecting your loved ones.
This whole atmosphere of over-sensitivity needs to stop. Today is the day to get healthy. Your family wants you here. Your friends want you here. They don’t give a fuck how you look at the beach, but what they don’t want is to look at you and know that you may not have very many beach seasons left. They want to see you hobble your one hundred and fifty-year-old ass onto that sand and yell obscenities at children as they run by. Life is stressful as it is without having to worry about your obese family member climbing stairs at Disneyland. There are so many excuses, but not enough effort. I have seen videos of a military veteran competing in Spartan Races with no legs and one arm (with the help of other runners). There are few reasonable excuses for letting your life pass you by. Fitness is hard work. Even harder than most people think. It does not happen in a day, a week, or a month. Sometimes it takes years, but every day extends your chances of surviving with your loved ones. Every effort makes you a little better.
Like most, I do not have the body I want, and I never have. I grew up getting made fun of for being too skinny. I hated my body, and I hated myself for it, but things change when your mentality changes. I have worked very hard, and I have kept a positive attitude, and results have begun to take form. I may never look like Bane, but I can continue to work hard on myself so that I never have to sit on the sidelines while my children run amuck. I don’t have to worry about how I compare to some Hollywood celebrity that gets paid to work out and take supplements, because I know I can protect those who need me.
Stop thinking of fitness as a dirty word. Instead, think of it as a tool for survival. Think of it as gateway to a better, more active life. Think of it as a modern commandment for the human race’s continued existence. Set a goal, and then reach for it. If you should fall, pick your ass up and reach again. Make sure you really live until you die.