About 5 years ago, I did a photo shoot
My obsession level for the last 6 weeks was through the roof. Measure everything, skip family events for cardio, sacrifice brain function for the right macronutrients (Fats, Protein, Carbs) to lean out. This was my truth to get a decent picture. It's a regret I've had for the last five years. But not why you'd think. It's not that it was that unhealthy, which is many people's argument. I was very well hydrated, and I was eating local fresh foods. Just not a lot of carbohydrates, the only nutrient your body can use to feed the brain.
I regret it because I lost a few months of my life. Well, the life that I love. I didn't go to my best friends house and eat pizza and play video games, I went and had a grilled chicken breast. You don't talk the same with your best friend over grilled chicken as you do over beer, pizza and call of duty. I wouldn't have found the girl I'm with now, our first date was ice cream. Had I been an uptight gym guy, there is no way I'd have landed a fun loving hottie who loves adventure. I wouldn't have gone to another small town bbq, partied with friends to celebrate any accomplishment worth a burger and fries. My will power isn't that good. To get picture perfect, I needed to be by myself, selfish, and focused on that photo goal.
I regret the time I gave up, the memories, the fun, the time with friends. But that's me.
For some the "gains" in the gym, the Instagram fame, the self sacrifice make them feel more whole as a person.
This fitness life is for a select few. I've come to realize that it takes a lot of people in this world to make it go around. Photos where people are looking "perfect" inspire some to get into health. That's fine. If it's not your truth, if it's not your desire to live that way you need to know that health is a destination with many roads that lead to it.
I wrote this article for the purpose of letting everyone out there know that it's ok to be different, to have different dreams and goals.
My hope is people get inspired by healthy food, energy, mental focus, internal health, passion to experience the world, and the fact that your physical appearance has no bearing on anything of true value.
The new year is just around the corner. I'm begging people to not look towards making themselves into fitness models thinking it's health. I want this to be a year where we prove all the psychologists wrong. Most people by the end of January will be off of their "health kick". I hope 2015 is the best success rate in history.
Here is what I'm hoping our world focuses on
1) Eating real, healthy, nutritious food that we cook. Take vegetables, grains, and meat (if you aren't vegetarian) and make that into a meal. Don't cook from a box if possible, and don't have artificial colours, sweeteners or anything your body can't digest and use to make itself better.
***If you can't make a functioning body cell with what you eat, don't eat it. Or try not to regularly.
2) Adventure, excitement and fun. The gym isn't going to motivate most people. I think we've proven that by now. Gyms are on every block, and our population is 50 per cent overweight or obese. There is 3 types of people as I see it in this fitness world.
- Gym lovers AKA Gym rats. They love the whole scene and being at the gym
- Functional strength lovers. People who want their body to be tip top shape so they can do things in the real world. You have to spend time in the gym to achieve that.
- Real world activity people. Won't step in a gym, but will walk, hike, bike, and have fun.
What matters is health.
3) New experiences are the new best motivator. I can't believe how much time is spent watching people do cool things. Youtube videos with millions of views, and TV shows where people are exploring break my heart. Most of the population watches other people experience life. It doesn't need to be like that. Those experiences are for all of us.
I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I'm proudly a Canadian prairie kid. My best memories are outside and exploring a city that most have previously written off. Let me tell you this about Winnipeg
We have the coolest outdoor park at Fort Whyte Alive
Our Zoo is massive and second to none
The art and culture here brings top talent to our City.
The Canadian Museum of Human Rights opened and is stunning
Our chefs make the best food, and when it's local fare, it's the best in the world
Dog parks and green spaces beside workplaces boutique shops and unique bars. That's our downtown.
The point is that you can find adventure and passion in your city, no matter what people think. When we lose our sense of adventure, when we lose our ability to be child like we become sedentary. I can still go outside and play for hours. My friends and I still rough house, build fires, and run after each other. Not every day, but we still play like children. Can't help it, I'm too happy.
Remember, new year's day is coming. Don't give your money to a gym just yet. Don't join a bootcamp, it's not the answer.
I've had a six pack, I've got the pictures to prove it. It's a lot of work, and not a lot of fun. I'm going to die in about 50 or 60 years, unless I get hit by a car (no wait, a bus because I'm super tough). That means if I do one big trip a year, I can go see 50 or 60 really cool things. If I spend my life dieting and worrying about my appearance, the day it stops mattering is the day I realized I focused on the wrong things in life.
This New Year, I'm asking the world to do one thing: Be healthy. Not body image based. Not weight loss based. Get to a place where you go on adventures. That's what it's all about. Get fit enough to make memories. Be so full of energy that you can't sit still.
If you need me in the New Year, I've decided to head to Arizona. I want to see the dessert sands, I want to go on an adventure so different from my home in the frozen north. I want to drive an ATV beside a cactus. The town of Sedona is called the most beautiful place on earth. I want to decide that for myself. It's something completely different than sitting on a beach and hoping time slows down so I never have to leave.
Health, weight loss, fitness, adventure, it all goes hand in hand.
They gym will make you pretty, but I found out that pretty doesn't matter. Memories, stories, and a life lived that's what counts.
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