When I was in 6th grade, my grandmother moved into some new apartments that were close to my home in Deer Park. This apartment had a weight room that contained one of those 1980's universal machines, like the one pictured above. I loved that weight room. I would jog from my house to her apartment which was about a mile and a half both ways. I loved seeing how much I could lift and would even bring friends with me. They never seemed quite as enthused about working out as I did but would join me anyway with the promise of swimming afterwards. I remember bringing one of my bigger friends one time. He was a lineman on my football team. We had a lifting contest on the bench press and we were both shocked when he couldn't lift more than me at the time. That was when I was convinced that I didn't need to wait for 9th grade before I could start lifting weights. I had always heard that you would stunt your growth if you lifted too early.
I continued to use that weight room as an escape all the way through high school. When I broke my collarbone during my junior year of football, I would go to that weight room and lift with one arm. If I found myself bored with nothing to do on the weekends, I would bring a little radio up to that weight room, plug in the Rocky soundtrack and break a sweat for an hour or so.
Everyone has certain passions, talents and hobbies. I loved exercising and that continues to this day. That apartment complex is much older now and has certainly been updated with new fitness equipment but I will never forget that old universal machine. It was designed to shape and build muscles but for me it helped shape and build passions that I now pass on to present and future generations.
My Fitness Journey Part 1
I just can't say enough about the Kat(Kids Athletic Training) we have going on right now. These kids are getting something very valuable with every workout and they are improving drastically with skills, strength, and conditioning. I am very proud. Let's keep up the great work and finish the summer strong.
We are now at the halfway point of summer and most of us have had the Shakespearean beach or pool experience by now. By Shakespeare I mean whether to swim or not to swim, that is the question. Taking off a t-shirt or cover-up is either a dreaded, fearful experience or more of the opposite if you have been taking care of yourself. That is not to say that it is totally comfortable for anyone to prance around in as little clothing as you go to sleep in. Nevertheless, being fit and taking care of yourself definitely helps when it is time to walk the slip-n-slide runway.
Ultimately, I hope that being able to feel comfortable in a swimsuit is only a small part of the overall picture of being fit. Some people have given up already figuring that since summer is halfway over that it is too late to get in to shape. Well not necessarily. It is never too late. I know people who workout for two weeks and strut around like fitness models. That is the confidence that working out can bring. What I want to focus on is more about lifestyle. Being fit for that special beach vacation is one thing but how about looking at the bigger picture. How will you look and how fit will you be in October? How about December and January when you are covered up in layers of clothes? There is an incredible satisfaction of knowing that you are fit at all times, maybe even a quiet confidence when you know that underneath layers of winter clothes lies a beach-ready body.
I encourage you to get into shape for the right reasons. When you build your fitness levels, you are also building your confidence, improving your quality of life, and setting a great example for others. As long as you are fit, the appearance part will come as well. So let summer be a foundation to build the rest of your year upon. If you are in shape now then don't stop what you have started. Just imagine where you will be a next summer if you keep training. Better yet, imagine where you will be next summer if you stop training. Either way it will be a question of whether to swim or not to swim.