I was recently talking with a friend, and as my friends and I often do, we talk about people and events in our lives. I shared that one of my clients had recently moved out of state, and I was expressing my disappointment in not being able to get this person to his fitness goals because of his departure.
I'll call my former client Fred (not his real name) and as I stated previously Fred decided to move out of state and by the way, he was only with me for two months as a client. As part of his initial assessment Fred had filled out the requisite Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (or PARQ as we call it in the biz) as well as three more pages of comprehensive Health History info. What is interesting is that Fred failed to disclose two very important facts about his current state of health.
It wasn't until almost two weeks later, when during a pre workout warmup Fred had to stop abruptly. The warm up involved an aerobic step; the kind used in group fitness classes. I asked Fred to step up and down at a medium tempo for two minutes. He never completed the drill as he became dizzy and began gasping for breath.
As you might imagine, I was shocked and very concerned. I immediately had him sit down and handed him a water bottle. He recovered in a few minutes, and as the color came back into his face Fred shared something with me that was very powerful. Fred stated that he hadn't been "completely honest" with me. He shared that he had recently stopped consuming 4 to 5 scotch whiskey drinks per day, but was still smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day. He stated that the reason he didn't tell me was because he was too embarassed. Wow! At least now I understood what the problem was.
I was pretty angry by Fred's lack of honesty, but I was shocked by his decision to not inform me, I mean who starts a personal training program and fails to disclose that they smoke and drink exessively?
It's evident that Fred is in a serious state of poor and declining health. Heavy smoking brings serious health impairments. Carbon monoxide from the smoke is taken into your blood instead of oxygen. Your cells get less oxygen for respiration as a result, so you are more likely to get breathless when you exercise. Tobacco smoke contains tar, (a black, sticky substance) as-well-as many other chemicals. This coats the lining of the alveoli and greatly increases the risk of emphysema. (Alveoli are small balloon-like structures in the lunges where oxygen exchange takes place across the membranes). The structure of the alveoli breaks down so that there are fewer, larger air sacs. This reduces the surface area available for gaseous exchange and makes sufferers breathless. They may need oxygen and it can even be a cause of death.
This should help you get a much clearer image in your mind of Fred. To make matters worse Fred couldn't maintain a static plank for more than 15 seconds and was unable to perform a single military style push up. Is that unusual? From my experience, yes. Most men can do a few pushups, even when just beginning an exercise program. Fred was the first client ever to not be able to do a single push up. Although he could lower himself to the ground, he could not muster up enough strength to raise his torso back to the start position a single time.
Okay, so let's retrun to my conversation with my friend. When I told him about Fred and Fred's smoking and drinking habits and overall physical condition he said, "Fred has chosen a "boat launch ending to his life, unlike you who has chosen a cliff dive ending.
If you could have seen my face at that moment, it was like a confused puppy with a partially rotated head. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
So I asked him to explain what a "boat launch and cliff dive" ending was. He began to refer to a beloved family member of his who did not take care of his health. As this person aged he developed many health issues requiring medicine, doctor visits, and eventually he deteriorated to the point where he could no longer walk and needed an electric scooter to get around. This he said, was a slow path towards death; a boat launch ending. Now I don't own a large boat, but my guess is that it must be a very slow and challenging process to get a boat into the water.
On the other hand I was paid a compliment due to the fact that I make healthy food choices, I exercise on a regular basis, and at 57 years of age I am in excellent health (knock on wood). My friend said that in comparison, he projected that I will live a higher quality life, maintain good health, I would live to an old age and probably die in my sleep. A "cliff dive" ending is short duration, anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. Ah, so now I understood what he meant by these two phrases!
So here's the take home point. Take a good look at your lifestyle. Do you make healthy food choices on a daily basis? Are you over fat? Do you have high blood pressure, and are you taking multiple meds? What does your blood profile show about your cholesterol and lipids? Is there anything else ailing you that might be the result of poor habits; that if you made some positive health changes you could potentially reduce or eliminate entirely?
For those of you heading for a cliff dive ending, I offer my heartiest congratulations! I hope that is true and may you live a long and active life. But for those of you who are slowly backing down the ramp of the boat launch, you need to stop and take a hard look at your lifestyle.
If you don't make the decision to change and really mean it, you'll continue to slide down the ramp. It's up to you to once and for all get fed up with feeling aches and pains, taking an abundance of daily meds as a result of living a poor lifestyle, i.e., a poor diet, getting little or no exercise, experiencing daily energy lows, and discovering that your clothes no longer fit every few months from weight gain. I could list a few more, but I think you get the idea.
If you're already on the boat launch and want to get off, I want to help you. I have the experience, the knowledge, the programs and the support to help you turn your health around. But it must begin with you. No one can do this for you. To start you need to make the decision to change your life and then pick up the phone and call me: 908.605.0775. It doesn't matter where you live. If you can reach me via phone or email I can absolutely help you change your life in a positive and dynamic way.
Committed to your best health,