I turn 40 years old this year. (Wow, I just typed that!) This next chapter in my life is fascinating. However, my most significant concern is staying healthy. The reasons why my health is so important to me are pretty simple. There are three driving forces for me.
My father’s poor health
My father died at the age of 53, following years of bad health. As of writing this, I’m within a 15-year window of when he died. That scares the heck out of me!
From some of my youngest memories until he died, I never remember my father being physically active. He and I never played sports together. We never went running, biking, skiing, swimming or any of those usual sports. The most we ever did together or as a family went for walks.
I always knew my father had terrible health stemming from military injuries, extremely high blood pressure, cholesterol, and a host of other issues. In addition, he had an awful leg that was always swollen and had terrible arthritis. Also in play is my family history. In addition to my father, numerous relatives on both sides of my family have died of cardiac and heart disease.
The military requires me to stay fit.
I joined the Army National Guard in 2009 and have loved every minute of it. I genuinely enjoy training and serving in the military. I wanted to enlist when I was a teen but never took advantage of the opportunity. Then, when I was almost 30 years old, I walked into an Army recruiter’s office and left with a contract and bus ticket to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia!
I always remember my Drill Sergeant’s advice about staying fit. He told us the only thing that will hold us back in the military is our physical fitness. So it was our responsibility to stay healthy and ready.
I’ve always had a unique ability to bounce back from injuries and sickness. Since I’ve been in the military, I’ve been sent home or recycled more times than I know how to count now. I’ve been sick, bruised, cold, hungry, infected, cut, broken and more. But, the most memorable was when I broke my foot during training.
Our training unit was conducting a foot march, and at Mile 5 of a 10-mile road march, I felt a pop in my foot. I was carrying about 130 pounds of gear and was proudly leading at the front. The pop felt odd but didn’t hurt initially. It wasn’t for another mile or so that the pain kicked in. I refused to stop and told myself to keep going, and I finished not knowing my foot was broken. It wasn’t until the next day that I got up and couldn’t stand on my foot. I checked myself into a hospital, and the doctor said when I felt the pop, it broke!
In addition to military requirements to stay fit, my specific role demands it of me. As an infantry officer, I am expected to lead from the front, and I have no desire to be an out-of-shape officer. I feel my role requires me to be one of the fittest soldiers in my unit.
Being fit feels fantastic!
I’ve reached a point in my “fitness journey” where I know how good it feels to be fit. When I am on a routine and proactive diet, I feel amazing.
Like most people, I have tried several diets, supplements, training programs, and fitness gyms. I’m a firm believer that not everyone can use the same plan, the same diet and the same supplements. What works for me will likely be different than what works for you. Our goals are different, our bodies are different, our discipline is different, and our tolerance is different.
As I am writing this, I found a fitness program and a diet that works best for my body, fitness goals, and overall health.
Have you found your fix yet?
As I have shared what works for me, I still have a long way to go. Just because I have figured out what works for me doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. It is a constant challenge for me to stay committed to my diet, get up and hit the gym, and stay on top of my health checkups. But I do know what is required of me and work hard to get there.
What is your fitness story?
What motivates you to stay healthy?
What works for you?
What are your challenges?
What is your fitness fix?
Please take a moment and jot down some notes and share them with me.