I started working out when I was a sophomore in high school. Prior to that, I spent most of my days watching TV and eating fast food. Had I kept on the road I was on, I was headed towards heart disease and diabetes (both prevalent in my family).
It changed my life. It changed how I looked at life.
Your life has certain moments where things can swing one way or another. What you choose to do today can change the entire trajectory of your life.
One of the best things you can do is recognize those moments and decide to do something your future self will thank you for. Something that will change the direction of your life when the current one has you headed towards a dangerous outcome.
Lou Mardesich, a San Pedro native and principal at Harry Bridges Span School in Wilmington, noticed a disturbing trend. Many children at his school were overweight, obese, and had poor eating habits. Largely the result of socio-economic forces outside of their control, these kids were headed towards many health problems that were completely preventable.
So, one day he had a crazy idea, start a CrossFit program at his middle school. After lots of planning and securing the funding, he launched the program with this objective: to bring students struggling with childhood obesity, often intimidated by exercise, into a fitness program that will allow them to overcome the health and developmental issues that arise from inactivity.
That was six years ago. As a result of the effort to make a healthier school, this year, Harry Bridges received a Silver status recognizing them as one of America’s healthiest schools by Alliance for Healthier Generations, a national organization that helps bring wellness initiatives to schools.
He recently sent me a letter from a student named Heizel asking to be admitted in the CrossFit class. I read it and realized that often kids see things more clearly than adults do. They get it. So, as you approach the New Year, read this letter and replace CrossFit with any challenge you feel compelled to take on. The thing that nags at you but you’re afraid to try.
Heisel’s letter read: Ever since I started school I heard about CrossFit and how it helps you lose weight and all these good things about it.
When they lift weights, they are gaining muscle and that makes me
feel stronger knowing that I will be able to work out without an excuse to be lazy. I always tell myself I’m going to work out, but I never do because I’m too lazy. But CrossFit won’t allow me to be lazy.
Many of my friends tell me, “Heisel, don’t join. It’s so hard. You’re gonna die.” But from my point of view, I think, “Isn’t that the point?” CrossFit is not going to be easy and I know that, but that’s why I want to join, to see how far my limits are and extend [them].
I want to push myself to be a better, healthier version of me, and no matter how many things I hear about me “dying,” I’m still willing [to try], because how would I know if I don’t like it if I’ve never tried it? I want to prove, not just to myself, but to everyone that I’m not lazy.
I always look at my favorite quote, “Do not let your body define your soul, let your soul define your body.” You can be so insecure about your looks, but you have to show people you’re strong mentally and physically.
So, I want to keep going. I want to lose weight, and I want to become a healthier person. Not for anyone, but for myself. I want to feel proud of the body I am in, and I want to feel accomplished, to feel better about myself.
I couldn’t have said it better. In 2019, become a healthier person, find and extend your limits, try something new, and show others you’re strong physically and mentally. And when others doubt, don’t listen to the noise. You’ll never know what you’re capable of unless you have the courage to find out.
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