Fitness vs. Excuses

Let's talk fitness for a moment.

Not about the bullshit new year resolutions that you won't keep. More like new lifestyle resolutions.

I was the chubby kid in grade school, and I got made fun of. "Baby fat" isn't cool past age 3.

I was sporting the dadbod in my late 30s, looking 5 months pregnant and having a muffin-top. Undefined arms, bird legs, and a belly. Like most men.

I was buying jeans with a waist size 2-3 inches larger than what I should have been wearing.

I was poking new holes in my old belts to upsize them, because I felt shame shopping for a larger size.

I remember having lower back pains. I remember my knees and my feet would have aches and pop/crack. I used these aches as convenient excuses not to exercise.

"I must be getting old. These pains are normal."

Bullshit. Total bullshit.

I remember one day I was late for a business meeting, and I had to ride up a moving escalator. To save time, I started walking up that escalator.

It made me winded. I lost my fucking breath walking up a moving escalator.

When I was fat, I had much lower self-esteem. Even when I faked like I was confident. I remember what it felt like to be confident in earlier years, so it was easy to fake, in my later years.

I felt like everyone was staring at my pot belly, even though it was probably just in my head.

I hated tucking in my dress shirts and polos, which was required at work. It just showed my belly curvature more. More embarrassing.

I remember turning down invites to go to the beach. I remember keeping my shirt on at pool and lake parties.

I have very few photos of myself from that era. I was good at hiding from the camera, and digital photos are easy to delete.

At 40, I decided to say "FUCK THIS" and started going back to the gym. Now at 47, I'm the strongest I've ever been.

Zero aches. Zero pains. Zero excuses.

When I see someone fat now, I don't hate them. I understand them. I empathize with them.

Outside of those with uncontrollable medical reasons, the rest have no excuses.

Lack of knowledge is a weak excuse for anyone that owns a smartphone. They could literally Google "Why am I fat?" and spend days in that rabbit-hole of info.

I look at what they are doing about it. How they got there isn't the actual problem. That part is done. What are they doing to address it today?

When I see a fat person at the grocery store with a shopping cart full of 2-liter Coke bottles and sugary snacks... come on!

When I see a fat person at the gym, trying to get better, I admire them. I admire them even more than the ripped people there. I've been that person. I know the courage it took to show up.

If this message hit you, what will you decide to do about it?

Will you keep making excuses, or will you rise up and lead by example? Will you perspire in order to inspire others?

Will you be able to write your own before and after story?

I hope so.🧡

-Tony


Two Types of Happiness

When I was a kid, my family couldn't afford much. Brand-label clothes for school? Not for me and my sister. My mom was good with a sewing machine, she actually made our clothes even into jr high. Nike shoes? Nope, we had some off-brand. Even though these clothes didn't have the logos on them, I was proud of what I had. It was the best we could afford.

I just wanted to fit in, to be like the other kids. When you come from less, you strive to be average. I felt I finally caught up to being average in high school, because I had a job at McDonalds through most of it, and could actually buy my own stuff by then. I had a car, played sports, and a girlfriend. I never really did things to make myself stand out, having worked so hard just to feel accepted within the crowd.

In my 20's, I struggled with college and finances. I'm pretty sure I was broke for at least 10 years. I knew the right path to take with my engineering degree, but that didn't make it easier. It was a slow, arduous process. I finally graduated, while working full-time to pay for it all myself. I did find time in between to gain more social confidence, largely from working in the restaurant industry on weekends.

In my 30's, I focused on my career, and building income. I was sick of my trajectory of becoming average. I spent many months per year working offshore, or away from home. The oil industry has a way of doing that to you. The lure of large paychecks can keep us on the ocean, or in remote areas of the world that most would deem undesirable. I started building companies in my spare time, teaching myself new skills that could also be monetized. I became very, very driven in my 30s. I began to dream bigger, to set crazier goals, and take more action. It worked. I've achieved far more already, than I ever thought would be possible.

Now in my 40's, I've had more time to reflect on things. I've had the fancy cars, big house, international travel lifestyle. Those are great goals to motivate you. But, I've also learned that these things never keep you happy. You always want more, you always want something new, something better. The buzz of happiness that you feel when you achieve something, or hit a financial goal is great - but it is short-lived. It might last a few days. Maybe a week. I've never had any buzz last longer than a month. Seriously. This isn't about being ungrateful, it is just admitting reality. These things are what I now consider a temporary dose of happiness. Nothing wrong with it, but trust me - you will find no end to that chase. It doesn't sustain.

What truly makes me happy, then? I enjoy helping other people achieve their own goals. I enjoy teaching others. I enjoy sharing the knowledge that I continuously come across, if it will help someone. I celebrate their accomplishments, as if they were my own. I enjoy being the connector of people, and someone that people ask advice from. This is what makes me the happiest. I've done this my entire life, but I always thought it would be the material things and personal goals that would bring me the most happiness. I'm finding that incorrect, in recent years.

By all means, certainly pursue those luxuries that make you happy. It is great to set goals throughout your life. It is wonderful to celebrate accomplishments, and reward yourself. Chase those without guilt or regret. Just be aware of the temporary happiness that they provide. Learn the distinction between these spikes of happiness, vs permanent sources of happiness. But do both.

Your happiness, and your life will not be measured by the material things you attain. It will be measured by the number of people that you positively touch. Always remember this.

Tony