As Thanksgiving approaches, the media starts kicking into high gear with fitness and nutrition tips like:
“5 Tips to Eat Healthy on Thanksgiving”
“How to Lose Fat On Thanksgiving Day”
…and the list goes on.
Instead of offering you some tips on how to eat less on Thanksgiving, I’m hoping to share with you something deeper, more fundamental to your life.
I have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving day and one person in particular is my Dad. My dad taught me one of my most valuable fitness lessons years ago, but I only started to fully understand this lesson in the last few months. I want to share this valuable lesson with you today.
My dad grew up in a lower-middle class household to immigrant parents in Brooklyn, NY, then later moved to Long Island. He was naturally a very smart guy (a lot smarter than I am) who skipped a grade when he was young. At the same time, he was a total jock who excelled at sports from baseball, to wrestling, to swimming. He was the quintessential scholar athlete who I tried to emulate.
After college, my father became a Medical Doctor focusing on Ophthalmology (eye surgery). After 40+ years of hard work, he now presides over one of the most successful ophthalmology practices in the country and is flown around the world to give lectures and discuss his experience and research.
My dad is very “old school” if you know the type. He works very, very hard and doesn’t have much sympathy (i.e. none) if you are not willing to work hard either. He can be a bit rough around the edges and can be very stern, but also has a big heart as well. A contradiction of sorts.
One day when I was 13 years old, I walked up to my Dad’s study where he spent a lot of time looking at slides, reading, and writing papers. As he saw me coming up the stairs he motioned for me to sit down on the couch that faced his chair. He seemed pretty excited about something.
He swiveled his chair behind him and pointed at two framed posters on the wall, which he had just purchased. He began to speak to me about the poster on the left, which had an image of a canoe on a deep, expansive river. Underneath this image were the words:
When I left my corporate career behind me to focus on my passion for fitness, every once in a while I would think about this phrase. When I look back at the last few years of my life, my biggest mistake was not being more patient, not fully heeding the wisdom of the simple phrase “Success is a journey, not a destination.” I was always scrambling to have a certain number of clients, to make a certain amount of money, which negatively affected my lifestyle and my happiness.
So what does all this have to do with fitness? What’s the important fitness lesson I learned?
Similar to success, fitness is a journey, not a destination.
Success is striving to make the necessary changes in your life, the persistence toward reaching your goals, not the specific number of pounds you lose, or muscle you gain. Over time with consistent effort and patience, you will reach your goals and create new goals in their place.
No matter where you are on your fitness journey, whether you are just starting out, or have been traveling on the fitness path for years, I applaud you for a worthwhile pursuit. All of us who are on this journey together share a very important belief – taking care of our bodies is important. The methods may change over time, we may debate which path is better, or worse, but the core belief still remains.
I look forward to continuing to educate myself for many years to come. I sincerely hope the effort I put into learning more about fitness will be to your benefit, which was one of my motivations for starting BuiltLean. BuiltLean.com reflects our journey together to learn more about fitness and apply what’s useful to help improve how we look, feel, and function.