The people I look up to usually have achieved goals I want to reach, have handled difficult circumstances well, and are the kind of person I want to be. My newest wellness/fitness role model… well, I’m not so sure about this one. Let’s take a look at his track record:
- Questionable diet decisions, like this and this
- Poor choices about non-food consumption, such as this time, this legendary outing, and many other incidents
- A whole slew of stories which may or may not be completely true – but sure seem believable in context
So, yeah, not exactly the person you might look to for guidance and advice on how to take care of yourself… Recently, though, I heard our renowned fitness guru, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne, do an interview. He just turned 70, by the way, and still tours regularly. The questions ranged all over the map, and in one section Ozzy was asked about working out and touring.
After talking about some of his band members’ routines and his own, the question came: you’ve been doing this a long time. You are certainly well off, and can do whatever you want. If you could pay to be fit and not have to do anything, would you? Just write a check, and boom – you’re in shape? The immediate answer was no – without any hesitation. Ozzy went on to talk about how his workout gives time to clear his head, get focused.
Well, that’s not the question or answer I was expecting… So that got me thinking… Would I? If I could lay out some cash, without jeopardizing the mortgage, the budget, and not have to do the gym, log the miles, do burpees… What would my answer be? Three years ago, I would have said yes without a second thought. Now? No way, no how. There’s a sense of fulfillment to setting a physical goal, and working to achieve it that I can’t get elsewhere. If I was just suddenly fit without having to work for it – would it mean as much? I don’t think it would; the road I traveled to get where I am now (and where I am still heading) is a part of me and what makes this whole thing worth having.
What Happens When We Assume?
Truthfully, though, there’s a deeper lesson here. We tend to make assumptions and judgments; I’m no different. In this case, I think of Ozzy as a music legend, certainly, but also an addled, mumbling, aging rocker – and not as someone I can take a health lesson from. In reality, he’s all of those things at once. By logical extension, if freaking OZZY is someone whose take on wellness and fitness has value, then who else am I not learning from?
Is there value in learning from the Attention Hound in class – you know, the one who always uses an extra riser or two, who uses heavier weights than everyone else and makes sure to be seen doing it? The answer is yes! Watch the form and technique, and see what overextending yourself can do. Realize that it can actually do more harm than good to use too much weight and poor form. At the same time, we can recognize an impressive feat of strength to be able to do those side planks with the heavy weight. There is something to work for there, even if I wouldn’t go about it the same way.
What about Speedy Gonzales, the fastest runner in all of our group? Sure, we can watch her fly and be jealous – or we can analyze what makes her fast. Some runners are faster than others; there are genetic factors in play. However, we can work on stride length, foot strike, proper stretching before and after, cross training. Maybe even talk to Speedy and get some tips! Odds are, she wasn’t ALWAYS the fastest runner in all of your group. She has worked at it, and can help you too.
And let’s not forget Corner Lurker, the “worst” exerciser in the group. Slow, methodical, uses the lightest weights, and if you are being “judgy” you might think they are wasting their time. First off, get over yourself! They are out there working and that’s something! How many times do you come dragging in, almost skipped class – there is Corner, plugging away. That persistence and refusal to quit is to be admired.
Second, you may well find the best, the cleanest exercise form in someone like Corner. Bad habits and form creep in for the best athletes in the world, so the average gym-goer certainly isn’t immune. Do a workout and really slow down, focus on form, do each exercise correctly. Use a mirror, shoot a video, have a friend spot you – but really make sure you are doing each move properly. You will feel the difference, and your body will thank you for it. Then you can go thank Corner for being an inspiration!
Don’t Just Yearn, Try To Learn
(OK, that’s a lame rhyme. Sorry.) We talk a lot at 1DOS about running our own race, meaning we focus on what we are doing and not the other guy. That’s totally true, and I’m not trying to second-guess that here. However, you can focus on what YOU do by learning from what OTHERS do. Don’t just watch Speedy and wish you could run like that; take the opportunity to get better. Learn from the examples you see around you, while focusing on your goals and your journey. That part is exactly on point with “progress not perfection.”
This whole wellness journey is just that – an ongoing trip to a destination that moves with us. Life throws plenty of challenges our way, and we certainly drop enough obstacles in our own path on a regular basis. Taking advantage of the opportunities we have to learn and grow is the best way I know to keep moving the right way on that journey. So watch, learn, and work at getting better without judging. Remember – others are watching you as an example, too. You are not “just some dude” or “just some gal” – someone is looking to you just like you are looking to Speedy and the others in your group. And of course, we are all looking to Ozzy as our role model!