What We Take For Granted

I have a friend that I want to tell you about. He’s a good guy. Good guy as in he, in my opinion, has high moral standards and is constantly working as an upstanding Christian. Compared to Jesus he’s an animal, but in general he’s a good guy. He has his faults though. He doesn’t look both ways when he crosses the street, he’s been known as blunt, and he doesn’t work out. ‘GASP’. “You have a friend who doesn’t workout?” I’m more diverse than most of you give me credit for. Sadly, he doesn’t work out because its doctor’s orders. It’s not that his prescription-peddler thinks exercise is not the way to go, but actually because his heart can’t handle it. If you catch him wearing one of his fancy button down shirts you might be able to see some scars emblazoned on his chest. Underneath them sits a metal box that keeps his heart from retiring before its earned it’s 401k. He has a heart disease. It sucks. He grew up playing sports and being your average kid kicking soccer balls and running around. Then everything changed during a soccer match. It was a moment where time and space ceased existing for him – because his heart stopped – and it left him a different guy. He still has the blonde hair, the fancy clothes, and the snazzy glasses but now he owns a ragged chest tattoo that reminds him of his limitations.

Why am I telling you about this guy? He can’t exercise, and this is an exercise blog, so he can’t possibly help us learn anything – right? He has had a few episodes lately that have imprisoned him in a hospital bed. Episodes so bad and so frequent that he’s moved up and down the transplant list like an overworked single elevator in a skyscraper with no stairs. He can’t eat a certain way or exercise in any particular fashion to help his heart. It’s broken. We were talking the other day and he brought up a good point that I can’t look past.

I can’t tell you what he said verbatim because I wasn’t taking notes. We were just some buds talking about life. The topic made its way to fitness, seeing as how we were in my studio, and I mentioned some staggering statistics. Like how there are more obese people than starving. Like how obesity is linked to many diseases. Like cardiovascular disease. And then he said “It makes me mad that they were born with healthy hearts, and instead of taking advantage of that blessing they abuse and kill it.” You can’t get much realer than that.

Here he is, living with a heart that didn’t come with a manufacturers warranty, and all around him he sees people beat and bludgeon their blood pumpers without truly understanding the blessing that they have. It’s funny how everything changes with some perspective. I always saw the need for a healthier lifestyle, but my passion is with athletes. Now I see a greater need for people who are killing themselves unapologetically. My friend can’t do anything about his heart, but so many people are a workout away from changing their life and making it better. And yet, the culture of self gratification blinds us from seeing how lucky we are and points our eyes at the next thing that can fill a need. Except we don’t have needs we have wants we disguise as needs. He NEEDS a heart, you WANT to sit on the couch and eat some comfort foods.

I once trained a man who had a leaky heart valve. His doctors said it was because of inactivity and a poor diet. So he decided to start training with me to strengthen it. He had never worked out. I thought he meant he hadn’t worked out in a very long time. No. He had never worked out. During our first workout he began gasping for air and sweating profusely. He stopped what he was doing and he looked at me. I’ll never forget what happened next.

With sweat dripping off the tip of his nose he said, “Drew *gasp for air* I can’t take any more.”
“But… this is just the warm up…”
*Tears began rolling*

The person who doesn’t want to do another squat with 400 pounds and the one who doesn’t want to take their 20th step in a row share a common struggle: perspective. To them, both of these challenges are more than they can handle, but that’s not true. My friend taught me two lessons that day. That we need to have the right perspective when we come across obstacles, and that we should never take our gifts from God for granted. Never. 

1 comment:

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.