22 is no age to start working…

 

I’ll be the first to admit this one is a little hurried into place this week — busy week.  I’ll have something great up 2 weeks from today. 

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Work, it’s what we’re here for…

It was a day or two after my 15th birthday.  My father had scheduled an appointment for me to meet with Paul Weiner, owner of the Bagel Deli in Denver, CO.  Dressed in a shirt and tie, I was told to get on my bicycle, ride about a mile and a half up the road, and apply for a job as a dishwasher, which I did.  The following day, Mr. Weiner called me, and offered me the job.  I began working later that week.

Within a few weeks I was elevated from dishwasher to sandwich maker.  That job, making sandwiches that little Jewish deli in a very un-Jewy part of town, remains one of the best jobs I have ever had.  It was also provided me with some of the most formative experiences of my lifetime.

Though I was also on the diving team of my local swim and tennis club, the lessons I learned working my part-time job would pay greater dividends over a longer period of time than any lessons I learned while on the diving team.

Bagel

If you’re ever in Denver, this place is a MUST! Looks cab be deceiving…

Do you want fries with that…

If you think about it, the question of do you want fries with that is often asked to student athletes as their parents thread them through the drive-through on their way to their next practice after school.  It wasn’t that long ago that the very same athlete might have been the one on the other side of the window asking that same question.

I have had several discussions recently about the value of youth sports.  In particular, the lessons young people learn from participating in team sports.  I don’t disagree that there are lessons to be learned from participating in team sports, many of those lessons valuable. Teamwork, listening, and adaptation are chief among those lessons learned.  I question though, whether those young people are even tuned into those lessons.

I’ll suggest that youth sports might not be the best learning ground for such lessons.  After all, in the land of youth sports, what is really on the line if one fails to pay attention or perform in accordance with coaching or parental expectations…?  Perhaps the athlete will sit on the bench.  Here’s a thought; some kids actually prefer to sit on the bench.  There is little at stake when kids tune out during team sports.

Here’s another thought; all teens want money.

Where have all the workers gone…

Thirty years ago one could walk into nearly any retail shop, restaurant, or grocery store in this country, and there would be a good chance they would be face to face with a high school student who was also working part-time.  This is just my opinion, but it seems to me fewer teenagers fill those same jobs today.

This is not my opinion:  Despite that I have helped many teenage athletes with their strength and conditioning in support of their extracurricular sports through the years, I can count on one hand the number of those students who have also had part-time jobs.

Due to the increased participation in sports, both high school sports and club sports, many teens today have no time to participate in jobs.  I think this is a gross omission on the part of the parents.  Often times the parents justify their heavy emphasis on team sports by suggesting these sports are their child’s ticket into college, and thus offer greater potential dividends for their child.

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I did the math on that with one parent a couple of years ago.  When she and I added up the monthly dues for four years of multiple year-round club sports, uniforms, meals on the road, travel expenses (often out of town and out of state), one child cost her nearly $11,000 over a 4-year span, and she has 2 children involved in sports.  An associate’s degree at a local community college would have cost much less.

In the case of her two children, both will go to a four year college on full athletic scholarships, so the investment of all those hours paid off.  It will remain forever unknown though, what might have been lost by turning 22 years old and having never had a job.

What gets lost…

Most teenagers who forsake the workplace for an overloaded athletic schedule will not receive athletic scholarships.  Nor will they receive many of the valuable lessons which can be learned in the workplace.

I understand, and respect the value of participating in team sports, and the lessons learned.  There are even more important lessons though, to be learned when teens go to work after school rather than to practice or to the game. There can also be much more riding on those lessons – a paycheck.  Of course, that’s only for kids whose parents teach them the value of money, and THAT is an essay for another day.

Every teen who has a job is already a professional at something….  Be well.  Rc

For more of my thoughts on this from a couple of years back, please click here.

I’ll be back in two weeks to share more of what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from, Can.  Enjoy…

Unintended Consequences…

This blog post has gone viral in recent days.  It has lit up the internet all week, gathering moss with a mob mentality that I’m not on board with.

I understand where the author is coming from, and why.  I’m in the fitness business too – I get it.  I have seen women cry in my studio far too often, and for all the wrong reasons.  In these times I have done my best to reassure them that nothing matters more than being a good mom, a good wife, and a good person in the community.

I say often that in the end none of us will be judged by the shape of our abs or whether we do sinister justice to a pair of skinny jeans.  The pressure women feel to be lean, sexy, ripped, etc., is severe, it’s increasing, it’s everywhere, and is completely unnecessary.

However there aren’t just two sides to every story or every idea as this blog suggests.  Like coastlines, ideas can be endlessly distilled with fractal geometry; the angles can be reduced to smaller angles, and smaller angles still, and are seemingly infinite.  As always, I suggest one be careful before choosing sides, or piling on a cause too soon.

Most of the memes, and sayings represented in this blog post seem to have been created, and shared in the spirit of raising one’s game.  I truly believe that, and I respect that.  I seriously doubt that any non-corporate individual would ever create or caption signs like these as a way to belittle women, influence them into behavior they don’t wish to participate in, or to shame them into state of emotional distress.

Memes like this are dangerous...

Memes like this can be dangerous…

This is not to suggest that it hasn’t happened, clearly it has.  These ideas can be dangerous.  But from the perspective of those who create, and share such memes, I’m sure there were no thoughts of the unintended consequences to be absorbed by women everywhere.

Does this mean they are “bullshit” as the author suggests…?  I don’t believe so.  For my part, I have tried hard to motivate, and inspire people without it use of such ideals.  Even my personal tag, Train Like An Athlete, Eat Like A Shark, Walk Like A God is found to be over the top by some, so I don’t use it anymore.  A little mindfulness and humility can go a long way.  However I can appreciate the kind of motivation, effort, and the positive changes memes like these can facilitate.

Conversely, spreading the idea that real women have curves might seem innocent, and even supportive, but that’s dangerous too.  I have seen many women through the years take unnecessary liberties with their own physicality, and abandon successful eating and exercise habits in favor of doing less for themselves because they have been told by others that it’s okay to do so.  Too often, the others influencing this behavior do so because obesity, like misery, loves company.

Just as dangerous...

And memes like this can be Just as dangerous…

The author refers to these ideals as, “irresponsible”.  I find that statement itself irresponsible inasmuch as he’s placing himself on a pedestal as a voice of reason.  Though he may be a voice of reason for some, he aims his passion and enthusiasm at many who are trying very hard to do good work, and for good reasons.

What further troubles me about this is that it also singles out, and belittles success – the success that many have experienced in finding or creating a new life.  Being championed by, or championing others is an honorable endeavor.  It’s unfair that many endeavors do have at least some unintended consequences.  But really, who is that on…?  I don’t believe what makes a woman real is six-pack abs or curves.  What makes a woman real is her priorities.

Where I am in agreement with the author, and where I do take exception is when corporations invest millions of dollars into sharing these memes because they ARE trying to guilt and shame women into spending lots of money on devices, supplements, and products that will offer little or no return for that investment.  These ad campaigns are aimed directly a woman’s self-esteem.  I find that sickening, if not completely ‘Merican.

This fever this blog post has created is just one more example of people choosing sides in this social media era, piling on, and muting the conversation before the conversation ever begins.  Ready.  Fire.   Aim.

The fitness industry is nearing the trillion dollar mark annually.  Every day of my life I think about walking away from it – yes, every single day.  On a very large scale, my industry is insincere, scheming, and false.  At best, it’s smug, and lacks decorum as a collective.

There are some mindful people though, out there every single day working hard to help others – without passing judgment one way or another.  Just knowing those people exist keeps me in the game – for now.  Be well… rc

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Please check back in two weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks.  Enjoy…

The math of a mile…

 

Short and sweet this week.  A re-post of yesterday’s thought on my Contemplative Fitness Facebook page.

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The math of a mile…

The U.S. population is about 316 million people. Of those 316 million, approximately 240 million are between the ages of 12 and 65.

Of the 240 million people between 12 and 65, most possess the physical ability to walk or to run an uninterrupted mile. However, it is estimated that of those 240 million, only 34 million run or walk regularly. That leaves 206 million people who could benefit from a daily walk or run, but choose not to.

On average, for every mile walked or run, approximately 100 calories are burned. I know this will vary depending on the person, and the intensity of the walk or run, but 100 calories per mile is a good number for the sake of my argument.

If those remaining 204 million people who possess but don’t use the ability to walk or run 1 daily mile, did so for 33 days, AND made no other changes to their daily exercise or eating, each person would lose (approximately) one mathematical pound. That’s not a lot.

As a collective though, the U.S. would lose approximately 204 million pounds in that month’s time. That is a lot.

In a year’s time, without changing any other eating or exercise habits, if everyone who could walk or run one mile per day did so, individually they could lose 12 pounds. That’s tangible, if not impactful.

By the end of that year, our nation could lose nearly 2.5 billion pounds. That’s more than a lot. Again tangible, and impactful.

shoes

Imagine what effect this collective weight loss could have on our healthcare costs, on the prescriptions needed or not needed, on the moments enjoyed with family and friends, and on the mental health and personal confidence of all, let alone of us as a nation. 

I’m not trying to organize any kind of movement here.  I can scarcely organize myself.  I really do wonder though, what the country might be like one year from now if everyone who isn’t moving began moving — today.  Food for thought.  Be well… rc

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Please check back in two weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this by The Mooney Suzuki.  Enjoy…