While attending a kickboxing training several years ago, the presenter introduced participants to a dramatic video of famed martial artist, Bruce Lee. It was an interview with Lee, who gave his famous, "Be water, my friend" speech:
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless...shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
As a confessed Type A personality who craves control, this message really speaks to me on so many levels. From a fitness standpoint, these words provide inspiration when you feel you've hit a plateau, a roadblock or a setback. Consider "being like water" in these scenarios:
You want to eat right and exercise, but between work, kids and home, you're just too busy.
You've been performing the same exercise routine for a while now, with early measurable results. But nothing seems to be changing in your body anymore. Clothes fit the same, body composition is the same, weight is the same.
You said you were going to exercise four to five days per week, but are lucky if you exercise twice. You're disappointed that you've not stuck with your commitment, and even more disappointed that you're not experiencing results.
Due to some nagging injuries and conditions, you're afraid to work out and have gained extra weight. You'd like to exercise again, but don't know what you're capable of or how to start.
You joined a new gym, but it's a lot different from your last gym. The check-in process takes two steps instead of one, instructors don't use familiar choreography, and the culture is not quite like you're used to. Missing your old gym is demotivating.
No matter the obstacle, water always finds a way, doesn't it?
When in doubt, go with the flow that propels you forward!
It's enough to make a fitness coach cry.
Despite having an arsenal of fitness tools at our finger tips in this country, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that most Americans--more than two thirds--are overweight or obese. This study was conducted by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who studied data from 2007 to 2012 of a nationally representative group of 15,208 people ages 25 or older.
The results corroborated estimates by the Centers for Disease Control:
For the record, being overweight means a person's body mass index is 25-29.9 and they weigh 25-30 pounds over the recommended weight for their height. Being obese means a person's BMI is 30 or greater, and they are at least 30 pounds over the recommended weight for their height.
What difference does it make if you're overweight or obese? "Excessive body weight is associated with a myriad of health risks including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, some types of cancer, pregnancy complications, shortened life expectancy, and decreased quality of life," says the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Beyond that, the CDC estimates that yearly medical costs of obesity in the U.S. reached $147 billion in 2008, the latest data available.
But losing weight is hard, you say? Then let me ask you this--is suffering from one of the maladies listed above any easier? I'm reminded of a quote I saw recently: "Losing weight is hard. Being overweight is hard. Choose your hard." I have friends battling cancer, and I assure you, losing weight is a preferable challenge.
If you find yourself in the overweight or obese category--two out of three of us will!--I'd like to suggest some simple actions to get you started on your mission to a healthier weight. Using the 2/3 ratio as inspiration, start with at least one of these tomorrow, then add another one the next day, and so on:
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Molly is a wife, mom,
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.