You would think that the person protecting the health and wellness interests of the United States of America would be a model of fitness and well being. One would think that our Surgeon General would have intelligent and appropriate things to say to challenge us as a country to move ahead and conquer the diseases and risks to our health that threaten the people of our nation. Instead we have a Surgeon General that embodies the bad behaviors and excesses that we as a nation so fully embrace as the results of these behaviors shorten the lifespan of us and our children.
I also have lived a life fraught with obesity from bad decision making. I am doing something about that, but I don’t pretend to be the voice of wisdom for our country surrounding health and dietary needs. I don’t have a position where I entreat the masses to look to me as their leader for health and well being. There is a phrase that I have always been fond of: “Never trust a skinny chef or a fat doctor”. I think in most cases that phrase rings true. How can we follow a chief physician that has never put knowledge into practice? How can we follow a health leader who can’t control what they put in their mouth?
Don’t be deceived. People are obese because they eat too much and don’t get the exercise that they need. I know because I also have been the model for bad behavior that causes obesity. I have been overweight ever since I was in high school. I have mostly had a desk job throughout my career and have immensely enjoyed the food and drink that adds fat to your frame. A year ago I reached the height of my weight at 315 lbs. My blood pressure was through the roof (175 over something way high) and simple things like getting out of a couch were starting to get difficult. I started training with kettlebells and I made some pretty radical changes to my diet. Note that just working out was not enough. Given my love for fine food and drink I desperately wanted hardcore serious exercise to be enough. Today I am 50 pounds lighter and I still have a way to go.
According to Regina’s message below she thinks that American’s can “be healthy and fit at any size or any weight”. This is simply not true. If you are obese you will me much more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure than your health counterparts. If you are obese you are more likely to die of heart disease. These are the cold hard facts.
It is a choice to be obese. Don’t make excuses for it. I made excuses for years. If you are obese please don’t blame anyone else. It will do you no good. You are the one that got yourself there and it will be up to you to do something about it. Sure, maybe you grew up eating fried foods with no nutritional value. Maybe you grew up eating three meals a day (which is at least one too many). Maybe you have been lured into snacking on sweet and salty treats (never ever ever snack between meals!). But you can change all of this today. No one can do this for you. This change is completely up to you.
Do you ever have a craving for soda pop and decide to go for the diet flavors to control those calories to prevent adding to your fat stores rather than drinking the full sugar varieties? Do you ever wonder about the cancer risks of those non-caloric sweeteners? Apparently, according to a few different studies cancer is not the thing we should be concerned with. Recent studies have shown that rats with diets high in saccharine are more prone to weight gain than rats in the control population. The theory is that eating non-caloric artificial sweeteners conditions the brain to no longer associate sweetness with weight gain. This circumvents the natural governor for weight control built into our bodies. See the following blog entry for more discussion around this issue.
In the quest for that perfect body and extreme fitness, it becomes apparent to everyone over the age of 25 that if you want to look the part you absolutely need to monitor what is going into your body. One would think that body builders with massive muscles would have such a high metabolism that they could eat anything they choose without regret. Unfortunately that is not the case. Even athletes need to closely monitor what they put into their bodies. One great (and free) place for monitoring your intake is livestrong.com. Everything that Lance Armstrong does is first class and this is no exception. Lance’s foundation has created a web-based nutrition tracking application that is second to none called the Daily Plate. Track your foods religiously and you will more readily see the results of your intense kettlebell workouts. If you are going to all the effort of swinging and snatching, make it as effective as possible!
While kettlebells are relatively new in America, Russians have been lifting these iron cannon balls with handles for many years. Here is a link to an interview in bodybuilding.com of Vlad, a grandfather with a massive physique and a rice paper thin layer of body fat, the result of being a girevik since childhood. There are some great quotes about what it take to be a girevik and how he views the average American (soft, overweight and lazy).
This is the maiden post for Girevik.net. This site will be devoted to everything kettlebell. Girevik is a Russian term for a kettlebell lifter. This site will include links to stories and training about kettlebells and all other areas of fitness. If there is even a remote connection to kettlebells or fitness in general it will be fair game. I hope to be an encouragement to others and provide a place where people looking for answers can find their way.