Two Notes, Ten Lessons
It’s been an eventful two months.
Six weeks ago, we were blessed with our second child – a healthy, beautiful little girl. This blessing, along with that of a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery is something we are indeed grateful for.
Two weeks ago, I completed the most difficult physical event of my life…a 140 mile Ironman Race. The two-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26-mile marathon provided feelings of exhaustion, exhilaration, and an immense feeling of accomplishment.
Those of you who know me also know that my family is the most important thing on this earth to me. And you know that helping others through health and fitness is a deep passion of mine. Having been a part of two significant life events in such a short span of time, I can’t help but draw a connection between the two.
Below, I’ve written two short notes. One is for my daughters, and the other is to you. Ultimately, the messages are the same. It’s amazing how life lessons prove true across every discipline…from parenting to coaching.
To My Girls –
I know you look to me for life advice, and I take this responsibility very seriously. Here are a few lessons that I was recently reminded of…
- You are amazing. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
- Consistency is key. If you regularly put effort toward a goal, the chances are high that you will reach that goal.
- Don’t judge others. Outward appearance is not related to inward ability and motivation.
- When you grow up and have children, the example you set will outweigh the instruction you give.
- You can accomplish more as a group than you can by yourself.
- No one is perfect. Try your best to live a Godly life, but realize that if you fall short, you’re still in a much better place than you would have been otherwise.
- Obstacles are a part of life. Take them in stride, and don’t assume they will prevent you from achieving your goals.
- Small steps lead to big accomplishments.
- The first step on a long journey doesn’t have to be a big one.
- You are capable of accomplishing more than you ever thought possible. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
To My TD Fitness Family –
I know you look to me for health and fitness advice, and I take this responsibility very seriously. Here are a few lessons I was recently reminded of…
- The human body is amazing. When you move forward with a smart effort, the results are predictable. Training for a maximal lift of heavy weights requires a different approach than that of an endurance race. When trained properly, your body will surprise you with what it can do.
- Consistency is key, especially in reaching your exercise and dietary goals. I’m not fast. I wasn’t the most motivated. And I definitely wasn’t the best-prepared athlete. But I’m fairly certain that one thing the athletes had in common was the fact that we had remained consistent with our training over the course of the past several months. Stay the course, and over time, you will reach your desired outcome.
- Don’t judge others. Those individuals that, in my mind, I initially questioned could complete the race passed me at various points along the way. Outward appearance is not related to inward ability and motivation.
- Your family is likely to follow the healthy examples you set. I’m so glad that my children were there to witness the race. Although our newborn won’t remember the event, our three year old will certainly remember. And every time she sees mommy or daddy exercising and having fun, the likelihood of her living a healthy life increases more and more. Health and fitness rubs off on those close to you.
- You can accomplish more through teamwork than you can by yourself. Four of us set upon this journey together. And the best part? Four of us completed the journey and crossed the finish line. We followed the same plan, pushed each other, shared advice and lessons, and shared in successes and failures. I’m not sure I could have done it without the fellas. Having a support team increases your chances of achieving your goal.
- No one is perfect. But if you train, and do what you’re supposed to do most of the time, you can reach your goal. And if I hadn’t crossed the finish line before the 17 hour cutoff? Well, I was still much healthier from all of the training, and I swam, biked, and ran over 100 miles farther than just about everyone else in the world that day!
- Obstacles are a part of life. Don’t assume they will prevent you from achieving your goals. Last year, I told myself that my bad knees wouldn’t allow me to run any distance over 10 miles, let alone a marathon preceded by 114 miles of swimming and biking. As it turned out, the training and exercise served to build strength, make me stronger, and actually get rid of the knee pain associated with some everyday activities. Obstacles are oftentimes in our minds. And increased movement, not lack of movement, can very well be the remedy for aches and pains.
- Small steps and goals lead to big accomplishments. Want to know how to run a marathon after biking for 8 hours? Simply take one step at a time. Similarly, if you want to lose 20 pounds, it starts by losing 1 pound.
- The first step of a long journey doesn’t have to be a big one. We didn’t start our training regimen with a 2-mile swim, 100-mile bike ride, and 20 mile run. It started with 10 minutes of swimming one day, 30 minutes on the bike a couple of days later, and a 15 minute run/walk a few days after that. Start slow and small, and gradually work up to your goal.
- You are capable of accomplishing more than you ever thought possible. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” (– Henry Ford) A year ago, I had no intention of completing an Ironman race because I told myself I couldn’t. Negative self-talk is more powerful than we realize. Think positive, be positive, and reap positive results.
Yours in Health,
This post was inspired by “A Balanced Life,” an article written by Jeff Matlow that appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of USA Triathlon Magazine.