We buy nice, new, and expensive cars. We spend a lot of money maintaining them. When we need an oil change or just to fill up at the gas station, we don’t find the cheapest low-quality oil or gas to put in our cars, do we? If we do, what’s the result? We end up spending more money later on repairs and maintenance. We do the same thing with other toys, possessions, and property that we buy. Why are we so careful about what goes into our possessions, such as cars, but not overly concerned about what goes into our bodies?
Our health is the best investment we can make.
Up until about five years ago I used to eat fast food. I don’t anymore. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but during my teenage years I remember thinking as my family was driving somewhere, “Where do they get all the meat from for all these places?” This was after seeing numerous fast food places at almost every exit off the highway. Off of the main parkway in the city I live in now there are at least seven fast food restaurants. Where and how do they get all the beef, chicken, and pork for all of these places in all of the cities throughout our country and the world? Surely it all can’t be good for us.
Okay, some of you might be thinking where is this going? How does this relate to parenthood, sports, and coaching? Let me tie it together here. First, if we really care about our kids and athletes we’re coaching, wouldn’t we want to be around to see them grow and mature? Secondly, shouldn’t we be providing a good example to follow?
Our bodies are our vehicles. Why do we take better care of our cars and other possessions than we do our own bodies? We only get one. (Well mostly. I guess people try to buy a new one through plastic surgery.) We don’t put crap into our cars and expect them to run well. So why do we put crap into our bodies and expect to be healthy?
The best athletes are in the best shape. They know the tremendous value of eating healthy and clean. Numerous professional athletes hire personal chefs to help them maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. This list includes: LeBron James, Nascar champion Jeff Gordon, Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte, and NFL running back Reggie Bush. I would wager there are more pro athletes that have personal chefs than not.
Why do we play thousands of dollars to put our kids on select club teams and buy private lessons, but take them to eat at McDonald’s or Chick-Fil-A after a game? That’s like taking a five-hour road trip and then stopping to put maple syrup in your car. It just doesn’t make sense. Now, I ate like this when I was younger and now I think, “How much improved could I have been had I eaten healthier?”
A better alternative to the typical fast-food joint would be a place like Jason’s Deli. I realize options like this aren’t always around or convenient. We need to educate our children and ourselves on why fast food is not good for them. So what do you do when that’s the case? It’s quite simple. You can pack a snack, lunch, or dinner. It can be done.
Coaches, why are so many of us out-of-shape and overweight? Trust me, I know it’s difficult to maintain a regular workout schedule during the season, but it’s possible to find 15-20 minutes a day to get a workout or cardio session in. If you struggle with this, I recommend checking out Alan Stein’s CoachFit program. I also recommend waking up early and getting you’re workout in. The longer the day goes, the easier it is to push it off and not do it. The best coaches can still demonstrate and teach the skill. They even get out and play the game with their athletes. As a player, I’m not taking my coach seriously if they cannot run and show me how to do the skills they want me to do. I hate the saying, “Do as I say not as I do.” If we want our athletes to be in great shape, we must also be in good shape. We don’t have to have the body of a professional athlete, but we must be able to still play the game we coach. We can’t eat terrible food in front of our athletes if we want them to eat healthy.
Our bodies are our vehicles. Whether we’re coaching or playing the game, we need to take better care of our bodies. We don’t put crap into our cars, so we need to stop putting it into our bodies. The best athletes and the best teams are in the best shape.
The best investment we can make is our own health.
I’d like to close with a quote from renowned food expert, Michael Pollan: “You cannot expect to reform the health care system, much less expand coverage, without confronting the public-health catastrophe that is the modern American diet.”
Please feel free to share any thoughts or comments you have on this topic.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!