August 31, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
I’d been thinking that I needed to write some sort of blog post this week, something other than a workout or a recipe. Something that folks would read, and hopefully it would resonate with people. I guess it makes the most sense to talk about my father. I could write for days and days and days about dad. Dad was a boxing promoter, an avid sports enthusiast, a gym goer, a merchant marine . . . he served in Korea in the Army (cryptographer I think is what he did). He fought 20 some –odd amateur fights and lost all of them. He got in fist fights on the street when he disapproved of the way that people drove. He was quite the character. And I say WAS because it is 10 years ago, to the date that he passed away.
When dad was sick, I moved back to Phoenix. And then I joined the gym where he was a member. It was the same gym he had been going to for at least 20 years, and it was a hard core gym. You know, the kind where people are there to WORKOUT, not to look pretty. It smelled of metal, that smell when metal has been exposed to sweat and cleaning for years and years. It was there that I took out all of my frustration, anger, sadness, everything, every last emotion that I had I took it out at the gym. I would hop on the elliptical machine, I would walk on the treadmill, I would lift, anything to take my mind off of what was going on back at the house. After he passed away, I worked out more. I joined a new gym closer to the apartment I was renting, it was a bit too hard to work out at dad’s old gym. But I kept going, working out in the evenings when I couldn’t sleep, or in the mornings when I wanted to take my mind off of everything. The gym was the friend that never asked how I was doing, was there whenever I needed to vent, could take everything I had to give and was ready for more.
To say I grew up around the gym is an understatement. I’d say I learned a thing or two about fitness (and probably life) from him.
- Get a personal trainer: I think my dad first got me a trainer when I was in High School. That trainer took me around the gym and showed me how all of the machines worked, which exercises would help me work out which muscles, and put together a routine that was easy for me to modify as I got stronger. Since then, I’d say I have had a trainer for as long as I can remember. Not consistently, but on and off for 20 years. A trainer will help you focus, will hold you accountable, will teach you new ‘tricks’, will make you better, faster, stronger. Even now, coming from a place where I can pretty much put together my own routines, I still love to have time with a trainer to push myself.
- Weights are your friend: I go through phases where I back away from the weights, focus only on the cardio piece of my workout, only to realize months later that I really need the strength to get better. My dad had me lifting from a young age, which has sort of made me fearless when it comes to the weight room. But it is never too late. If you follow my advice from point #1, then you’ll never fear the weight room again either. And just to dispel any rumors for women, no, you will not bulk up like a guy if you weight train. You’d need to be taking some serious steroids / hormones in order for that to happen.
- Sports are great exercise: when I wasn’t in the gym, I was on the field. I played baseball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball . . . you name it, I think I played it. As an adult, I have played kickball, soccer, and softball all over again. Even when I lived in Kenya, there were Ultimate Frisbee teams, softball teams, and even a running club that I participated in. No matter where you are, there are sports leagues for you for all levels and fitness levels. Sports are a great way to get in some exercise out of your normal routine.
- Kids develop habits from their parents: As kids, my brother and I were engaged in sports and the gym from a very early age. I can remember times when my father would take us on hikes up Camelback mountain, and we would whine and complain the entire time. But we had to go anyway. My mother and father had us eat super healthy when we were kids, there wasn’t soda in the house, mom made her own bread, baked her own treats (there is a story here about my parents putting us all on the Fit for Life diet that I am going to leave for another time, but it is classic). I think that while I might have not appreciated it as a child, as an adult, I am sure it is where my habits come from. Monkey see, monkey do.
- Fitness is a lifelong journey: probably the greatest lesson of all. My father was working out at the gym until he was 74. He loved going to the gym, it gave him energy, it kept him going. It kept him in good shape well into his sunset years. It is probably why he was able to be so strong even when he was sick with cancer. Staying in shape was his lifeblood. My dad’s dad (aka my grandfather) was playing golf until he was 95. He couldn’t drive, he couldn’t see very well, he had a walker, but he kept on playing golf. You don’t just get fit and then it all ends, you stop exercising. You exercise to keep on LIVING.
To my father, Steve Eisner, who I miss very much every day, but especially today.