Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Has It Come To This? --Guest post by Mike French

Today I bring another great post by Team Beachbody coach Mike French. As some of you may know, I'm an Air Force veteran, and I can relate to Mike on a lot of this. But, you don't have to be a military member to enjoy what he had to write.

I had a conversation with two members of my Unit the other day about
Fitness. A young NCO (middle 20’s) came into the room and joined in on the conversation. While the other two men were asking me about the finer points of a good Fitness Program, this young Airman jumped in and said: “As long as I can run a mile in a good time and bend over and touch my toes, I could care less about Fitness.” “Love handles, back fat…WHO CARES!” He continued with, “I don’t care about looking like one of those Men’s Health cover guys” Glanced over at me and said “No Offense”. I said, “None taken.”

He finished by saying that he was deployed recently he got into much better shape “for him” he didn’t feel that the energy that one spends on exercising and eating correctly is worth it. In his words, “I like my beer and eating whatever I want WAY TOO MUCH to give it up.”

I was flabbergasted! Here is a young man who has very small children and
has chosen a career where his life might count on being in the best shape
possible. MY life or someone else’s life might count in him being in the best shape that he can be in! That is a responsibility that I take very seriously. I work out HARD every day and eat properly for a variety of reasons:

1.)I really enjoy the way proper nutrition and hard workouts make me feel.
I feel MUCH BETTER when I am taking in nutritious fuel and pushing myself physically.

2.)It is MY RESPONSIBILITY to be in the best shape I can possibly be in. As
a 15 year veteran of the United States Armed Forces, I have learned that the last thing you need to worry about in some of the extremely dangerous places that our Military operates in is your physical fitness. Once you are there you have no time to “get in shape”.

3.)It is MY RESPONSIBILITY to my Family to eat right and work out hard. I
add YEARS to my life by challenging my willpower, strength and cardiovascular system. That is my gift to my Family AND myself.

4.)I really enjoy looking and feeling good. Now when that young NCO stated, “I don’t want to look like one of those Men’s Health cover guys” Glanced over at me and said “No Offense”. He is missing the point completely. He has no idea what motivates me. My goals are not to look like a Men’s Health Cover Model. If we were all engines instead of people I would be a Diesel. That is why I am drawn to punishing workout programs like P90X and my beloved Kettlebell work. I like “suffering” and the health benefits that are a product of that suffering. I am always thinking of ways to make my workouts HARDER not easier. I prefer to choose the path that most people avoid. Mentally, that fires me up.

5.)I really like having muscle. Not “show” muscle that you oil up for a
photo shoot in a magazine. Functional, strong, flexible, useful muscle that can be used in the real world, not just in a Gym. I want to be STRONG. Stronger than the average man. I want to be in amazing cardiovascular shape. I also want a low body fat level. Low body fat is a product of eating nutritious, healthy, foods that push your Fitness forward, rather than holding it back. The simple fact is that when you eat properly and workout hard, your body fat level drops. It’s a nice byproduct of a healthy fitness lifestyle.

6.)Tami and I talk about the fact that we are teaching our four children
the benefits of a healthy Fitness oriented lifestyle. They are learning lessons right now that they will use for the rest of their lives. THAT is our gift to them. What if they saw Mom and Dad eating whatever they wanted all the time and every year, adding bodyweight, body fat, and becoming unhealthier? What would they take from that? That its ok to be lazy, to give in spur of the moment impulses nutritionally, and the fact that its ok to add dangerous body fat as you age because “That’s just the way it is.” NOT ON OUR WATCH I can tell you that!

Its times like this incident that I wonder “What are people thinking?” How
can they care so little about their own health? Living for the moment is more important than making planned decisions that enhance their lives. Don’t get me wrong, to each his/her own and I am not writing this in judgment. To value eating junk food, drinking beer, and not caring about fitness at all over being in the shape of your life, adding, years to your life through fitness, and being a good example of health to everyone you encounter in your life is something I just can’t understand or relate to.

Strength to you,


  1. WOW, is all I can say. Two words for you-AIR FORCE. That is why. Now, I'm sure there are some out there that are in great shape--but this is the general consensus of the Airforce. Their phyical requirements are LAX to the MAX. I know this because I was in the Marines, and we always used to make fun of them, LOL. In the Marines if you are not in shape-eventually you will get kicked out. P90X fits in with the way I look at fitness as a whole. My views are very similar to yours. :)

  2. The attitude is way scary, especially since any commitment to any branch of the military involves some sacrifice. Regardless of in the book physical requirements, staying fit better prepares one for stress management and saving others. I'm just mind-boggled on this one!

  3. Not all Air Force folks are lazy, but there is a reason the "chair force" tease sticks at times.

    I let myself get out of shape while in the Air Force. It wasn't until I was named a unit Physical Training Leader that I got myself back in gear. I got out of the military 2 and a half years ago and let myself go again, but I'm back on the wagon now and loving it.


  4. I wish I knew more about nutrition. I am hoping P90X will teach me. I agree with you, it is important to be in shape and to eat right-if for no other reason than your loved ones. I'm inspired yet again to do more homework and bring it even more in the proper diet department. Tips would be much appreciated.

  5. I'd suggest reading a book called "Nutrient Timing." Its $10 off Amazon, a great quick read but very enlightening.