A Different Angle

By Lou Earle – July 5, 2012

Let me start my letter this month by thanking all of you who challenged yourselves in our inaugural FITTEST last month. You inspired everyone and showed that fitness can be really fun! Also, many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers who made the event possible. And finally, to all of you who showed up to cheer and celebrate health and fitness that day, thanks for your support. It is our sincere hope that experiencing this celebration of fitness will inspire you to adopt a healthy lifestyle and take that message to others.

In one of my past letters, I used the airline analogy of first placing the oxygen mask on yourself and then on your child as the way each of us should approach our health and fitness. This idea that you first adopt a healthy lifestyle for yourself and then help others to do the same may well be the only strategy that can turn around the epidemic of unhealthiness in our society.

With all the money and effort we are throwing at the health and obesity crisis in America, the numbers are simply not changing much. Our entire society is geared to move in the other direction—sedentary lifestyles, processed foods, poor diets, and a supply/demand chain that by its very nature is forced to continue and expand the status quo. The costs of ill health are staggering and likely to crush our economy, not to mention the pain and suffering our citizens are enduring. Time is running out, the problem is incredibly complex, and we have not found the silver bullet. It would seem our situation calls for a radical, innovative approach—an approach that is simple, quick, effective and realistically executable. It must be universally appealing and understandable by all. And it must be compelling in convincing each of us to engage and take action.

So here is the angle: have you ever heard about how much moneyyou would have if you doubled a penny every day for 30 days? Would you believe $5,368,709.12? Incredible, but true! What if we applied this approach to living a healthy lifestyle? If each of us were to convince one person to jump on the bus with us each month and live a healthy lifestyle and if that person committed to convert one additional person each month to do the same, in 30 months, just like our penny, over five million people would be living healthy lives. In less than another year, all of America would be on that bus.

But why should we do that? Let me throw a few reasons at you and you can pick the one you like the most: we will all go broke if we don’t solve the problem soon; our children will die before we will; we care about our families and friends; we don’t want to suffer or watch others suffer the agony of diabetes or chronic disease; we won’t be able to do our jobs, defend our country, or do very much of anything well; or maybe the best and simplest reason of all; we care and love each others’and want to help make our lives and other’s lives better.

Setting an example and spreading the word are the beginning of making this goal a reality. This strategy requires no massive funding or government intervention. What is really cool is that the hard part is only in the beginning. Once we get a few months under our belts, the effort gets easier. The change is viral and the compounding effect takes on a life of its own, accelerating the pace of change.

All I ask is that you give this idea some serious thought and, if you think it makes sense, get on that bus. The numbers don’t lie and, while this is certainly a different angle, it might just be the silver bullet we are all looking for.

Keep Austin Fit,

PS: Speaking of a different angle, check out our incredible feature on Formula One (F1) this month and read about how fitness can make the difference in winning an F1 race. From driving an F1 car at 200+ MPH to changing the tires in the pits, where fractions of a second can mean the difference between winning and losing, fitness is a crucial differentiator. We are honored to have interviewed Michael Johnson (Mr. Golden Shoes himself) who is currently training the Williams F1 Team pit crew to enhance their performance. Austin is now home to America’s only F1 race and it is going to be an incredible ride!



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