And then we say we’ll just go on a diet. Well, folks the quickest way I know to get an American fat is to go on a diet. Don’t ever diet another day the rest of your life. Eat for nutrition. Never eat for weight loss and never make any change in the way you eat that you’re not willing to make permanent.
Now there’s a lot more I want to talk about nutrition. But for lack of time, let’s just concentrate on physical fitness today.
So seven days a week, first thing in the morning, plan to spend about 20 minutes or less and then work against resistance so that as you become more fit you don’t spend more time; you work against more resistance.
So how do you do that?
Well, I was speaking at the University Rotary Club in Seattle. And one of the members came up when I was done and said, “I’m one of the editors for Prentice Hall Publishing. We’re the largest publishing company in America. We have a waiting list of people that want to write books on exercise. Nobody is telling us how to stay motivated and what you told us here today makes more sense than anything I’ve heard anywhere in the country. Will you do a book for my company on fitness motivation.”
I said, “Sure.”
That was 30 years ago. They haven’t gotten motivated to do it yet. But what I said was this: the problem with fitness is we don’t know what fitness is. And the reason we don’t know what fitness is, is because there’s no such thing as generic fitness. Fitness is activity specific.
Until you define what you’re trying to get fit for, the term has no meaning. I’ve trained Portland Trail Blazers. And I’ve trained Seattle Seahawks. I’ve trained real-estate agents and I’ve trained plumbers. Totally different approach to fitness depending on what I’m trying to get done in that fitness program.
So what is the most universal appeal I can make for physical fitness?
And I came down with this: health. Exercise being called the best medicine in America today outperforming almost every prescribed medication in the country in terms of its overall impact on our health — everything from colds and flu to cancer is being impacted by exercise. But you can’t just pay lip service to the idea. You actually have to do it.
So how much fitness do we need in order to be healthy? I said no problem. I’ll go to the experts. I went to the medical school library in Portland and look up how fit you have to be to stay healthy and for the most part to find virtually nothing written on the subject. Some information on aerobic exercise but other than that there was nothing there.
So I went and talked with physiologists that I had known and read about, and asked them their definition about physical fitness. And there are already tests and norms that had been established for the components that could make up total physical fitness but nobody ever packaged it and said this is the level of fitness you wanted to have. So that’s exactly what I did.
I put together what I could tend it was a level of fitness sufficient to stay healthy and for 14 years took my definition around the medical societies and college physiology departments trying to get somebody to disagree with me and to date have not found one disagreement on one item on my test.
So I turned it into a business that’s still going now in Beaverton Oregon. And then I wanted to get it even out farther to the general public. So I got on the speaker circus, started teaching the general public how to measure their own physical fitness that will be sufficient to impact your health — both physical and mental health, by the way.
And the test which you’ll believe will have a copy of later as this. Here’s your test that you can do at home. I want you to be flexible enough to sit on the floor, your legs straight, and reach your fingertips at least five inches past your toes. Most men can touch your toes; some of you haven’t seen them in five years.
Why is flexibility that big a deal? Because one of the leading causes of not showing up at work in America is my back hurts. 85% of the back pain in America today is being traced to people with tight back muscles caused by weak stomach muscles because you sit so much.
When the stomach muscles go on vacation, the back muscles have to work overtime. They tighten up; you bend over to pick up a pencil and you’re off work for six weeks.
Strengthen your abdominal muscles and stretch your lower back and 85% of an $80 billion to $100 billion problem will either lessen or go away completely but none of you can strengthen your abdominal muscles by taking Doans pills. You have to exercise.
I want you to have enough [cardiovas] injures to be able to step up and down on a 16 and quarter inch box chair or stool or an 8-inch stair for three consecutive minutes. Take the pulse for 15 seconds and multiply the beats by four. If your pulse is higher than 144 beats a minute for men, or 156 beats a minute for women on a sixteen and quarter-inch step, you just failed the test. And 75% of the people in this room, if you’re typical, will fail that test. A lot of you runners don’t have good cardiovascular fitness, but no one has been able to explain that to you, that test will.