• 21st April 2007 - By greg

    I did a school presentation today to St. Gregory’s school – Two actually, one to the grade 6’s and the second to the grade 8’s. The second was kind of scary because it was by far the oldest crowd I have presented to yet. You are cool in junior high, and the drill for being cool is you need to be pretty critical of older dudes who build wacky human powered machines and ride them around race tracks to set records. However, I think the kids really digged what I did, as they had tons of really great questions for me.

    I haven’t been counting but I would imagine I’ve done at least a dozen schools by now. The presentations are getting much better I think. The nervousness is gone now, and the content is more pertinent to what a kid wants/needs to hear. I change the slide show every week or so in an effort to respond to how the kids react to my obesity epidemic message. In thinking back to what it was when I started, I would have to say that I am getting a lot more brash – in your face kind of thing. That’s what I am finding really gets the attention. I can raise my voice and get a bit emotional about what I am trying to impress upon them – that feels good, and they really listen. Weather or not they will incorporate my message into their lives is another matter. I really hope so, but I’m happy with knowing that perhaps I will strengthen the resolve of a few who might already be fitness minded, and maybe even motivate a few of the others to walk rather than drive next time they visit a friend next door.

    One of the recent slides added to my presentation is in response to something that one of the teachers commented on a couple of weeks ago. She seemed to think that my preaching about becoming more active was “easy for me to say”, because she, like so many other ‘busy’ people in our modern society had kids to raise, a full time job to work, and no time for doing ironman races or pedaling a human powered boat across the ocean.

    So, I went deep into our home video archives and dug up this really great new shot of 200 pound Greg. Check it out:

    yep – that is me about 10 years ago at very close to 200 pounds. I had a ‘full time job’, very young kids that Helen and I were busy raising, and certainly no time to do the crazy things I now fill my days up with.

    But… it was right about then, or shortly there after that I decided that I really wanted to start to enjoy some other things that I used to love doing – running, riding and leading a far more ‘physical’ life. As a result, I knew that I needed to get into better shape. I was weight lifting then, but for sure I was lugging at least 30 pounds of fat around. I was also sick all the time. I felt that my general health wasn’t all that great. Common colds always turned into bronchial infections that lasted for 6 weeks, and my Asthma and hay fever was getting worse as I aged rather than better.

    I figured it was about time to make becoming fit and healthy a priority in my life. And so I did. That was a good 10 years ago. Today I am hovering around 155 pounds, I get sick on average about once per year and it doesn’t last long. My Asthma disappeared about 3 years ago and I am no longer allergic to anything. My energy levels are higher and I generally feel pretty darn good most of the time. At 46 years old, I can probably out perform the majority of today’s 20 year old dudes and that makes me feel younger for sure. That’s a good thing for a guy who will turn 50 in only 4 years (YIKES!).

    I’m not boasting – really. I don’t care what you think of me. The point I am trying to make – to you possibly, but to the kids I speak to, is that if you want to continue enjoying life as you age, then let my advice be your fountain of youth. Hey, my asthma could return tomorrow, I could get really sick and It is possible that I could suffer a heart attack, stroke or get cancer next week. All of those things are possible and I know that. This is about MITIGATING the risks. It is a well known fact that obesity causes a large variety of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and who knows how many other interrelated medical conditions! By leading a life with fitness as an important aspect, you are GREATLY reducing these risks. But more importantly, you FEEL BETTER! You have more fun doing cool physical things you love to do – roller skate, dance, work out at your gym, walk the dog, play soccer – what ever. You will also have more energy when doing the other stuff like paying attention during a board meeting, or fitting in one more item on your todo list. It’s how we were hard-wired – human beings were HARD-WIRED to be ACTIVE – every day. We short circuit when we are inactive.

    Greg K

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