Being on the Right Side of History

Frankly, I’m not sure where this headed, but my mind has been whirling around a concept that I call “being on the right side of history.” As I prep up today to head to San Jose, California this weekend for a workshop, I was thinking about the last time I spoke there.

It was the weekend of the 50th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King’s famous speech, “I have a dream,” which also happened to be on my birthday. I have long argued it was a nice gift. Several of the Sunday news shows rebroadcasted some “talking heads” from that year who, frankly, were speaking on the “wrong side of history.” The term “squirming in your chair” can hardly contain the feeling of listening to these gentlemen talk in a way about “The American Negro” that sounds as bigoted then as it does now.

I was at the University of Michigan two weeks ago and I had a marvelous time. The whole thing was first class, but I also had a chance to spend about 25 minutes with Brady Hoke, their Head Football Coach, one on one. We share the same passion to help the same community and we bonded over this a bit. I can say this without reservation: If I had a son and he had the gifts to play Division One Football, I would push him towards Coach Hoke and the University of Michigan.Michigan vs Michigan State Football

Another story caught my attention during my visit about President Gerald Ford. Please read the story here, but he and his teammates on the Michigan saw the face of the Jim Crow law and racism with a teammate. I was inspired by this story and I appreciate our late President even more.


All of this has been making me think (and, yes, it always takes me a while to get to the point) about the fitness industry. Some of you might have caught this article about ibuprofen and Gut Disease. It got me to think: how many of us know how to prevent Cholera? Right…don’t drink the water you poop and pee in. Black Death? Well, stay a bit cleaner and eat some protein seem like a good start.

You see, I’m wondering if something as simple as XXXXXXX is going to be laughed at 100 years from now for the Obesity Epidemic. Yes, I called it an epidemic. Many will just argue “Calories in/Calories Out,” but I honestly think back to my youth will all the bacon grease, sweets as treats, tons of breakfast cereal and the mounds of potatoes that seem to keep us all really slim and trim. Yes, you can also argue that some of us played sports nonstop and that would keep the fat down.

Or, are we just missing something? We banned aspirin for kids (If it comes from tree bark, it has to be good, right!) because of a rare disease. Did switching to ibuprofen change something?

I have three books on my shelf that note that drinking anything out of plastic (containers or cups) will lower your T levels and make you fat. Could it be as simple as switching back to glasses made of glass? I would welcome comments of other “wild theories” that might be the cause of the rise of obesity.

No, I don’t think it is ibuprofen, unless, of course, it turns out to be in the long run (then, I will claim to be right all along). But, could it be something that simple? I love “Eat less, move more” but I have had far too many people…that I trust…insist that this isn’t always true for fat loss.

I am really hoping, and it is just hope, that my basic training principles won’t be the reason. Turkish Get Ups reappeared just as the obesity numbers began to jump up, so it is reasonable to think that TGUs are a leading cause in the increase in body fat.

I’m joking, but only a little.

On the fitness side, I worry about what we are doing today. I was with a nice young man this weekend who is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. From what I have seen with my friends who have struggled with this injury, he has a lifetime of work ahead of him. How did he do this?

Box Jumps.
Box Jumps for time.

Is there a World or Olympic championship for this?

The basics have always worked in fitness. Get your walks in, have some intensity sometimes and get all the basic human movements into your training toolbox. Don’t injure yourself training or competing but welcome an occasional bout of soreness. Leave a little in the tank every workout, so, if something does come up, you can handle it. If you get thirsty, drink water. Learn to spot and use spotters. Teach the next generation how to lift correctly. Leave the facility better than you found it.

I think these principles will stand the test of time. I’m convinced that the “answer” to the obesity epidemic will be painfully obvious in a century and, yes, it could be as simple as too many calories.

But, in fitness and strength, I am comfortable I am on the right side of history.

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