Located in Richmond, VA

Put Your Mask On First

When I meet with clients for the first time, one of my goals is to find out where I can help them the most. Undoubtedly, a lot of the times people illustrate to me that their biggest difficulty in establishing a routine of being physically active and living a healthy lifestyle is a lack of time. I feel ya 100%, I promise I do. Despite what many people think, as a strength and conditioning coach I do not, in fact, get paid to work out. Actually, after training 8 – 10 people in a given day, my introverted self is wore the hell out and I don’t want to do much of anything. There are many different reasons people will allude to as to why they do not have enough time to do this whole gym/health thing. Most of these reasons are very noble and I can do nothing but respect their thought process.

Too often do “fitness people” continually bash and harp on the people that don’t make time to work out and be healthy and say that, “if you have time to watch tv, you have time for the gym,” and, “you just aren’t making it a priority.” I get it to a point, but the more times that I talk to people like this, the more I feel and understand where they are coming from. I will say that the majority of the time when people meet with me and say that their biggest issue preventing them from being consistent with pursuing their fitness goals is time, it is for one reason –

Some people are selfless, and selfless people spend their time and energy for the betterment of others long before they spend it on themselves.

Think about it. The mom who has a job and two kids at home wanting to do anything and everything to make sure that her kids have the best life possible. The guy trying to climb the corporate ladder willing to work hours on end to provide the best possible situation for himself and his family. The grandparent that wants to spend every moment possible playing with his/her grandkids, taking them to the park and the zoo and seeing them smile. These people have my respect. Period.

I am not saying that people need to detract from their selfless nature and I am certainly not telling you to shift your focus from what is most important to you. Going to the gym or exercising doesn’t need to be a priority in your life, especially if you just flat out don’t enjoy it. What I am saying, better yet imploring, you to do is to put your mask on first.

Most of us have been on a flight, likely sitting next to those that we love the most. When the flight attendant is up front on the intercom his or her instructions in case of emergency are explicitly clear: In case of emergency, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. Put your mask on first before you help those around you. You mean to tell me that a mom sitting next to her 5 year-old daughter is supposed to put her mask on before she helps her crying child? You mean to tell me that the husband sitting next to his sleeping wife is supposed to help himself before he helps the love of his life? You better believe it.

What good are you to help all those around you if you are sitting there dying? 

What good is the mother to her kids that has to go to doctor appointment after doctor appointment because her blood pressure is through the roof and she is having all kinds of orthopedic problems? What good is the junior executive to the company when he can’t sleep a lick and is working his way to a stroke or heart attack? What good is the grandparent that can’t get on to and off of the ground to play with his grandkids and give them everything that he wants to give them?

Simply put, if you don’t carve out some time to put your mask on your selfless face, you are ultimately being selfish in the long run. I’m not saying that you need to turn into one of us gym fanatics, I’m not even saying that you need to go to the gym. I am saying that in order for you to be there to help others, to better your professional career, or do the things that you love the most, you need to place an importance on your overall health and well-being. Walk your dog a little extra, run around with your kids at the park, or wake up before your family and get to the gym.

You need to be a little selfish. You need to carve out some time for yourself. It doesn’t make you a bad parent and it doesn’t make you a lazy employee. Making yourself a healthier and better version of yourself is the most selfless and positive thing that you can do. Putting your mask on first will allow you to be in a better position to help those that you love the most and it will help you become a better professional in your career.

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