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A Running Guide for the Overweight Runner

There is a man that runs around my town all of the time carrying himself with no evidence of being tired. You may see him out at the park r...


GUEST POST: [Kyle Gershman, GB&B] "Freedom...Worth Fighting For?"

Freedom...Worth Fighting For?

Many thanks for Seth for allowing me to guest post in his absence. Seth has been a great source of inspiration for me in my journey to getting healthy. He is a near unstoppable source of energy and has succeeded in areas that I'm still struggling, e.g. dreaded strength training, so I continue to follow and learn by his example.

While my history of getting fit has included the usual great successes followed by huge setbacks, my latest run at getting fit started last November around 236 pounds. 70 pounds later, I maintain my current 165 pound weight through mostly running and focus on making more good food choices than bad...I still strive to improve on strength training and overall body composition. I graduated C25K in late March and have recently rocked my longest run yet of 7 miles.

And if any of you have followed my blog Getting Better and Better, have received comments from me, I mention Freedom quite a bit. It was the subject one of one of my early blog posts. It was the base of my index card submission to Jack Sh*t, Getting Fit's W.I.D.T.H. series

Before going on, let's take a look at the more relevant definitions from

free·dom  [free-duhm]

1.the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

I want the freedom to be able to do any physical activity I choose to do. I need a physically fit body to carry out that freedom, though. Sure, I've done many physical activities while being less fit than I am not, but they never truly felt free. There were always strings attached. I couldn't go as far, as fast, or for as long as I wanted to. I was always restrained by my lack of physical fitness. I have friends who are very fit and very adventurous. It really irked me to have to awkwardly turn down or suggest alternative adventures that I felt I was more capable of enjoying.

At the urging of one of our fit friends, last October before I started my latest bid for physical fitness, my wife and I went to Yosemite National Park and hiked the Glacier Point Trail. Here is my video review. It was a very hard experience for me. I was probably around 240 pounds at that time and already an experienced hiker, but it was a struggle. Did I complete the hike? Sure, but I was practically immobile that evening and for the next two days. I gave away my freedom of doing anything else for the next few days just to get that one hike in. There were other activities at Yosemite we wanted to do, but we lost our freedom to do so. If you watch the video, you'll hear me breathing heavily at certain points. Again, I could "do" the hike, but I had a really tough time enjoying it as much as I could have. I wasn't really free to take in all the experiences of the hike as I was more concerned about my health and capabilities throughout the hike.

2.exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.

While I'm fortunate to be under a group healthcare plan, I don't know that I feel any freedoms (just yet) to go out and seek my own healthcare coverage. My BMI, waist to hip ratio, etc. all would have put me in a high risk class and may have made coverage prohibitively expensive. There were definitely times I'd like to have left the comforts of company employment and provided group coverage, but I never felt free to do so. I don't want to be restricted by regulations or other parties to determine what kind of coverage I deserve and at what price.

I don't want an airline to tell me I can't fly.

I don't want an amusement park to keep me from riding the rides.

3.the power to determine action without restraint.

This is the freedom of choice...the POWER to determine my actions instead of actions being selected for me.

My wife and I decided to try rock climbing. This would not have been a consideration before. While we had some reasonable choice in taking on certain activities like hiking, cycling, walking, etc. because we had some control over distance, time, terrain, etc., there are some actions that I don't think I had the power to choose.

I'm sure there are some hefty rock climbers out there...I'm sure that the ropes, harnesses, gear, etc. are likely designed to work with people who are much larger than I was; however I never even considered it. I assumed (and I still think rightly so) that climbing rocks on ropes where you are dependent on others for your safety simply was limited to a more fit participant.

Getting down to a healthy weight gave me gave me the freedom of choice.

Perhaps there are other freedoms you would like. Would you like to be free of fear? The fear of what the doctor might say next? too. I've lived much of my life in fear instead of living it. Getting healthy removes many of those fears. Sure, bad things can still happen, but when you KNOW you aren't healthy, you KNOW that there are higher risks and it raises the fears of something bad happening.

Like our forefathers and their question for freedom, it is something we all is something worth fighting for.

What does freedom look and feel like to you? What are you prepared to do?