The Big Rocks: Health, Fitness, and Life

Allow me to share the story about big rocks as told to me by my own mentor, Jeff Smith.”There was a group of disciples who had gathered to learn from their teacher, reputed to be one of the wisest men in the land. To begin their lessons, their teacher told them to sit in front of him. He had a glass bowl and began filling it with rocks. He then asked the class if it was full.”They said, ‘Yes.'”He ignored them and poured in some smaller pebbles until the container looked full and asked the same question again.”The students said, ‘yes,’ again.”This time, he rolled his eyes at them, and began pouring sand into the container until it was full to the top. He then asked the class if it was full now. By this time, the students were catching on and they weren’t so quick to answer yes. The teacher smiled and poured a glass of water into the bowl.”Now the bowl was finally full. He looked over at the students and asked them what lesson they’d learned. One of them piped up, ‘There’s always room for more.’ Others voiced similar answers.”But none saw the real lesson the teacher was sharing with them: ‘If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never have room for them.'”Ask yourself that question. What are the big rocks in your life?Are your big rocks your children and your spouse? Are your big rocks your parents and your siblings? Are your big rocks your friends? Are your big rocks your trip around the world? Are your big rocks a weekend get away with your wife or husband? Are your big rocks going to a favorite concert? Are your big rocks building your dream home? Are your big rocks making a difference in other people’s lives?Of all the big rocks in your life, what has to be the biggest rock of all? Would it be your children, a mother’s first thought? How can you care for your children and your family if you lose what should be your biggest rock of all–the health and fitness of your body?If you lose your health, you lose your energy, your patience, your joy, and your time to be with your children or with anyone else for that matter.Your body must be your biggest rock of all, and it must come before all the other big rocks.The next time you say to yourself that you don’t have the time to read the books, you don’t have time to listen to the tapes, or you don’t have time to make the changes that will make the difference between health and disease, between energy and lethargy, even life and death, then prepare yourself to live without the other big rocks in your life.What are the big rocks in your life? Make your body, your health, your energy, and your higher purpose your biggest rocks. Then the chances are that you will have a bigger bowl for the rest of your big rocks.One of my patients said to me, “You have no idea what it is like for me to have no pain.” About two years prior, he hobbled into my office using a cane and in obvious pain. He was rather crusty on the outside. Of course he was–all of us are miserable when we have lots of pain.And now he was pain-free and his mobility had returned.He continued by saying, “You have no idea what it is like for me to be able to get out of bed in the morning with no pain. You have no idea what it is like for me to be able to sit down and put on my own socks without pain. You have no idea what is like for me to be able to walk down my driveway to my mailbox one half of a mile and back with no pain.”What are the big rocks for this man? His ability to move and sit and walk without pain? Sure they are. And how does the loss of mobility or the return of mobility affect the rest of his life?It took his effort, patience, intestinal fortitude, his will power, his trust, and time to regain his mobility and health. However, he knew that if he didn’t have his health, he had nothing.And to further expand this lesson of big rocks, when you say to yourself, “I can’t eat ten vegetables or ten pieces of fruit a day,” think of the big rocks.If you eat the most health- and life-supporting foods first, the big rocks, then you will indeed fit them into your stomach. Furthermore, you won’t have enough room for the “not-so-good-for-you” foods and wouldn’t that be a very good thing?Discover for yourself what your big rocks are and fill your life with them. You will be rewarded with truth, health, mobility, energy, joy, and purpose.And remember, body first, everything else second.

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Fitness Professionals and the Special Needs Client

As fitness professionals we’re blessed with the opportunity of helping a lot of different people day to day.
It’s one of the main reasons so many of us get into this field, right? To help people. It’s a rewarding way
to spend one’s life.Whether you went to school and got a formal degree in this field, or obtained a certification, there are plenty of things you should be doing to continue your education. Why? Because we don’t handle one small slice of the population. We work with athletes, couch potatoes, accident victims, and thousands of others in different situations.There’s the “typical client,” and then there is the “special needs” client, and oftentimes those new to the
fitness professional field are horribly unprepared for these special clients.We all know who a “typical client” is. But what about a “special needs” client? How do we handle them?
Special needs clients are those who have risk factors above and beyond those of a typical client. They have plenty of variables that must be taken into consideration during their treatment, and many times fitness professionals aren’t prepared for them. These factors include hypertension, heart attack risk, diabetes, and thousands of other conditions that we may or may not know about.Fortunately there are plenty of additional certifications we can obtain that will help us better understand and treat our special needs clients.One certification is the Clinical Exercise Specialist (CES) from the American Council on Exercise. This
advanced personal trainer certification will help you work with special populations. You must have 300 hours of work experience designing and implement exercise programs, as well as a four-year degree in exercise science.There is also the Medical Exercise Specialist (MES) from the American Academy of Health, Fitness, and Rehabilitation Professionals (AAHFRP). If you’d like to know more about anatomy, biomechanics, post-rehab protocols, or screening/assessment techniques, then this certification would be an asset for you. You must be a certified personal trainer to sit for this exam.The ACSM Exercise Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is a great certification if you’d like to know more about training clients with cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic diseases.These are only three options for you to consider. There are many more that would increase your knowledge and skill set when working with your special needs clients. Any further education you commit yourself to can only help you do your job better, and help you to be better prepared for any eventuality that might come up in your day-to-day work with your atypical clients.(C) 2007 Anthony Carey, Function First