Today, I had a chance to reflect on the past 3 weeks and 5 days. Like the Tour de France when it is in full swing, I wanted to write about that race and mention the similarities it has to what I’m doing. When Lance Armstrong was going for yet another record breaking 8th win of the most grueling race in the world of bicycling, he is not only trying to beat the odds, he is also sending a message to the world that you can win against cancer. With the Tour de France lasting 3 weeks through grueling terrain and a fast pace, it takes a very savvy and well-prepared athlete to not only finish the event, but also an incredible one like Lance Armstrong to win it all so many times. I definitely think Sports Illustrated nailed it on one year’s cover when the headline read, “Tour de Lance!”
Now, coming into the 4th week of my push across America, I am also sending an important message. My message explains that if communities begin health initiatives, and if a majority of the citizens use these initiatives to maintain a healthier lifestyle, then we can win the war on obesity. Since the beginning of the Tour, over half of the people we have seen are overweight or obese. The problem of obesity is real, but it is not unbeatable.
When I was injured in the grain elevator explosion that left me paralyzed from the chest down and confined to wheelchair for life, I had to use proper exercise and nutrition while applying the principals of health and fitness to get my active lifestyle back. What I observe now, is a great number of people who are letting their bodies become overweight and obese because they do not have anything forcing them to be healthier and more active. What they do not realize is that some day in their future they will suffer due to their poor health habits, from injuries like bad knee’s from carrying so much weight to health-related diseases like diabetes, heart diseases and many more that take a toll on our country’s healthcare costs that are well over a hundred billion dollars.
I also want to mention the four points I talked about with the two high schools in St. Louis and how they relate to Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France, and especially how they relate to the ‘Big Push’ Across America.
The points were:
- To “NEVER GIVE UP BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY!”
- It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you choose to respond to what happens that is important.
- The only failures are the ones who don’t learn from their mistakes.
- Greatness is all around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who is successful at something that you want to do.
Applying these four points is working for Lance and the other athletes in the Tour de France. The points are also working in Armstrong’s personal fight against cancer. I am using these same principles in the ‘Big Push’ Across America.
- To never give up: I’m not going to give up until I’ve made it all the way through and reached out to communities all across America. I’m pushing through all 13 states paralyzed from the chest down to inspire and motivate and to demonstrate that health and fitness is for everyone.
- It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you choose to respond to what happens that is important: In the case of being overweight and out of shape, it is not over until you are dead. As long as people get the information about health and fitness and start applying it, they can get back to leading healthy, full, and enjoyable lives.
- The only failures are the ones who don’t learn from their mistakes- Right now, we’re in the process of working with the communities across America to create lasting health and fitness initiatives for all Americans. These initiatives can help people learn from past errors and use that knowledge about proper fitness activities, sports and why choosing a nutritionally balanced meal or snack are key factors to getting in shape and starting a new lifestyle.
- Greatness is all around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who is successful at something that you want to do: 1) By providing all communities with information from the top fitness trainers, registered dieticians, top nutritionists and places like the Cooper Institute who have focused research and cutting edge developments on proper health and fitness activities, we are providing them with access to the best information they can get. In addition, we are making it easy to understand and apply. 2) By the community embracing health and fitness, people can get the support of others in their community until it takes over like a revolution 3) By doing these things they can win the war against obesity.
KEVIN’S PERSONAL JOURNAL
It took me approximately 2.5 hours to push from Waterloo to Baldwin. Man it was HOT!
1:30 to 2:00 p.m. CST – There were many miles to cover and I was anxious to continue, so I only took a short break. I made sure to replenish my body by drinking plenty of water and Gatorade and by eating some healthy food like fruit. Even when I am not on tour, I usually eat three well-balanced meals a day with 2 healthy snacks if I am working out on a daily basis using cardio training with my hand cycle or racing wheelchair along with strength training with weights and plyometrics. It is important to do this to keep up my metabolism. Of course, these are not the large portions like most people typically eat. Eating two to three small meals during the day with 2-3 healthy snacks like a piece of fruit will keep your metabolism and energy levels up, stabilizes your blood sugar, helps fight off hunger, and help you avoid eating too much in any one meal. Remember you have to judge your intake according to your needs. My plans for incorporating healthy fitness and nutrition in every city, includes provide individuals with nutrition information similar to what I was provided at the Olympic training center or from top fitness trainers, coaches and nutritionist from the Cooper Institute. Armed with motivation, clear goals, and accurate, easily understood information, almost anyone can achieve a healthier lifestyle all they have to do is “Never Give Up! Because There is Always a Way”.
As I pointed out, I only took a short break today so I could really make some mileage. I built up momentum and really kept it going. Any major undertaking, be it a trip across country, a personal diet, exercise plan, or an initiative to end childhood obesity – thrives on momentum. The initial effort gives way to small wins, which add up to big results over time. I will make it through this journey one revolution of my wheels at a time and we will defeat the obesity epidemic one person, one community at a time until the momentum of America’s health & fitness revolution can’t be stopped! My book, “Revolutions/Beating the Fitness Crisis in America One Push at a Time”, will chronicle this journey in more detail and hopefully continue to inspire people to get fit.
2:00 p.m. CST – I continued on to Chester, approximately 18 miles. The road was extremely hilly and full of curves. It took me over two hours to reach Chester. But each hill and each curve was an obstacle I overcame. The more adversity I overcome, the more motivation and inspiration I encourage in every individual. Hills and heat, rain and pain, nothing will hold me back from completing my journey and I encourage you not to let anything hold you back from defeating your challenges and meeting your health and fitness goals because “There is Always a Way because You never Give Up!”