Since the days of Jack LaLane in the 1950’s, the conversation about health and fitness in the United States has centered around a discussion of what we weigh. Weight loss, weight gain, weight plateaus, weight maintenance and so on. Weight loss has become big business, and over the past 50 years many companies have profited handsomely by repeatedly offering hollow solutions to the under-motivated.
But at the same time, an unprecedented and powerful phenomenon is taking place among a small yet growing minority of Americans. Beneath the clamor of tired excuses for why “It’s not my fault,” there is an emerging segment of Americans who see physical fitness as a means of proving to themselves and others that the American spirit is alive and well. For them, the weight is over.
While most Americans search for excuses for their misbehaviors at McDonalds, these pioneers of the 21st century have recognized that survival of the fittest has given way to survival of the smartest, and that true prosperity in this age of caloric abundance will belong to those who demonstrate the discipline and self-reliance that formed the very bones of our great country.
Pioneers you might question? Absolutely. Never before have Americans had to navigate an environment where food is so abundant, and physical strength is so optional. Never before has such a web of governmental and institutional accommodations existed to cater to the needs of the most egregious offenders of obesity, diabetes, caloric excess and chronic laziness. We are the pioneers of health in the age of technology, and most Americans don’t have, or worse don’t want, a clue.
The greater consequences are obvious. When enough individuals blow a personal responsibility tire, the resulting drag on everything from parenting to gross national product gets caught in the entitlement crossfire. From far too many Americans, you’re likely to hear “This is what I want” rather than “This is why I work.”
Good luck with that.
I will never surrender my place with those who still see America as the greatest opportunity any human being has ever had. To be expecting no one other than myself to carry my water if I expect to drink. And to be forging ahead as did those pioneers of our past, welcoming the challenge of new horizons, and knowing that it is up to me to get me there.