T Nation

Family?s attitudes towards physical fitness

Last year sometime I was searching the forum archive and stumbled across a thread about why people work out.

I was thinking about that the other day, and another question popped into my head. What are your family?s attitudes towards physical fitness, and have they had an affect on your own?

For instance, I would imagine, that what motivates a person from a family of All-American athletes to workout would be different from that which motivates someone from a family of morbidly obese people.

My family wasn’t centered around working out, but they were centered around sports, and working out was a byproduct of us (me and my brothers) wanting to be better at our athletic endeavors.

I come from a family of obese (possibly morbidly so) brainiacs. My dad and mom are RNs, and Dad’s got 15 years of firefighting and paramedic experience under his belt and competed in some Army bodybuilding/strength stuff while he served our country as well. They have way more than the “averarge” level of understanding as far as how the body works. Does that make them put the Burger King or Domino’s down? No. Does it make them go so far as to take evening strolls? No. They suffer physically and emotionally due to their weight; they have the knowledge to correct the problems. They also have an overabundance of excuses why they do not.

Growing up I was never allowed to be involved in anything remotely athletic. Granted, I was bedridden like clockwork (every 4 months) with pnuemonia and had a vicious, evil case of allergy triggered asthma. I wasn’t allowed learn to ride my brother’s bike, let alone have one of my own. I wasn’t allowed to learn to rollerskate. I was pulled from swimming lessons. I wasn’t allowed to participate in gym class. Yes, I was the fat little brainiac that was so feeble a strong wind would blow me over and leave me wheezing for hours. While all this was good for my scholastic development (regularly tested as being 7-9 years ahead of my grade level) it sucked ass for my physical, emotional and social development.

To make a long story… longer, I resolved never EVER to be like my folks. My dad is 53 and an old, obese, broken down man. Both my mom and mother are hideously unhealthy. (Still love 'em to pieces, though.) I may not have had an athletic family or social structure, I may not have had the physical genetic gifts of some. I may not have had even the “average” breaks in those departments but I’ll be goddamned if my life is going to end up like they chose to let their’s.

My family was into sports in a few different ways. My dad was a wrestler, football player, and pole-vaulter in college and my mom was an ace sailor which takes definite athleticism in a small boat. They were definately the influence for my brother and me. I also idolized Hulk Hogan who encouraged me to lift weights so I started lifting with my dad when I was very young and now it is my favorite leisure activity.