I have two mothers, a fit one and a fat one.
One is highly educated on the subject of health. She has a PhD and completed four years of undergraduate work in less than two years. She then went on to The Ohio State University and Duke University to do her advanced studies, all on exercise and nutrition science. The other mother never finished her first year of college.
Both women successfully raised big families, working hard all their lives. Both had substantial energy. Both looked great aesthetically. Yet one has always struggled with her health while the other has not.
If I had had only one mom, I would have had to accept or reject her advice. Having two moms offered me the choice of contrasting points of view: one of a fit woman and one of a fat woman.
Instead of simply accepting or rejecting one or the other, I found myself thinking more, comparing, and then choosing for myself. The problem was that when I was growing up, my fit mom was not fit yet, and the fat mom was not yet fat. Both were in the middle of raising families, and both were struggling with energy and children. But they had very different points of view about fitness.
One of the reasons the fit get fitter, the fat get fatter, and those stuck in the middle stay in the middle their whole lives is because the subject of fitness is taught at home, not in school. Most of us learn about fitness from our parents. So what can fat parents tell their children about fitness? They simply say, “Eat less and move more.” The child may graduate high school skinnier than all of their friends, but with a fat person’s programming and mindset.
Sadly, fitness is not taught in schools. Schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, but not on personal development skills. This explains why dieticians, coaches, and professors who earned excellent grades may struggle with their health all of their lives. Our staggering national obesity rates are due in large part to highly educated politicians and government officials making “healthy decisions” for us with little or no training in the subject of fitness.
Today I often wonder what will soon happen when we have millions of people who need medical assistance. COVID didn’t change the way we live; it just sped up the evolution of how we were living. How will a nation survive if teaching children about fitness continues to be left to parents–most of whom will be, or already are, fat?
Work capacity (energy) is one form of power. But health education is more powerful. Energy comes and goes, but if you have the education about how energy works, you gain power over it and can begin building health. The reason positive thinking alone does not work is because most people went to school and never learned how energy works. So they spend their lives drinking Diet Coke, popping sleep medication, and eating more superfoods.
Because the fit mom in this story is my birth mom, the lessons she taught me were simple. And when it was all said and done, there were only six main lessons repeated over 26 years.
This series is about those six lessons, put as simply as possible, just as simply as my fit mom put forth those lessons to me. The lessons are not meant to be answers, but guideposts that will assist you and your children to grow healthier no matter what happens in a world of increasing change and uncertainty.
This story is actually the first chapter of Rich Dad, Poor Dad only adapted to the topic of health. As a gym owner, I sit down every day with individuals to set goals and hold them accountable to action. The first time I meet with these athletes, I essentially ask: Tell me how bad your parents messed you up.
Originally, this series was going to be titled Fit Dad, Fat Dad. But I begin to realize over Christmas break that my kids, and my nieces and nephews, are but products of their mother, not their father.
Now, that’s a significant statement–but can anyone dispute the influence a mother has on her children? She is the one determining her child’s sleep schedule, what and how much her child eats, what activities her child will be involved in, and how her child thinks about themselves and others.
Without thinking about it, all mothers teach their children a version of the SEMM Model: sleep, eat, move, manage. A mother’s ability to develop healthy habits in these four modalities will determine her work capacity across her lifespan. And her ability to teach these lessons simply to her children will affect multiple generations after they’re gone.
This blog series is a plea to all of the mothers in the world. Are you teaching your children the lessons of the fit mom?
4 Sets, Each a 3-Minute AMRAP:
20 Stepback Lunges
10 Chair Dips
-Rest 1 Minute between Sets-