“I really hope it’s only 3:00a.m. right now. I still need at least three more hours of sleep,” I said to myself as I laid in my nice, warm, cozy bed.
I knew my alarm was set for 6:05a.m., as it was for every week night, and I didn’t want to ruin my “beauty sleep” by picking up my head and glancing at the cable box at the foot of the bed. So, I nestled into my warm comforter and began to doze off again, enjoying every minute that went by. My sleep was quickly disturbed by a warm, smelly breath, followed by a cool, slimy "goo" that dripped onto my right cheek.
“Please, Norman, go back to sleep,” I thought to myself.
I pulled the blanket back over my ears and tried to get some sleep. Norman had stopped panting and decided to move to the end of the bed, where he circled for a minute and eventually laid back down.
“Yes, now I can finally get some sleep,” I said.
I reluctantly picked up my head and opened one eye to glance at the cable box.
“5:45a.m. Nice, I have 15 minutes before I need to get up and head to the gym,” I thought.
Just as my head hit the pillow, I was again awakened by the most unpleasant smell: bulldog pollution.
“OK, time to get up!” I said.
I swung my legs around and hoped out of bed and began to get ready for my workout. Shortly thereafter, I had a giant cup of coffee in my hand and was ready to take on the gym. Once my workout was complete, I was headed to my first job of the day. It was the one job I was not looking forward to at all. I had to go to Mrs. Jessup’s house and switch out a leaking kitchen sink faucet. The only twist is that this was not the first time I’ve been underneath her shoe box of a cabinet.
I made sure that morning I did extra stretching at the gym because I knew I was going be utilizing all of my yoga skills underneath that kitchen sink. So, I arrived and plugged in my drop light, opened up the cabinet doors and was quickly reminded of how tight this space really was. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention one small detail — there was a fully functioning, still very hot, radiator placed ever so perfectly inside the cabinet. I managed to slither my way into the tight spot and begin to work on the faucet.
“Wow, Sean, good thing you are slim and flexible enough to get into that space,” Mrs. Jessup said, as she laughed. “You really have to be a contortionist to fit into some of these tight spots, huh?”
I laughed and thought to myself, “If I had a dollar for every time a customer said that to me, I’d be rich!”
Well, maybe not rich, but I would have at least enough money that I’d be able to afford a nice steak and wine dinner! After an hour or so of cursing under my breath and being burned by the hot drop light and the nice toasty radiator, the job was complete. This of course was not my first rodeo when it came to tight spots on the job site.
I’m sure many of you can relate to exactly what I’m talking about. I know that without keeping good care of my body by watching what I eat and constantly going to the gym to start my day, that fitting into these tight areas would be a lot more difficult.
Now, I’m sure you're wondering where I’m going with this one, right? Well, I can preach to you about health and fitness and how important it is for your mind and body, and how crucial it is to take care of your body, especially in this industry. But, I’m not a professional in the fitness field. However, I do have a good friend and customer of mine, Christina Hernandez.
Christina has been a health coach for three years and is a group fitness instructor on her way to being an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. She says she hasn't always loved health and fitness. But once she made the choice to lead a healthier life she never looked back because the benefits were endless: controlling weight, gaining flexibility, improving moods, combating illness/disease, boosting energy and improving longevity are just naming a few.
Christina wants to pass more information forward and teach others about the benefits of a healthy diet, exercise, and having a positive mental attitude. She shared some tips with me that I would like to pass on to you.
Tip No. 1
It is important when starting any new goal or project to have a reason why you are doing it. Why do you want to be healthier? Is it because you want to do better at your job? Run around with your kids more? Be able to do more with your spouse? Have more energy? Look healthier and more fit? Finding a “why” is the most important step because that is what will keep you going when you feel like quitting.
Another important thing is believing in yourself. There is that famous quote, “If you believe you can, you’re right. If you believe you can’t, you’re right.”
You control the outcome in every situation, so you need to be positive and believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Nobody has more motivation than you, not the person next to you or someone on Facebook.You are your own motivation, and if you want it, you have to light the fire within you and put in the work. Christina said to always remember that it’s easier not to do something than it is to do it, but lots of people don’t do it, and look what’s happening to the nation’s overall health.
Tip No. 2
So now that you have the correct mindset about having a healthier life let's go over some of the main concepts. Rest is super important. Regular periods of rest and sleep are vital to our personal well-being. Being sleep deprived is dangerous and limits abilities to do things like operate heavy machinery and drive, and can also weaken immune systems and make you ill.
Of course everyone’s sleep patterns are different, but Christina says getting anywhere from seven to eight hours a night is good for mental health, healing your body, letting muscle groups recuperate, and fighting illness.
Tip No. 3
Bad food, diet and nutrition are at an epidemic level in this country, Christina said. We love food, and we love it fast and easy, but it’s not always healthy that way, is it?
The phrase, “you are what you eat,” may be cliché, but it's ultimately accurate. Obesity, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and Type II Diabetes are all common problems. Christina said they are often a direct result of a poor diet. Modern diets can contain too many processed foods that are high in fats, sugar and salt. We know that we should be eating more lean meat, fresh fruit, and vegetables as a part of a healthy diet.
Simple changes to your diet can make a big difference to your life, including increasing your energy levels, enhancing your mood and reducing the occurrence of illness. Christina advises portioning meals and eating many meals throughout the day. Many of us overeat at mealtimes and that causes us to gain weight. By serving yourself the correct foods like vegetables, fruits and lean proteins, and giving yourself the correct portion you can eliminate over-eating the wrong foods.
As they say, “you can’t out exercise a bad diet.”
Tip No. 4
Last, but not least important, is exercise. Most people are aware of the advice that we should take regular exercise, but many people like to say that they don’t have time. Everybody has the same amount of time but not everyone makes the time. Christina suggests you think of it as an appointment with yourself. You wouldn’t miss an appointment with a client, so you should show up for yourself and your own health too.
Christina recommends that people exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Some people like going to the gym. Christina works out at home either in the living room, driveway, or on a deck. She knows that she will not get up to drive to the gym everyday so she just writes down a circuit workout, goes for a run or pops in a workout DVD like INSANITY to get it done in 30 minutes. Other people love going to the gym or taking different classes because being in that environment works better for them and helps them get motivated.
Christina warned that if you have an injury you should consult a physician or modify your workouts; everyone has been there. Everyone is different and should do what works best for them in terms of time management and workout preference. If you can’t work out as much as Christina recommended, then do what you can because nobody has yet concluded that exercise is bad for you and the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.
No matter what, it is important to ease yourself gently into any new routine whether it be incorporating a new diet or exercise regiment, or both. Caring for your body is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Christina likes to reward herself at certain milestones whether it’s pounds lost, running a faster mile, doing more pushups, etc. She will have a “treat meal,” purchase new sneakers, start a new workout program, get a new yoga mat, etc., to motivate her to keep going. Christina said you won’t be able to do the right thing all the time, but with practice you will get better at making sure you take care of your body, get the most out of life, and, as plumbers, fit in all the right places!
Thank you Christina for sharing your knowledge and expertise in the health and fitness field! I feel it’s so important for us plumbers to take care of our bodies because every day we find ourselves lifting heavy materials and fitting into these tight spots. Let’s face it, this industry can be very taxing on your mind and body, so let’s do our bodies a favor and take good care of them.
For more motivational tips on eating healthy and working out follow Christina on social media: Instagram- Mrs.Motivation; Facebook - Christina Hernandez- Inspire.Motivate. Empower; and Twitter -The_ChristinaH.
Sean McCormack is co-owner of BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 845-596-7770; Twitter @seantheplumber1; and Periscope @seantheplumber. Visit seantheplumber.com.