#43 The Uphill Battle

We are in an uphill battle.  We are in a fight that perhaps is impossible to win.  I’m talking about the climate of the health (& fitness) industry.

With all the advancements in medicine and technology, the overall health doesn’t seem to have improved much.  The life expectancy may have increased but people seem to be surviving rather than thriving in those extended years of life.  Here some statistics:

  • 74% of Americans are overweight even after decades of effort to reduce the obesity/overweight epidemic
  • 1 out of 2 Americans is affected by a chronic disease while 1 in 4 has multiple chronic diseases
  • 7 of 10 deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic diseases and the top two causes of death being heart disease & cancer
  • In the recent years, the mental health problems seem more prevalent than ever. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million  or 18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year

Those are staggering stats especially since the money spent on improving those stats continue to rise year by year, which include the fitness industry as well, global market size of $87.5 billion.

I’m not writing this post to share about how dark and screwed up the health & fitness industry is.  On the contrary, I wanted to share this important epiphany I had regarding the uphill battle which was during a movie, Seven.  Let me provide some context.

Two detectives are trying to solve a serial murder case.  Detective Somerset, played by Morgan Freeman, is set to retire in a few days from his job, while Detective Mills, Brad Pitt’s character, is a young and motivated “over-achiever.”  During their process, Somerset says, “I just don’t think I can continue to live in a place that embraces and nurtures apathy as if it was a virtue…I didn’t say I was different or better. I’m not. Hell, I sympathize; I sympathize completely. Apathy is the solution. I mean, it’s easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It’s easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It’s easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.”

You get a sense that Detective Somerset is retiring not because of his age or inability to work but rather the climate of the society, which he called “a place that embraces and nurtures apathy as if it was a virtue.” The following quote is the response that Detective Mills gives:

“The point is I don’t think you are quitting because you believe these things you say.  I think you want to believe them because you are quitting.  You want me to agree with you and say, ‘Yeah, you’re right.  It’s all f****ed up.  F***ing mess.  We should all go live in a f***ing log cabin.’ But I won’t.  I won’t say that.  I don’t agree with you.  I do not.  I can’t.”

I found myself comparing the above conversation to the health & fitness industry.  The current climate of health & fitness may seem hopeless.  However, as a coach/trainer, I can’t give up and escape to “go live in a log cabin.”  I CANNOT accept the current state.  I choose to stay and make a difference…one consult at a time.  One workout at a time.  One client at a time.

Does this make sense at all?


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