The Biden-Harris Administration is turning its attention to nutrition and health.
I’ll say what you’re thinking:
It’s about time.
Right now, the U.S. government is creating a national strategy to “end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases.” Until July 15, the government was asking for “ideas and stories.” The official strategy will be announced at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September 2022.
This is great.
Any time fitness and nutrition are in the news, it’s a good thing for gym owners—especially when a nation turns its attention to health. As gym owners, we have the solution to many of the problems that plague most nations when it comes to diet and exercise.
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that fitness professionals have all the knowledge required to dramatically reduce rates of disease related to poor nutrition and inactivity. But, as Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper said at our 2022 Summit in Chicago, knowledge isn’t the answer anymore. We need action to get results.
Solving Health Problems With Common Sense
Let’s just take a second and provide solutions to all issues of hunger, nutrition and health:
1. Nutritious food must be affordable and widely available in all parts of a nation.
2. People must eat more vegetables and fewer highly processed carbohydrates.
3. People should work out regularly, either on their own or with a coach for optimal results.
There. That didn’t take a Ph.D. Just common sense.
So why are we still in crisis? Again, no Ph.D. required to answer.
1. Food is becoming more expensive by the day and nutritious food isn’t always available everywhere. Twinkies ship more easily than lettuce.
2. Many people prefer convenient, hyper-palatable, fatty, sugar-filled processed foods that are very high in calories and very low in nutritional value.
3. It’s easier to sit on the couch and watch Netflix than lift some weights and go for a run.
I can’t resist adding No. 4: Many governments blocked gyms and coaches from helping people over the last two years of the COVID pandemic. That’s a fact, and I’ll let others debate whether lockdown measures actually saved lives or caused people to move less and eat worse. I’ll ignore No. 4 for now.
Changing Society: One Person at a Time
No. 1 is a massive, complicated socioeconomic problem that reaches into every aspect of society, from wages and employment to supply chains to social safety nets. Let’s just say this and move on for now: The United States has enough food to feed its citizens.
No. 2 and No. 3 are cultural issues. That means the average person is more likely to turn on a screen and reach for a bag of chips than do a few squats and eat some lean protein.
If I review North American history, I’d estimate that it’s taken us about 80 years to significantly alter daily life, with the majority of the damage done in the last 30. My parents didn’t have a single screen growing up, and they moved a lot as part of daily life. Today’s kids throw nutritious food out so they can get to sweets faster, and they’re all “screen zombies” who stare at devices for hours without blinking.
I don’t know that the problem is solvable on a societal level. It’s sad to say, but I think a lot of people are going to suffer needlessly solely because they are unwilling to eat better and move more.
Here’s some hope: Gym owners, trainers and nutrition coaches can “save” anyone they work with.
If you’re in the fitness industry, you know that isn’t hyperbole. If someone eats what you tell them to eat and moves the way you tell them to move, that person is almost certain to avoid a host of diseases and health conditions. I won’t quote studies. I’ll just offer common sense: It’s unlikely the average microgym client will develop Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis or hypertension. Or any other diseases linked to inactivity.
More common sense: The children of that client are highly likely to avoid the same issues because of parental influence.
With that in mind, gym owners should see a clear path forward: Find and connect with people who are ready to take action. Then work hard to connect with every single person close to that client.
The White House can collect ideas, run them through a think tank and then issue documents with strategies. Consider any resulting improvements in health to be a bonus.
In the meantime, it’s really up to you to change society. And you can do it within your lifetime. You can actually live to see the results.
Catalyst Fitness in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, has a mission to enhance and extend the lifespan of 7,000 people in the city—that’s 10 percent of the population. I’ve seen other gyms state similar goals recently.
That’s what’s going to make a difference in the world: Clear action that leads to one-on-one connections that lead to more connections. Not some government document that rehashes stuff we already know and motivates a few people to eat a vegetable.
If you’re reading this, you are the solution. Remember that. If you do, you’ll understand how valuable your service is and you’ll wake up every day with a clear sense of purpose.
But if you ever waver in your commitment because you’re overwhelmed by the business side of things, we can help. That’s Two-Brain’s mission. With a mentor’s assistance, you can build a strong, stable business that allows you to make a great living as you change the world.
Don’t ever give up. If you’re struggling, get help.
Society needs you to do that.