by Sean Wells
We have all types of clients and prospective clients at Oregon CrossFit. Ranging from business owners, managers, doctors, lawyers, chefs, pastors, construction workers, parents, etc. All of these people can fall into the trap of becoming “The Martyr” and not prioritizing their physical fitness.
Let me describe the “The Martyr”
“The Martyr” places their physical fitness on the back burner due to their job, career, family, or other “priorities”. It is common for these people to place others in front of themselves, letting their own health fall to the wayside.You may hear them typically say that they can start taking care of themselves tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. All of these people do a great disservice to those who they are helping, caring for, fighting for etc. by not remembering to also take care of themselves; treating their health as a priority.
Let me explain further:
Don’t get me wrong, “The Martyrs” are excellent people who do hundreds of things for others but in doing so, often neglect themselves.
“The Martyrs” deserve better and unknowingly, limit their own potential. Amidst always helping others, they fail to recognize that taking care of themselves would further increase their potential to help others. By taking ownership of themselves first, it becomes beneficial in a variety of ways.
They would ensure their health stays good, and with their good health, maintain their ability to help others throughout the future.
They would also be serving as positive examples; showing that it is possible to train and maintain a healthy level of fitness while being busy.
Maintaining balance is helpful for their own well-being and the 2-6 hours a week of training isn’t going to prevent them from helping others
Think of it another way like a math problem:
Robert(our martyr in this case) helps people, let’s say for easy math purposes; helping 1 person a week – there is 52 weeks a year. This year Robert will help 52 people. Robert replicates this level of help for the next 10 years, 52 people * 10 years = 520 people helped. At the end of the 10 years the Robert is sick, having sacrificed his own health – he has gained 40 pounds, and at this point can’t help anyone else.
Robert finally works up the courage to go to the doctor and the doctor encourages Robert to help himself, he prescribes physical activity to Robert, just walk the doctor says. Robert wants to but he can’t overcome the years of neglect he has placed himself under. The extra weight and stress has destroyed his body, affecting his health and ability to continue to help others.
As time passes, Robert, unable to correct his course, sees his health continue to decline, possibly even succumbing to an early and unexpected death.
Despite his desire to continue helping others, Robert is no longer able, or there to help anyone else. Additionally, Robert has likely left behind his wife, kids and future grandkids.
Think about that. Robert leaves behind everything due to this inability to take care of himself and prioritize his physical fitness.
Now let us explore another possibility:
Robert helps two-thirds of the people from the previous example, (which was 52). In this scenario, he is helping 34 people a year and utilizing the “extra” time to help himself. He is training 3x a week, for an hour at a time. Nothing crazy or extreme, but he is staying consistent. He monitors his food intake because he knows it impacts how he feels and his ability to workout and feel energetic. The help he offers to the 34 people is of better quality and he is setting a positive example; showing others that it is possible Robert keeps on this pace for the next 30 years. Helping 34 people a year for 30 years he ends up helping almost twice the amount of people (34 * 30 = 1020). Not only did he help significantly more people, but he gets to see his kids grow up, interact with his grandkids and watch them grow. Can you put a price on watching your grandkids grow?
I realize this isn’t the real world, it’s a simplified view; helping a singular person once a week, and not taking into account all the other factors of life –
The situation illustrates the importance of the “long term play”, maintaining balance and the significant value of avoiding becoming “the Martyr.”
Prioritizing others, or work, or whatever it might be, at the cost of your own health is not worth it. Balancing your health with your other priorities and avoiding burnout, or sickness, from pushing yourself too far and shortening your lifespan doesn’t end up helping in the long term.
Your future, including the possibility of seeing those grandkids, depends on your ability to avoid neglecting yourself, sacrificing your health, and far too often, years of your life by allowing your physical fitness to evaporate.
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