Time machine

Ok, so a bit of a cop-out this month, but I thought it would be interesting to go back in time to the earliest blog I can remember writing in my Personal Trainer journey and see how it stacks up today and if I still agree with what I was writing back then.

The earliest I found was from 16/07/2014 so 7 and a half years ago, which is a long time. The blog is below and I will add in my own commentary along the way from what present day me thinks. This is fun and interesting for people who aren’t me too, right?

Hey Everyone, I’m back here to talk about something that I’m very passionate about. How many of you have seen the movie – this actually was a book before it was a movie, which I didn’t know then, by Catherine Ryan Hyde –, or know of the concept of “Pay it Forward”? If you don’t, it’s pretty simple. You do something nice for someone else, then they do something nice for another person and they do something nice for another person etc. – there’s slightly more to it than that, it goes that instead of repaying a favour you do a favour for three others that they wouldn’t be able to do themselves… it’s interesting how much it seems like a goodwill MLM – What I want you to think about is the ripple effect something like that can have on the wider community. It can be pretty huge.

So much of what we focus on in our fitness journey is what it will mean for us. I want to lose weight, I want to look better, I want to feel better, I want to run a fun run, I want to get a six pack, I want to fit into these clothes again. I am absolutely not here to tell you any of that is bad, in fact, I think you’ll find quite the opposite. I want to examine what ripple effect your choices (for whatever reason gets you there) have on the wider community. – TLDR: You do you –

You may think that your decision to change your lifestyle and become a healthier, happier version of yourself is a personal decision that mainly affects you. I’m here to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong – this is clumsy, I know what I was trying to say here but it isn’t well worded; this is a personal decision that affects mainly you however the positive consequences of behaviour change do indeed ripple out to those around us –. It affects so many things around you, in a positive way. Let’s start from the immediate and work outwards and see who your transformation affects.

Firstly it affects the people you see everyday. Your family, friends and co-workers. Every one of them will see the change in you and be constantly reminded that it does happen and that it is real life, not just an infomercial. So that’s pretty cool. – positive role modeling is important and I have had a not insignificant amount of people become clients because they saw someone in their life begin a training program and liked what it did for them. Low hanging fruit but still relevant and not insignificant, 3.5/5 for this point –

It affects your local community. When you become healthier, in almost all cases you become more socially active – I had no idea if this was true and I still don’t, however it makes sense that joining a new community does make you more socially active. As an aside the only relevant paper I found in a quick search did link lower levels of social engagement to physical inactivity so the inverse is true I guess -. However, a more pertinent benefit that usually arises is you make better choices with your money. You won’t go to the drive thru of KFC/Hungry Jacks/Macca’s anywhere near as much – my own personal experience proves this patently false as my number one frequented UberEats destination is McDonald’s and it isn’t even close, but I guess it’s a nice theory and probably works in some cases. However it is important to note that sweeping behaviour change is very difficult to maintain and success is generally more lasting with incremental change built up over time. 2/5 for this point – , you’ll probably be as likely to spend your money on a local cafe that does an amazing savoury muffin, or going to the farmers market to pick up fresh produce. You will find that healthier eating also ends up generally supporting local business as well. You also keep people places like Dan Toohey Personal Training Amplify Fitness running. I want you to be very aware how important this is. It’s not an airy comment to make you feel good about your choice. Let’s look at some figures.

Tasmania has the Country’s highest unemployment rate at 7.6% (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-03/unemployment-rates/5286338). That may not seem that high, but lets remember that we are affected by an aging population and young people are leaving Tasmania in droves to seek opportunity elsewhere. – I guess that was correct at the time but that rate has since fallen to 6.4%, as you can see here. However there’s more to the story, let’s keep reading –

According to the ABS (via the Brotherhood of St Laurence: http://www.bsl.org.au/Media-centre/Media-Releases?id=1033)

Over the past two years, youth unemployment in Tasmania has risen by:

  • 59 per cent in West and North West Tasmania (including Burnie and Devonport) , reaching 20.5 per cent in the year to February 2014
  • 43 per cent in Launceston and North East Tasmania, reaching 17.7 per cent in the year to February 2014
  • 35 per cent in Hobart, reaching 15.2 per cent in the year to February 2014

At these rates of increase, the new analysis forecasts youth unemployment by 2016 will hit: 33.2 per cent in West and North West Tasmania 25.5 per cent in Launceston and North East Tasmania 20.5 per cent in Hobart

– these stats aren’t that readily available, at least in my searches. What this prediction didn’t take into account was a pandemic wiping out predominantly youth employers for a long stretch of time. However by the looks of it the predictions were not too far off. George Town, in the north of the state has a youth unemployment rate of 28.8%. Currently there are 18 job seekers for every 1 job in Tasmania –

So, your transformation can actively help to strengthen our local economy and keep young people employed in Tasmania. It may not seem like much if you think about what effect you have as an individual, but if you think about the pay it forward theory, if enough people change their lifestyle (which you are a walking advertisement for, remember) then change will happen at a community level. The market will always reflect what is in demand. – being a consumer of local products and services has been a really important recovery tool for small businesses and all of us super appreciate the extra attention people have made to help us out as we navigate the turbulent landscape which seems to be our new life. An unexpectedly well aged and salient point by me, well done. 4/5 –

Finally, lets get even broader than that. Lets take it to a National level. It doesn’t seem to matter who is in office at any time, whenever a budget comes out, people cry foul at cuts and debt and not enough money for this, that or the other thing. People also feel beholden to those in power, and think they just have to roll with it. You don’t. I’m not talking about holding a rally. Lets look at some more figures. Via the Medical Journal of Australia (https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/192/5/cost-overweight-and-obesity-australia), we can see that: – the pandemic and initiatives like JobKeeper have kind of shown us that money is pretend and we are able to provide for people even if they are not “contributing”. The money is there to do anything we want. It’s not about the money, it’s about how wealth is distributed. If you ask me. Which you did not. –

The annual total direct cost (health care and non-health care) per person increased from $1472 (95% CI, $1204-$1740) for those of normal weight to $2788 (95% CI, $2542-$3035) for the obese, however defined (by BMI, WC or both). In 2005, the total direct cost for Australians aged over 30 years was $6.5 billion (95% CI, $5.8-$7.3 billion) for overweight and $14.5 billion (95% CI, $13.2-$15.7 billion) for obesity. The total excess annual direct cost due to overweight and obesity (above the cost for normal-weight individuals) was $10.7 billion. Overweight and obese individuals also received $35.6 billion (95% CI, $33.4-$38.0 billion) in government subsidies.

The emphasis there was mine. This is not chump change. Every year, the cost of people in Australia being overweight is $10.7 billion. Now, Australia pays roughly $1 billion a month in interest on it’s debt (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-12/joe-hockey-one-billion-a-month-interest-fact-check/5478480) at the moment. So, it looks like if we cut out all the extra money we have to spend on overweight and obese people, we could take care of the interest on our debt, just from that, year in and year out. This would make a huge difference to areas that critically need funding. -this is such a cherry picked point and I think while my heart was in the right place, my brain was in a place where it was trying to crowbar some quickly found facts and figures into a paragraph to support a point I wanted to make and have it all tie in nicely.

I don’t even want to go into how these stats hold up today as I think they are stats about a symptom, not a problem. There are greater needs in society and I think you will find by addressing these basic human needs and giving people the opporunity for a life of dignity and self actualisation, rather than demonising obesity as a self contained problem which can only be solved on a personal level, you’ll find the rates of obesity will fall as a consequence. Just as a lack of these fundamental bricks to a dignified life have correllated to a rise in obesity
.

In summary, bad point made with misrepresented stats, 1/5 –

So, to recap, I’ve thrown a lot of facts and figures and thoughts at you. What I don’t want you to do is think “I’m part of the problem, look at all the bad stuff happening”. That is rubbish. I want each and every one of you who walks through the door (or meets me in a park – I’ll stick to the gym, thanks, past Dan –) to know that you are the embodiment of the solution on a personal, community and even national level. Every time you show up you should think just how worthwhile what you are doing is. You are inspiring those around you (you are, believe me – or don’t, I am no prophet, clearly – ), you are supporting local businesses (Dan Toohey Personal Training Amplify Fitness is a local business you know) and you are growing OUR economy, not feeding the pockets of “evil corporate fat cats”. – corporate fat cats are evil and I continue to beat the drum for not feeding their pockets. However cats are cute and I don’t like the idea of them being appropriated by odious CEO’s of mega corps. Toad kind of ryhmes with odious and is much more appropriate. Cane toads to be specific. Corproate Cane Toads –

If you find yourself lacking motivation or wondering why you bother, if you are plateauing and just not feeling like you want to make the effort, take the focus off yourself and think how much what you are doing is helping everyone else around you. As one of those people, I’d just like to say thanks, and keep it up! Your ripples are needed, and we do appreciate you paying it forward! – even back then I was trying, and often it’s at the cost of quality, to have a callback to a reference I made at the start of the article. Classic Dan. I do think this is a good point though, finding a way to change the focus from yourself can be helpful to get through a rut, we are much more accountable to others than ourselves, 4/5 –

See you soon 🙂 -It was over 7 years but sure –

Dan

Overall I think I had a couple of good ideas and I went a weird way about putting them together into a coherent article. Not the worst effort, but not the best. I’d have to give myself a 3/5 for this piece. Maybe next month I will do an original article. Doing remakes is very trendy right now though. I hope you enjoyed this window back into the mind of 26 year old me. I’m not too upset, I think I have some potential. I guess I owe it to the kid to try and reach it…

Until then,

#trynottobeadick

Dan

New references:

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7841-7

https://economy.id.com.au/tasmania/unemployment?WebID=240

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-06/youth-employment-improving-in-north-west-tasmania/100435388

https://www.ynot.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021-03/YNOT%202021-22%20BPS.pdf