Every year I am lucky enough to attend and speak at an event called, IDEA World. IDEA is the largest educating body for health and fitness professionals. The event draws thousands of attendees from all over the world including, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Israel, UK, Australia and on and on it goes.
I have always considered myself lucky to be involved in an industry whose mission is inspiring the world to fitness but above and beyond our mission are the people I have the opportunity to meet.
At World they always have a “welcome” program that includes award presentations for jobs well done in the industry. One of the awards is the IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award, and this year it went to Augie Nieto, Founder of Life Fitness who was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) 4 years ago.
He came on to the stage in his wheelchair, wife by his side, and showed a few tricks he could do with his new, “souped up” wheel chair. After some nervous laughter he brought the audience a message that was both moving and inspiring.
At 19 years old, Augie bought the rights to the Lifecycle exercise bike and co-founded Lifecyle, Inc. which eventually became Life Fitness, Inc., the largest manufacturere of fitness equipment in the world. Augie has dedicated himself to bringing health to the world, finding new and innovative ways to bring movement in to homes as well as fitness centers. He took a simple idea and out of his love for movement created an international movement, regular exercise for both consumer and professional.
As Augie spoke, I heard a statement that has stuck with me, “Everyday I redefine normal.”
I thought to my self, here is a man that was once extremely active and now limited to life in his wheelchair and a prisoner in his own body. But he still finds a way to make a difference. In fact, Augie set a goal of raising 20 million dollars for ALS research and as of January, Augie’s Quest, his nonprofit organization has raised 7.1 million dollars. He may not be able to get up and run or ride anymore but he is still committed to making a difference in a different way.
For those of you that wake up everyday wishing you could be active, or wish to be more fit, why not make that wish come true today? You don’t have to become a runner, you don’t even have to exercise everyday, simply commit yourself to making a difference first within yourself with small changes, as that is the only way you can make a difference in other areas.
In listening to Augie, I realized that some days I take my exercising for granted, in other words I have a choice to care and respect for my body EVERYDAY! When I think about redefining normal for me, it simply means listening more closely to my body and giving it what it needs and each day may require something different, but I’m always listening.
All I know is that Augie helped me to see that as long as I have control over my body (for the most part) I will give it all I can to be it’s best as I only get one shot. When I treat my body well with food and exercise, I feel well, when I don’t, well I don’t feel so well.
So what is redefining normal for you? It might be waking up each morning and deciding to do something positive with either nutrition or exercise because YOU HAVE THE CHOICE! Your normal may be going through the motions of your day with no thought to exercise or nutrition. Well, why not redefine YOUR normal and try waking up 20 minutes earlier and going for a walk? Or coming home from work and sneaking out before the evening rituals begin for a quick bike ride or walk? Redefine normal by making exercise and sound nutrition a “normal” part of your life. Listen more closely to your body and give it what it needs, Augie would be proud!