Overweight Couch Potato Strikes Back

After my interview with Jean Shaw last week, I found myself thinking back to how I was two or three decades ago, when the idea of building a business would never have interested me. I had always been fairly active, but allowed myself to slide into a situation where my only form of exercise was clicking my cigarette lighter and working the TV remote. I was an overweight couch potato, and felt permanently tired.

I finally got sick of feeling that way, remembered my running days from high school, pulled on a pair of tennis shoes and went running. At least, that was the idea. In practice, I made about 25 yards before I collapsed into a grovelling heap.

It took me a while to learn how to get fit again. I started with a gym workout, tried aerobics, then race walking and finally running. Once I reached that stage, it wasn’t long before I took up windsurfing and scuba diving.

Oh, yes, somewhere in there I quit smoking, too.  I found it difficult to run and smoke, even sequentially!

Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. No matter how out of shape they are, it IS possible to get them back into shape. It won’t happen instantly, but it can happen sooner than you might think.

After about a year, I ran my first race – a 10K. That was the farthest I had run since cross country in high school. Since then, I have graduated to half marathons.

You can read more about my experiments with running and fitness on my blog at http://halftrainingschedule.com/blog.php, but I chose to write this article from a different perspective.  I have found that building a business is similar to getting fit: it needs perseverance, and it helps to know what you’re doing.

Our minds are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. No matter how out of shape they are, it IS possible to get them back into shape. It won’t happen instantly, but it can happen sooner than you think.

Realistically, nobody is interested in “building a business.” Building a business is work, just as running is work. As runners, we are interested in the rewards of running: getting fit, being healthy and feeling good. As business builders we are interested in the rewards of a business: earning money, social interaction and doing good.

Notice the order of these. It is the order in which we think of them: not the order in which they occur. Getting fit or earning money may appear to be the ultimate goal, but without the other features they are just empty goals: feeling good and doing good give them meaning.

When you’re a couch potato, the dream of getting fit is like the dream of getting rich is to a poor man: remote and unattainable. It takes an effort of faith to believe it can ever happen. Ultimately, it’s a case of belief in yourself; belief in your ability to overcome all the obstacles you see ahead. If you have never been fit, or never been wealthy, it seems like an impossible dream.

Take it from a former couch potato and current business builder: it’s not impossible. It’s not easy at first, but it gets easier as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. The secret is to enjoy the journey while seeking the destination. And when you look back you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

You need energy if you’re building a business, so it helps to be fit. You can see how I am doing both together at my site http://7minutes2fitness.com. You can stop being a couch potato, but you don’t need to become a runner!



18 thoughts on “Overweight Couch Potato Strikes Back

  1. Carla McNeil, Social Media Coach & Speaker

    I hear ya Alan!

    About two years ago I started at the gym, for the first time in my life.
    I lasted about a year and then decided that the gym membership money was better invested elsewhere.

    Now when I think back the money would have been better invested in me staying with the gym membership.

    I have since gained weight and have less energy with which to build the business. You post here makes me realize “It’s Time To Get Back To The Gym!”

    Thanks for the poke 🙂

  2. Kyle Quinlan@ After High School

    Awesome post Alan.
    I like you’re writing style, and I really like how you compared getting into shape to starting your own business. I totally see the similarities in the two.
    I am not overweight, but I do notice when I’m in shape and when I’m not. I have so much more energy when I choose to exercise on a regular basis and it has a huge affect on EVERYTHING in my day to day life including more productivity in my business. I give you props for making the progress that you did after taking so many years off of running. That’s a pretty amazing story man!
    Kyle Quinlan@ After High School recently posted..You Are Perfect As You Are, So Appreciate What You Have!My Profile

    1. Alan

      Thanks so much, Kyle. Thoughtful comments like yours are an inspiration to me to continue blogging.
      You’re so right: being fit affects my whole life. It’s easy to forget how bad I felt when I was seriously out of shape: writing that blog brought it all back to me.
      All the best in your endeavors

  3. Maggie

    Your post is very inspiring! At the moment I’m sitting around at my desk being a desk potato I guess, but after reading your post I feel like I should be doing more with my life than lazing about and surfing the net doing nothing in particular. Running a business, I’d imagine must be very hard work! Hope all is going well for you! What a comeback! I’m going to turn a new leaf in life and hit the community swimming pool…REGULARLY!
    Maggie recently posted..Living with TinnitusMy Profile

    1. Alan

      Should I warn them to watch out for you, Maggie? It sounds to me like you’ll be churning up and down that pool creating a hazard to small children and pool toys 😉
      Seriously, though, I’m pleased that you enjoyed the blog. Desk potato. Hmmm .. that’s a new one, but certainly works.

  4. John Gaydon

    Hi Alan,

    I find your writing refreshing and inspiring. I am a mere 59, and I have never run a marathon, except working for myself! I started back into fitness when my first child was on the way some 5 years ago. Now I play competition Tennis twice a week and work out. I recommend fitness to anyone. After all, what good is it to make monty if you can’t enjoy it!

    Keep up your inspring writing. It rocks!
    John Gaydon recently posted..Google Cancels My Adwords AcountMy Profile

    1. Alan

      Hi Gaydon,

      Competition tennis is awesome – I’m proud of you! I played tennis in the past, but was never much more than a rabbit.

      As you say, if you can’t enjoy it, what’s the point in living? Whatever you have is nothing if you don’t have your health.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.


  5. Kevin DeRoo

    Hey Alan,

    I’m proud of you mate, your focus and dedication to becoming and staying fit is awesome. The fact that you are combining it with a business opportunity is just icing on the cake … oops, maybe a few too many calories? Lol!

    I have a friend who like yourself is dedicated to the training of his mind and body in the area of fitness. Training every single day he will be taking on his first full marathon on Oct 16th of this year. Of course I will be there to cheer him on!

    Thanks for sharing this Alan, and keep up the great work … or run!

    Kevin DeRoo recently posted..Understanding Your Business – Global NPN BonusesMy Profile

    1. Alan

      I tried training for a marathon one time. Got up to about 15 miles in training and then twisted a knee windsurfing. I didn’t have the heart to do it again: marathon training takes serious time and dedication.

      Even now that I’m retired, I don’t feel that I can spare the time, especially as my running gets slower each year! I think your training method is best: cheer your friend from the sideline!

      Thanks for the kind words, Kevin.


  6. Jaden Daniels @ Global NPN

    I like the way you compare the two. I know since I started getting into shape that my mind is clearer. I seem to have better ideas, not to mention more motivation to get fit and build my business.

    Jaden Daniels @ Global NPN recently posted..7 Minute Workout, Does It Work?My Profile

  7. Allegra Sinclair

    Teacher! I loved this. Especially your thought that our bodies AND our minds are ‘capable of so much more’ than we might think. Making these changes will take time but it is possible if we don’t quit. It’s also important to remember that our reason for making these changes doesn’t have to be vanity or external. It’s ok to start making these changes because we feel like it and we want to feel/think better. And congrats on quitting smoking! I know how hard that can be and think your transformation is quite inspiring. Have a POWERFUL week, Allegra
    Allegra Sinclair recently posted..Improve Listening Skills in 7 Easy StepsMy Profile

    1. Alan

      Thanks for the kind words, Allegra. Your comment is an inspiration to me to keep doing what I’m doing. I know for sure I don’t want to go back to where I was!

      Thanks again


  8. Eldridge DuFauchard

    Awesome analogy Alan,

    I just started doing duatholons this year, which is a triatholon without the swimming. I would have never thought that I could accomplish such a thing, but I took it day by day, week by week, and now I’m running 5-6 miles like a piece of cake.
    All the while I’m training, I’ve been telling myself that this is like my life. Doesn’t matter how fast I get there, as long as I get there and enjoy the journey.
    In my races I haven’t finished nearly as fast as I would like to, but something inside keeps me going to the finish because I know I’m a winner on the course, and In my life and my business just may take a little longer to be successful!

    1. Alan

      Congratulations on your new venture, Eldridge! I am not familiar with duathlons, but they sound interesting, especially to one who swims like a rock 😉 I gave tris some thought, but the swim deterred me: I’m OK with fins and a scuba tank, but not so good on the surface. I even thought about starting underwater triathlons as a new sport, but I don’t think it would catch on …
      And you’re right – speed isn’t the point, is it?


  9. Tony Tate

    The truth is, a lot of people in this industry doesn’t paying attention about their health and figure because they are just saying at the corner, facing their computer and doing their jobs. But hey we should think about our health sometimes. We need some time to do some exercises and break from long seat in your chair. As I observed, a lot of people that I know who are overweight because of the fact that what they have in minds are business..work…business..work, and that made them forget about their health.
    Tony Tate recently posted..“EDU-CAUTION!”My Profile

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