Your Opinion, Please

Our standards have sunk.


Do you realize that?


The fitness industry creates nonsense aerobic-style classes for children and the vast
majority of professionals claim them to be useful because "at least it gets kids moving"


Now understand, I’m the biggest proponent in the world of the "something is better
than nothing" way of thinking, but this is a matter of inappropriate standards and
the root cause of the issue is something we are going to sincerely regret in time.


The lowering of expectations and standards is one of the main causative factors in
the breakdown of our society’s overall fitness level.


We got fatter.


Much fatter.


And instead of someone (all of us) standing up and saying "NO, this is unacceptable"
we simply changed our standards in terms of what we decided was reasonable body
fat to carry.


Or how much exercise was truly necessary to maintain optimal health.


We’ve done this in our school system.


We’ve done this in our health care.


We’ve done this in the expectations we have in our elected officials.


And this slow decent of expectations and standards allow us to merely accept what
should be, used to be, considered entirely inappropriate.


Yes. Something is better than nothing.


But it’s not good enough, and our society (especially our youngest generation) will
suffer because of our apathy and ignorance.


Leave a comment below & let me know what you think.





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25 Responses

  1. Your are dead-on, Brian.

    I would argue that people who are considered in “good shape” today, would have just blended in with everyone else a century ago – or maybe even been considered below average in health and fitness. It’s hard to say exactly, but we can certainly agree that our standards are the lowest they’ve ever been – not just physically, either.

    Plus, it’s getting harder and harder to find people who really push themselves to greatness. They just don’t do it like they used to 🙂

    There’s still a few of us out there, though – inspiring people to challenge the status quo, to question everything they’ve been taught about health and fitness, and to step out as activists of vibrant physical living and athleticism.

  2. David Bergen says:

    You are absolutely correct. The fast food with empty calories and no accountability is truly ruining this country. It has become OK to be sub-par we’ll just chane the “standards” and that make everything alright?

  3. Anita Gale says:

    I totally agree with you. Changing the standards makes everything just worse. Our bodies still need the right approach to health and many “modern” ways to get there push people in the opposite direction (to an unhealthy body).
    Good to know that there are still some of us who know something about fitness, nutrition and health in general.

  4. Josu Zubiarrain says:

    If you see things as you see them in that country of yours where sport is such a big tradition, where you have reasonable seasons for each of the sports you have on choice to play or practice, imagine what happens in the rest of the world. In countries like mine (Spain, Europe, soccer and more soccer, and more soccer, and then more soccer an so on until we fall over the end of the world as they did in that Monty Piton film (thank god the planet is a BALL, soccer again, sniff….)

    Going down to the brass tacks I woud say that the problem of sport, and the one in block capitals that is common place all over the world, is the lack of knowledge, formation, etc. amogst the people dealing with the little ones. You can see the coaches of the kid’s teams treating them and setting objectives as if they were coaching the team playing the final of the world championships. They tend to forget that they have to form sportsmen rather than players of specific games.

    Yours in the sport as a global formation of the human beeing.

    Cheers, Josu

  5. Molly Barnes says:

    In addition to what has already been commented on, I too, agree with you – our standards of what is “healthy” have completely changed. It is unfortunate. As a dietitian, I believe a lot of our health issues stem from our food culture (or lack thereof) – and the amount of processed foods we, as a country, consume. This has to change in conjunction with fitness expectations. It is not ok for people to eat fast food, lead a sedentary lifestyle and think parking & walking farther from their destination constitutes “getting their exercise in”…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this! Thanks!

  6. Brian Grasso says:

    1) Park farther away and walk
    2) Gardening
    3) Take the stairs
    4) Evening stroll after dinner
    These are some of the recommendations from noted governing bodies that get pushed through society as acceptable forms of exercise. The human body is made to move and move with vigor. Exercise should be both strenuous and a daily occurance. Sometimes, I truly can’t believe how much we have lost our way…. BG

  7. Rick MacNeal says:

    This comment is not completely related to your recent writing, but an endorsement of your approach which is ironically “old school” although you’ve packaged it in a new way.

    I’m in my 50’s and when I was young we had both phys ed and 45 minutes of recess time each school day.

    When I had kids (who are very athletic) and got lots of modern day sports training, I noted that at age 12 only one of my son’s friends could perform a kip-up (and he was a gymnast) Contrast to my childhood when about 20% of the males in my 6th grade class could perform that skill.

    When I played youth football practically every kid who played running back was able to “naturally” cut, plant change direction and accelerate. When coaching my son’s youth football team while we had several runners with good straight ahead speed, we had to spend a lot of time teaching our running backs how to make cuts. The majority of kids were very awkward at it.

    I realize this is an anecdotal assessment but it is why I became interested in your writings over 4 years ago and still follow your progress and forward your information to parents I speak with who also question the current fitness guru status quo.

    So Brian, keep up the good work, you’ll hopefully educate enough others to turn the tide on our current state of youth fitness.

  8. andy_english says:

    • It’s not the winning that counts ….. It’s how you compete that counts!!!! (the most misunderstood quote in sport and life.)

    Replace the winning & compete with exercise and you will get the drift…..

    The misunderstanding of healthy competition in England was responsible for a lack of prolific sportspeople throughout the 80’s & early 90’s.

    A Rugby world cup coach pilloried because he had the Idea that the process of winning could be transfered between sports and into every day life.

    It seems the hardest thing is to lay down the foundations of excelling in life and sport ….. and you are correct in your estimation of how easily the mediocre is accepted …. the fat PE school instructor, fat Teacher, fat Doctors , fat Politicians even some of the elite sports have overweight people in coaching positions. Also like many things in life using the word fat has now become politically incorrect. I may be getting old but “fat” you did not wan’t to be in the playground!!!!! Harsh as it sounds the rules of the jungle applied…. the fitter you were the more prolific you were at games & the more fun you had.

    Now lets be serious the fat and mediocre do not enjoy the fun element of sport / games when it gets too tough or complicated …. that’s when they decide it’s not for them. They grow up passing the baton on as do the fitter game loving kids.

    I changed my mind about the next bit so have toned it down a bit.

    3 Young boys up to the age 13 -14 loved playing sport & games

    1 Boy Stops the other 2 carry on.

    They all grow up 1 still not interested in activity the other 2 still play sport

    All 3 have 2 children each, which range from 17 – 23 …… 2 are very obese & 4 are the opposite.

    Now they reach their 50’s:
    You guessed, 1 gets type 2 Diabetes at fifty (diabetes is in the family) and has now started to exercise for health reasons as opposed to fun. The other two are still exercising & playing for fun.

    I had never exercised for the health related benefits it was always the fun element and excelling at what I was doing that was a given. I took a sports diploma in my forties and could not answer the question: What are the health related benefits of exercise, I had never really given it any thought.

    This maybe all over the place but it’s a sunny day and I am off out to play.

    Good Luck

  9. Ryan Wohlfert says:

    A big thing that I see is that it’s always someone else’s fault as to why they aren’t healthy, or why they get a cold, or get overweight. Personal responsibility! The fact is, it’s not about age or genetics..it’s about what we do to our body, and the physical, chemical, and emotional stresses we place on our body that causes us to be the way we are. But I think people just think it’s easier to blame age or genetics because then they don’t have any control over it and they don’t have to put the work in.

  10. sergio says:

    Is this a bad time to mention that is should read “And this slow *descent* of expectations and standards”?

    We definitely have descending values on all fronts. At this point, I think homeschooling is the only viable option for the next generation. Otherwise, they will be raised to eat the “fast food” in the cafeteria, snack on colas, and think anything they do is great because no one wants to damage self-esteem. Is it any wonder that standards decline when you have to tell Johnny that it’s great when he can’t even do one push up?

  11. Jim says:

    I have to agree with Sergio on the homeschooling aspect. I’ve seen enough PTA meetings to know that the moment anyone tries to raise the standards, there are a dozen others who cry out that their fat or weak children won’t feel good about themselves. God save you if you want to raise academic standards at the cost of social experiments. My kids are out of the system, they all take dance and karate and tumbling, and frankly I think they are smarter and fitter than any of their public school attending friends. Of course I may be biased. 😉
    I don’t think yanking every kid out of school is the ultimate solution, but we adults can make our own wellness choices. Our kids cannot make such choices – they depend on us.

  12. Dee Morris says:

    I agree 100%. Just as expenditures will expand to fit available income, achievement will fall to whatever levels we deem acceptable. We need to raise the bar in academics, personal fitness/lifestyle, health care, etc.

  13. Rob Wilson says:

    I agree 100% Brian.I also see this decline in sports as in kids today want to be great bb,fb,hockey players.They really don’t get that it all starts with being an athlete!Then they can be a graet ball player.Keep the faith and you will see a difference.

  14. r Garrett says:

    I could not agree more! We need to get back to where people were proud of how they look. This country need to stop awarding those that are overweight and that feel ‘the fatter the better’. It is a shame what we have done to the children of this country by taking recess and gym class away from them. I totally agree with those that want to have overweight people pay extra for bigger seats on airlines, wider seats, bigger aisles, etc.

  15. i agree with your comments

  16. Mike Messer says:

    We need to rebuild the entire education system We have moved into feel good about yourself society We havee lowered the standards in all areas and the soft people are now in charge If you hold someone to a higher standard you are mean and not thinking in the best intrest of the child We are going down the wrong road Follow Clinton and other soft people

  17. LEN THOMAS says:


  18. John Bartuseck says:

    I’m a teacher, coach and certified personal fitness trainer. You are absolutely right. Our standards have plummeted. I see hundreds of middle and high school students every day. They move like snails and think they are benefitting from it. What is going to happen to their health when they get older? They are future candidates for a health care crisis. This is unacceptable in our society. Something is better than nothing will never get it in our society.

  19. Enrico Roncancio says:

    Don’t even get me started on this subject. The truth is we have been dumbing down everything! The USA is a great country, a unique country whose greatness was built on a foundation of freedom and allowing individuals to take chances and win and lose and losing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Failure just taught us to try again or to try something else. Today’s mentality is that little Johnny can’t “feel” bad so we can never let him fail. No scoreboard, no A, B, C, Ds, and certainly no Fs no siree we don’t want anyone to feel bad. Not to mention we have a govt that wants to tell us what light bulbs to use, what car to drive, what doctor to see. This isn’t good. We’re now fat and weak and we’ve lost touch with reality. Not a good thing especially as tough times approach.

  20. Sheila Grant says:

    Everything is either oversized or dumbed down to make everyone happy. Keeping everyone happy is also keeping them fat and unhealthy.

  21. Kmog says:

    We now live in a world in which we are constantly presented with all sorts of “shortcuts” to fitness. Take this pill, use this AB machine for 5 minutes 3 days a week,the list is endless.
    Lets get back to the old fashioned way we all used:
    Do the reps,run the laps,eat healthy “real food”, nothing in a box.
    Hard work and dedication can’t be replaced.

  22. Rod says:

    I definitely agree. Today’s youth has too many options. I have recently opened up a sports conditioning facility called Aftershok center for core performance . We specialize in balance , agility, strength , speed and reaction. Everything that we teach would not have been a thought 25 years ago. I am 43 years of age and if I would asked my parents 30 years ago if i can do sport conditioning …they would have laughed and told me to go to the park and play. The culture of play has changed over the years with the advent of high technically . We are in a society in which everything needs to be quick and convenient . Instead of working hard towards something we look towards an edge or something or someway of skipping steps. I assess young people’s balance which is unbelievable. I climbed trees and fences and walked along curbs. Our youth spend more time texting, and playing computer games which assimilate our actions. My son told me the other day that he was getting together with his friends to play football. 25 years ago that would have meant going to the park however day it means who’s xbox 360 are we playing on. “dont forget your controller”.

  23. Bonnie Stallcup says:

    I read and scanned through most of these comments. Some I agree with and some I’m not sure what they’re talking about. However, our kids need our help. PARENTS need to set good examples for their children. Most children do what they see their parents doing. Activity is great, but it seems a waste when the parent(s) is a coach potato or gamer. I have been group exercise instructor for youth and adults for approximately 15+ years. It amazes me that we have so many excuses as to why our children are overweight and/or obese, some morbidly obese. I don’t have time. I have to work, I’m tired, etc. etc. etc. Something is better is nothing – I disagree. The level at which our children are active makes a HUGE difference in their cardivascular activity. As a society, we must make time, prepare, and work WITH our children to ensure a healthy future. I have three kids that are very active, most times. However, since global warming and I have to work most days, my children were not getting enough activity outside. In addition, many gyms claim to have programs for kids, but when you get there they want to train kids like mini adults! This is unacceptable. CHANGE IS A GOOD THING! I had to make time in my schedule get my kids active in the early morning (body is very lean first thing in the morning). They eat a small piece of fruit and have water ready. Before it gets too hot we go for a walk in our neighborhood. Afterward, we do soccer drills (preparing for Fall season). Most kids can manage at least 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity. Overall, I make it fun! We ride bikes, bowl, swim, garden – planted veggies they like (helps me out tremendously), and we engage in various other acitivities that burns calories without them knowing. Their energy levels are great and they are a lot more helpful around the house. This also teaches them how to be responsible for their own health. “Train a child in the way he should go and he/she will not depart from it.”

  24. Matt Robnson says:

    I Believe! Plain and Simple

  25. SoCal Brian says:

    I agree. I think way too much emphasis is put on the elite athlete even at the elementary level. The “regular” kid really doesn’t demand fitness or at this point even really want structured exercise. I think they do want it but, there is too much of a distinct line between athlete and non-athlete and they may feel left out and confused about the differences. We need to educate more about overall healty fitness levels and not so much about just sports performance all the time. We as trainers, parents, coaches and friends need to make exercise a way of life and be an example for those around us.

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