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How Ruth Bader Ginsburg stays in shape

Supreme Court Justice and two-time cancer survivor Ruth Bader Ginsburg stays strong with the help of her trainer, Bryant Johnson.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 6:42 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 7:11 AM

More than 50 years ago, I lifted my first Mr. Universe trophy on the stage of the Victoria Palace Theater in London, and I have been on a fitness crusade ever since.

But lifting trophies was never enough for me -- I wanted to lift the entire fitness industry, and inspire people all over the world to learn and embrace the benefits of training with weights, eating well and living a healthy lifestyle.

Today, we all know those benefits. But 50 years ago, it was an uphill battle. Gyms were scarce, and the ones that existed were often inhospitable dungeons. Doctors warned against lifting weights, telling people it was bad for their health. I knew some movie stars who had discovered the benefits of building their bodies lied and said they were naturally muscular. Even some professional athletes avoided the gym, because of myths that lifting weights would make them musclebound and less mobile.

We have come a long way -- more than 60 million Americans are members of health clubs, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and there are almost as many gyms as there are grocery stores in our country, according to FoodIndustry.com. I love that there are now more accessible places to exercise, whether it's a boxing gym or yoga studio.

But we can do so much more. Despite the constantly rising interest in health and wellness, we are plagued by an obesity epidemic; 67% of gym members never actually visit their gym, according to USA Today; and 80% of us will fail our New Year's resolutions by February, according to US News and World Report.

We have more information available, more health products on the market, and more gyms than ever before, so why aren't we healthier and fitter than ever before?

As someone who has been involved with the fitness industry for five decades, I've spent a lot of time trying to answer that question, and I've only come up with one answer. The current health and wellness industry is failing us.

Hard work and sound science has been replaced by fads, false promises, and magic pills.

When you're promised something like "rock hard abs in 28 days," told one special tea is all you need to lose those last 10 pounds or bombarded with flashy advertisements passed off as legitimate information, it's easy to see why so many people just throw up their hands and give up.

It's time for the fitness industry to be honest with people. A healthier, fitter America starts with you. There is no gimmick. There is no shortcut. There is no magic pill. Everyone's fitness journey will be unique, but a healthy lifestyle takes commitment, patience and motivation.

I can already hear you saying, "Easy for you to say, Arnold. Fitness has always been your life and you've always been in top shape."

But I had to work my way back from the bottom this year, and I learned a lot along the way. After I underwent open-heart surgery this spring, I had to use a walker. I had to do breathing exercises five times a day to retrain my lungs. I was frustrated and angry, and in my worst moments, I couldn't see the way back to my old self.

Three months later, I returned to a film set to star in a new Terminator movie, and you probably know that there is no such thing as a weak Terminator. I'd love to tell you it was because of a certain product or workout or diet, but it wasn't. I just kept walking. I kept breathing. I kept trying. I was lucky; I had a huge team around me supporting me the whole way. Eventually, I got into the gym and went through the motions without weights at first. I upgraded from walks around my backyard to bike rides. I didn't worry about six-packs or bench pressing 500 pounds. My only goal was improving a little bit every single day, and eventually, all of those small improvements and all of that support brought me back to a strong, healthy place.

Going through that process showed me that many people put too much faith in big moments, believing they'll suddenly flip a switch and be healthier. There's no such thing. A healthier future is every tiny step we take, or every little rep, that ultimately leads us to our goal. We all think we can do it alone, but no one does anything alone. As I always say, no one is self-made. We all need support -- even Terminators.

So here's my challenge to you: Don't wait for New Year's Resolutions. Don't wait for your own heart surgery or emergency. Start right now. And ask a friend to join you.

I'm not asking you to reject all the delicious food you'll see this holiday season, because I would never do that either. I'm simply asking you to be better tomorrow than you were today, every day, and to inspire someone you care about to join you. It's a simple resolution and it's not as sexy as having a six-pack, but it's the key to fulfilling the unfulfilled promise of our fitness crusade and repairing this broken industry.

Don't chase the next big thing. Be better. Today. That's all. If you and your training partner walked 5,000 steps yesterday, walk 5,001 today. If you ate one vegetable yesterday, eat two tomorrow. If you did a pushup for the first time today, do two tomorrow.

If you can join me in celebrating the small wins and supporting each other, we'll create a healthier America, and our fitness crusade will be a success. And in January, when everybody else is scrambling, we'll already be well on our way.

Let's do this. Be better together. Today.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 883746

Reported Deaths: 17055
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2900096912
Riverside646681273
San Bernardino606211028
Orange573731412
San Diego53000857
Kern33497410
Fresno30152430
Sacramento24582471
Santa Clara23458382
Alameda22807433
San Joaquin21196484
Contra Costa18214236
Stanislaus17354393
Tulare17206276
Ventura13930160
Imperial12534335
San Francisco11937133
Monterey1111783
San Mateo10889157
Santa Barbara9641119
Merced9375152
Sonoma9016134
Kings817383
Solano717174
Marin7030127
Madera492073
San Luis Obispo404932
Placer401255
Yolo308656
Butte302651
Santa Cruz272223
Napa189214
Sutter181912
Shasta178629
San Benito140714
El Dorado12904
Yuba127810
Mendocino110421
Tehama7938
Lassen7571
Lake67315
Glenn6423
Nevada5908
Humboldt5589
Colusa5476
Calaveras33317
Amador31316
Tuolumne2554
Inyo21815
Siskiyou1850
Del Norte1751
Mono1752
Mariposa782
Plumas540
Modoc270
Trinity230
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Oroville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
Paradise
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 63°
Chester
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
Red Bluff
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 75°
Willows
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 63°
Tuesday was another sunny and unseasonably warm to hot day for much of northern California. It was much like Monday, except the wind was stronger, and the wind will be much stronger through much of the next week.
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