Politics

The Fitness Divide

What happened after JFK told America to take a hike

|

Fifty years ago this month, in the pages of Sports Illustrated, president-elect John F. Kennedy told the country that its "growing softness" and "increasing lack of fitness" were a "menace" to U.S. security. "Our struggles against aggressors throughout our history have been won on the playgrounds and corner lots and fields of America," Kennedy exclaimed. But a 15-year research study showed that Austrian, Swiss, and Italian schoolchildren had outperformed their American counterparts in a series of strength and flexibility tests by a huge margin.

Perhaps envisioning an invasion of wiry Swiss tots against which we would have no defense except a vast stockpile of 20,000 nuclear warheads and 2.5 million tubby soldiers, sailors, and airmen, Kennedy vowed to make push-ups and jumping jacks a federal priority. "This is a national problem, and requires national action," he wrote. "The federal government can make a substantial contribution toward improving the health and vigor of our citizens."

It was the first time the federal government had taken such an avid interest in the abs of the body politic. Under President Kennedy's watch, the Presidential Council on Youth Fitness stepped up its efforts considerably, creating radio, TV, and newspaper ads, even enlisting Superman and Snoopy to help spread its fitness message to America. Half a century later, our gross national flabbiness has only expanded. In August, Lt. General Mark Hertling told The New York Times that "the soldiers we're getting in today's Army are not in as good shape as they used to be.…This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue."

In the civilian world, on-duty firefighters are more likely to die from heart attacks than fires. The Los Angeles Police Department hired a full-time diet coach in 2008 to arrest the runaway waistlines of its officers. Over the last decade, obesity rates have leveled off compared to the rapid growth they experienced in the 1980s and '90s, but we're still one of the fattest nations on earth. In 2009, more than a third of America's adults qualified as obese according to the most commonly used metric for determining obesity, the Body Mass Index.

Yet at the same time the country displays a national vigor that would have left Kennedy and his cohorts gasping for air. In 2009, a record 467,000 people completed a marathon in the U.S., up 9.9 percent from the previous year. Around the country, 88 marathons reported more than a thousand finishers, also a record. The New York Marathon alone reported 43,660 finishers. That's more than the Boston Marathon attracted cumulatively in the first 82 years of its existence. Completing a 26-mile run has become commonplace, and even longer feats of endurance—a 135-mile race across the Death Valley desert, a quadruple ultra-triathlon, a 1,200-kilometer cycling event—are no longer particularly unusual.

In the days before we all became hopelessly soft couch potatoes, this wasn't the case. A couple years after Kennedy took office, in February 1963, he concocted a stunt to keep his fitness mandate in the public eye. In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt had issued an executive order commanding the U.S. Marines to complete a 50-mile hike over the course of three days. Could the Marines of 1963 duplicate that feat? Working in concert with General David Shoup, Kennedy publicized Roosevelt's old order, with the Marines agreeing to meet the challenge. By the time the story hit newspapers, the time limit had somehow been reduced to 20 hours and many people believed that the president's challenge had been aimed at the American public at large.

"Asking a citizen to walk instead of [drive] in America is like asking a Frenchman to drink milk instead of wine," reacted New York Times columnist James Reston. But the idea of everyday people covering such a distance in a single long day was so outlandish then that it captured the public's imagination. For a few weeks in early 1963, "Kennedy Marches" became a national fad, with Boy Scouts, high school students, and office workers successfully meeting the president's call. Eventually a contingent of Marines did too, with Brigadier General Rathvon McClure Tompkins leading a troop of 34 officers and at least one Life photographer on the hike. Wearing helmets and carrying 25-pound packs, the fastest to finish did so in a total time of 12:47. One smoked a cigar every step of the way.

Then Kennedy was assassinated, the 50-mile hike faded into history, and America's decline into epidemic softness continued apace. Earlier this year, Mission: Readiness, an advocacy organization led by senior retired military personnel, released a report, "Too Fat to Fight," that warns of a gathering storm of tubby teens. "Nine million 17-to-24-year-olds in the United States are too fat to serve in the military," the report reads. "That is 27 percent of all young adults. Obesity rates among children and young adults have increased so dramatically that they threaten not only the overall health of America but also the future strength of the military."

Never mind that an even higher number of draftees—34.3 percent—were rejected for physical reasons during the Korean War. Anticipating impending disaster, the Mission: Readiness generals want to launch a pre-emptive strike on school vending machines and other weapons of ass production. "The group is calling on Congress to take immediate steps to remove junk food and any remaining high-calorie beverages from our schools," their report reads.

The generals have gone a little soft themselves, or at least have abandoned old American ideals about self-reliance, responsibility, and individual liberty. Instead they invoke the common refrain that America's extra pounds are the result of systemic external forces that are all but impossible to escape, forces that can only be checked through government intervention. We're soft because technology, processed food, and our consumerist way of life have made us soft, and only Congress can liberate us from obesity.

Such assessments ignore the other half of what you might call the fitness divide. In the wake of President Kennedy's call for more national vigor, a culture of hardcore fitness began to take root alongside the culture of fatness. And more than any federal calisthenics guides the President's Council on Youth Fitness produced, it was technology, prosperity, and our consumerist way of life that made this new culture possible. If fast food chains gave us 1,000-calorie milkshakes, they also freed up time to go jogging. If VCRs gave us the couch potato, they also gave us aerobics videos. If technology made it less necessary to expend energy in pursuit of daily subsistence, it also gave us Nike air soles, polypropylene running shorts, heart-rate monitors, and organic granola. Most importantly, it gave non-elite athletes an opportunity to run 70 miles a week. Between 1965 and 2003, according to a study in the July 2007 issue of Harvard's Quarterly Journal of Economics, leisure time increased by six to eight hours per week for men and four to eight hours per week for women.

On November 20, the 48th annual JFK 50 Mile Race takes place in Washington County, Maryland. Created in 1963, in the midst of the 50-mile hike fad, it attracted 11 participants that first year. Only four finished, all in a time of 13:10. Over the years, it evolved from a hike into a race, and now it's one of the country's most popular ultra-marathon events. Most years, the winner finishes in under six hours, or less than half the time it took 1963's fastest Marine to cover that distance. When those wiry Swiss tots finally decide to invade, at least a small contingent of Americans, more vigorous than President Kennedy ever imagined, will be ready to give them a run for their money. 

Contributing Editor Greg Beato (gbeato@soundbitten.com) writes from San Francisco.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

163 responses to “The Fitness Divide

  1. You know who else made the health and fitness of his citizens a national priority?

    1. Michelle Obama?

    2. Emperor Ming?

    3. Mr. Hilter of Minehead?

      1. He’s right, you know!

  2. We’ve been training our children to kill remotely for several decades. You don’t need to be fit to pilot a predator from 3,000 miles away.

    1. We’ll eventually learn that we’ve been bombing other countries when we thought we were playing video games, ? la Ender’s Game.

      Oh, um, spoiler. For both the book and the future.

      1. Jesus Christ, you are a spoiler asshole. Why don’t you just go ahead and say that Rosebud was his sled or that Starbuck was some sort of interdenominational angel or that Bruce Willis was actually dead the whole time, you jerk.

        1. Well no need to watch Battlestar now. Thanks Epi.

          1. Don’t blame me, blame ProL. Besides, I he did you a favor.

            1. Wish someone had done me that favor. What a stupid ending! I mean, Starbuck was a sled? That doesn’t make any damned sense.

              1. It would have been better than the actual ending.

                1. The best possible ending would’ve been Bob Hartley talking about the series as a dream to his wife, Emily.

                  1. No, it would have to be him waking up from the dream in Vermont next to Joanna, you dolt. It would have been subsequent to the second series, not the first.

                    1. You missed the point, man. The only true reality is the one with Bob, Emily, Elaine, and Major Healey.

                2. Why? Were you rooting for Ahab?

              2. And Bruce Willis was Kaier Soze.

                1. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>^^^s^^^

                  1. I just watched–over some months–all of the House, M.D. episodes up to the current season. Aside from the not-always-subtle Sherlock Holmes references, another recurring theme is Laurie insulting The Usual Suspects.

          2. I stopped reading at the word “Starbuck”. Let’s just see if I did myself any favors.

        2. There was no sled in Ender’s Game, doofus.

          1. It’s in the extended epilogue in the special edition, dude. Why are you so ignorant?

            1. How many times has Card revisited his books? I’ve never seen an author that slutty before. Next is Ender’s Game told from the perspective of a rodent living in Texas. In untranslated rat language.

              1. Squee-eek!

              2. Arthur Hailey (the guy who wrote Airport, not Alex Haley, who wrote Roots) wrote the same fucking book ten times. He just changed the settings and his characters’ names. Bad enough writing a potboiler, but he could have varied the circumstances a tad once in a while.

                I will give him credit for actively researching the industries he wrote about, though.

        3. Hey, remember all that shit that we left unresolved because it didn’t make any sense? Angels!

          1. Omnipotent sleds!

        4. Don’t forget the wife Bonnie Bedelia did it in Presumed Innocent.

          1. You’ve got a thing for Bonnie Bedelia. How do I remember that?

            1. Not really. But she did have a great rack back in the day. Not sure what she looks like now.

        5. SPOILER: Soylent Green is people.

          1. Unproven!

        6. SPOILER: Vader is Luke’s father.

        7. SPOILER: Kevin Costner gets to play catch with his dead dad.

          1. Dammit! I haven’t seen Waterworld yet!

            1. Meh. Dennis Hopper chews the scenery. And it’s all fucking water!

        8. SPOILER: Gollum falls into the lava with the Ring.

        9. SPOILER: Spock isn’t really dead.

        10. Just don’t tell us ending of Gone With the Wind. That would spoil it for everyone.

          1. The slave rebellion fails, and Spartacus gets crucified.

        11. He’s only spoiling shitty sci-fi. Who cares?

        12. I thought I’d spoiled Lost. Heh. http://users.bestweb.net/~robgood/teach thru season 5.

        13. “…or that Bruce Willis was actually dead the whole time…”

          Gee, thanks. I guess there’s no point in watching the last season of Moonlighting now.

      2. “We’ll eventually learn that we’ve been bombing other countries when we thought we were playing video games, ? la Ender’s Game.”

        Do yourself a favor and don’t read the rest of that series.

    2. The titanic sunk at the end.

      1. No, the fucking iceberg hit it up front. If you’re gonna spoil shit for people, Enyap, at least get it right.

      2. Somebody in the Harry Potter series dies, too

        1. It was actually the apes.. in the future.

  3. A confirming anecdote: I have a 19-year-old brother that is huge: 6-foot, 310 pounds, both strong and fat. He has talked to Army recruiters. He would need to get down to 210 or so for standard acceptance, and according to recruiters, probably 240 based on his current muscle mass. That being said, they would take him right now, and put him into some sort of fat camp to prepare him for bootcamp, and pay him while he’s going through the fat camp. While that is a waste of taxpayer money, in the grand scheme of DoD waste, it’s pretty insignificant.

    If they can take a 310-pound kid and whip him into fighting shape, they’d be fine with the average overweight kid.

  4. My attitude towards the obese is the same as towards chain smokers and binge drinkers. You’ll never hear me telling you what you can or can’t do to your body.

    1. You’ll never hear me telling you what you can or can’t do to your body.

      So you’ve never told anyone to go f**k themselves.

      1. HEH! HEH! HEH! That one’s actually pretty funny!

  5. The best part of the article for me:

    Never mind that an even higher number of draftees?34.3 percent?were rejected for physical reasons during the Korean War. Anticipating impending disaster, the Mission: Readiness generals want to launch a pre-emptive strike on school vending machines and other weapons of ass production. “The group is calling on Congress to take immediate steps to remove junk food and any remaining high-calorie beverages from our schools,” their report reads.

  6. The word “office” in the article is green and underlined two times. When hovering my mouse over it, it opens some sort of flash based shit and is a link to a third party.

    Those kinds of ads are the most annoying, demeaning, pleasure-destroying, cheapening kind of ads ever devised on the internet. Get rid of them ASAP. It makes your entire text look like a mix between a scarecrow and an advertising board. I have never before seen those kinds of ads on Reason.com before, and with good reason: Those ads are shit ads for shit people.

    1. Do you like the ads though?

    2. Agreed. I associate those kind of intrusive and annoying ads with the lowest grade sites on the ‘tubes, like some late 90’s iVillage bullshit.

      1. I associate those kind of intrusive and annoying ads with the lowest grade sites on the ‘tubes

        1. WTF, squirrel? You ruined my perfectly good joke about how we are the lowest grade of people on the tubes. Fuck you, squirrels, and your i tags too.

          1. chitter chitter motherfucker

    3. Just you wait until the entire WWW is filled with such links, every single word & pixel, so you’ll have no safe place to rest your cursor…BWAHAHAHAHA!

  7. Starbuck was some sort of interdenominational angel

    This is almost as disturbing as the encroachment of green-linky ads.

    1. Tigh’s wife was the final of the final five, too.

      1. Just for the record, when Roslin was having visions of the future, it was clear that she had to be a Cylon. The show lost its way when it decided not to pursue that obvious conclusion and to adopt crazy precognitive wackiness. That and the random plot changes to “shock” the audience. That gets old quick, and it results in plotlines that make no sense.

        1. Nothing was clear, because the writers themselves didn’t know where they were going. It’s been stated in interviews that they were literally writing week to week with no Whedon-esque overall story arc. Whoops.

          1. I know I’m an amateur and everything, but if you go around EVERY, SINGLE FUCKING EPISODE talking about an entire species having a PLAN, which, incidentally, they apparently didn’t, you’d better danged well have some sort of long-term plot developed.

            Series that do this always seem to fall completely apart after a few seasons.

            1. Or a few episodes.

            2. That sounds like John “I have a plan” Kerry in 2004.

              1. Or Nixon in 1968.

                1. So if the Cylons was a ‘secret’ plan then they wouldn’t have capped Caprica?

            3. That’s what the movie “The Plan” was about. The plan itself just happened to fall apart.

              I agree with you though. The writers should have planned it out in advance so they wouldn’t have to backtrack and make an entire movie just to cover their asses.

            4. BSG had some weak moments in the last couple seasons, but seasons 1-3 are fucking phenomenal. I actually thought the series resolution was pretty decent. I thought it was clear the entire series that they were going with the ancient astronaut theory. The patriarch being named Adama and all, The First Man.

              The thing that bothered me most about the series was the phrase, “The Final Five”. It implied that Cylons were being revealed in some kind of predetermined order and that we would definitely eventually know them all, which is true for us, the audience. But for the characters inhabiting the story, it shouldn’t seem like that.

              Oh well, still a solidly entertaining show and far better than most of the shit on TV.

              1. Don’t defend the finale. It’s demeaning.

        2. Just for the record, when Roslin was having visions of the future, it was clear that she had to be a Cylon.

          There was one point in the series I though *everyone* was going to turn out to be a Cylon. It started getting just a tad silly.

          1. Where I thought they were going was that the Colonial humans were all pre-Cylon artificial life. In other words, a preceding “human” race had built them, they’d rebelled, forgot what they were, and settled the Colonies.

            Earth, when they found it, would appear to be original humans.

            1. Wow that’s much better than “technology is teh suck, let’s all live like caveman.”

              My god what a cop out.

            2. Holy shit, that would have been a much better ending than what they came up with.

              1. I think so, too. It’s got that screwin’-with-your-mind element while also being something you can write your episodes around. Instead of using a random plot generator.

                1. I like to pretend that the show ended just prior to the last (two?) episode(s?) of season 3. You know, just before Starboy came back, everyone became a cylon, and the season 4 that I’ll never watch was sealed in its ‘guaranteed to suck’ coffin.

                  The episode where Starboy died was my favorite. And that’s saying a lot, because seasons 1-3 had a LOT of good episodes.

    2. You guys all suck for continually ruining BG for those of us yet to watch it. Sheesh.

      1. They find Earth and fly around on flying motorcycles, helping us grow spiritually, as a species.

        1. Thanks for the most entertaining comments in a while.

          1. You’re welcome, but don’t thank me, thank Glen Larson.

  8. Push out the jive, bring in the love, America.

    1. “And now, give me ten Iroquois twists!”

      1. Screw it, I’ll pay for the bloody liposuction.

      2. Screw it, I’ll pay for the bloody liposuction.

  9. Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum!

  10. edit:

    …those fucking obnoxious green-linky ads…

  11. “America’s battles were won in the Pilates classes and Tae Bo gyms.”
    -John F. Kennedy

  12. Actually, I gave up watching Galactica after about the third or fourth episode, so it’s pretty much all news to me.

    And- speaking of stupid teevee shows, is anybody else here dumb enough to watch Sons of Anarchy Scooter Gang Hamlet? I was really hoping the Young Prince would shoot that fat fucking Irish priest in the femur, the other night, but he couldn’t get it up.

    “To shoot, or not to shoot, that is the question….”

    PULL THE TRIGGER, PUSSY!

    1. I thought the first season was pretty good. The first episode of the series (“33”) was probably the best.

      1. I made it through season 3.5. By that time, everyone else was watching the ending of season 4, at (from comments here) it was obvious it was going to end in a black hole of suck.

        1. Perfect place to stop, IMHO. Never regret it; you have the fond memories of a finely crafted and intriguing show, where everyone else who forged beyond 3.5 just hates it.

          Oh, except for that one episode where you find out Lee bangs whores and all that ‘Fleet Underground Mobster’ bullshit happens. That was season 2 filler, if I recall correctly, and the shows’ first discernable whiff of suck.

          I also hope you missed the episode where it comes out that Dee isn’t made of awesome, but in fact is a shallow slut that gets Billy killed. But then her slumming around with Lee after that probably would have been pretty confusing.

          Besides those two stinkers, you know BSG as it should have been.

          That said, everyone aught to give the board game a whirl. Best game I’ve ever played.

    2. I thought people just watched that show for the Peggy Bundy milfey-goodness…

  13. “Most years, the winner finishes in under six hours, or less than half the time it took 1963’s fastest Marine to cover that distance.”

    Not exactly a fair comparison, is it, since the 1963 Marines were carrying 25-pound packs and hiking over what I assume was unpaved ground rather than racing over what I assume is a paved road?

    1. That and 200 dollar running shoes, sweat-proof running socks, and Underarmour. I’m not impressed.

  14. I’m waiting for a machine I can hook up to so I lie on the couch, watch TV, and still get in shape.

    1. shake weight!

  15. All food should be banned. That will solve the problem.

  16. The easiest way to get Americans into shape would be to use some kind of Kinect / Wii motion sensor type thing to fix it so that people’s smart phones would only work if the person was walking at a speed of at least 4 mph.

    1. Devices like wii, PS Motion and Kinnect (I don’t know how well the Kinnect works but there have been high end products of that nature fo years) are all toys which could lower obesity as they are another activity which makes exercise fun and enjoyable for more people. That helps too.

    2. That was kind of my problem for years, except it was regular phones, I wore out the rug pacing, damaged the coily wire from the receiver, and still wound up obese!

  17. We are a fat country and I blame the left completely. For years they tell people to eat this or that and, as with every other elitist thing, it makes things worse. We forget that before all this health food craziness AMericans were pretty thin. Just look at films from twenty years ago. Everyone was thin but now we ‘adjusted’ and are fat. I say eat like nature intended.

    1. We forget that before all this health food craziness AMericans were pretty thin. Just look at films from twenty years ago.

      Yes, because films made in Hollywood are an accurate reflection of reality. And my wife fucks and looks just like a porn actress.

    2. Lets mot forget that many schools quiet physical ed because it was to demeaning to some students

    3. I blame the USDA and their conflict of interest food pyramid pushing, you guessed it, grains! and dairy! Add to it the rest of the medical research community funding by drug companies that don’t want to see healthy people w/o need of drugs, but rather unhealthy people on drugs who only appear to be healthy. As soon as we wake up and stop blaming fat and cholesterol and taking a good hard look at grains and processed carbs we’ll actually make some progress. Pushing lame exercise programs and pulling “junk” food vending machines ain’t gonna do it. CrossFit and Paleo: the two most potent antidotes to poor health and fitness

    4. It was Nixon’s Secretary of State Earl Butz, a republican, that started the subsidies of corn and soybean, leading to the plethora of crop that had to be disposed of somehow…and ended up in everything we’ve been eating for the last forty years. Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivores Dilemma” and the films “King Corn” and “Food, Inc” have more details.
      I agree with your solution, though. Eat and live like Paleo Man, and watch your health problems go away.

  18. Seems we are forgetting the easist way to get the nation skinny.

    Legalize coke and meth.

    problem solved !

    1. Could you imagine how awesome music would get?

    2. anphetamines were more common in the 60’s and 70’s including speed. Could they be used more today? perhaps but they were overused by some people back then. Something to consider when fretting over growing obesity.

  19. All Comrade Citizens report to the Common Room of your factory or collective farm at 6 AM for calisthenics. We will be using the new video prepared by our Glorious First Lady.

    Any Citizen Comrade heard referring to Her Luminence as “Worf” will get no raisins in the morning gruel.

  20. I am tired of objocktious people who tell me how fast they can run a mile/26 miles, how much weight they can bench press or how far they bike to work every day.

    Three rounds from a .357 will still take them out.

    1. You think it would take 3?

      1. I like to make sure.

        1. Need more range time to improve that aim, buddy. The zombies are gonna eat you for freakin lunch unless you’ve got a dump truck full of ammo.

          1. Even if my first two shots went straight to center-mass and the target was lying flat and not breathing, I’d still put a third shot to the forehead from 8 inches away.

            I’ll take my chances with zombies.

            1. Speaking of zombies, have you ever noticed that, when you get rid of one politician, another one rises up to take his/her place?

              1. If they were being taken out by folks like Aresen with .357 rounds every time they violated the constitution, there wouldn’t be quite the lineup of replacement wannabes there are now.

  21. Eat well, exercise, die anyway.

    1. Yes, but it’s statistically likely to push that day out, perhaps by a good bit.

      1. Meh. I just don’t see “living a long time” as a goal in and of itself. Shouldn’t you have other goals, perhaps ones that might make life more enjoyable, regardless of its length? Then living long is a simply a nice bonus.

        1. Work out to live better, not the other way around. Some physical activities have physical prerequisites, and if you want to play, you have be able to get a seat at the table. And at the end of it all, if you’ve worked out smartly, and are still strong, you won’t need an assisted living facility with people paid to wipe your ass. We don’t just want to live longer, but better and more capable.

      2. I wish

  22. We used to have fitness discussions when I was still in the AF (yes, the service that measured fitness by 10 minutes on a stationary bike). The ‘you have to be in shape to run away from the burning airplane” argument didn’t hold up very well to the “since the blast radius is farther than you can make it at a flat out sprint, you’ll just die tired” come back.

    1. But in the movies, the hero always manages to outrun the shockwave of the blast!

      1. No they run halfway then jump into the air so the shock wave carries them to safety.

        1. In slow motion, which leaves your hair perfectly coifed.

          1. * Location
            * Education
            * Workplace

            amazing lol!!!

    2. Air Force people sound pretty logical

    3. I saw a movie once that taught me that the key to surviving bomb blasts was to find a lead shielded refrigerator…

      1. I thought that was to hide the Mallowmars from Superman.

        1. It has multiple uses.

    4. The ‘you have to be in shape to run away from the burning airplane” argument didn’t hold up very well to the “since the blast radius is farther than you can make it at a flat out sprint, you’ll just die tired” come back.

      Sounds like the New Air Force.

      In my Dad’s day, the argument was: Some of you are gonna get shot down behind enemy lines (observe the list on the wall of last week’s MIAs) and you might find yourself hoofing it across Europe, dodging the Hun and hiding in barns and haystacks. Exercise accordingly.

      1. I thought the fate of the free world was going to be decided by a cycle ergometry battle with the commies, a la Ender’s Game.

  23. On November 20, the 48th annual JFK 50 Mile Race takes place in Washington County, Maryland. Created in 1963, in the midst of the 50-mile hike fad, it attracted 11 participants that first year. Only four finished, all in a time of 13:10.

    A dead heat after 50 mi.? I smell fix.

  24. “Our struggles against aggressors throughout our history have been won on the playgrounds and corner lots and fields of America,” Kennedy exclaimed.

    At my daughter’s school, they’re not allowed to run on the playground (I’m not joking) and not climb above a certain height on the monkey bars.

    Fuck government and its institutions.

    1. Yeah, that was in the olden days when there were playgrounds and corner lots, and they weren’t filled with broken glass and discarded condoms and syringes.

      1. And hall monitors were packin’ heat? awesome..

  25. I wonder what the impact of mixed martial arts has been on the youth of today. Lots of kids are lifting weights and learning to ground and pound–has anyone looked into that?

  26. In 2009, more than a third of America’s adults qualified as obese according to the most commonly usedleast scientific and most useless metric ever invented for determining obesity, the Body Mass Index.

    FTFY.

  27. I still think the reason people are so fat nowadays is because they’re not smoking enough.

  28. I actually think that more people are starting to work out than in the recent past, especially young men but there is still a fitness problem. At least awareness is strong now.

  29. “Wearing helmets and carrying 25-pound packs..”

    25 pounds? That’s it? Marine’s assault packs alone would weigh more than that today.

    1. They did then, too.

      The weight of a fully equipped, up-to-date infantry trooper’s kit has remained roughly constant since at least the Roman Empire. ‘Cause even when you get a pure reduction in weight because someone figures out how to lighten a piece of equipment, they just add more food, water, or ammo to make up the difference.

      If your kit weighs less than sixty pounds you’re fighting for the poor or low tech side in an asymmetric conflict.

      1. I mean that doing a hump with a 25 pound pack seems rather pointless, when in a training capacity, 80 pounds plus weapons is the norm.
        Plus, I was repeatedly told in the service that the ‘joystick’ generation would be wholly inadequate for combat.

  30. “Perhaps envisioning an invasion of wiry Swiss tots against which we would have no defense…”

    I think Kennedy was more concerned about the zombies breeching the Pentagon during his secret meeting with McNamara, Castro, and Nixon.

  31. 25 ponds is the weight of the average kid’s book bag now.

    1. Ponds are heavy too.

  32. “weapons of ass production” awesome!

  33. Just because some people can run a marathon doesn’t make them strong to defend themselves. Long distance running makes people WEAK! Just look at the typical marathoner and you will see little muscle and no strength, coordination, flexibility, power, etc…. Sure, they can run from the Swiss invaders, but they wouldn’t be able to save YOUR butt!

  34. fat aint the new normal;lazy is. sitting on ur arse & eating empty calories has reduced many (most?) folks to blobs of fat.

  35. When you perform a push up, you have to press approximately 70% of your body weight. With pull ups you have to be able to pull 100% of your weight up to the bar. If you don’t have the strength to do correct push ups or pull ups, for a significant number of repetitions, you can’t get any positive results or you don’t even try. One of the best aspects of the Push Up Bench is that you start off with immediate success. As you move through each level you can achieve your goal many times over-which in turn motivates you to keep exercising. The Push Up Bench is designed to make push ups and pull ups easier. This will allow for a greater number of repetitions. You can start at the highest level, which means you only have to push 28% of your body weight instead of 70%. The Push Up Bench transfers the weight from your upper body to your feet- decreasing the amount of weight you have to press. Now you can do push ups with perfect form- which allows you to get full range of motion and hit all the muscle groups the push up exercise has to offer. As you get stronger, you can increase the weight you have to push by going through each level until your on the ground doing normal push ups. You can also increase the load on your arms by doing decline push ups. The Push Up Bench is adjustable to fit each person’s height from approximately 4’8 to 6’4. You don’t have to stop once you reach a full push up. The Push Up Bench also makes pull ups easier. By sitting inside the Bench you are able to perform seated or assisted pull ups. If your looking to tone your arms, increase your strength, need help passing a physical fitness test or just want to look and feel better, the Push Up Bench can help you achieve your goals. To learn more, visit us at To learn more google “push up bench”

  36. good~ Our store mainly gives UGG Cardy Shoes, ugg outlet

  37. Hell yes. You can never have to many texture brushes.ugg kensington

  38. A confirming anecdote: I have a 19-year-old brother that is huge: 6-foot, 310 pounds, both strong and fat. He has talked to Army recruiters. He would need to get down to 210 or so for standard acceptance, and according to recruiters,
    ???? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ??? ??????? probably 240 based on his current muscle mass. That being said, they would take him right now, and put him into some sort of fat camp to prepare him for bootcamp, and pay him while he’s going through the fat camp. While that is a waste of taxpayer money, in the grand scheme of DoD waste, it’s pretty insignificant.

  39. Hello! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you have right here on this post. I’ll be returning to your blog for more soon.
    Cheers,
    http://www.prokr.com/cleaning-company-riyadh/

    http://www.prokr.com/water-lea…..ny-riyadh/

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.