Man About Menifee: It's Never Too Late to Get in Shape

By David Baker

I saw an Internet meme the other day posted on Facebook that said, "I wish I was as fat as I was the first time I thought I was fat." That definitely made me chuckle, mostly because it's true.

When I was a senior in high school, I weighed 170 pounds and was a 34-inch waist. Now let's just say it's a little more than that. Of course that was also when I was in weight training and martial arts and I rode my bike to and from school a few miles each way. Still, I remember thinking I was fat just because I didn't quite have the muscle tone other guys did. I never really did have bulging biceps or a six-pack.

Recently, I realized that our family was in need of some assistance on the fitness front. Last year, my daughter was put into "Intervention P.E." because she couldn’t meet the state standard for running the mile. It was surprising how many kids were actually in Intervention for this. Thankfully, she was able to work her way back into a regular P.E. class, but she had to work hard for it.

Every once in a while I try to get in shape, but I soon discover that I really would be in better shape today if it just wasn't so much work. Still, one of the things I know about myself and is probably true of most people is if I want to get in shape, I have to trick myself and remove the possibility of any excuse.

Like me, my children are also externally motivated. It can be dollars, ribbons, or just gold stars. We need that external source to tell us that we are on the right track.

Fitness is always important, but especially because the holiday season is approaching and our house, like many of yours, is about to be bombarded with confections, candies, cookies, and assorted pastries. Delicious, yes, but definitely straight to the gut.

Since I live on the west side of town, I got pretty excited when I saw the signs in the ads go up for Fitness 19. I was even more excited when I saw the price tag. My son Nikk and I were two of the fortunate few who got to sign up at the initial reduced rate back in September. We are very excited for the opening date, which is expected to be around Nov. 15. Because this is something I am going to be paying for, the only thing that bugs me more than sweat is wasting money. That’s the motivation I need.

Of course, this is not the only way to get fit, but for my family and me, it works. Some families are just as happy and active going to the park or walking the dog. What is your favorite way to keep your family in shape?

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at


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