The Decline In The Value Of Health & Fitness

This past week I watched like you all the Mayor of Nashville reveal his suggestions on how the phasing of businesses re-opening would be executed.

Gyms in Phase 3.

It did not surprise me one bit. Why? Because for years I have watched middle Tennessee’s population continue to lose the fight against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.

The mayor’s decision aligns with the value that we as a community have put on our own health and fitness in terms of priorities. Retail and restaurants – the simple pleasures we love are allowed to roll out in the first phase with half occupancy. Lost was the pleasure of taking care of oneself in terms of health is wealth value.

A quick example of this is Colorado gyms can re-open in Phase 1 compared to Tennessee in Phase 3. Guess who has a lower rate of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension? Colorado. Guess who has more health care issues as well? Yup us.

If you ask my leadership team they will tell you I have been planning on a July opening of Iron House for quite some time now. Fear is real and right now it has a vice grip on the majority of our community’s hearts. I do not blame them as I was once there myself with them.

When I was 10, I endured surgery in an attempt to correct the differences in the length of my legs after 2 botched surgeries. The surgery was 12 weeks of me keeping my leg broke the entire time. At age 10 I was using a scalpel to cut skin growing up on the 27 spokes that held my leg while screws were turned every 6 hours to keep my leg broken subtly stretching it over 12 weeks. My first step in physical therapy my leg broke. A few days later I was back under the knife to insert a plate at the place the fracture occurred. I endured over the next few years every setback you can think of before I finally walked into High School in 1995 for my freshman year.

Because of physical therapy, I found health and fitness. My bone disease known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta will never leave me. The only means I have is combative. Do you know what stimulates bone growth better than anything? Resistance training. For someone like me, the gym is a matter of quality of life.

I cannot begin to describe to any leader the value that health and fitness should have in our community. A gym is a place where those who have vices find liberty. A gym is a place where someone is building their self-confidence. But most of all a gym is a place that is rooted in a community that supports each other.

And sadly, fitness is something I have watched become of less value over the 30 plus years I have been in a gym. The gym is where people can go to learn about how to practice better health and fitness habits. These things are not taught and the public is far from educated on it. And therein lies the crux of the problem. We are slowly sinking in the mire that is the devaluation of health in our community. This is where our community needs us back serving them.

Illness knows no color, race, or gender. Across all demographics is the tied that binds and that tie are a reactionary model in our community and not a preventative model. Nowhere do our leaders discuss how eating better, working out, and supplements can help us take back our health. Not one single press briefing. None of them have had the balls to say we need to switch our minds from a cure due to the cause and to what can we do to prevent illness?

The fact our community is ravaged with chronic illnesses speaks volumes to the trajectory of where we are going as a society if we do not begin to place a value on our health and fitness.

We need to be encouraging each other to take better care of ourselves.

We need to stop shaming others online for their desire to keep their wealth that is their health as selfish.

We need to put value back into taking care of ourselves because all this current crisis is showing us is that those who have a chronic preventable illness is a magnet for things that ultimately end our life. This virus is just faster than the heart attack waiting for you in 10 years due to piss poor habits.

All this has reminded me of is fear is the reaction when there is no plan. Know how you create a plan? You look at what you want the result to be and work it backward. This is where the preventative model needs to be preached instead of the fear-based reaction model we currently live in.

Our community deserves leadership that teaches us how to prevent as well as how to react. Both go hand in hand. Both are needed for a healthier community.

And in my heart, there needs to be a voice of reason to our community leaders who need to see the other perspective and that is prevention through education.

About Jeff Black

Jeff is a nationally recognized health and fitness coach, public speaker, podcast host for The Excellence Cartel, owner of Iron House Strength & Conditioning, bodybuilder, and Osteogenesis Imperfecta Advocate. He is also a roundtable expert on

Today, Jeff works collectively with some of the top coaches in the health and fitness space presenting to other coaches and individuals on health and fitness. He has a passion for leadership and serving others to help them be their own hero. He is recognized for his results, but above all else, the passion he has for the coach’s heart he holds dear. 

Jeff is available for in-person or online coaching and speaking engagements. Send him a message. You can follow Jeff on Instagram, YouTube, and on his website