Editor’s Letter: Sweat Equity And Soul Sweat
It would seem rather glib to remark that our health - physical, mental and spiritual - is of greatest importance. Yes…of course it is. Children at age 3 or 4 know or sense this truism. And those in retirement years may regret not making the holy grail of overarching health a life long pursuit. After all, the poorly-termed sunset years have the potential for being supernova years in stamina, creativity, contribution, world and self-discovery, altruism and spiritual attunement.
The Greeks understood the synergy between physical fitness, diet and contemplative practices. As did the Chinese and Indians. Over the past 100 years we’ve seen the advent of yoga in the West, advanced physical training methods, human performance sciences emerge and radical insights into nutrition. In 2007 there were 10.46 million people practicing yoga in the US, with 1.2 million starting each year. Personal fitness and healthy nutrition has crossed from a fringe fanatic following to national cultural awareness - thanks to TV advertising, community cable channels, the internet and pop magazines (for men and women). We now stand at the threshold of a human amalgam of fitness/internal health/spiritual growth that is nearly unmatched in history and speaks powerfully of where we will be in the 22nd century.
This inaugural issue of Sweat Equity (and Soul Sweat) sets a high bar: a bar of publishing a great eclectic buffet of articles and resources that explore general fitness, nutrition and yoga in ways that are engaging, pragmatic, thought-provoking, surprising and (most importantly) inspiring. Sweat Equity reaches out to leading experts worldwide for meaningful insights and useful information in all fields touching our core presentation of fitness/nutrition/yoga. We bring in writers with stories and experience - written for everyday people, not for elite or hardcore practitioners (as already covered by many magazines). Our intention is to make Sweat Equity a good-reading, wide-ranging resource for all levels and all ages.
We cover the beginner to the adept, young to seasoned, the everyday committed to the weekend warrior. Our goal is to give inspiration, information, anecdotes, background, and practical knowledge so you feel supported in your present lifestyle, and go forward creating the life you want. Toward this, our magazine will also explore social issues that impact us in mind, body and spirit.
What does Sweat Equity mean to me? Simple. 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. What we put into personal training, nutrition habits and yoga pursuits (sweat) is ownership (equity) in a more healthy, productive and profound you. What is sweat equity a measure of? Sustained effort. Discipline. Consistency. Intensity. Burning. Abstaining. What does sweat bring? Change. Flexibility. Breath. Stillness. Self-awareness. Accomplishment. Exhilaration. Celebration.
Through Sweat Equity, we are recording for you the fitness/nutrition/yoga equivalent of Thomas Edison’s deliberative insight: “Genius is 1%inspiration and 99% perspiration.” My mantra is: “Meaningful and healthy life is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” And this magazine speaks to this equation of being catalyzed with spirit (inspiration) and sticking to the path of self-improvement (perspiration).
Why am I doing this? It comes right out of my story. I suppose I’m expected to blow my own horn here and tell you all about my life-long passion for fitness. I’m not going to do that… just yet. Instead, I am going to tell you a little bit about me. I am many things. I am a husband and a father. I am a son and a brother. I know how to design clothing. I can dance better than most people I know. I do not live in the place where I was born. English is not my only—and not even my first—language. Sometimes, when I see things, I think they should be different, and so I change them. Sometimes I see things, and I want to improve them, so I do. Sweat Equity is my attempt at doing.
My journey is one from unbridled ambition to meaning. I was a high school football player and started weight training in 1987 to help recover from a knee injury. The inner drive, discipline and profound results from weight training set me on a course of winning ten years of amateur bodybuilding competitions - with attendant stage performances and guest appearances worldwide. In 1999 I went professional and garnered the Mr. Canada title. I was at the peak of accomplishment and fame in bodybuilding. Alongside the accomplishment was the near constant aura of body pain. And a strong feeling that for all my physical and mental discipline over twelve years I was missing a huge element in my life. I retired from professional bodybuilding and started a designer line of sportswear clothing. All the while I continued a good fitness regimen and refined my diet. That interior chasm of missing meaning took me into a spiritual search that led to yoga. In 2003 I started my first elementary yoga practice, and it formed a perfect bridge of meaning for me between spiritual realities and my physical and mental self. Now, I am an avid yoga practitioner and work with people in fitness/nutrition/yoga across North America.