By C. ROCHELLE CULP
Fathers have an overwhelming list of good habits they should model for their children. Physical fitness, as well as spiritual fitness, is key. Meet a few dads who are hanging in there providing the example.
Fitness has always been a part of my life and I have some great memories that revolve around fitness. As a child I can remember running with my dad. I don’t remember them being long runs, but I remember asking the types of questions only a five year old could possibly ask. Almost 40 years later, the memories of those runs make me smile as I now try to avoid or redirect similar questions from my five year old.
My mother also had a strong commitment to being physically fit and active, which included a daily routine of getting in the gym. Despite her hard and lengthy fight with cancer, she rarely missed a day. I remember going to the gym with her and watching in admiration, as she would keep up with the rest of the ladies in the aerobics class. I am so thankful for parents who planted the desire of being physically fit and got me involved with sports from an early age. Sports and competing on different teams not only provided me with an understanding of the importance of being physically fit, but it helped build character, prepare for a future as an executive who leads and engages a team each day—and most importantly—built the foundation for becoming an encouraging husband and father. Over the years my reasons for being physically fit have changed, but I still reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle while building character.
As I’ve grown older, my habits have changed. I once was known as a “gym rat,” but now you can find me on the Madison Central football field getting an early jump on the day. Currently, I train from 5:00-6:00 a.m. each morning—which keeps me active, but also serves as a great stress reliever. I also enjoy running 5K races.
With an active family and three small kids, time is at a premium so my routine changes as life changes. Our faith and spiritual foundation help guide my wife and I as we raise five children, ranging from college age to our youngest of nine months old. Being a dad in my forties to young children, I focus on staying young at heart while at the same time trying to stay fit so I can provide my children with similar memories that will hopefully last them a lifetime.
My wife, Lynda and I, reside in Madison with our two boys, Buckley (5) and Charley (21 months). I decided not too long ago that if I am going to be the best husband and father that I could be, change was paramount. Badly overweight and out of shape, in January 2012, I signed up for a 12-week fitness boot camp run by Jackson native, Paul Lacoste. I continue to participate in Paul’s 5:00 a.m. fitness camps where I have met and befriended many incredible people on the same journey as me. When boot camp is not in session, I run 4-5 miles a day with a great group of individuals I met through the camp. To date, I have lost 85 pounds, and I am in the best shape of my life.
One thing I have learned is that achieving a certain level of physical fitness can positively impact every aspect of your life. I have become more confident, focused, and motivated at home and in the workplace. Dads, as the head of the household, we lead by example. To see the pride in my oldest son’s eyes when I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon this year made the physical sacrifices of this past year worthwhile.
We get one shot to make a difference, to leave a lasting influence. It starts with you. Getting in shape is one way you can show God that you are grateful for his presence in your life, and that you are going to take what he has given you and make it the very best it can possibly be. Happy Father’s Day!
Physical fitness has been the norm for me literally all of my life. From the age of seven or eight, until I graduated from college, I was into fitness all day. However, my parents called it chopping and picking cotton, bailing hay, feeding livestock, harvesting crops, and anything else dealing with the fields. After graduating from college, marrying my college sweetheart (Betty), and starting a family, my priorities changed.
I thought about my families’ medical history, which is replete with severe hypertension, strokes, and heart failures. I knew I had to make changes if I wanted to be around to see and assist my children, Keisha (Don), Frederick (Bridgett), and Kristie grow up. Therefore, I decided to be a victor rather than a victim to my situation. I started a regular program of exercise that included playing basketball and tennis (other than with my children) three to four days a week. Later after my children were older, I started walking and running six to eight miles per day, five days a week, which I still do.
As an educator (Middle/High School Teacher, Middle/High School Principal and Deputy Superintendent), my fitness routine served me well. It helped me control my weight, hypertension and stress. God has been and is good to me, and I trust and believe in him in every aspect. I would be unfaithful, negligent and irresponsible to attribute physical fitness as the sole source of reducing my stress, hypertension and controlling my weight. I believe if you acknowledge God in all your ways, he will direct your path. When God directs my path, what would I have to worry and stress about? Due to my beliefs and commitments to God, I serve in several capacities in my church such as: Superintendent of Evangelism, Chairman, Deacons, Sunday School Teacher, and Choir Member. One of my greatest joys, one that I am most proud off, is to see my children, and their spouses, working in the church, faithfully serving the Lord. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.
Early on, after moving to the City of Ridgeland, it became apparent to me that God was leading me to serve as mayor. Many opportunities were placed before me that were preparing me for this position. In the summer of 1989, I began to pray, seeking God’s will. God began showing me the time was right to accept this wonderful opportunity.
In my position, I’m allowed to provide services to the citizens of Ridgeland and set long term goals for maintaining our high quality of life. I started cycling over 15 years ago to support cycling events in Ridgeland such as the Natchez Trace Century Ride. Keeping fit and having a healthy lifestyle has assisted me in my leadership role. Not only does it help me focus on my work, but it gives me the energy to work long hours and do what I need to get the job done. I feel better when I exercise.
At least five days a week, I’m cycling with friends. Weekdays, I ride about 28 miles, then Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons I usually ride more miles—anywhere from 30 to 50 depending on my schedule. I try to get 150 to 200 miles of riding in per week.
My wife, Jane; daughter, Karie; son, Wint; and my 7 grandchildren have all been very involved in my career and very supportive in everything I do. My family also enjoys staying active with outdoor activities such as running, biking, swimming, soccer, basketball, and football. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family that supports me, not only in my career, but also in keeping a healthy lifestyle.
C. Rochelle Culp is the owner of of Ro-on-the-Go Health & Wellness Consultants and on staff at Fitness Lady Health Clubs, Inc. She is a member of the Today Show’s Joy Fit Club and club featured in The Joy Fit Club Cookbook, Diet Plan and Inspiration (published 2012).