Healthier 2021: Mark Has Some Challenges Ahead

4 min read

This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.

By Mark Spoor

So I decided to try and step up my yoga game earlier this week and learn a new pose called chaturanga. (I can hear all you yogis going, "Oooooooooooh.")

Basically, it's as if you start a push-up from the ground, stop halfway, and hold it.

Sounds easy -- and it is -- for about 3 seconds. After that, your body realizes what it's doing, you start shaking like a leaf, and if you're like me, you go back down to the ground quickly with a little bit of humiliation.

So yeah, more core workouts to come!

That challenge notwithstanding, after nearly 2 months on this fitness journey, I can't say that I have very many complaints. I feel better. My clothes fit better. Honestly, I'm pretty sure my family likes me a little bit better, too.

Thanks to our amazing WebMD social media team, I even learned what an Instagram takeover is. Ask your kids. They probably know.

Anyway, if you can get an industry-leading website to let you write blogs for a couple of months about your fitness journey so that you have no choice but to, you know, go on a fitness journey, I highly recommend it.

But friends, over the next month or so, we're gonna find out what I'm really made of.

My daughter's travel softball season is about to start. Unlike when I was a kid, youth athletics in 2021 is often quite the commitment. When my kid has a tournament, we're at the ballpark from sunrise to about 0-dark-30 on Saturday, then again from sunrise to 0-twilight-30 on Sunday.

This presents a few challenges for me. For one, it messes with my workout schedule. I like to work out in the mornings because, much to my wife and daughter's chagrin, I'm a morning person. (Seriously, they really hate that.)

And if I work out at night, for whatever reason, I can't sleep. So for the spring and summer, it looks like my early-morning workouts will happen even earlier.

The other big challenge facing me during tournament season: Routinely spending the entire day at a ballpark -- The Land of Burgers and Hot Dogs.

And french fries.

And nachos.

And candy.

And, in some ballparks, Frito pie, a wonderful concoction I've only known about since I've lived in the South. It's corn chips, chili, sour cream, and maybe jalapenos all mixed together, sometimes right in the corn chip bag.

You're welcome, America.

We always go to the field with the best of intentions when it comes to food. We pack cases of water, protein drinks, and pounds of fruit, vegetables, sweet peppers, turkey, and all the other stuff we're supposed to eat. But invariably as lunch time comes around, while my daughter, the athlete, eats clean as a whistle, I often have a hard time resisting that ballpark cuisine.

The temptations don’t stop there. At the end of the night, most of the families will gather at some restaurant to wind down and complain about calls that didn't go our way. Many times, these gatherings will happen at a popular Southern chain that specializes in waffles. (Yeah, that one.)

So I've promised myself that I'm going to do everything I can to follow my daughter's nutritional example this season. I imagine she's probably looking forward to keeping me honest.

And I’ll need her to. Because I’ll be facing these tournament season challenges without the accountability of this blog. This blogging series was only designed to be a New Year's Resolution kind of a thing. So I've got one more scheduled in a few weeks, but after that, at least for now, I'll need to find accountability in other places.

It may not sound like much, but knowing that these blogs were coming each week was a pretty hefty motivator, particularly on those mornings when I wasn't quite feeling it. Bill, Laura, and I have promised to keep our group chat going and I hope that does the trick, but as much as I love them both, I'm not sure it will provide the same kick in the pants as sharing my wins and losses here with you. (Your kind comments on the social media posts help a lot too.)

As they say, the only constant in life is change.

Mark Spoor is a senior health editor with WebMD. He spent more than 2 decades in sports media, working with groups like the NCAA, NASCAR, and the PGA TOUR. Most weekends, you can find him and his wife, Chris, cheering on their daughter's softball team. 

While Mark has spent a lot of time with athletes, he's not one, so fitness has always been a bit of a challenge. He hopes this endeavor will help him get a little closer to winning that battle.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @markspoor.