I love hearing about people who have made massive, positive changes in their lifestyle by making health and fitness a priority. Over the past year or so I've taken a particular interest in the link between health and fitness. I honestly feel that much what passes for fitness now-a-days is about as far from "health" as you can get. My good friend and colleague, Dr. Lou Pack of Precision Sports, Inc., loves to say, "Health is something we go through on the way to fitness."

Coincidentally my newest book (which is currently undergoing its final edit as I type this blog) is not one of my typical niche books, it is about this very topic and focus on total human development.

Last summer my wife Lisa and I were at a local car show and I met Reed Harris. We talked a bit and when he found out what my profession was he became very excited in telling me how he had made massive changes in his health and fitness and how they came about. I thought it would make an excellent blog to share with you!

Thanks for your time in doing this Reed and congrats on your health and fitness success!

What's your name, age, profession?

Reed A. Harris
Age 31

What caused you to be concerned about your state of health and fitness?
Since approximately age 10, I have always felt slightly over weight despite participating in school sports. During college, I gained 50 pounds by not exercising, eating a high carbohydrate diet with large portions, eating late night and drinking excessive amounts of sugary drinks. It was my family's concern about possibly getting diabetes and my becoming increasingly self conscious that helped set my fitness program and lifestyle change into motion.

What is your personal definition of health and how it relates to fitness?
I believe health is directly proportional to fitness. I feel as though one needs to maintain healthy eating/drinking habits and simultaneously participate in a fitness regimen, regardless of the type or quantity in order to see results and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What do you think about the health & fitness information that is currently available to the general public?
I believe the health and fitness information available to the general public is adequate. However, I think many people are overwhelmed by the industry because it is unfamiliar to them, often causing them to be afraid to ask for help to determine how to make changes in their lifestyle. We frequently hear about quick weight loss solutions, however these do not necessarily guarantee a healthy lifestyle. I believe most people want measurable results but do not want to commit and put the work in to become healthy and happy about the way they look and feel.

What did you do to change your level of health and fitness?
First I made the mental commitment that I wanted to make a change in my lifestyle. Then, I mapped out an exercise program I knew I could commit to and enjoy. Next, I set a weight goal and made a promise to myself I would not stop until I achieved my desired weight, no matter what. Finally I changed my eating habits by cutting portion sizes, incorporating healthy foods, cutting out unnatural foods and drinks, and made water my drink of choice.

How many times a week do you workout and what is an overview of your program?
Currently I run on average for thirty minutes two days per week and sometimes incorporate pushups, sit ups, crunches, dips and pull ups to maintain my health/weight. During my weight loss program, I did cardiovascular training (running, bicycling, walking, elliptical, etc.) three to four times per week. On non cardiovascular days, I did light weight training primarily with free weights. At this time, I also completed a boot camp.

Tell me about your nutrition habits?
Since beginning my weight loss program, I have maintained small portions at meal time, I eat a healthy snack between meals so that I am never starving, and I drink water all day. I am mindful to eat healthy foods and keep my vegetable and protein portions larger than my carbohydrates. I have made a conscience choice to only consume foods that are less healthy in very small portions, infrequently so that I do not feel like I am sacrificing when a craving comes on.

What was the biggest challenge in implementing a healthy lifestyle?
My biggest challenge was changing my unhealthy eating habits I had participated in for the majority of my life. Then, altering my mindset as to portion sizes I thought I required and the feelings I associated with being full. Next, virtually eliminating sugary drinks I was used to consuming daily. And finally, committing to exercise multiple times a week that was not related to sports, typically after a long day of work.

Why do you feel taking control of your personal health and fitness is important?
When I discovered how to control my health and fitness, I realized how much better I felt in virtually every category because of it. It is very important to lead a healthy lifestyle not only to take care of your body, but also to be able to accomplish the goals you set for yourself.

How has your life overall changed since adopting a healthier lifestyle?
I can honestly say that completing my ninety pound weight loss program and being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle was one of the best gifts I have ever given myself. Accomplishing my original fifty pound goal plus an extra forty pounds has made the impossible seem possible. This journey has empowered me and changed my outlook on many other areas of life.

Any closing words?
If I could offer advice to any one considering making a change in their lifestyle to lose weight, eat healthier, feel better, etc. it would be go for it and start today...because the sooner you begin, the sooner you can enjoy all of your hard work.


Stay Strong AND Healthy!



Dr. Gregory Harris
04/07/2013 17:15

I am Reed Harris' father. All that Reed did for his weight loss and exercise program he did on his own. Members of his immediate family ( including 2 older brothers who played sports in prep school and college) encouraged Reed for many years to do something about his weight, etc. When he was "ready," Reed set goals and accomplished them. Good for him. He did this in Atlanta; no other members of his immediate family live in Atlanta so he did not have the emotional support often necessary to do what he did. I come from an athletic family and have run 5 1/2 marathons (1/2 of the Boston Marathon the first time). We used to live in Wellesley, MA., and were able to walk from our house to the half way point of the Boston Marathon. This was when Bill Rodgers was winning the Boston and NY City Marathons. We later moved to Sherborn, MA., home of Bill Rodgers, and often saw him run past our house on his training runs. I met and talked to Bill many times; a very "nice" and approachable guy. And, once on the Saturday before the Boston Marathon on Monday, I was driving from Wellesley to Sherborn and saw Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit running together on the road. I tooted my horn and waved and then waved back; now that is an experience few individuals ever have in their life times!

Dr. Gregory J. Harris

06/09/2015 00:44

Massive, positive changes in our lifestyle putting fitness and sport on the first place can happen. But the question is whether is it enough happy and full life? Yes, it takes a significant part of our lives but we shouldn't forget about mental health too.


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