“My Human-Powered Health” by Kris Swarthout

Human-Powered Health is a simple, powerful idea. It can mean something different to anyone trying to take accountability for their own health and fitness. It doesn’t preach, it inspires, and this is why I am a passionate believer in the idea.

Let’s turn the clock back to 1999. At that particular period in my life I had hit a fairly bad skid of beer, fast food and generally unsanitary living. I was a seasoned cop in a rough neighborhood and I thought I was ten feet tall and bullet proof. I was significantly overweight and out of shape. Something needed to change.

What happened? Love, of course. Love from my family and friends and a long lost love with my bike. Almost simultaneously, I was given some hints by a co-worker and my family that I needed to make a shift in my health or start preparing for some serious consequences down the road. These subtle hints came in the form of a fitness book and a George Foreman grill. Needless to say, neither of these were the magic bullet, but they helped me refocus on my health and fitness. That in turn helped me rediscover my old bike, buried in my garage and collecting dust.

I dusted it off, pumped the tires, and started riding my bike to and from work. It was a simple, short ride, but I noticed right away how much energy it seemed to magically give me during some extremely long days in uniform. The more I rode, the more I wanted to ride. My simple commuting rides eventually progressed into longer, harder journeys, which in turn progressed to competing in triathlon events around the country. Some simple lifestyle choices and my old bike led me to a new body, a new outlook on life, and a new career. I retired the force in 2006 and used my new passion to kick start a career as a fitness coach.

When I first read about the Human-Powered Health brand and the manifesto accompanying it, I was ecstatic that not only did someone else “get it”, but that my own employer was a main supporter. Back in ’99, my Human-Powered Health was a simple 5-mile ride to work. Today it is my passion and motivation. I share it with my family every day by walking my kids to school, biking with my wife, and running with my in-laws. I feel honored to be a part of this campaign and pledge to do whatever I can to help people make their own personal Human-Powered Health story.

– Coach Kris

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