Jim Hughson Proves That Busy Is No Excuse
Education and Advocacy As the voice of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC and Rogers Sportsnet, Jim Hughson has one of the most interesting and demanding jobs in the country, especially during playoff season.
“Most guys would pay a fortune to do what I do for these 63 days during the playoffs,” acknowledges Hughson. “It’s not easy, but it’s extraordinary.” But with the glamour of rubbing shoulders with hockey’s greats and getting paid to sit in front row seats at every game come the realities of life on the road. “You’re living in hotels. You’re eating out all the time,” says Hughson. “This year, I’ve had two trips home, one for 23 hours, one for 24. That’s it.”
Jim’s job may be extraordinary, but a work life that leaves little time and energy for healthy eating and exercise is something that many men can relate to. Despite all this, Hughson never lets his health take a back burner. He does his best to eat well, and he doesn’t smoke.
“I like to say I literally run the NHL,” Hughson says. “Gary Bettman might not like to hear me say that, but what I mean is that I have running routes in all 30 NHL cities. I try to run every day. Honestly, I probably manage about five days out of seven.”
Making fitness a priority doesn’t have to mean reshaping your entire life, says Hughson. There’s always some downtime when you can get your exercise in if you have the mindset that it’s important to you. And a little can go a long way. “You don’t have to be rattling off a marathon or anything,” says Hughson. “You just fit in time for being active where you can.”
Hughson takes the same approach with his diet, focusing on fitting good eating decisions into his life rather than on rearranging his life around unrealistic diet goals. However, he is always ready for a good meal, especially since being on the road means plenty of fantastic restaurants. “I just try to make better choices when I look down the menu. I still eat things I like and I truly enjoy them,” Hughson says. “I just don’t eat as much of them and don’t eat them quite so often. It’s a small change.”
It’s a message very much in line with the “Don’t Change Much” campaign from the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF), which promotes the idea that small lifestyle adjustments can result in huge health benefits. The CMHF has recruited Hughson as a champion for the campaign, and he expresses a little surprise that they have done so. “The CMHF have so many great ambassadors who are terrific high-end athletes, and I am certainly not that,” says Hughson. “I’m pretty close to being an everyman. I’m just a pretty regular guy who does regular things.”
There’s a lot of modesty packed in there, but there’s truth as well. When we hear fitness advice from sports legends, it can sometimes be hard to relate. We’re not all Brendan Shanahan. But Jim, despite his incredible career, is really just a guy trying to stay healthy for himself and his kids. If he can do it, then so can we.