Fitness industry bullsh*t vs fundamentals
Updated: May 28, 2019
With so much information available on the topic of health and fitness, it can get really confusing for people to know how to best look after themselves and get into shape. I see a lot of BS floating around out there and, as a coach, this irritates me somewhat. I hate seeing people get scammed and misinformed. Over many years my BS sensors have become highly tuned and my senses tingle at the slightest whisper of words such as "celebrity diet", "low carb", "21-day" or "superfoods".
I understand though. With time being a precious resource to most of us, quick fixes, crash diets and celebrity fitness programs become ever more alluring. The fitness industry knows this and so responds by continuing to pump out a neverending supply of rubbish that will sell magazines and get clicks.
Certainly, some quick-fix approaches can achieve fast results and have a place for people who need to address uncomfortable or dangerous conditions quickly. But it is important to realise that most fail to address underlying causes and address the fundamental elements of health and fitness. In fact, some can make your health worse in the long term.
I have listed below what I consider the fundamentals of health and fitness. Read through them and consider if your current routine and lifestyle are addressing these fundamentals or functioning to help you avoid them.
1. The mind
Our physiology mirrors our psychology. Our views about life literally affect the way our body runs. You can do everything else right but if your philosophies about life are wrong your health will reflect that. This takes time and education.
A highly sensitive and technical topic. I don't believe that there is one diet that fits everyone since your nutritional requirements vary depending on the way your body is running. However, through research and experience, I have come to find that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences and a diet based around whole plant foods is best for most people. An exercise program that doesn't include dietary guidance will probably achieve questionable results.
Most people in society are dehydrated. They don't realise it though. After years of working with clients, I have become very aware of the impact hydration has on hunger, cognition, and athletic performance. You need to drink enough. How much is enough? That depends on your size and activity levels. My suggestion is to drink enough so that you're urinating many times throughout the day and the urine is clear. If not, drink more.
A huge topic that interests me a lot. Again, we need enough. Enough is different for every person. However, I feel most people need more than the typical 7-8 hours per day. I personally I feel my best getting around 10 hours of sleep per night.
Are you getting into the sun every day? It stimulates vitamin D production and cleanses your skin. Do it!
6. Fresh air
An area that I admittedly neglected myself for many years. Sometimes it's not until we suffer some pain or an encounter an injury, that we make stretching and mobility work a focus. Sitting and standing in awkward positions for long periods of time takes its toll. Your routine should include some mobility work to prevent problems down the track.
I won't beat around the bush here. Most people are fairly weak due to living an automated and sedentary lifestyle. Burpees, jogging and sit-ups aren't going to cut it. You need to include some focused strength training to be healthy. Otherwise, remain soft, weak and flabby.
It's one thing to be strong and flexible but can you run up a flight of stairs? Can you sprint across the park in pursuit of your child without doubling over and gasping for air? There are many different ways you incorporate a little cardio into your week and it doesn't need to be boring.
Of course, you have to actually enjoy doing what you're doing to some degree or at least see the value in it. I do find that even lifting weights in the gym can be fun if you have clear goals and focus on performance vs a number on the scale.
I will definitely be expanding on each of these fundamentals in future posts.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. If so, please share it with others.