I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by the fitness industry. It seems that there’s a never ending abundance of free flowing - yet impoverished - nutritional and exercise information that clogs up our social media feed faster than gluten apparently does to our digestive tract.
And a sad flow on effect of this over the past few years is that we now identify being “fit”, “lean”, “ripped”, “shredded” with being “healthy”.
And that’s just plain wrong (well, kind of) and I’ve put it down to a few things:
Constantly scrolling through the plethora of bikini clad women and overly ripped dudes on our social media feeds with the #health and #healthy hashtags underneath has caused us to believe that you have to have a six-pack to be healthy.
Wrong – it’s just become a case of believing what we repeatedly see.
2. Sports/Fitness Models
I guess this just flows on from the above.
But I’ll preface by saying that the commitment, dedication, consistency, hard work and focus these competitors display is amazing and truly inspiring.
However, there’s also darker, often never spoken about side to these transformations.
It’s so easy to glance over these images and believe the smile behind the six-pack, but please don’t be fooled into thinking that that level of training and dieting leaves you anywhere near true health.
In fact, some of the techniques and processes used to get “stage ready” can cause severe and long lasting physical and psychological problems.
You DO NOT need to have a six-pack to be healthy!
Take the first 3 letters of the word “diet” and you’re halfway to knowing what you’re body thinks is about to happen when you’re on one.
Cutting calories to stupid levels is not only unsustainable; it’s extremely unhealthy. In fact, your body even has a natural protective mechanism to ensure your stupidity only gets you so far by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy.
The worst part about this, when you fall of the wagon and start eating everything under the sun, you’ll pack the weight on faster than ever before.
What you need to remember is that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
So James, what’s health then?
Hopefully you understand what I am trying to say. I simply want to educate you on the fact that fitness only makes up a part of health; it’s not actually health.
Fitness is what you do, for parts of your day, to improve your health. Health however, is what you do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of your life.
Running a marathon, competing in crossfit, banging out a bootcamp, playing a sport, or powering out a personal training session all challenge the body to change. This is what we call fitness - and that’s great!
However, health is comprised of multiple factors such as exercise, nutrition, hydration and mindset; as well as how you manage stress, your sleeping patterns - even your lifestyle choices. This is what we call health – and that’s even better!
At the end of the day, how you look will be a direct reflection of your nutrition and exercise habits. How good you feel however, is determined by so much more.