The Fitness Misconception Cycle

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For the past few decades the route to physical fitness and general health and wellness has been deterred for the average man or woman. General information about getting and staying physically fit, eating correctly, and maintaining general healthy lifestyles has been sparse, and the information that was and/or is available is straight up wrong. Allow me to go further.

I’d like to first touch on diet and healthy eating. I will only very briefly and sparingly talk on the subject because I’m not writing to focus on this aspect of healthy living, but am obligated to at least make mention of it if on such a topic of discussion. With that said, the instructions for how to eat in this country are wrong. They are in fact part of huge health problems, i.e.: obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, even Parkinson’s and cancer. Our food pyramid, consisting of 50% carbohydrates and claiming the source should be of whole grain, is a recipe for an unhealthy, misinformed individual. Even the notion that “fat” is bad for you, or that it is treated like a four-letter-word, is absolutely preposterous. John Q Public has no clue as to what cholesterol is, or how it works, and telling people that they should not eat saturated fat because of cholesterol issues is absolutely outrageous. The public goes to their primary physicians for advice on such things, and the information they obtain is so off-base it’s scary. But their doctor gave them instructions, how are they to know any better?

Even mentioning these facts is enough to rip a hole in the minds of many, and they refuse to even believe it. This is the problem with diet and fitness, and the stubbornness of the average American is exacerbating it. People will believe whatever is easiest to believe. For example, the “calories-in calories-out” idea that you just need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. This is unadulterated, pure fiction. Yet people choose to believe this because it is far easier to grasp than the idea of certain foods causing certain hormone production, metabolic rates, genetics, etc. And for whatever reason (until JUST recently), any challenge to this old style of thinking, for example, a low carbohydrate diet, is scoffed at and slandered.

Very similar thinking is such the case with methods of obtaining physical fitness. There is really no way around it. If fitness is the goal, physical, self-inflicted pain and suffering is the method. If something is easy, or if there is a tool to make a specific exercise easier, 99.99% of the time it will be ineffective. Let me provide some examples.

I’ll begin with the average American individual who is “generally healthy,” as in, without a major medical illness, easily ambulatory, but does not do much to exercise. When this person decides he/she wants to get fit and in shape, he/she will also desire an aesthetic aspect of accomplishing such a task. No problem there, it’s human nature, and it’s a happy byproduct of fitness. The means to that end, however, is not readily available information. If someone who is new to fitness wants to research the topic, they will find things like Ab Lounges, Gazelle machines, Nordic Tracs, Ab Rockers, Thigh Masters, Ab Belts, Total Gyms, Shake Weights… I could go on forever. Because all of these machines make claim to awarding you the aesthetic body of your dreams by doing as little as possible, people choose to believe it. They ignore all the concepts of what it means to earn something, because technology today can give you that physique you’ve always wanted with little to no effort. Such is just not the case.

The advanced world of marketing recognizes this. Any information readily available for the layperson is for the most part wrong, and designed to make somebody money. All of these machines profit off of an idea being sold to people, not the actual machine. The idea is that fitness can be achieved without work, and people will empty their wallets for such a dream. Even gym chains and franchises are cashing in on people’s laziness. Planet fitness, a very popular chain of gyms across the country, has what appears to be a fairly humble attraction. They use very cheap prices and their “intimidation-free” gimmicks to attract members. This gimmick explains that this gym is for average people, not in-shape people. In fact, if you’re caught grunting loudly, or heaven forbid, dropping a weight, you are asked to leave. It seems humble enough, but it has a hidden agenda. They do not want you to get in shape. They want you to come in, walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes, get out, and then eventually, not come back. Because of their incredibly cheap monthly membership, people continue to pay without ever showing up, and therein lies the source of their profits. We’re talking about a gym that even offers free pizza once a week. Fitness is not their goal.

Places like that are not without their perks, I suppose. It’d be thick-headed of me to ignore that some people just enjoy aimlessly and arbitrarily walking on treadmills and operating weight machines with little to no effort. If that’s your prerogative, it’s your right as a free American, and I’d defend to the death your right to do it. But I’d be remiss if I did not firmly stand my ground in saying that you will not achieve any type of results that I would regard as being physically fit.

Physical fitness requires you to train like an athlete. Just because you’re not a professional athlete does not give you a free pass to train lazily. Every session requires methodical, deliberated planning. This planning then must be executed with the utmost focus and effort, and for the majority of the time, with pain. Taking your body to the redline (maximal effort that you most likely rarely, if ever, have gotten to) is what will give you results—be it in weight loss, strength gain, stamina, endurance, etc. You simply must work as hard as you can, as strictly as you can, with intense focus, every time you put in a session. In addition to this, you must then take the necessary steps to allow your body to fully recover in such a fashion that requires more than just “taking the day off.” Proper sleep, proper diet, and proper mobility treatment are a few of the things to which I’m referring. Recovery is every bit as important as the grind itself, and it’s another unknown world of fitness that the mainstream refuses to fully acknowledge.

I sometimes come off as abrasive and harsh when trying to give real-world, hardcore truths about training and fitness. The fact of the matter is that I’m frustrated with the misconception and the hidden agendas. I hate that the mainstream is telling me to buy diet pills and an Ab-Lounge, instead of telling me how to actually eat for wellness and that if I want to be strong and have chiseled abs, I need to squat heavy weight, deadlift even heavier, and sprint. A lot. For years. And the research I had to put in (which was more than worth every second) to learn the specifics of these things required far, far more effort than it rightfully should. And because it took that much time and effort, I know the average person won’t do it, and therefor won’t know about it; hence: their purchase of the Ab Lounge, and the continuation of a cycle of idiocracy.

I’ll use the little platform I have as a personal trainer, Crossfit coach, health and wellness coach, and fitness blogger to spread as much information as I can. I owe it to myself to do at least that, and it has in fact helped many people. I’ll focus on immediately changing the lives of those around me, and hopefully, others like me are out there doing the same.

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