When I see a lot of people doing something, my first instinct is to do it, too.
I mean, it must work or be the right thing to do if everyone is doing it! But I've learned over the years that fads come and go. The next big thing comes and goes. I'm no longer tempted to jump on the nearest bandwagon and do what the masses are doing.
Fitness to me has two parts: Knowing what to do, and doing it.
Knowing what to do involves science, because fitness is primarily biology and physiology. Whether you are looking at strength training, cardiovascular fitness, nutrition or flexibility, the basis of fitness must be science.
Doing it involves our mind, heart and soul. Where does our motivation come from? How do we maintain it? How do we know who we are, and that we are important enough to take care of and make a priority in our lives? How do we find sustainable lifelong fitness?
It should all be pretty straight forward, and it should never really change. Because the biology books may get updated, but mitochondria still drive our cellular metabolism, a muscle cell still works the same, and ATP is still churned out by the same systems it always has.
Before low carb, no carb, high fat, this that, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, paleo, keto, vego, spaghetti o.
Before all of that, there was a muscle cell. Energy. Glycogen. ATP. Heart rate. Aerobic systems. Anaerobic systems. Metabolism. Mitochondria. And all that sweet science we learned back in the day.
Then comes the spin.
We like to take a little bitty bit of the science and spin it into the Next Big Thing. And then sell it as a diet or a workout. And get everyone around us to try the next big thing.
For someone who is trying to be a truth-teller in fitness, this is challenging. I'm going against a culture of fitness that says go on THIS diet, do THIS workout, and you'll have it. But most of those diets and workouts are counter to real lifelong fitness.
I call them counter fit.
Here's what DOES WORK.
Basic strength training. The kind that's been around for years. Cable machine, dumbbells. Twice a week or more if you can, with people that inspire and push you to make every rep and set count. There's a reason that squats, lunges, push ups, rows, flys, plank, presses and curls have been around so long. They are the basics and they work.
Heart rate guided aerobic exercise. In the seventies, when fitness started coming to the masses, it wasn't anaerobic training that had everyone buying jogging shoes. It was aerobics! Dr. Kenneth Cooper coined the term aerobics as the system of exercise he devised to help prevent heart disease, lose weight and improve overall fitness. Aerobic is a science term that's all about zones 1-2. Low intensity cardio. Yet we have an entire chain dedicated to zone 4. Counter fit.
Basic nutrition. I know weight watchers works, you've told me. You've done it seven times and it works every time, right? There's a better way! Eat mostly plant based whole foods most of the time. Eat a lot of healthy, whole food. Veggies rock! Save a little room for some junk, and make sure you keep moving so you burn off that Ding Dong.
Dealing with your issues. All the science in the world won't do any good unless you find a way to show up for yourself. All the fads won't help you either, long term. What they will do is allow you to spend another week, month or year thinking that the answer is Out There, when in fact it is and always has been in here (holds hand over heart).
I had to stop reading too much crapola (that's a science term haha), stop trying the next big thing, and figure out where and when I could get the basics done.
For me, that means lifting twice a week, walking almost every day (that's for my mental health as much as for my physical fitness), heart rate guided intervals twice a week (Tread or Highbanks), and continually dealing with my desire to escape and eat away my feelings, and instead deal with the feeling, learn to be with it, and eat some veggies instead.
I want to walk in the truth in all areas of my life, fitness included.
It's not easy with all the counter fitness out there. But the truth-tellers are here and we're not giving in to the pressure to be the next big thing. We're going to stand strong and keep the light on so you know where to find us when you are ready to stop chasing the counter fit healthy life. I want to be there when you realize it was within YOU, all along.