Some people seem to think that fitness and health are one size fits all. It’s so easy to turn to your favorite “fitspo”, trainer, or coach and ask them what the exact steps are to achieve XYZ. People want to know what they need to eat, how often they need to eat, how many calories/macros they should be eating, how many times a week they should lift, how heavy to lift, if you have to weight train, how much cardio you should be doing, what kind of cardio to do, if Crossfit is the way to go, what supplements to take, if they need to eat “clean” or vegan or paleo or cut out gluten, if running is bad, if they should be doing fasted cardio/training, and everything else under the sun. Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone has the same goals so ultimately all of it won’t matter anyways. Some people I see enjoy being extremely lean & shredded all year round. They don’t mind the amount of dedication and sacrifice that type of physique is to maintain. Others have found their niche in powerlifting. They eat to perform, love being able to eat all the food, and most could care less about having a six pack year round. There are also many people I see who absolutely love to run. They look forward to it, it’s their “personal” time, and they fuel their bodies which come in all shapes and sizes to run those long distances.
Literally, I’m a nobody in the fitness world but continue to get daily emails from people asking all sorts of questions about what THEY need to do. Now, I understand that some people are just starting out on their own journeys and need a bit of guidance (which I am not qualified to give you), but they need to be aware there is no “correct” method of fitness or leading a healthy lifestyle. Also, what these individuals fail to realize, is that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Person A can copy the exact same training program (weight, reps, sets, type of cardio, length of cardio, etc.), eat the same exact foods/meals/calories/macros, and take the same exact supplements as Person B and have ENTIRELY different results. Furthermore, what worked for someone in the past, may not work again in the present and they will need to change things up anyways. Our bodies, metabolism, structure, previous nutrition/dieting history, etc. are SO different from one another. So again, all of those answers they need won’t be the same anyways.
There really is no tried and true blueprint for fitness or being healthy for that matter so why not just do more of what you love?
Tracking macros is too time consuming and difficult? Alright, well then at least have an idea of where your calories should be for YOUR goals and try your hardest to hit your targets. You love eating “clean”? Awesome, you wash that food until it sparkles. You tried yoga and hate it? Yeah, me too. You love running? Sign up for that marathon, I will cheer for you along the way. You wanted to like a Paleo diet, but it’s not as easy as you were expecting and you are miserable? Good for you for being aware of how you feel, now find a way of eating you can live with. You feel intimidated at the gym? No worries, a lot of people do. How about trying some workout videos right in the privacy of your own home. You don’t enjoy weight training? OK, then. Have you thought about some quick circuit training using your own body weight or perhaps pilates?
My point here is that YOU need to find out what makes YOU happy. You need to find a lifestyle that makes YOU feel good about yourself, your life, your body, and what’s going on in your heart/mind. Pay less attention to what your favorite fitness model does and focus only on the things that you can see yourself doing for the long term simply because they make YOU happy. Focus less on how you want to LOOK and more on how you want to FEEL. I promise, once you truly take a step back from the numbers on the scale, how much you are lifting, eating a certain way, training a certain way, and copying Ms. So & So’s program because she looks amazing and you want to look just like her, fitness and the truly “healthy” will fall into place. Remember, when you love what you are doing, it takes SO much less effort. You begin to look forward to your activities, you are always excited to eat your meals, you walk a little taller, the days seem brighter, and you constantly want make new goals for yourself. Change and progress will happen when that speak is lit within YOU.
The bottom line for me (as always) is living a lifestyle that is maintainable for the long haul, being proud of what you do day in and day out, and LOVING yourself for it. The biggest mistake you can make along your journey is comparing YOURSELF to ANYONE else.
More of what you LOVE = the “correct” lifestyle.
AmberApril 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm
LOVE this! Great article. I think it takes time to find what works for you but it’s a lot quicker if you aren’t comparing yourself to everyone else and really just listening to yourself and what makes you happy!
JessApril 26, 2015 at 8:26 pm
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I so needed this right now. Nutritionally I’m totally overwhelmed by all the “you musts” especially that contradict each other. Love power lifting and love cooking, I just need to find the nutritional plan that works for me and my intestinal health and ignore the rest. Thanks for the honesty.
Janet ColeApril 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm
Thank you for being willing to share your insights and your journey. While it is important to only strive to compare myself to me, it is very meaningful to see how others were able to find their way and achieve their goals. You are very inspiring to me…