What if I told you that neither of these people was healthy?
What if I told you that in order to get their bodies to look this way they had to achieve an unhealthy mental attitude towards food, and push their bodies to change beyond a functional need for muscle size and leanness?
Fitness is a visual representation of health. Being trim and tone is not the same as what you see in these pictures. We often idolize these visual depictions of fitness. It’s not realistic. Nor is it a true indicator of health.
The woman pictured here had to shove food down her mouth that was boring. The stress of maintaining the rigid structure of prepping pushed her to the max. She cried because of the stress and constant obsession she had to maintain over every single thing she ate. The hours of working out and single purpose of what she was working out for, actually set her back in her overall fitness. Her hormones were messed up, she was cranky, tired, and in general, in her own words “it was a horrible experience.”
She took this experience and used it to fuel her passion for nutrition and general health and wellbeing. She got her Masters in Integrative Health and Nutrition and became a Board Certified and Licensed Nutritionist in MD. She now helps people learn what good nutrition is and how to fit it into a healthy lifestyle that is low stress and sustainable for a high quality of life. The exact opposite of what she had to do to get her body to look like this.
The man is now a functional fitness and boxing coach. He had been a bodybuilder for several years. He competed as a professional bodybuilder and after a few years realized how detrimental the sport was to his mental health and his body. The pressure to look a certain way is so high that it consumed his life and he was out of balance in his priorities and health.
Fitness is a combination of many components The sport of bodybuilding focuses on only one or two out of 10. This causes all sorts of imbalances in how the body works and creates a degeneration of overall health in the bodybuilder.
He realized how badly he was beating himself up and how unfit he really was. In his words, “It’s all about how you look, no one cares if you’re healthy.” He decided to change his focus and learn how to improve his overall health and increase his fitness on all the aspects of health. As a coach, he is using this experience to drive himself to help others do the same.
We tend to look at athletes as the healthiest people. In many cases, they aren’t. They just look like their in shape so we equate that to mean they are healthy.
Athletes focus on a small portion of the fitness spectrum because each sport has a very specific demand on the body. It is not uncommon to have athletes specifically train their bodies to do things that intentionally put them in a comprised position, higher risk of injury, and non-functional patterns.
Athletes train to perform a handful of specific actions. Yes, their bodies become conditioned to the effort they put into that work. Yes, they look fit and healthy. However, our bodies are designed to perform a myriad of functions under a myriad of different circumstances, environments, and stresses.
Just because someone has the look, doesn’t mean they have health. Health is a result of working to improve your body’s ability to do work anywhere, in any circumstance. Improve these 10 things and you will see your quality of life improve dramatically.
- Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
- Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
- Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
- Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
- Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
- Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
- Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
- Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another
- Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.
- Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
If you stop looking at the super “in shape” person and start looking at the little things you can do for yourself each day, you will see that even the smallest changes can make a difference very quickly. If you follow the right plan you can make big strides in as little as 90 days.
Anyone that’s gone through The APEX Training System will tell you that the improvement in their everyday life has been dramatic. They feel better, sleep better, have more energy, fewer aches and pains, and in general are happier people.
It’s your journey, don’t look at other people and wish to be like them. They may be worse off than you are. Focus on your health and take it one step at a time.
You hit it on the head in this article. As a trainer that’s what I also tell my clients. It has to be about health, and health in the long run.