Can any one person be knowledgeable about all aspects of health and fitness even if that is their full time job? I wanted to sit down and get real about the things I truthfully judge without enough information, well most of these fall into that category anyway. I’m going to tell you honestly why I have an unfair negative opinion about this stuff and what preconceived notions I am bringing to the table. That being said I know my opinion is uninformed and I’m genuinely interested in hearing about this stuff and learning more, no matter how negative my opinions seem, so feel free to school me.
Bikini Competitions: This one actually inspired this post. Up until recently I was neutral on this subject but now I’m not. Recently Instagram suggested I follow an old workmate of mine and the stalker in me got me clicking. This person who was over 200 lbs changed into a shockingly thin, muscled, bone showing bikini competitor within about 8 months. Now this person had been a yo-yo dieter whose genetics lead to a larger body type. It seemed too good to be true and like the time frame was impossible. How could that drastic a change happen so fast and how could it possibly be healthy? So I started biased googgling with searches like, “are bikini competitions healthy?,” so I was bound to get a biased sample. But I did read about how closely people manage their diets and the cut/prep process seems like it’s specifically designed to give you and eating disorder.
Eating 1200 calories a day and doing an hour of training and cardio means you are burning about 1700 more calories than your eating for 12 weeks straight. That is a recipe for dropping 41 pounds. The day before competitions participants may not even consume water. The day after they blow up like balloons full of water and binge food. This to me sounds dangerous mentally and physically. I know a lot of people are doing this and it’s a bit of a trend right now. Is it as crazy as I think it is? Particularly the prep phase?
Cross Fit: What exactly is cross fit? Is it fun? Is it a form of torture? Why do you think it makes you tough? I have three cousins who are into it and they’re really fit? I picture it as part aerobics, part body pump, part HIIT and apparently now part yoga? So to say I’m unclear on exactly what it is going on there is an understatement. My negative opinion about cross-fit largely comes from they way they run road races around here. Wait, is running part of it? They tend to group together in packs go out really fast and then clog the street so you can’t pass them. Which has led me to mumbling under my breath as I pass them from time to time. If running is a part of it, can we teach them race etiquette?
Lifting vs. Cardio: So my negative opinion of this is fair (maybe) but not well informed at the same time. Part of the reason I run, and stay fit, is because my dad died from being incredibly unfit and heart disease when I was 14 and he was 64. Within that year a friend of our family died from a heart attack in his 40’s while playing old timer’s hockey which was probably his only form of exercise. Around the same time a schoolmate’s dad died of a sudden massive heart attack in his 40’s and he was a gym teacher and lifter. His daughter is a runner too. To say all of this made an unfair impact on me is totally the case. As a result I’ve really bought into that idea that running and cardio is how you really take care of yourself and your heart. I still wonder if lifting isn’t a strain on your heart more than anything else. But.. it’s become a trend and I think I might have and unfair opinion. Some of the transformations I see achieved through lifting must be a net benefit to the person’s health. Plus the odd marathoner has been know to drop dead too.
Supplements and Powders: Why of why do I need some sort of powder to drink to do anything? Even if it helps isn’t it minor compared to actually doing the work? I’ve studied biochemistry extensively and I know that the body can take extra fat, sugar, carbs or protein and convert it into what ever of those elements it needs more of. The exception might be the essential amino acids you can’t make, to build proteins. Plus some of the crazes have been absolutely stupid. The creatine craze from a few years ago would literally result in a few seconds more available energy in muscles as ADP is recycled into ATP depending on how much you actually absorb. Plus it can lead to cramping, asthmatic symptoms and diarrhea, no I will not give you money for that. Perhaps though, I paint them all with the same brush. But I’ll probably always believe something along the lines of if you want to run further faster, run more.
Matcha: I use matcha as a hopefully up to date example of the superfood craze. It could be blueberries, goji, kale, quinoa or roobis. How likely does it really seem that some food you’ve never ever heard of is the solution to all your health, weight and fitness woes? It’s something you’ve never heard of and all of a sudden it’s everywhere from teas at the drugstore to a MacDonald’s salad. Are these foods good for you sure, do they have a lot of antioxidants probably. You already know what you need to do. Less treats, more veg, less meat and if you fry it a potato that makes it a treat. Follow that advice and you’ll have way better outcomes than overdosing on matcha alone. There is not magic dietary bullet!
Eating Clean: Truth time… this makes me uncomfortable because I really, really don’t wanna. The idea is you can’t out train a bad diet and that is probably totally true, actually I know it is. In loosing weight the work is done in the kitchen and not the gym. Part of my problem is I don’t have to ‘eat clean’ so I don’t. I’m genetically tiny even when I ate terrible, drank more than I should and was essentially sedentary for 4 years my wight never passed 157, within the 20-25 BMI range. Most others would have weighed over 220. I eat treats EVERY SINGLE DAY. Right now I’m eating dessert pizza, for breakfast! If I’m busy, I don’t get hungry and my weight plummets quickly to very unhealthy level. When I’m loosing or lower than I should be I will realize that I haven’t eaten enough and cram in half a pizza, a big bag of chips or a bag of candy at the end of the day. I get it, I’m lucky and you hate me, fair. I am a true ectomorph because I take after my mom’s side and not my dad’s side. They all struggle tremendously with their weight and have died early in many cases because of it. My sister and I take after my mom’s and she recently wore her skinny jean’s home from the maternity hospital after giving birth, FYI they’re a size 0. Could I be faster, more muscled (it’s nearly impossible for me to put any on) or more efficient, sure but also really like skittles and pizza.
Exercise Coaches: Not personal trainers, I get that, learning, injury comeback, form adjustments and motivation. But things like running coaches, triathlon coaches and fitness coaches for body building. I get training plans or paying someone to make a custom one, hell I have triathlon training plans I’ve made. Unless you have the potential to win a race with a cash prize or are at least semi-pro why? No matter how small the race I will never win it and I will never Boston qualify, nor do I really want to. Sometimes you never even meet them you just send them pictures and updates. Why? Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to do it yourself and reach out when you need it?
What is out there in the health and fitness world that you need to learn more about. Is there anything you have a negative opinion of?