Happy Friday! How was your last day of the week?
Today I wrote out a nice Chest and Back routine for Rita to do in the gym during my leg day and guess who is a proud mama of her housemate for doing bench for the first time?!?! So happy and she liked doing it.
After we had our post-workout picnic lunch at the smoothie bar in the gym (yes we eat right after together, ain’t we cute?), we walked (I complained, twas leg day after all, ha!) to campus as I had a doctors appointment to see the results of my first vitals check-up and all is good and dandy. ECG came back clean and strong, blood pressure is all normal (low, but that is normal for me and small people in general), a strong ticker (she said it was in the range of a fit person, so yay me) and no mineral or vitamin deficiencies.
Clean bill of health from a blood work standpoint. Yes, I still have other things that are markers of health that are missing (i.e. my lady friend) and are still on the concern list but to see these are reassuring and showing that my body is starting to get on a good functioning path.
Anywho, enough about me, now onto today’s topic for Fitness Friday. It’s more of a general topic but with so many competitors doing their summer rounds of shows and everyone on the “I’m cutting for the summer” plans, it’s something I wanted to discuss.
The truth is my friends that in most cases…
Fitness DOES NOT EQUAL Health.
Everyone looks up to competitors
Everyone sees abs and thinks that is health.
Lean, show ready physiques are at the peak of athleticism and so obviously that is what we all need to be striving for…
Let me paint a difference picture for you:
Female competitors, yes they may have abs, but they are missing their period…
They don’t tell you that their guts go to **it because of the stress of dieting, lack of variety and just low consumption…
They don’t eat out when they are very close to competition and sometimes they avoid many social situations because they are often surrounding food and…well they can’t eat that.
Obsessions with numbers is the norm…
Always thinking about food is the norm, because..well most of them are hungry.
Metabolisms go to **it too because of too much cardio and too little nutrition.
Many of them are taking enhancements and fat burners…
I can go on and on with this picture but do you see a trend here?
What about any of those statements screams healthy?
Ladies, I know it seems great to not have a period, but do you know what loosing your period actually means? It means your body is stressed out and feels that it needs to shut down ‘unnecessary bodily functions’ as a means to save energy. With this shut down, aside from possible future fertility issues, comes other hormonal risks including potential bone loss and fractures because estrogen is required for maintains of bone.
Gut health is another common complaint. The whole you don’t loose it ya loose it motto is actually true in some instances. As an example, if you cut carbohydrate sources from your diet for an extended period of time, your body may start to produce less enzymes for them (you’re not eating them so whats the point?) and therefore when you try to bring them back, you may not feel all that great. Then comes the “I have celiac disease.” The other gut issues come from too high protein and insufficient water to compensate…
Disclaimer: there is no research to suggest that high protein diets, even upwards of 2+ grams per lb body weight is harmful. The issue is dehydration.
…and too much fiber that causes uncomfortable feelings. Can I suggest that maybe this is why supplement use goes up because they have to cover their bases because they are cutting foods out. Multi-vitamins? Need those because eating fruits is a no-no and any vegetable that is not green is also out because it’s too high in sugar. Fibre supplements because your carbs are so low that the tiny sweet potato and 1/2 serving of oats just doesn’t get things moving.
As for the metabolism issues, one of the only times where it’s actually a possibility that you can gain 5+ lbs in a few days is post competition or long term dieting (***Depending on the extent of the diet/regime). Really extreme preps/diets that include excessive cardio and very low calories can cause the slowing of your metabolism as it tries to reduce the energy usage as much as possible so you don’t starve! So, it comes to a crawl and so as you near the stage or those last few pounds to loose, more cardio and less food is added to mix to nix those last few pounds/inches and just makes the burn lower and lower. Then, after that goal is reached and you go crazy on that pizza, burgers, donuts, basically what ever you can get your hands on due restriction for the past 3 or more months, your poor slow metabolism just cannot handle the huge surplus of calories and into post-competiton blues or diet regain you go due to gaining a seemingly impossible amount of weight in such a short time.
Finally, eating disorders. Binge eating, orthorexia, anorexia and just overall bad relationships with food are notorious in the prep and fitness world in general. In this industry you are eating for aesthetics. Macros overtake health in many cases. Yes, sure a plate of broccoli, fish and sweet potatoes is fine and healthy looking, but having that multiple times a day is not the best. We are made to have variety. Also, because macros become life, food is not longer food. It’s seen in carbs/proteins and fats. Once those are habitual, they are hard to break.
Okay, I may sound very negative here and my point is not to bash on competitions. They are not healthy, yes, but they are meant to be shorter term and many coaches are choosing to look into science and using more sensible methods that can limit your consequences post show.
Longer prep time + cardio only once needed + planned reverse diet post = more success
Instead, the issue is that the lifestyles of competitors have leaked into what defines the fitness life. The fitness community has taken some of these extremes and made them life and are now preaching that this is how you reach your goals and are healthy to maintain.
You then get the every day person doing fasted cardio, trying to get to 2% body fat for the summer to look ‘shredded’ like their favourite YouTube idol and counting macros before they even know what a macro is.
It is this misconception that is dangerous quite frankly. Competitions are short term. They are not healthy and should not be kept for extended periods.
This is not the fitness lifestyle.
The fitness lifestyle is a good thing if it is defined as:
~Moving your body in a way that you maintain a healthy weight (a weight that leaves you free from health issues)
~Being functional (I can climb all those stairs without being winded)
~Being independent (I can lift that myself thanks)
~Allows for you to eat the things you love and go out on occasion without fear or guilt
~ Is fun and realistic to do
~Leaves you with energy
~Leaves you comfortable in your own skin (and no that is not the definition that society sets as beautiful, its what makes you feel best!)
That is fitness lifestyle.
…oh and it doesn’t consume you.
So, I hope that wasn’t super scattered as I have a lot of thoughts running in my head about this topic. Instagram and other social media platforms are major creators of these misconceptions as I see sad situations of people trying to follow the ‘modern fitness lifestyle’ and burning out. I want to clear away some of the fog that social media puts up between the ‘perfect person’ and the negative consequences of their ‘healthy lifestyle.’
Please, comment below on your thoughts as I’m very interested to hear them!
Well that is all for tonight folks. My ranting needs to come to an end.
Hope you have a great weekend!