There are many different lifestyle options in our world. Maybe you prefer to live in a high-rise apartment in the middle of a major metropolitan city. Or maybe you prefer the quiet away feeling in the wide open country. You may choose to be a doctor of businessperson working in an office with suit and tie. Or on the other hand you might like the blue collar hands on approach. There is no right or wrong. There is only individuality and what suits each particular individual.
However some lifestyle choices can be questionable or even controversial to some. One of those choices in particular is The Fitness lifestyle.
Now you may or may not realize that fitness is an industry above and beyond a pursuit to be healthy and live well. Within that industry exist individuals, who not only make fitness a lifestyle, they make it a profession. The trouble is those who undertake a fitness lifestyle are often misunderstood and judged by the everyday person. First let’s take a look at who exactly would be living a fitness lifestyle.
- Professional bodybuilders and figure competitors
- Fitness models (ads for supplements and sporting gear)
- Professional and amateur athletes (baseball, football, basketball)
- Those looking to maintain a certain body shape and stature for personal pride and aesthetics
The International Federation of Bodybuilder & Fitness or IFBB is the largest professional fitness organization in the world, possibly the largest sports organization in the world at that. The IFBB and its amateur affiliate, the National Physique Committee (NPC) has given way to billion dollar industries and millionaire athletes. If you doubt the power of the IFBB then you need not look beyond one simple name, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Alright, Schwarzenegger is not a simple name, but I’ll bet you know it and can pronounce it perfectly. The fitness lifestyle and the IFBB was responsible for Arnold coming to America and not only being the most successful bodybuilder ever, but also one of the world’s most impressive physiques and masters of weight training, an actor whose worldwide box office earnings top 3 billion dollars, and one of the most iconic figures in existence. And don’t just assume Arnold is a one-time exception. Four time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler evolved his gym success into a business empire worth 30 million dollars.
Of course not everyone is a Hollywood mega superstar bodybuilder like Arnold. When you factor in his tough guy movie roles the crazy workouts and big muscles make sense. So how does it make sense for everyone else and how are they judged?
Words like fanatic, overboard, and obsessive are popular descriptive words for those who live a fitness lifestyle. They may be true to a degree, but how different are they from someone climbing the corporate ladder or putting fourteen hours a day into building a business? Each involves sacrifice, effort, and dedication.
The fitness lifestyle is comprised of training, eating, and an immense amount of scheduling. Their training and nutrition is to them the building blocks of their industry. It is how they achieve their goals. Ironically the average doctor, who one associates with health, working his or her way up the ranks can lead a rather unhealthy existence from things like sleep deprivation and malnutrition. Not to mention the stress in paying off school loans well into their forties.
The fitness lifestyle can afford persons like Arnold and Jay Cutler their business empires. It can also be a positive motivator to avoid obesity and overcome genetic and lifestyle ailments. I won’t pretend vanity does not play a part in it. After all people work out and eat right to achieve a certain level of wellbeing and aesthetic appearance that makes them feel they look good. Wanting a certain body appearance is no different than buying expensive shoes, paying for a hairstyle, or carrying an expensive designer bag. The difference is the fitness appearance comes with far more dedication and effort than a fancy name brand purse. And that purse doesn’t do anything for your physical health.
What is the difference between the person who just eats right and works out because they should, And that of someone who is about the fitness lifestyle?
|AVERAGE HEALTHLY PERSON||FITNESS LIFESTYLE|
|Avoids high sugar and processed foods because it’s the right thing to do.||Plans weekly meals down to the last bite and ounce of water.|
|Hits the gym three to five times a week but possibly skips workouts if too tired or busy.||Has a dedicated workout schedule that can even take place on vacations and before or after long workdays.|
|Will make an exception to eat out with friends or enjoy a snack at a sporting/entertainment venue||Adheres to their predetermined meals and forgoes the snacks others may enjoy right in front of them.|
|Enjoys life||Enjoys life|
After reading those I want two things to be clear. The first is that the fitness lifestyle requires dedication and commitment. Not everyone can eat tilapia and steamed broccoli while their other family members has burgers and chips. These people are not robots and they have the same desires and cravings as everyone.
Look at that last point though, they both enjoy life. Joy to one might be that beer or glass of wine after work. Joy to another could truly be a grueling hour in the gym lifting weights.
As a fitness writer I love to write long pieces that give all kinds of great facts and tips on how to achieve and maximize your goals and potential. This article though is a lighter approach. It is less the science of success than it is the building of understanding.
Those who lead the fitness lifestyle may do it as a career. Additionally they may do it just because it makes them feel good physically and emotionally. Either way it is unfair to use terms like obsessive as describers. Once upon a time I was severely overweight and ate terribly. When I made the change and ate better and started training, people started to criticize me. Strangely nobody criticized the bad eating habits. I was accused of having eating disorders and being anti-social for avoiding workplace snacks and such. However when I lost sixty pounds on my own the comments turned into “how” instead of “why”. To live better and to want to achieve better levels of fitness is a lot of work and dedication. Nobody should ever judge those efforts or question them. Any effort that does not cause harm to self or others can never be considered obsessive or fanatical.
The fitness lifestyle is not questionable because it’s wrong. It is just simply misunderstood. Next time you see that ultra-dedicated person in the gym, think about their effort and dedication. Say “wow they know what they want” instead of “are they crazy?” We should all strive to live this lifestyle to a certain degree. It could be just to feel better tomorrow, or it could be to build an empire. Either way, it is for us all.