Fitness magazines and web sites routinely offer fitness advice from professional athletes including yoga instructors, champion bodybuilders and Olympic medalists. We’ve all seen this phenomenon in our local gyms and fitness centers – people who seem to defy reason and nature. Some people are more flexible, stronger or faster than everyone else. The question is: should we be seeking their advice? We have to accept that the top 1 percent is simply more physically gifted. No amount of effort is enough to make us into Venus Williams, Mike Trout or the strongest guy in the gym. There’s no need to despair though, we can all greatly improve our fitness level, transforming ourselves in the process. The process has to be our own, and through that journey true life long knowledge is learned.
Less is More
The fitness culture is about getting off the couch and getting out there, but we have to guard against getting too much of a good thing. The experts and gym rats dispensing tips in the magazines, gyms and DVDs often advocate five or even six workouts per week (source). The guy who squats 500lbs seems to always be at the gym and there’s that really fit woman who runs by your house every day. But for most of us rest and recuperation days are just as important as exercise. If you’re working out every day you’re probably not giving your body and mind time to recuperate. Your goal is to be healthy, not push yourself to the brink.
Quality Over Quantity
The gifted thrive on more sets, more miles and more laps, but us mortals need to manage our workouts more carefully. Have you ever looked at the training regimes of professional athletes? Marathoners often run 10 hours a week as a normal part of their training (source). Bodybuilders can spend hours in the gym performing dozens of sets. That type of training might work for a few but most of us would burn out quickly using their workouts. We can greatly improve our fitness level, but adopt a conservative view for long-term success and injury prevention.
Expectations are Everything
We all want to see results and with the right exercise, nutrition and rest we will see results. Everyone’s’ body responds differently so our expectations have to be realistic. Jealous of your Pilates instructor’s abs? Clean up your diet and add more cardio work, but keep this in mind: she might train constantly and eat only grilled chicken, but she might have a fast metabolism and is naturally lean. Either way, you have to find what works for you and not rely on what others do and say.
Fitness Tips: Keep in mind that all of this changes if you are reaching out to a professional, or a person who’s “been there done that” and can tell you about their true journey to weight loss, muscle gain, and sustainable health. Always check your facts.