Go in with your eyes wide open

I’m not one to judge what other people want to do in a quest to look good, get fit and “tone up”.

Just because I like to lift heavy stuff, walk around on my hands and swing from a bar like a fish gasping for “air” doesn’t mean that everyone else needs too. I’m not one of those zealots who thinks what I do is the be all and end all and everyone else in the world is wasting their time.

If you want to Zumba – go for it, if you want to run around a circle on a track for an hour (boredom with a capital B for me) well done you and I won’t even blink an eye if you want to go and do a pump class, just don’t ask me to join you – high reps are not my thing. 😉

It’s the same with what you decide to put in (or not put in as the case may be) your body as fuel. That is not to say I don’t have an opinion, I just keep it to myself unless a) you are my child or b) someone specifically asks for it because after all it’s your body, you are a (hopefully informed) adult and can make decisions for yourself.

That being said I want to share a conversation I had this morning ..

Hot chick = I’m doing a 10 week challenge. I’m going all out to win it.
Me = Wicked!
Hot chick = But the food is super restrictive, egg whites, chicken, broccoli and beans!
Me = As is to be expected, that’s how they get amazing results in 10 weeks.
Hot chick = What do you think will happen after the 10 weeks?
Me = Can you continue to eat chicken, broccoli and beans forever?
Hot chick = No
Me = Then you’ll put weight back on, but if you are doing it to win does that matter?
Hot chick = It would be interesting to see the results 5 weeks after people finish their initial 10 weeks.
Me = Yes, yes it would, I’d say most if not all put on weight.

A case in point is the bodybuilding scene. A huge percentage of girls get into bodybuilding to help them lose weight and approximately 50% of those girls go on to lose the weight and make it to the stage (it’s harder than people seem to think) however I can probably count the girls who stay close to stage weight year round on one hand and the majority of those are long term competitors. 99% of first timers gain most (if not all) of their weight back.

Why?

Firstly a women’s body is not designed to have a very low level of fat and your body will fight to return to it’s “set point” but more importantly there is no denying the fact that a competition diet is restrictive and after 3 months of chicken, egg whites and broccoli it’s a rare soul that is not craving a burger, some chocolate or both (in large quantities usually).

Post competition unless you can make hours of training and the restricted calorie intake your new lifestyle it’s just a fact of life that you will gain weight and if you don’t go into it knowing that will happen you can come out the other end pretty down on yourself for “not being disciplined enough” and with major body image issues.

So am I anti “hard core, restricted calorie” challenges?

Yes and No.

I don’t see any difference between a 10 or 12 week challenge and preparing for a bodybuilding show except you don’t have to get on stage in a miniscule bikini at the end of it (although that’s the fun part so I know which one I’d prefer to do.) Therefore if you go into it understanding that you probably won’t stay as lean as when you finished then I have no problem.

I do however have a problem when these programs are targeted at people relatively new to the exercise scene. They see all the before and after photos and want a “quick fix”, they fall for the marketing hype. We live in a world where everyone wants everything yesterday, if not sooner.

Firstly for the average New Zealander the commitment level required is too high. Most people suddenly don’t go from being sedentary couch potatoes eating fast food to full time athletes eating chicken and egg whites just because they forked over hundreds of dollars. Programs like this set people up for failure and when the marketing material has statements like “the nutrition side of the transformation comes down to how bad you want it” or “nutrition is an exercise in determination” or even “we can’t control what you put in your mouth only you can” when they fail, they failed because “they didn’t want it bad enough”.

In my humble opinion there are far more effective pathways for the average person to transform their body, mind and soul. I know at the beginning I said how I train is not the be all and end all, but one thing I do know is that if you head along to your local crossfit affiliate, they will teach you how to fish.

The added bonus is that when you train like an athlete, you end up looking like one!

Till next time

 

 

 

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