Fitness is a Marathon Not a Sprint
I can’t tell you the amount of times people come to me frantic about some big event they have coming up that they need to “look their best for”. They say things like “oh my wedding is three weeks away” or “I need to look the best I’ve ever looked for this college reunion I have in three months”. These same people come to me with other crazy statements like “I already stopped eating” or “I’ve lost six pounds since yesterday”. Can you lose thirty pounds in three weeks? Yes absolutely. Can you squeeze into those jeans from high school by next week? Probably. But, you’re probably going to have to starve yourself to death. And as your starving your muscles shrivel up like raisins while you end up losing the same amount of lean mass as you do fat. All the while thinking you’re making progress losing all this weight. But, what happens? After you starve yourself you stare into the mirror wondering why does my body still not look the way I want it to? Or, why are my arms still flappy? Maybe even, where did my butt go? Unfortunately in fitness and in life there are no shortcuts to doing something right. So, I hate to break it to you, but you’re in it for the long haul.
Let me start by asking you this: why are you trying to get into shape? Is it for vanity or is it for your health? Are you trying to impress a bunch of people who don’t really matter or are you trying to take care of the one and only body that you have? And another thing, once you get fit, do you plan to stay that way? Or are you going to let all that hard work you just put in go to waste? If you read all those questions and still decided that you really want to be fit and be healthy then allow me to break some hard truths down for you. Whether you are looking to build muscle or lose fat there are certain things you can’t change. For example, the average person can not lose more than 1-3lbs a week of fat, unless you are extremely overweight or obese. And for those of you looking to build those huge arms here’s another one for you. The average person can put on about twelve pounds of muscle a YEAR. Still think you’re going to build that perfect beach body by next week? Think again.
I’m sure at this point a lot of you reading this are either discouraged or shocked. However, let me give you some peace of mind. You have TIME to make yourself fit, but you have to reframe your perception. If you try and rush the process you may see quick results, but you wont see long lasting results. Instead of focusing on trying to drop ten pounds this month for your wedding just to gain it back on your honeymoon. Try focusing on losing a pound a week and KEEP IT OFF. Because in the grand scheme of things being four pounds lighter for even a year is better than being ten pounds lighter for a week. Let’s look at it from an even bigger point of view. What happens when you starve your body to try and lose weight is your metabolism comes to a halt. Your metabolism is basically your body’s MPG (miles per gallon) or in other words how much energy you use every day to perform tasks. Now, your body is smart and it will adapt to what you put it through to a certain degree. As you begin to starve yourself your body will tap into your fat stores and your muscle mass for energy because it will try to get energy wherever it can since it is starving. This is what causes that initial big drop in weight at the beginning of an improper diet. However, once your body sees that it isn’t getting any more fuel any time soon (food) it will begin to hold on to everything. This causes a two fold disaster. On the one hand you have a loss of muscle mass which will equate to less total calories being burned every day. On the other hand you have your body in a state of starvation pushing any excess calories into your fat stores. So you may drop a few pounds, but if you take closer look at your body fat percentage you will likely see it hasn’t changed or it has even gone up.
What I’m trying to say here is, if you’re looking to get fit you have to take a progressive lasting approach. Instead of going at it all or nothing and jumping into a program that will burn your out. Try progressively adding activity into your life. You have to look at what you’re doing and ask “can I sustain this”, or “is this something I would be ok with doing for the rest of my life”. Some of the healthiest and happiest people I know spend no more than two to three hours a week in the gym. They simply live their life in a healthy way. Did they get that way overnight? Absolutely not. They slowly changed their habits and over time those changes led to them being a healthier, happier, better looking, and better feeling person. I promise you if you take this approach to fitness it won’t seem so overwhelming. Those looming deadlines and diet fad’s can really create a lot of stress in your life. So, take it slow. Enjoy the process. Once you change one thing it becomes easier to implement more changes, Then, before you know it you ended up looking and feeling exactly how you wanted to. All because you looked at fitness as a lifelong marathon and not a sprint.
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My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.