Have you ever pondered the gap between the real world and the fantasy world – as far as health and fitness are concerned? I realize that question is wide open… What I mean is, the health and fitness world is often a world of make-believe, or false reality. There has been a gap created between what is real and what is well, false.
For example, If I were to read a fitness magazine, I might be led to believe that drinking a certain protein shake and performing certain exercises would eventually yield the body of the guy on the cover. Never mind his genetics, my genetics, his pharmacist, or my grocer. Or, if I were to pick up training books, I might be led to believe that training with free weights or machines, and following magic rep schemes is the only way to build a body that is both strong and looks good. Better yet, If I Google diets, I may be absolutely convinced that to be lean I need to reduce my intake of carbs and up my intake of fat. OR depending on which links I click on first, I could be absolutely convinced of the exact opposite. I need to up my carbs and reduce my fat – on days of the week that end with the letter “y.”
Anyway, my point is, there is a great deal of hype, misinformation, generalization, misapplication, disregard, narrow-casting, broad stroking, and extremes in the health and fitness word. I suppose this happens in any “world” but I do believe it’s worse in the fitness industry because everyone wants to feel and look good, as they should. After all, we have a right to feel good. It’s in our design. We are made to move well, feel well, and perform well. I believe we also have a right to look good; both in the eyes of others as well as in our own eyes. Sadly, we often see ourselves in a negative light, though much of that could be because of the messages put out by the fitness industry and the rest of the world.
Wouldn’t it just be nice to know the truth? To have honest answers? Ok, I am going to do my best to give you honest truths – as I’ve come to know them. But listen, take these with a grain of salt and reason. I’m no expert, I’m just sharing my beliefs, which I hold true to me; from one friend to another. In other words, if you and I were best friends, and I loved you and wanted to help you, this is what I would tell you:
1) You’re perfect. Regardless of what you think about yourself, you were made perfectly and uniquely to fulfill a purpose only you can fulfill. And this matters greatly when it comes to your health because
2) What you believe about yourself affects who you will become and how you will get there. If you learn to believe you have value and your life matters, you will walk in more strength and health than if you were to believe you were just a face in the crowd and you had no worth. The body follows the thoughts of the head. So does success.
3) You were made to be whole – strong, healthy, able, of a sound mind and a sound body. If you don’t feel good, if you feel broken, if you feel “fat”, if you feel like a failure – it’s all a lie to keep you down. You were made to be whole, which means
4) You will have to fight. Just because something is true, or intended, doesn’t mean it is easy. You will have to fight for your health, your beliefs, your heart, your success, your spouse, and anything else you hold dear. You must keep your head up and know you were meant to be strong. You must stand when things get tough. You must rise up again and again if life kicks you in the crotch.
5) You need to move your body. It was designed and made to move. In fact it was designed so that movement would keep you resilient at any age and every moment. Even your thoughts and your ability to think clearly, even your emotions and your joy, they are all renewed OR deteriorated by whether or not you actively engage in your intended operating movement program. You can get strong with weights. But you can get strong without them. You can build a better body in a box gym. But you can also build an amazing body in your living room. There is no magic. There is only you honoring your design and moving with intent and purpose.
6) Everything about you is use it or lose it. Everything. Move and keep your youth and ability. Restore and renew your health. Don’t move and age and deteriorate. Use your imagination and become more creative. Let others think for you and become dependent on the thoughts of others. Practice good judgement and take responsibility for your actions and learn discernment and discipline. Don’t exercise good sense and run from responsibility and you’ll live a life of excuses and almosts…. You must practice what you want to keep. You must exercise your given right to be healthy – in every area of your life. If you do not use it, you will lose it.
7) Intentionally give yourself to others. Love, on purpose. When you give your heart to, and for, others, you will also receive love and you will build relationships and leave a legacy. If you don’t love, you will lose love. You will grow cold and callus. You will withdrawal and take from the world, expecting what the world owes you, and when you are gone, the world will spin on without even skipping over your heartbeat. Life is short, but your memory was meant for history.
8) Food is your friend. Real food, that is. Carbs, Fat, Protein. Amen. You need them. The ratios, the extremes, the diets, the fads, the complications – that’s a mess and i’m not totally crazy. I’ll leave your good judgment and your due diligence to determine what you need to eat, for the amount of movement and energy you give out each day. Just remember, if you try to live in an extreme, that pendulum will swing back with a vengeance. Life is found in the middle of the spectrum. Refer to point (6) and exercise judgement and take responsibility.
9) It is absolutely ok and GOOD to want to feel and look good. It is, again, in your design. Movement helps you feel good and look good. AND, keeping your head up, smiling, being grateful, and giving yourself to others also makes you feel good and look good. A smile can instantly change your appearance and improve how you move. Skipping can instantly make you smile and improve how you move. You are one big loop of cause and effect. If you want a certain effect, engage in the cause.
That’s my not-so-short list. And i’m sure there’s more, but this is a great deal to chew on for a while. I hope it makes sense, but more importantly, I hope it helps. Cause you’re my buddy…