It’s our job to promote and support the intended purpose of fitness—functionality and wellness. Furthermore “selling” fitness is played out and isn’t working. Despite the noble intentions of many that join a gym, the majority drop out and the fitness industry has made little impact on the obesity pandemic and epidemic of sedentary lifestyles. Why?
DON’T USE EXERCISE AS A CRUTCH
The reason may be that many have been duped into pursuing the wrong motives for exercising. Some people use fitness as a short-term crutch in an attempt to solve a problem that requires more than just an exercise plan.
If you train at a ‘Gym Franchise’ (Aka Fitness First, Genesis, GoodLife, F45, Body Fit, OrangeTheory or whatever the Newest and High Tech “science based” program is) take a quick glance around your gym and you’ll see the proof that many patrons seem to be there for every purpose but functionality and wellness. Instead they pursue vanity, weight loss, and narcissism, to name a few.
Of course, there are indeed plenty of valid reasons to start (and keep) exercising. Chief among them are to get better at something, get healthier – improving ones bio markers (cholesterol, blood pressure, reversing diabetes), and use your body more effectively (getting stronger, faster, or more flexible).
Exercising is also a great way to compliment almost any physical activity. If you’re a golfer or a runner, you’re very likely going to be a better one if you participate in a regular fitness routine.
Exercising also helps you mitigate stress, stave off sickness, and even develop mental acuity. But you likely already knew that, and as the title of this piece states, this isn’t an article touting the benefits of exercise.
This is an article about the reasons NOT to exercise and believe it or not, there are some legitimate reasons you should hang up the gym bag.
YOU DON’T LIKE IT
There are a lot of things we have to do that we don’t like—going to work, brushing our teeth, paying taxes. Isn’t exercising like that? No, it isn’t. Exercising is something you do with your leisure time much like going out with Friends.
You’re there to participate in making yourself a better individual and that means being a respectful patron in every meaning of the word—to others, to the environment, and of paramount importance, to YOURSELF.
Look, not everyone likes exercise and I’m not here to convince you that you should either. If you can’t abide at the gym by participating with genuine heartfelt presence the way you would when out with Friends, then you should probably find something else to do with your leisure time.
There’s something physically active that everybody likes to do, even if it’s just walking the dog. Your job is to find out what that it is. Life is short. If you hate going to the gym, STOP. Find the activity that brings you joy, and provides VALUE to your life.
YOU’RE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
While exercise is obviously imperative for improving physical fitness and is also an important component for promoting health, a growing body of evidence corroborates that exercise is NOT a great means for losing weight. Take a look at what your putting (or not putting) into your mouth.
While 100% of the energy you take in comes from food, only 10-30% of that energy is burned through physical activity (of which exercise is a subset). Your metabolism accounts for the other 60-80 percent of that burn, but many don’t focus on the biggest factor in addressing metabolism—your diet and how/when you eat!
Furthermore, weight gain is often an emotional issue and a question of compulsion and addiction more than anything. You wouldn’t look to solve a substance abuse problem by going to the gym on your own, so why should obesity be any different?
Sure you can put yourself on an unsustainable fitness plan in order to lose the weight, but you know how that story ends. The end result of many diets is that when you stop eating the fake diet food and heavily restricted calorie intake, you’ll gain the weight back.
Similarly, when you stop exercising twice a day and doing 45min HITT seven days a week, it’s the same story. If weight loss is your motive for exercising, instead of obsessively hitting the gym and banging out session after session, consider getting to the root of the problem and hiring a qualified trainer at a gym that actually cares about your SUSTAINABLE LONG TERM well-being.
YOUR DOING IT WRONG.
Half-baked reps, jerking your back like you’re on crack, or pedaling the spin bike a million miles an hour. Guys doing curls with no range of motion and gals doing a zillion crunches, the list goes on.
Reps, sets, exercise machines, and exercise routines are the tools to help you accomplish building your fitness project. Like any tool, these variables can be efficient mechanisms that help you get the job done.
But all tools can be dangerous when used incorrectly and it’s utterly tragic how disconnected many are from their tools. Whether your tool is a treadmill, a kettlebell, or the most important machine of all – your body, the bottom line is; do it right or don’t do it at all.
If you don’t know how, ask someone who does. Find someone who is educated in human movement; has constructed and delivered fitness & health plans that are actually based on SCIENCE, and follows the same programs & advice that they recommend.
YOU AREN’T GETTING BETTER AT SOMETHING.
If the point of going out with Friends is to deepen your relationships, then the goal of working out should be better physical functionality, increased pliancy, or improved technical proficiency.
That’s not to say there won’t be ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. And certainly, the laws of physics dictate that you most definitely won’t continuously get bigger, stronger, or faster. Generally speaking though, the general trend of fitness should be clear— IMPROVEMENT. You should become a better person, a better athlete, more proficient at your craft, or simply more aware of your body in time and space.
Olympic lifting, and Gymnastics movements are skills to hone, not just exercises reserved for ‘elite’ athletes. The point, is to be your own athlete, to practice and study, and get professional guidance.
That said, if you don’t have a coach that is Qualified and Experienced, find one, and join a community that cares about your Long Term success.
YOU ARE HURT.
If doing squats hurts your back or running hurts your knees, I have some professional advice for you—STOP! It’s the same advice majority of phsyios, GP’s and other Medical Practitioners will advise.
It isn’t courageous to exercise while injured or push through immense pain, it’s arrogant. True courage is having the power to stop and really address the root of your pain. A qualified Coach/ Trainer often works with reputable medical professionals to help identify and design a program to remedy the injury.
Remember – regular exercise done correctly should safeguard your body from injuries. Exercise should provide you with functional dominance. If you are told to stop squatting by your doctor, physio or coach, you are being told that you should stop sitting & standing or using the toilet.
Identify the root cause of your injury and find someone who can design and implement a plan to correct it.
MAKE IT COUNT
Look, if you’re a fitness customer and you want to blow up the elliptical like you’re running from a zombie, or if you want to chat to your bestie on the phone while you’re on the treadmill, or maybe you want to do side steps on a bosu ball, thinking you’re melting inches off of your waistline, then I suppose that’s your prerogative.
At the end of the day exercise because you like it. Exercise to get better at something. Do so with grace and proficiency and if you’re not willing to be a disciple of true wellness, do the rest of us a favor and stop exercising!
As your simply feeding everything that is wrong with the Fitness Industry.
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WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON.
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