Thursday, February 20, 2014

The fitness world lives in a perpetual state of wishful thinking

I know I moved all of my fitness talk over to, but can I rant about fitness here? Thanks.

1. Exercise vs life

Exercise is a supplement to movement, work, and activity (e.g., life), and just like a nutrition supplement, it's NOT as good as the original.

A treadmill isn't a substitute for walking or running on ground. The belt moves, and you move your legs to keep from falling. It's falling under control, and does a number on the pelvic floor because you do not walk correctly.

A treadmill desk is an abomination to good movement quality. Treadmill bad, treadmill desk worse. You can't swing your arms, and the concentration makes you walk funny. Yes, you burn calories, but at what cost. Erectile dysfunction, maybe.

Kettlebells are cool, but they aren't a 'functional tool' unless your job in life is the snatch or jerk a kettlebell. I, of course, still recommend them (or things like dumbbells) for resistance training, but swinging, squatting, snatching, and jerking is not a substitute for walking and other real life movements. It's a supplement to the work you're NOT doing in life.

I love the gym, and I love being strong, but there's simply no reason to believe that a man is better off if he can squat with his body weight on his back or deadlift 405 pounds from the ground. Are there advantages to being strong? Absolutely, but you don't need a squat rack or full barbell set to be fit, healthy, or strong.

2. Nutrition - I'm doing fine

There's a nutrition trend affectionately called IIFYMs, or If It Fits Your Macros. This is the idea that your calories, protein, fat, and carb levels are what's important for your 'gains' in the gym or losses on the scale. Mostly true, but it discounts health; especially long term health.

Yes, I know, I heard you, you said "I'm doing fine." But how do you know you're doing fine Mr. 20 Year Old Gym Guy? I can point out plenty of people who likely feel that they are 'doing fine' right now, but aren't. Besides, how do you know you couldn't be doing better?

Food matters, and if you don't believe that the grandparents felt fine, and maybe looked just fine, for the many years leading up to Type 2 Diabetes, you're kidding yourself. Yes, with some people it's obvious; they are overweight and eating nothing but crap, but many people 'do just fine' for years, when obviously they weren't.

3. A sport is not the way to get fit. 

Can you be fit and be in a sport? Sure, but who joins a rugby league to lose weight? No one, really. However, people decide to run a marathon (once an elite level activity) to lose weight, train for an extreme race, and even take up Olympic Weightlifting or Kettlebell Sport to get in shape.

These are sports, not fitness programs; Training for a marathon requires that you also increase your eating to sustain that level of training program, which might just set you up more bad habits once you injure yourself stop running marathons.

Should you take a kettlebell class? Sure, but a kettlebell fitness class, not Kettlebell Sport. Kettlebell Sport is about the sport, not weight loss, and it actually requires that you put yourself in positions that aren't particularly healthy for long term health. It's called Posterior Pelvic Tilt, and it's not only not pretty, but can lead to pelvic floor disorder or erectile dysfunction if you don't counteract this position.

4. We're not you, Mr Trainer

Just because you can stretch that way doesn't mean we can or even should. - you are awesome.

Just because you can squat that way doesn't mean we can or should. - you are awesome.

Just because you train like that doesn't mean we should. ...or that you should for that matter.

Just because you're awesome doesn't mean that your program got you that way. Many people are awesome despite their program. If you don't believe me, go to 24 Hour Fitness with me and I'll point them out.

Ok. Done. That felt pretty good.

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