6 Exercise and Nutrition Truths Everyone Should Know

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1) You Are Not the Enemy

I see it all the time, in fitness memes and exercise conversation. We are thrust in front of our own image and made to be disgusted with ourselves–peer pressured into self-censoring which ostensibly motivates us toward our fitness goals. The same technique is also used in the military. Commanding officers often utilize propaganda tools which demonize the enemy and make them appear less than human, neutering any sort of empathetic response from the soldiers trained to kill.

To identify your self worth wholly with your body–an ever transient reality–is unhealthy and unproductive. What happens in old age, when we are no longer capable of the physical feats of our youth? Is our dignity and health lost? Set goals for health and happiness, because those are the interior qualities which outlast the superficial and will espouse greater physical gains as a feature, not an end in and of itself.

2) Pain=Injury, Not Gain

“No Pain, No Gain.” Sure, I get the idea. What we really mean is that a degree of suffering is required to progress from one’s current state, but how far is too far? This is especially true when dealing with rest day blues. For the uninitiated we often feel guilty if we aren’t sore the following day. Did I not exercise hard enough? What am I actually recovering from if I don’t feel any soreness or discomfort?

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Effective exercise isn’t about damaging your body, it’s about applying the right amount of stress at a proper duration, in a calculated, incremental fashion in order to build results. Fitness is a war of attrition, not an back alley slug-fest. Just as a healthy meal is often prepared with good ingredients and utilizes steady, conventional heat, fitness is something which requires proper tools, a good knowledge base, and patience.

3) There are no Days Off

Seems counter intuitive, but it’s all about perspective. Once we transition from making health and fitness a hobby to a lifestyle, every day and every choice becomes an integral component of your training. Today you might tackle a grueling stadium circuit, but tomorrow it’s Pilates or yoga. The next day it’s on to a heavy leg routine, and the following you stretch and rest. Which was more valuable? All of them, because each day is part of a grand strategy, one gear in the machine which drives you closer toward your goals. Got the rest day blues? Be creative. Play at the park with the kids or do some yard work. Hit the books and study your exercise plan (you have one, right?). What has worked, what hasn’t, are you making progress, are you experiencing pain, what supplements are you using, how is your nutrition, what pre-workout fuel and post-workout recover produces best results? All of this is part of your overall fitness lifestyle. Remember, fitness is more than just what happens in the gym or on the trail.

4) There are no Cheat Days

Think about this concept in other areas of your life. Do you have cheat days for your marriage where you decide hey, my spouse is great for me, but once in a while I indulge in a savory (pick your hair color/body type) as a cheat spouse. Cheat day as a parent where you neglect the care of your children? How about at work? Ever intentionally botch a project or assignment? Never set yourself up for regression, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot relax within the context of your goals. Marriage and family life can be stressful and demanding, which is why spouses should make a point of having date nights or a couples-only vacation. Companies have work-related retreats to cultivate relationships and foster fresh ideas. Family vacations, etc., none are a full retreat from the goal, but a change in perspective.

5) Innovation and Fads: Not all that Glitters…

Current technology and research translates into fascinating new studies and techniques for fitness and health, but not every development or study is conclusive gospel. Today’s aversion will be tomorrow’s craze. The solution? Study the trends over time and make a subjective call for yourself. If something doesn’t work for you, toss it aside. While there are many tried and true staples to fitness and health, we are all different and unique. Be patient and remain vigilant. The varnish on the shiny and new will fade on the latest fads and your body will thank you, which leads to…

6) Whole and Simple are Better

From exercise to food, and a myriad of other issues, less is often more. The health and fitness industry makes millions off of new products and programs which promise fast, near miracle results, but are all these things really necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the science, but our health and fitness goals are on the line, and the truth lies somewhere between sound reason and commercial hype. The solution? Due diligence and keep things solid and simple. A few key ingredients to effective exercise and nutrition:

  • Lifting, running, HIIT. The trifecta of all fitness.
  • Eat local meat and produce.
  • Train outdoors. Lift logs, carry rocks, swim, bike, run trails, wrestle in the yard or visit the playground with your dog or kids.
  • Learn how to cook and do it often.
  • Have fun.

These 6 truths help keep my fitness journey on course. Do you agree? What could you add? Be sure to join the Facebook page and share your thoughts and comment below.

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