RANT ALERT!

 

“Down with that sort of thing, careful now!”

 

I’d hate to upset what seems to be the status quo in the fitness ‘industry’ at present, but here it goes….

 

Why is it called the fitness industry first of all? Are we mass manufacturing fitter people? No, it’s a business of making PEOPLE fitter and healthier. The key word in that is PEOPLE. Does your gym owner know your name? That’s a good start.

If you want “mass produced fitness”, it will lead to the same results as “mass produced food”, “Mass produced fitness” complete with treadmills, machines, and zero instruction and coaching will lead to similar results as mass produced food, you’ll overeat, never feel fulfilled, end up frustrated and unhappy and never be truly fit and healthy.

 

Why not take a different approach? Why not look after the person that’s in YOU, not just go with the flow, jump on a treadmill for 30mins and then follow the copy/paste program that the gym instructor gave to you for six weeks and see how that goes.

It’s almost April, it doesn’t seem like it when you look out the window in Ireland at the moment, but bluer skies and warmer days are ahead.

To some ‘gurus’ in the fitness world that means: “It’s time to make a quick Euro off of people’s insecurities”.

“Hmmm, people want to look good naked, they want to look good with less clothes on over the summer months, let’s promise them this in a totally unrealistic timeframe….like say 6 weeks!”

“Let’s call it “BodyShred” or “Bikini Bootcamp” or “MaxLeanSuperTonedLookFantasticClass””

Yep, the brains trust is really straining every sinew to come up with even bigger and better names for these quick fixes. They must be avid watchers of late night QVC shopping channel where everything is almost too good to be true and comes with a free set of knives. (Be very wary if your gym offers you a free set of knives with your next boot camp!)

Yes, 6 week “boot camps” can be great ways to start a new and healthy fitness routine, or get you back on track and they aren’t all bad. But if you’ve done two or even three of them and can’t seem to get off the merry-go-round and haven’t maintained your routine, then they aren’t doing you any favours.

 

It’s just cycle after cycle of:

Winter = be inactive, stay on the couch and possibly overeat

 

Spring = talk/think about getting in shape for Summer

 

Late Spring = See the “BodyShredBlastAbBums&Tone” class advertised and jump headfirst into that. Do a ‘diet’ during it and then end up losing some weight, dropping some body fat and feeling a bit better in time for less clothes season.

 

Rinse and repeat the cycle year after year, only you’re never truly living a healthy lifestyle, never truly fit, active and happy with yourself and your self esteem takes a battering every “Late Spring” season.

 

This time of year also brings out the “detox tea” and “juice cleanse” brigade. Don’t get me started, until someone actually can hand me some peer reviewed scientific study that this garbage works, I’m out.

Guess what, your very own body has it’s very own detoxing system, it’s called a liver and some kidneys!

Your body does not need a ‘kickstart’ or a 3 day juice cleanse to rid it of harmful toxins etc etc. Your body needs you to eat like an adult and be active.

That’s enough time wasted on detoxing, because quite frankly it’s not even worth the ink, yet still it’s a multi million euro industry (see that word again, starting to notice a link?)

The fitness industry is geared in the very same way, create short term fixes for long term health problems to create repeat customers year after year. You can read more about this here.

 

Disturbingly, trends for obesity and weight/sedentary caused health problems are on the up and up.

The link is obvious; mass manufactured fitness and food, such as these quick fix 6 week packages, creating endless cycles of profit which is leveraged off making you feel crap about yourself first, then giving you a pat on the back for making you feel better. And repeating the trick every year.

 

Let’s bust some more of the myths that are peddled right around now:

 

“Muscle tone”

“I want to tone up”

Muscles do not have magical shape shifting properties. Muscles are fixed at all ends by tendons and bone. They do not magically assume different shapes. Sets of 2-3 reps do not produce the shape of a pint glass while 10-12 reps produce the shape of a water mellon! Muscles just don’t have that much artistic license. However, muscles do change shape: they grow in response to exercise.

You cannot tell them to be shaped a particular way to achieve a ‘toned’ look. If anyone is selling this stuff, they have not got one iota of knowledge on physiology. Muscles respond to a stimulus. If you want to “toned” look, you must increase muscle mass and reduce excess body fat, it’s just that simple, That’s the first half of the equation in achieving what most people want when they refer to muscle tone: larger muscles. That doesn’t have to mean “Arnold Schwarzenegger large” but if you’ll honestly analyze what you’re thinking about when the fallacy of “muscle tone” comes to mind, you’ll find that growing your muscles to some degree is certainly a part of it. The good news is that conventional wisdom on toning has a tiny element of truth to it: High rep schemes with low weight do stimulate muscle growth. However, low rep schemes with heavier weight stimulate it much more. I’m not advocating one rep scheme at the expense of the other. My advice is a balanced program that is sustainable and enjoyable exactly like what we do at Activate.

But if you want larger muscles (part of the elusive muscle tone) then you can’t be hesitant to lift heavy. Conventional wisdom says lifting heavy is not part of “toning.” That’s probably because lifting heavy is tough and requires some motivation and determination. People like to find reasons not to do things that are difficult.

Your body adapts to the loads imposed on it and increasingly putting your muscles under stress will see them adapt and grow eventually leading to that toned look once coupled with some sensible nutrition.

We often hear, “but I don’t want to get too bulky”, You most will not get “bulky” as a female as this would take: 1) years to achieve, 2) a program and diet specifically aimed at building mass 3) elevated levels of hormones and other factors that just are not possible in virtually all of the female population.

So if you want that “toned” look, quit the “toning classes” and find a balanced program of exercise that you enjoy and give it time to reap rewards.

 

Another common myth that pops up regularly at this magical time of year is: “Spot fat reduction”

“I’d like to lose the fat around my tummy”

“Abs bums and tums class”

This stuff is also mostly fallacy, you might feel like you are working a particular region like your abdomen or bum. But mindlessly knocking out crunches and gluteal isolation exercises won’t get you defined abs or that much coveted shapely bum. You cannot target where you lose fat from, it is an all over process, we are animals built for survival, if you’ve stored fat for a long time, your body clearly thinks it’s storing it for some likely famine that might happen (the region it’s stored is down to a number of different factors which we will cover in further blogs).

We are programmed this way due to evolution, the hunter gatherers had feasts then famines as they hunted and gathered for more food, the human body adapted to store fat in case we needed to survive for long periods without sustenance.

Getting rid of that fat will take some time, just have a plan and work hard and be patient. It likely won’t all happen in six weeks (but hey, that won’t sell my latest “Absblastcorehiitbumsbeachboddiscospinkettlebellsmash” six week block, so it’s not a popular thing to say, well guess what, your health and fitness isn’t a popularity contest, it’s about YOU.)

 

THERE IS A BETTER WAY.

Commit and invest in yourself and your health and fitness, and in your long term health with coaches who actually care about your long term health.

Consistent training with a qualified professional, who has knowledge and a plan and can get you the results you wish, will reap rewards.

Quick fixes with trainers who think short term will end up getting you burnt out, injured and returning every late spring to be the hamster on a wheel.

 

At Activate we are with you every step of the way. We care about your health and happiness. (those two things come packaged together).

We are highly trained professionals in our field. Many of the quick fixers in the fitness industry are products of quick fixes themselves, gaining a certificate or some ‘qualification’ in a matter of weeks. The quick fix isn’t just for the trainee’s, it’s the trainers too, watch out for that. I can’t help but facepalm myself very hard when I see some courses being sold now which have selling points like: “Get your dream career in just 4 weeks”, “Become a qualified trainer in just 8 weeks”, I’m not being disrespectful or elitist, but 8 weeks is nowhere near enough time to become qualified in anything as important as people’s health.

 

If you’d like to see what we are all about, and start your journey to a fitter, leaner and healthier you, call into us at Activate on Ballycasheen Road, Killarney, or drop us a line.

Yours in health, happiness and fitness,

Roisin and Brian

The Activate Team