I think it is about time we get straight to the point, and be honest about a few things. This is something I am very passionate about, so my apologies if I am not going to come over as very diplomatic or “politically correct”.
If you are held back or discouraged for your own personal reasons, not to prioritize staying in shape or being fit, I completely respect it. Each one of us have the full right to choose and live according to our own set of priorities and values.
If you are being held back due to some external discouraging and false facts, presented by society and the big “health & fitness” marketing machine… I would like to address them and address them right now!
1. What you see on the cover of muscle & fitness magazines is not a reflection a of reality.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but hopefully most of what I am going to share, will be something many of you are already well aware of.
Let’s start with magazine covers. If you haven’t heard the term “Photoshopped” before, you probably have been out of touch with modern society for quite a few years. This image editing application has been used for more than 20 years to enhance the appearance of possibly everyone that graced the covers of magazines for the past few decades.
Every possible imperfection and blemish have been removed, skin and eye colour enhanced, and it hasn’t stopped there. The bodies of most swimsuit and fitness models have been seriously “modified”, even though most them looked perfectly in shape and toned to start with. In pursuit of the perfect look, midsections have been digitally trimmed more, six-packs made more pronounced by adding shadows and highlights. From head to toe, no body part escapes the “digital scalpel”.
Social media isn’t doing much to improve the situation. Especially platforms like Instagram is portraying an image of the perfect body and face that is completely out of touch with reality. Bodies are posed and photographed from just the right angle to make the bust look a little bigger, and mid-section a lot smaller than it really is. To make things worse, applications are now available that can add six-packs, broad shoulders, completely different hair and eye colours, with just a few clicks or taps on the screen.
The end result? A lot of men and women are putt-off from even trying to get themselves into shape, as the image of a fit and healthy body seems completely out of reach. A direct result of a completely false representation by mainstream media and society.
I hope this puts to rest any fear or discouraging feeling that this image created among anyone of you.
Remember, at the end of the day you are competing against one person only: Yourself! As long as you keep on beating the you from yesterday or last week, you are well on your way to reaching your goal.
2. You do not need to spend hours in the gym to get the best possible result.
To be honest, the exact opposite is true. Numerous studies revealed that testosterone levels actually spike and starts dropping after 40-45 minutes of exercise. This means after this period, the effectiveness of your training starts wearing off and can actually have a negative effect on your body.
For years I was guilty of spending up to 1.5 hours or more working out, with long rests in between my sets. Not only was it very ineffective, I wasting a lot of time. It was only after time became an issue, that I started following exercise programs that was short, with very little rest between sets.
Not only did I start saving hours of per week working out, I started getting much better results. After some proper research, I realized this was actually supported by scientific research, and applicable to both men and women of all ages.
If time is your main concern, the fact that almost anyone can get in shape by spending 90 minutes or less per week exercising, should be more than enough to convince and encourage you to get started!
As a footnote, I just feel obliged to acknowledge that it is indeed possible to get amazing results, following the 2 hour plus extreme workouts published in fitness and bodybuilding magazines and performed by professional bodybuilders. That is to say if you are willing to be a walking chemical laboratory experiment (yes, I mean pumped full of anabolic steroids, growth hormone and everything in between).
3. Stop starving yourself.
Actually, this misconception is rather ironic, as the exact opposite is true. The simple reason for this statement is the way your body responds when being starved and malnutrition occurs. Your body literally goes into starvation mode, meaning over a sustained period of time (not short term), your body starts burning less and less calories to cope with severely reduced food intake. This effect is compounded by that it now starts storing nearly every possible form of excess nutrition in the form of fat, to be used for energy later on.
Not only is it getting increasingly difficult to keep burning fat, but your body starts using muscle fibre as energy, meaning you start to loose healthy muscle mass in the process as well. Not a healthy or effective combination at all.
Off course you can get a away with dieting (starving) and get results for a couple of weeks. The problem is you can’t starve yourself indefinitely, and even if you do, your body will go into “starvation mode”, ending with the results I already mentioned.
When you stop dieting (starving), and start eating “normally” again, your body immediately “overreacts”. To compensate for the loss in nutrition, it starts storing as much of you food intake as it can, in the form of fat. This is the main reason why you see so many people quickly gain weight after ending a diet program. You may have experienced this effect yourself. It is called the “yo-yo” effect, and is the vicious and endless circle so many people are trapped in.
Please realize that you do NOT need to put yourself through this hell. The key to keep getting into shape, is all about what you eat and when you eat it – not how little you eat.
Combined with an appropriate exercise program, you will get the best possible result and outcome. More importantly, it is result you can sustain and keep living a healthy lifestyle, without torturing yourself.
4. Don't Trust Your Scale.
That such a simple measuring device can cause so much controversy, is remarkable. On the one hand, it is dreaded or even hated by some people. Another group of people can’t wait to get on the scale in the morning to measure their progress or success. The results in turn, may actually set their mood and mindset for the day.
Using a scale the right way to measure your progress, is a valuable asset and I am not denying its usefulness at all. The problem is, that it measures weight, but not what kind of weight. It can not distinguish between the weight of muscle, bone and fat. And therein lies the problem.
Muscle and fat differ vastly in their mass, with muscle being a lot heavier than fat. This means that one person of a certain height can weigh 160 pounds and be extremely obese, while another person with exactly the same height and bone structure can be toned, fit and in shape with a six-pack.
It is clear how the scale can fool and discourage. You may be following a strict exercise program and making excellent progress, but the scale does not reflect that. To the contrary, it may actually show an increase in weight. You may be gaining a little muscle and lose a lot of fat, but a scale cannot tell the difference. You can imagine how discouraging this can be if you only trust a scale to measure your progress.
Instead, use the mirror, a simple measuring tape, or even the way your clothes fit to, to keep track of your progression.
I think its safe to conclude that, although definitely can be a useful device in the right circumstances, but can not be used as the true and only measure of progress and success. In this case the saying, “The scale does not lie”, is not a completely valid statement.
Watch me discussing this topic on my video channel
Well, there you have it. In my opinion, these are the main culprits that plays the biggest part in hindering or discouraging people from taking that step to getting in shape and start living a healthy and life.
There will obviously be many people strongly disagreeing with me and be able to find plenty of evidence to proof of it. I am very confident in my conclusions though. Not only have I experienced it personally, but throughout my 30 years in the industry I have seen it happen over and over again to men and women around me. I also did years of research to make sure there are more than enough legitimate scientific proof, to validate these conclusions.
There are quite a few remaining misconceptions I feel strongly about. These include arguments that, “doing hours of cardio a week is the only way to lose fat”, “You are too old to get into shape” and one of my favorites, “Women must stay away from weight training, as they will bulk up like men!”. These are arguments for another day. I really hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.
As always, feel free to leave me a comment or suggestion, and remember to join my mailing list to get informed whenever a new article is released, as well as helpful hints & tips and news on new developments.
Until next time, take care!