While out for a Sunday walk in the park with my partner we saw a strange slogan scrawled on the track in chalk, it read, “Are you FIT or are you SUPERFIT”. My first thought to this was, what’s the difference, closely followed by, what moron wrote that, and finally who cares?
Who supports these extreme ideas? Superfit? Huh?? What the hell is that?
Unfortunately the health and fitness industry is brimming with these messages. Google search “Fitness Motivational Quotes”, and you can see for yourself the kind of crap that is being squeezed out on a daily basis. “It will hurt, but it will be worth it”. “Be a BAD ASS, and get one too”, “Train like a beast, look like a beauty”, “Excuses don’t burn calories.”
These messages are negative. They do not help you get fitter, stronger and healthier, and they definitely don’t motivate you for the right reasons.
The journey is the lesson. Don’t start out wanting to get fitter and healthier for the wrong reasons, or you’ll very quickly find yourself heading down the wrong paths. The hardcore, “6 weeks to a 6 pack” training program from the latest “health” magazine might not be such a great start, neither would a home “detox” slimming kit replacing real food and nutrition with some powdered lemon water. It’s not sustainable, and therefore not going to give you long term, or even short term benefits.
Ask yourself why you want to get fitter, stronger or healthier, and then ask yourself if these reasons are for yourself or are you trying to live up to an image of ‘SUPERFIT’ like the one on the magazine cover or box of lemon powder.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look better, but this is only one of the ‘side-effects’ of a healthy lifestyle. And, a healthy lifestyle is made up of much more than your workouts and what you eat. It’s comprised of your mental and emotional health, your social groups, lifestyle choices, and other factors that you don’t even have any control over like genetics.
The most important lesson that I’ve learned about fitness is that if your whole lifestyle doesn’t support a healthy you, then you won’t be healthy. Regardless of how hardcore your latest diet and exercise regime is if you haven’t got a solid foundation and if the reasons for doing it are unhealthy then it won’t stick, and potentially it will hurt you, emotionally, physically or both.
Train and eat for the long term benefits; health, independence, strength. Grow your social groups and strengthen your friendships, invest time in yourself and your own personal growth and development. And lastly, understand that there are factors in life that are out of your control.
We eventually walked past the guy who wrote “are you SUPERFIT” on the path. He was running a boot camp session. Not surprisingly the group of participants all looked like they would have rather been walking around the park with their loved ones on this beautiful Sunday morning, and not doing another endless set of burpees in a pointless attempt at getting SUPERFIT.