Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise and its science, which is my area of expertise, but I also talk about nutrition, sleeping habits and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle.
This week I made a tough decision. After having thought about this for some time, I have determined that I am going to make a dramatic shift in my employment and career. There are multiple factors that have influenced this decision to almost a decade long career in fitness, and one of them was the approach of fitness that many people have, including those working in the industry. This is what today’s post is about.
Before I get started, I want to clarify that the place I have recently stopped working for has very little to do with any other company within the industry. Their approach to health is much more holistic, and the way they train people is far from what I am going to say later on. If you want to get valuable service and guaranteed results in a healthy manner, Vision PT is your place!
To make this story a bit more personal, I am going to talk through our imaginary friend Josephine. She is a very busy 40 years-old woman. She works full-time as a nurse, she’s married, and has two kids, a 10 years-old girl and a 5 years-old boy. She has been putting herself down to prioritise other things, and she’s put on about 10 kg in the past years since she had her first kid. It has been a while since she did any kind of physical activity, though she used to like her running, hiking, and rock climbing. She absolutely hates the gym environment, and she cannot find the motivation to get a membership. On top of that, she has never been taught what to eat, what’s healthy and what’s not, how much food she needs to get from each macronutrient, or if she has a lack of vitamins or minerals. To make matters worse, she watches TV in bed and scrolls down on her phone for hours before falling asleep. She is overall not feeling well, always lethargic, when the alarm goes off she struggles to get up, and she feels like she’s always in a rush but does not get things done. Does this sounds familiar to you? Josephine easily represents 90% of the people I have trained in the past 6 years.
Josephine believes that the only way to lose those extra kilograms and be healthier is to join a gym, spend some time in the cardio equipment, and perhaps get a PT who would guide her. She doesn’t contemplate going hiking or doing rock climbing anymore because she believes that that’s for younger people and her life is too busy right now. This is what almost everyone I have worked with think of the fitness industry, and it’s not their fault. This is what they see on Instagram, this is what they are told by many people including doctors, and therefore, this is what they believe they have to do. But what if they are wrong? What if we tell those people like Josephine who don’t like the idea of going to a gym that they do not need to do something they don’t enjoy to be healthy and fit?
To start with, unlike we have always been told, physical health is not the only area of health we must focus on. Find out more in my post ‘What is health?’
As you can see in the picture and the post, there are 5 areas of health we must work on: mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social. In the fitness industry they teach you just one, as if it was the master key for the others. As PTs we are not allowed to treat your emotional or mental health, and you might need professional help to work on your spiritual and social help. For these matters you need a psychologist. The problem is, how many trainers have openly told you that you should get some help from a psychologist, or from another professional?
In the fitness industry the focus is on your physical health, most of the times forgetting that physical health is not all about exercise. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a trainer who is also at least a Nutritional Advisor or has received a proper training about nutrition, but the majority of trainers will give you the wrong information. They will load you with protein while cutting your carbs because that is what they have been told, or that is what they know that works for some athletes, but Josephine, you’re not an athlete. The percentage of athletes in the world is way under 1%. These trainers are treating clients as if they belonged to this 1%, while most likely they belong to the +99%.
We must treat Josephine and the other +99% as what they really are: normal people who just want to be healthy.
To be physically healthy, all you need to do is:
- Eat well. Sometimes eating well is more important than eating less. For more info, check the next link.
- Sleep well. Josephine spends the last hours of the day surrounded by blue light. These are the key hours to ensure melatonin released, the hormone that puts us to sleep. Check out one of my posts on sleeping habits to find out more!
- Move. Rather than going to the gym or trying very hard to love running, just move your body more. In the following two posts I talk about things you can do to do exercise, even if you are the busiest person in the planet.
- Be open-minded about seeing other professionals such as psychologists or counsellors, dieticians or Nutritional Advisors, General Practitioners not only when you are sick but also when you are concerned about something else, and other professionals that would work altogether with your trainer to improve your health.
Fitness is not your enemy, and it’s certainly not just about running and lifting weights. Fitness is another tool to reach your goals of being healthier and live a longer life. Perhaps Josephine should check out the rock climbing places nearby rather than getting obsessed with joining a gym, and maybe she can spend her weekends going for bush walks with her family. By doing this, she’s not only getting some exercise done, but she’s also enjoying herself and socialising with the people she loves, which has a great impact on her mental, emotional, and social health.
That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoy it. This is a very special post for me, and I wish you can see exercising the way I do. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment! If you want to give me a personal feedback, or you want to reach out to ask for other subjects, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!