The quest begins the with the end point in mind. Any goal needs an end point. The end point of my journey (without admitting it out loud) was the abs, the glorious abs. I bought the magazines, watched the videos and followed the beautiful people. I was ready for my end destination. The 6 pack with the happiness when I looked in the mirror. But I never got there.
The road to my failure was paved with the intentions to starve, ingest supplements and ab-crunch myself to success. Life is the journey; the end point is not life. My end point was a metaphorical picture of health when really it might have a been a picture of lost experiences. The pressure of the modern fitness industry to look perfect had got to me and I couldn’t resist. For three months of my life, I restricted my life experience, rice cakes and weighing bananas were a norm. Come on man, weighing a bloody banana, in fact for the most part I was avoiding bananas because I read once they were too calorific. They are terrific. In fact, I am going to eat one right now before I continue.
Yup that banana was delicious. It was taking too long, this transformation to a newly ripped body, my daily look in the mirror was showing me pathetically slow results. Slow and steady, screw that, I want it now. I have restricted calories, I have upped protein, I have stopped drinking, I have stopped eating out and I have stopped doing what was natural. Restriction was the word.
It came to a point where I thought to myself maybe steroids or some magic pills were the answer? Maybe not just yet, you still haven’t tried all the other options, let’s all go to the supplement store. The supplement store is the answer to the question – can I buy a quick fix? What I need is branch chain amino acids, green tea extract, glucosamine, creatine, protein, casein, pre-workout and of course a string vest. All those products defined fitness to me. I had fallen for the fitness industry myth – true fitness must be purchased.
The greatest trick the fitness industry ever pulled was having unsustainable body images at its center. Hence the quest began for the average person to achieve this, and how? Buy buying the fitness industries powders, plans and packages. Fitness is not body goals and abdominals; it is about health. Sustainable and enjoyable health must be at the center of anyone’s fitness plan. Fitness should be the ability to run and jump while being strong and flexible, enjoying the process and enjoying living. The days of a restricted life for a six-pack photo needs to end. An unhealthy relationship with food where it is seen as an enemy is unsustainable for most. Food is awesome, it is a true joy in life. Fall in love with fresh, healthy, delicious food while exercising in a way you love.
Easy to say I suppose, just you know eat whatever and exercise whenever, it will all be fine. Sometimes exercise is uncomfortable and maybe not what you want to do at that moment, but what is more uncomfortable is what happens when you do not embrace real health and fitness. Your health is not something that just happens, you can be healthy, you can feel great, but you have to work at it. If you can work for someone else from 9 to 5 you can work for yourself for 30 minutes. You don’t need a fancy gym or an expensive personal trainer, you can work out in your home, throw on a HIIT video on YouTube and just go for it.
Having low body fat so your six pack shows though is not necessarily going to feel great but being able to hop out of bed each day with energy does feel amazing. How about you strive to be the person who can run 5km in the countryside with a smile on your face and end the day with a glass of wine and delicious cheese with friends.
We are the protein generation. According to the fitness industry I must eat more protein than any member of my family has ever eaten (all generations). Is there any chance that my body doesn’t need that much really or shouldn’t carry a large amount of muscle? Maybe my masculinity will be diminished with smaller shoulders, but surely it should be more diminished with an inability to get up a flight of stairs without breathless panting. You must define what fitness is to you, what sort of person you wish to be, day to day. A glorious end picture is not a fitness, fitness is every day.
Fitness industry – you are winning but you are killing fitness, the inspirations we can see on Instagram are projecting an image of unsustainable perfection, but healthy living is coming for you. Industry wants and needs to make money to survive, it hates when you strive for health and happiness first. The fitness industry wants you to be striving for the six pack and lack of cellulite and the misery that quest can bring.
I never ended up getting the six pack, I gave up after a few unhappy months, I lost about 5 kilograms and lost my passion for exercise. I hopped on a plane for a holiday to Thailand and proceeded to eat and drink way too much while forgetting the gym life. I felt terrible, my insides agreed, tiredness and apathy ruled. All my work was undone, in fact I was in worse shape than I had started four months earlier. The key to health and fitness lay somewhere between these two extremes and I have been searching for it ever since. Fitness is dead long live fitness.
My rebirth in fitness has been a pleasure. I killed the fitness I was being sold and created my own. I play sport, I go to the gym, I run, I do yoga, I lift weights, I go to Crossfit and I workout at home, I combine everything, and I feel great. I drink, I eat out, I eat well, and I eat desert and I feel great. I have found my fitness goal, to enjoy exercise while experiencing life and not caring about the bloody six pack anymore, added bonus – I am healthier and happier.