Everyone wants to be told what they want to hear because it’s comforting and nice, and sometimes being told what you don’t want to hear can be uncomfortable but equally helpful. There’s a lot of information out there about the health and fitness industry, with quite a bit of nonsense too which can make it hard to navigate through what is true and what’s not.
Here are the uneasy truths of nutrition, health and fitness to help you progress with your health and fitness journey.
1. It doesn’t take 4 weeks for drastic body changes
Although within a 4-week period noticeable progress is possible, to build a strong and lean body, depending on an individual’s starting point can take months and even years of consistency. Remember, the people you see in fitness magazines did not look like that in a few months it takes years of consistency and hard work. Don’t let this truth discourage you, but instead underline how it important it is to create an enjoyable lifestyle! Enjoying changes you are making for a new lifestyle to continue doing it for the long term. For example, when you think of an amazing musician, they didn’t master the piano in a few months it was through consistency and dedication that they were able to perfect their craft.
So, if your goals are to be healthier, stronger, leaner or feel great within yourself then in order to do so you need to address the way you eat and exercise in the same manner. Of course, we are not suggesting that you must spend all of your time working out and eating healthily, but to create great results you must do these following things frequently and consistently.
1. Eat real foods and minimise the processed foods
2. Strength train 2-4 days a week
3. Move in the way which you enjoy
4. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
5. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake, keep moving forward
2. Everyone reaches results differently
Some people might have to work a bit harder than others in order to achieve similar results. You will find that some people can get stronger quicker and are able to learn new exercise forms effortlessly and become lean easily. On the other hand, there are people who are extremely disciplined but losing fat is not as easy for them, and they find it challenging to keep the fat off too.
Which person are you? It's okay if you’re the second type and have to work harder than others – acknowledge it and embrace it! You shouldn’t let the challenge be the reason you won’t become the best version of yourself.
3. It won’t always be easy
You will experience that some days and maybe even periods of time, your schedule might be too hectic, and you will not be in the mood to work out or struggle to make the time for your regular workouts. Adapt and have a shorter workout instead of a 60-90-minute workout, do what you can in a 45-minute workout instead.
You may not always have the motivation for the workout or the time, but don’t let this bother you and instead embrace that this is just a fact of life. You can adapt to these situations – take advantage when things are good – when there are struggles and lack of motivation find a way to work around it.
4. If it works for someone else it might not work for you
Everyone’s bodies work differently, and different things will work for you than what works for your friend. For example, your friends go to work out may be bodyweight workouts however you may enjoy using heavier weights for squatting, deadlifting, pressing and use bodyweight exercises to round of your weight training. Also, you friend might always skip breakfast because that’s what helped them shift those few extra pounds but if you skipped breakfast then you may struggle to get through the rest of the morning.
It is so important to remember that everyone is different, each body responds differently. It is your body and do what works well with your body.
5. Don’t put your health at the bottom of your priority list
It’s understandable that everyone wants to like how they look and feel confident, but some people feel that if they look healthy then they must be healthy but that is not always true. You need to have a healthy lifestyle and mindset too, because looks can be deceiving.
Health is reflected on the way you think about what you eat and how you move your body. Your health is revealed and measured in your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation markers etc. As well as how you feel in general, how much energy do you have to do the things that you enjoy. A healthy lifestyle will make you become your greatest version of yourself, and help you ward off disease too.
Toned legs, abs and a huge deadlift are great and are achievable because you are healthy or trying to become healthier, but do not define health.
6. Don’t just focus on the short term
Many people focus on the short-term goals, but what about after those goals are reached? Look further than the immediate goal to maintain the results achieved. Ask yourself: How do I maintain the results I want to achieve? Can I continue with this lifestyle for reaching my goals next year? If the answer to these questions were ‘no’ then rethink your current health and fitness path. Although, short term goals can be rewarding, don’t let them distract you from the long-term goals. What would you rather… look and feel great for the next event or look and feel great for the big events after the next?
7. Don’t mistake that a leaner, lighter body will make you happier – women specifically
We encourage women to eat and train to gain and maintain strength and accept weight loss and looking better as a side effect of your consistency and hard work. This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t feel like you want to lose weight because that’s okay. Use weight loss as a goal to improve your health, have more energy to do the things you enjoy doing, and feel more confident within yourself.
Weight loss as a goal on it’s own is not great but if you incorporate the outcome with your self-worth and happiness it is a great goal. Some women hate the process of losing weight to achieve a leaner, lighter body will struggle afterwards because they hated the entire weight loss process and are shocked when they are still unhappy with themselves; being lighter has not improved the quality of their life. In contrast, a woman who is overweight and struggles with knee pain from walking, and constantly feels run down, who may be feeling frustrated with herself when she can’t play with her children without feeling out of breathe quickly, who decides to improve her health by losing weight to feel amazing within herself and do things which she feels are important as well as improving her quality of life.
Make sure that you are losing weight for the right reasons.
8. Many understand what they need to do to improve their health, but they don’t do it consistently
A lot of people will do the right things for a couple of weeks like eating right, exercising but they don’t stay consistent with it and blame the diet for not working. However, in reality they didn’t follow the guidelines or didn’t try them long enough.
Try to avoid anything complex until you have mastered the basics. Make sure you eat real food, adequate proteins, prioritise sleep, strength train 2/3 times a week for a long period of time. Continue to be honest with yourself how are you doing things which are important? If you’re not then how can you change that?
9. You want quick results
People want quick results which is why things like fat burning tablets exist, and quick fat burning workout programs exist. Everyone wants quick results and the marketers of these products and services know that, they tempt you with the fast results and the short cut to your results. When you feel tempted by these quick fix programs tell yourself that it is unlikely to work. Remind yourself that that these short cuts to fast results are unlikely. Your goals in health and fitness are achieved through consistent work and your perseverance.
10. Try and see what happens
We recommend that women should focus on eating mostly real foods, which includes good sources of protein in every meal and follow a progressive strength training program. You won’t know the results that are possible until you try – commit it doing these things for at least 12 weeks and watch your results.
11. There’s a lot of false information about diet and fitness out there
There is a lot of information out there about diet and fitness churned by people who want to serve their own interests, some are ignorant, some believe they are truly helping and telling the truth and sometimes knowing the difference between what is true and what isn’t can be a challenge. It is important to look at both sides of nutrition and fitness claims – be objective and do not look for what you want to see. To ensure you have a true understanding learn and know what you believe and why you believe it.
Some basic truths of nutrition:
12. Things that actually make things worse instead of helping
As previously mentioned, there is not one thing that works for everyone, and it is important for you to find and work out what works best for you. If counting calories helps you then count your calories consistently. Or maybe intermittent fasting benefits you then do that. But, don’t try new guidelines if they make your journey more stressful or end up causing obsessive habits.
For example, it has become popular to wear fitness trackers/watches to monitor your activity, steps or heart rate. Which has led to some people becoming obsessed with burning a particular amount of calories and reaching a certain heart rate during exercise. But this can make working out become more of a chore than enjoyable because they become more obsessed with counting their calorie burns. When they realise the problem developed, they get rid of the fitness tracker or watch and go back to focussing on positive goals like improving workout performance or getting stronger – taking away the stress of constantly obsessing over a big calorie burn. Although these tools can be useful for some people they can also create a mental burden on others.
13. Starting out with smart food choices and working out can develop to obsessive eating and workout habits
Experiencing good results can lead to craving great result to achieve even greater results. But this is not to say that is necessarily a bad thing because when you see or feel you are getting results this can then motivate you to increase your efforts and wanting to keep going. But good things can be ruined when they develop into unhealthy obsessions.
Sometimes making good food choices are turned into maximum restrictions leading to a development of obsessive eating habits, binge eating as well as eating disorders. Consistently going to the gym may turn into compulsive exercise and can make you feel that you must earn the food you eat or make sure you burn off any unhealthy food you might eat.
14. When you try to do something perfectly this might make doing anything not being “good enough”
There are some people that argue that you should only eat fresh vegetables making frozen vegetables not good enough. For example, a busy mum who chooses microwavable vegetables may not feel she is ‘good enough’ because it means she has saved time on preparing, chopping and cleaning. However, the option of that is more ideal may not be actually better if you can’t do it consistently. It may be slightly healthier to buy fresh vegetables, but it is much better buying chopped frozen vegetables than going to a fast food drive through for dinner.
So, don’t stress and worry over not doing everything perfectly, because practicing something ‘good’ frequently is better than the ‘ideal’ option sometimes.
15. There is no perfect diet which works well with everyone
When it comes to long term results a diet which gives you the best results and keeps maintains the results is a diet that you should stick to. In regard to fat loss there is not a diet which is more beneficial or superior. Many people get confused with nutrition and it is understandable too because there are so many people and sources which claim that their diet is the one to follow because it is the ‘best’ one. They provide the testimonials for their diets and sometimes select carefully the scientific studies to back up their points, which can often make it hard to argue with them if you don’t know how to read and understand research.
A diet and body composition review by Alan Aragon explain how when the total calories and protein are not changed then there is no fat loss advantage to a low-carb/low-fat diet. Key points from the review:
16. It is inevitable to experience bad days, bad workouts, injuries and bad decisions
Don’t let these bad days, bad workouts or bad food decisions stop you from your health and fitness journey. Some people let the injury hold them back, or decide that because they have eaten badly, they may as well continue to do so for the rest of the weekend. But to be successful you will focus on the things that you can do, what you can achieve and make the most of that instead of dwelling on the negatives. Because, you can always do something and if you go off track slightly you can get back on track and carry on moving forward without feeling any guilt.
17. Take away the emotional element of a hard challenge
You might be a person who knows what it is like to see a bigger number than you expected on the scales and it then sets a negative tone for the rest of your day, or you might be a person who feels guilty every time you eat something considered ‘bad’.
For example – someone might jump on the scales and use the result as objective information and see they have gained several pounds, which may then make them think that they should re-join the gym or start a new training program. Another may find that they only lost one pound that week when they hoped that they would lose more and decide that they should then be more strict with their diet and add more workouts during the week so that they lose more weight for the following week.
Try and take away that emotional element attached to the number on the scales and use other indicators of your progress. You can track your progress in your health and fitness journey through the way you clothes feel and fit, your body measurements, how well you practice good habits and the improvement in your workout performance.
18.Be wary of statements which say ‘this is the best’ or ‘the only way to do things’
Some people will be declared that using weights are much better than using machines, and that if you can then you should be deadlifting using barbell. But you need to think about the people who don’t have the equipment, the people who really dislike those exercises and the people who physically can’t do those movements correctly.
Seeing statements like squats, deadlifts, and presses are all you need to become stronger and healthier, but these are not the only exercises and equipment needed for you to get amazing results. Do what you can and use the equipment or tools which are available and make sure you make the most of it to ensure you improve your performance consistently to create results.
If you want some further guidance and support, we offer personal training! All membership customers receive a free consultation with one of our personal trainers to help discuss goals and programs. You can contact our personal trainers using firstname.lastname@example.org to book your session.