This time of year is about when those New Years’ resolutions start to fade. We start to lose motivation. Here’s why.
Because get-rich-quick schemes don’t work, get-lean shakes, and crash diets are all predatory schemes. There are shortcuts to fitness, but there’s also a lot of lies out there.
Here’s a quick test (From Seth Godin’s blog) to assess a fitness plan
1. Is it repeatable?
2. Is it safe?
3. Is it additive (what do the effects do over time?)
4. Can it survive ‘The Crowd’? (Or does it have to be a secret)
Let’s test a few:
Weight Loss Shakes:
1. Is it repeatable? Do you really see yourself only drinking shakes for the next 30 years?
2. Is it safe? No, shakes are usually the opposite. Loaded with chemicals, they generally employ a mix of caffeine, laxatives, and appetite suppressants. You think you’re drinking protein (yay healthy!) but you’re actually drinking a concoction cooked up in a laboratory sink. You may lose weight in the short term, but your body adjusts its energy expenditure down to compensate, and when you go off the shakes you quickly gain the weight back and it’s all fat.
3. Is it additive? No. You’ll start to hate the shakes, each shake is less effective than the one before (because of metabolic compensation), and you’ll miss real food. Long term, they make you gain weight and get sick more.
4. Can it survive the crowd? No, eventually you’ll learn the truth. That the only people who are talking these shakes up are the people who make a commission from selling them.
1. Repeatable: Many of these “diets” simply involve reducing sugar and adding whole foods. They are totally repeatable UNLESS you approach them unrealistically with crazy high standards and rules.
2. Is it safe? Reducing sugar and adding whole foods is VERY safe. However, rapid weight loss, binge dieting, or any other unsustainable practice is damaging.
3. Additive? Will it improve over time? Once again, it’s more about your relationship with food. People with eating disorders jump from diet to diet because they need control and they relish the line of ‘Good food vs bad food’. Unfortunately that’s not sustainable in life and everyone knows it.
4. Can it survive the crowd? If you do the diet with a group of people, you’re more likely to succeed. The more sustainable version of this is to join a gym with a vibrant fitness community and surround yourself with people who have healthy values.
Joining A Gym
1. Is it Repeatable? Can I keep this up for a long time? Yes, you can join a gym and keep coming for 20 years. We think a gym with coaches and programming and training partners is best, but any gym will be beneficial if you keep showing up.
2. Is it safe? Yes. There probably are no negative effects. Very few people get injured in the gym. When they occur, injuries are usually overuse injuries and can be corrected by adjusting training volume and variety.
3. Is it additive? Yes. Training with weights has a compounding effect. You get stronger, your muscles improve your metabolism, and you get better. With variety, coaching, and consistency – exercise is the most underutilized medicine in the world.
4. Can it survive the crowd? Yep! Unless it’s one of those gyms where you sign up in January for the whole year and then you stop coming in March.
Joining a CrossFit Gym!
1. Is it repeatable? Yes, i’ve been doing CrossFit for 8 years and I still love it. Are there injuries? Yes – the same amount as a normal gym, and far less than football or soccer. CrossFit has addressed the things that I used to be bad at, and i’m always eager to go.
2. Is it safe? When a coach is focused on your individual goals and your health, you don’t waste time doing things that don’t work. You actually get better.
3. Is it additive? Yes, when you can measure your results over time, you can stop doing the things that don’t work.
4. Can it survive the crowd? Yes, CrossFit Vashon is all about the crowd? The more the merrier! The relationships involved in a CrossFit Gym make it socially supportive, sustainable, and it improves over time.
The moral of the story is that if you’re being sold on something that promises to work super quickly, don’t buy. You’ll probably be moving backward.
Inspiration provided by Chris Cooper at Catalystgym.com.