Monday, January 12, 2009

A delusional culture?

This is the time of year when the diet and fitness industry hits hard. People have made their New Year's resolutions, swimsuit season is around the corner, and folks are tired of the holiday excess. They are prime targets -- "victims" with a heaping helping of excuses in search of any solution provided it requires minimal work, sacrifice, or change!

On SparkPeople, a common discussion topic seems to be that of "no matter what I do, I can't lose weight." To which people respond with things like, don't go by the scale alone, go by how your clothes fit. They are implying that the hapless "victim" has put on so much muscle (which weighs more than fat) that naturally the weight won't go down! How often is that really the case? I'd venture to guess rarely. You can lose weight much more quickly than you can gain muscle, particularly for women.

Then there is the genetics card. OK, for sure there are different body types and not everyone can or should be rail thin. But genetics rarely is responsible, entirely, for weight issues. Again, there are exceptions. But for most people?

I see a lot of wasted effort at the gym among people who have the capacity to work hard. If you are talking on your phone on the treadmill, I don't think you are getting much value out of it. If you are not sweating or breathing hard at some point during your workout, you are not working! I think these folks really believe that they just need to "do the time", but they are not educated about the difference between a low-quality and high-quality workout. Or maybe they think they are not capable? Or do they fear the sweat, the pain, the effort - both physical and mental.

It's a shame. I've been reading John "The Penguin" Bingham's book recounting how after years of couch-potatoing, and in his 40's, he discovered the joy of his inner athlete. Everyone deserves to find that in him or herself and to experience the joy of hard work and sweat.