These days, there’s probably the more easily-accessible motivation for the average person to get in shape than there ever has been before. Fitness magazines of all different types, targeted at every conceivable audience, dominate the magazine racks, and Instagram fitness culture supplies a never-ending array of motivational shots and workout ideas.
The thing is a lot of people, when they first set out on their fitness journeys, make the mistake of looking for “magic bullet” solutions and “quick fix” hacks, instead of accepting that the path ahead is a long-term one, that relies on a lifestyle overhaul.
If you find yourself asking your friends does protein powder go bad? Or looking for the best supplements to get sixpack abs in two weeks (there is no such thing) you’re likely barking up the wrong tree.
Here are a few reasons why getting in the best shape of your life requires a lifestyle change and not magic bullet solutions.
You’re (hopefully) trying to be healthy, not just trying to lose weight
There are all sorts of things that might work to help you to lose weight in a hurry. But, the more extreme and weird the solution, the more temporary you can expect the results to be, and the worse you can expect your health to be, as a result.
Hopefully, when you’re getting into the world of health and fitness, you’re actually trying to be healthy and not just to lose weight.
Do you remember that weight loss show that used to air, called “The Biggest Loser?” Basically, the point of the show was for overweight contestants to starve themselves dramatically, while swallowing caffeine pills like it was no one’s business, and training for hours and hours each day, in order to lose tons of weight in a hurry, for the grand finale.
A scientific study was actually done on former contestants of the show. It found that all the former contestants were struggling with major weight regain – and that their metabolisms were significantly slowed, even years after their appearance on the show. There’s no evidence that they were in “better” health than before. More like the opposite.
Quick fix solutions are traps. If it seems too good to be true, you can be pretty sure that it is.
There are “natural” and “unnatural” ways for us to behave – generally, doing things the more “natural” way will result in better outcomes
There are certain ways that all humans evolved to live, in addition to particular adaptations that different subpopulations of humans developed over the course of history.
For example, we all need certain vitamins and nutrients to survive, and some of us are able to tolerate and adjust to food like milk, in order to obtain those nutrients.
The point is, though, that for pretty much the whole of human history, certain things have been a given. People have got plenty of regular low-level physical activity, interspersed with rest periods, and periods of more intense exertion.
People have eaten whole foods, have gone through periods of occasional fasting (if not outright famine), and have not had access to hyper- concentrated supplements and processed meals.
As a general rule, the closer to the “natural” template you stick, the better your health outcomes will be. Magic bullet solutions that rely on isolated nutrients, processed foods, and radically different and unprecedented fitness strategies (how about the Shake Weight?) Are likely to let you down pretty dramatically.
People who try to sell you magic potions instead of a message of hard work, are financially driven to trap you in a vicious cycle of consumption
Don’t you find it strange that you can walk into a fitness supplement store, and find hundreds, and hundreds of tubs of different powders, bottles of different pills, and all sorts of potions, filling the shelves?
Not only that, but new products keep coming out on a virtually weekly basis, and if you believe the advertising hype, you’d think that each supplement and quick-fix solution being sold could absolutely change your life, and that trying to get in shape without it would be just about impossible.
And yet, there have been athletes, strongmen, gymnasts, and more, since ancient times. Definitely since before the modern fitness industry.
The truth is that people who try and sell you magic potions instead of a message of hard work, are financially driven to trap you in a vicious cycle of consumption. The point is to up-sell you on new supplements and products, and keep you desperately buying them all, in your attempt to pursue your fitness goals.
Don’t let yourself be exploited like that. Take a more balanced approach, instead.