[Premium Content] Why You Need To Take Everything You Read & Hear About Exercise & Nutrition With A Grain Of Salt.

 In Magazine Articles, The Everyday Athlete

No matter what anyone says, there is no magic bullet for health and fitness. But it doesn’t have to be complicated either, says Tim Anderson

The health, fitness and nutrition industries seem to operate in absolutes. Eat eggs, they are good for you. Don’t eat eggs, they are bad for your heart. Drink coffee, it is good for your brain. Don’t drink coffee, it is killing you. Train with kettlebells, it is the only tool you need to become strong. Be careful with kettlebells, they could injure your back.

These are just a few of the hundreds of examples I could list, but I think you get the point. Not only does the health and fitness industry operate in absolutes, but it also vacillates; bouncing from one pole to the other, creating fads, gimmicks, pipe dreams and frustrations.

This article first featured in the February 2017 issue of Strength Matters magazine. It is best viewed in our beautiful app. Download your copy now via the Apple or Android store. 

Another peculiar phenomenon that I’ve noticed is that the fitness industry creates cliques—the us-versus-them game, or the we- are-right-they-are-wrong societies. Again, it’s the absolutes. Take the kettlebell for example: One school of thought might say, “If you are not using it with a hard, inefficient style, you are not using it correctly.” Another school of thought might say, “If you use it efficiently, you can work longer and accomplish more with it.” And yet, another school may say, “The kettlebell is the only tool you need to be strong. If you know how to use it, you can replace all other fitness tools. You can even get rid of your pots and pans, because if you know what you are doing, you can fry an egg on a kettlebell, and serious people training for strength only eat eggs anyway because they are good for you.”

To be fair, there are polarizing camps in every aspect of the fitness world, around almost every training tool. The kettlebell is not unique in that; it is just one I have had the pleasure to experience. Powerlifting, bodybuilding, athletic training, speed training, endurance training, barbells, dumbbells, row machines, bicycles, shake weights—they all have their absolutes as well. Which is interesting, right?

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Should being healthy and strong really be so complicated? Should eating bread with a friend cause an angel to lose its wings? If I simply like coffee because it tastes so good, can’t I just enjoy it? Or must I fret over whether or not it will enhance my workout due to the stimulating effect of caffeine or will the fact that it is a diuretic tank my workout? And, if I do enjoy training with kettlebells, do I have to tie myself inside a rigid box on how to use them forsaking all other tools, or can I simply enjoy training with them along with the other things I enjoy—and still cook my eggs on an actual frying pan?

If you are someone who only wants to be strong and healthy and you are looking for the best possible route to get there, let me help you cut through the clutter. Take everything you read and hear about exercise and nutrition with a grain of salt and be wary of absolutes.

There is a great deal of training information out there, most of well-meaning people who believe what they are telling you. Heck, I’m one of them. More times than not, what we “preach and teach” comes from passion. This is why it is so easy for us to create the polarizing camps on how to use a screwdriver; we are passionate. Because of this passion, our lens is tinted in such a way that we can’t see anything else. Passion is a driver in the fitness industry.

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If you have ever hired a personal trainer, you know this is true. Did your trainer use barbells in your sessions? Did he use medicine balls? Did she use kettlebells? Did she train you on agility ladders and hurdles? What did they use? Why did they choose to use these tools? Background, education, and passion, with passion being the primary driver. You could have gone to another great trainer, presented them with the same goals and they could have effectively guided you to your goal using entirely different tools based on their lens and their passion.

Another major driver in the health and fitness world is money. There is nothing wrong with making money, but sometimes the pursuit of making money causes unscrupulous people to massage or fabricate information and data. Being healthy should not be complicated. After all, you didn’t come into the world with an owner’s manual, so there must be a simplicity to becoming and staying healthy. I believe so.

If you want to be strong and healthy, you need to be the driver, and you need to know the true absolutes of health. You were made to eat natural food. You were made to drink water. You were made to get adequate sleep. You were made to move. You were made to use your brain. Those absolutes seem logical, right?

Again, you need to be the driver of your own health and fitness desires. What do you like to do? What are you passionate about? It doesn’t matter if the entire world believes the kettlebell is the best tool available when it comes to building strength. If you don’t like using kettlebells, how successful will you be if you ignore your intuition to follow what someone else says is the way?

Find out what is important to you. Why do you want to be healthy? Do you want to enjoy life when you are in your 80s? Do you have a family you want to be around for? Determine your reason and lock onto it. Then, take in as much health and fitness information as you can, educate yourself and find your passion. Discover how you like to move and decide for yourself what works for you. My best advice: Don’t make health, fitness, and nutrition a religion.

Keep it simple.

To read the original article, please download the February edition of the Strength Matters magazine. You can preview this article for FREE.

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Why You Need To Take Everything You Read & Hear About Exercise & Nutrition With A Grain Of Salt.
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Why You Need To Take Everything You Read & Hear About Exercise & Nutrition With A Grain Of Salt.
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No matter what anyone says, there is no magic bullet for health and fitness. But it doesn’t have to be complicated either, says Tim Anderson.
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