5 Important Facts About Fitness & Nutrition you might not know
Facts Everyone Should Know About Looking (and Feeling) Great
Most fitness companies and coaches work hard to help their clients. Unfortunately, a few bad apples spoil the barrel – and the fitness industry has its fair share of bad apples.
Instead of doing right by their followers, these bad apples mislead folks with false and occasionally dangerous promises. According to them, you can have the body of a Grecian goddess (or god) while eating what you want and exercising very little. Put simply, there’s a lot of misinformation in the fitness industry – and you may have fallen victim to it without realizing it.
In the article below, we’ll help you by going over 5 key nutrition and fitness facts you may not know. These facts are inconvenient and a little awkward, but after you read through the whole list, you’ll agree that knowing them is way better than not.
Number one on our list is…
1. Looking Perfect at All Times is Impossible
Fitness mags, marketing materials, and social media always show us athletes at their best. This can create unrealistic body expectations. A lot of people look at photos like this one and think: “if I only worked hard enough, I’d look like this all the time!”
- Professional photography
- Perfect lighting
- Tucking your stomach in
- Not eating (or drinking) before a photoshoot
- Clever photo angles
Nobody looks this good all the time. Case in point: these photos from Instagram fitness influencer Anna Victoria. Note that these are literally taken in the same photoshoot!
and in peak form:
The man still looks great in the first photo, but note the near-complete absence of any definition around his abs. If the greatest bodybuilder in the world was happy not having abs year-round, why should you be any different?
Oh, that’s right. You shouldn’t. Being a little soft, especially after a meal, is perfectly normal!
So that’s fitness truth #1. You can’t realistically look lean and toned constantly. Not understanding this can lead to unrealistic expectations, disappointment and even self-blame. The answer is to be realistic and gentle with yourself.
Having a beautiful body and looking picture-perfect 24/7 are not one and the same thing. One is realistic and desirable; the other has been known to drive people crazy and lead to disorders and low self-esteem!
The second truth that goes against what mass media and companies say is that…
2. Most “Healthy” Snacks are Pretty Horrible For You
Have you seen “That Sugar Film”? In it, Aussie Damon Gameau only eats “healthy” food for 6 months. After this period of only eating smoothies, muesli bars, low-fat yogurt, high-protein snacks, etc, he ends up with…
- 4” of new belly fat
- 1 stone of new weight
- Signs of early-onset heart disease
- Early-onset fatty liver disease
The problem wasn’t how much Damon ate. In fact, he only ate the same amount of sugar (and calories) an average Australian consumes.
The real problem was that most “healthy treats” are full of sugars, fats or both. The biggest culprit is low-fat foods that are packed with carbs to give them more flavor. However, even relatively figure-friendly snacks, like Quest Bars, are deceptively high in calories:
Look at the above charts. Sure, you get a whopping 20g of protein in each bar… But you also get 3-5g of impact carbohydrates and 6g of fat per bar. That’s an extra 60 calories of what is essentially junk.
One bar per day may not make or break your diet – but consistently thinking that “health snacks” are actually healthy can wreak havoc on your body in multiple ways.
So if you’re serious about getting (and staying) fit, be real with yourself. Going from regular snacks to low-fat or low-sugar alternatives isn’t enough.
This doesn’t mean you have to abstain from your favorite treats altogether, of course… But you’re better off going for the full-fat, full-carb option once a week (or every few weeks) instead.
After all, despite what old-school bodybuilders used to say…
3. Pain is NOT Gain
Back in the golden days of weightlifting and exercise, “pain is gain” was common knowledge. Gold’s Gym, where legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger went to exercise, even had “sick buckets”. The idea was that if you never needed one, you weren’t training hard enough. Pain, the logic went, gave you more results.
Is this true?
Sure – sometimes. Champion-level athletes need to endure pain to be at the top of their game. Just take a look at this photo of Lebron James undergoing cryotherapy in a bathtub of cold ice!
Just remember: the people for whom pain is gain are usually lifelong athletes. They know the difference between “good pain” and “bad pain”. They also have incredibly muscle memory that allows them to continue performing every little motion correctly when they’re in a state of extreme fatigue.
This is not the case for most of us. Unless you’ve been training regularly your entire life, training through pain simply leads to poor technique, frustration, and potential injury. If you want to succeed in the long run, avoid anyone who seriously believes that pain = gain.
The same logic applies to having a healthy diet. Diets should not make you feel miserable. In fact, they need to be easy and forgiving enough to follow in the long run. Find out why in the section below.
4. Healthy Diets Aren’t Temporary (Nor Difficult)
In the modern world, we have a “break-fix” attitude to extra weight. First, we wait for things to go wrong – sometimes seriously so. Then, once we’re past breaking point, we go on restrictive diets, or buy weight loss pills, or get surgery to slim down.
This can work really well in the short run – but ultimately, it doesn’t do anything for you. Here’s why.
Thinking of a diet as a temporary thing encourages us to be punitive and restrictive with ourselves. This leads to frustration and constant feelings of dissatisfaction. This, in turn, leads to going back to the old habits that make people overweight in the first place.
That’s the first reason short-term diets don’t work.
The other reason is physiological. A body that was overweight before slimming down is programmed to pack all that extra weight back on at first opportunity. This is because existing old fat cells don’t disappear; they simply shrink when we “lose fat”.
Put these two factors together and it becomes clear: you can’t have a healthy, fit body in the long run without having a self-accepting but reasonable attitude to how you eat. Here are some key features of a diet like this:
- An understanding that it’s absolutely fine to eat unhealthy foods in moderation. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyed fried chicken and cake occasionally!
- A self-accepting attitude in the face of diet mistakes and mishaps. Nobody’s perfect, and that’s alright!
- Unless you’re a nutrition expert, you’ll want to consult a nutrition coach or fitness expert. It’s hard to know what’s right for you without the help of a specialist – which is why tens of thousands of Australians are using MokFit to get nutritional guidance.
And here’s a piece of news you might like. Having regular treats isn’t just psychologically healthy. Research shows it’s conducive to losing weight and keeping it off!
The last (but not least) important fitness fact is that…
5. There is no one right way to do fitness
Have you ever had a friend who tried something for the first time, thought it was the bees knees and started recommending it to everybody – and for everything?
We’ll bet you the answer is yes. This is normal; it’s natural to feel excited about a great new thing you’ve discovered. Unfortunately, committing to one (and only one) kind of fitness will slow down your results.
The first reason, explained here by One Medical Group’s Arnold Lee (MD), is that the longer you do something, the better your body gets at performing that movement efficiently. This causes your body to burn less calories since your muscles have to do less work.
The other problem with doing the same thing all the time is that you only train in one direction. For example: if you swim breast stroke a lot, you’re likely to have a powerful torso and toned abs but unimpressive legs.
If you only lift weights, you may be muscular and toned but have low lung capacity and flexibility.
In other words, that one training method that seems like the best idea ever?
Not something you should commit to exclusively. You may have tried Pilates or yoga or the weight room first, but there’s no one right way to do fitness. (Unless you’re training to compete or are a hardcore hobbyist)
If you live in Australia, an easy way to switch things up is with our app, Mokfit. MokFit makes it easy to find a variety of top-notch instructors in different disciplines, allowing you to improve your fitness results on an ongoing basis – but we’ll get back to that later.
For now let’s recap by going over the 5 brutal fitness truths everyone should know:
- Looking perfect at all times is impossible
- Most “healthy” snacks are awful for you
- Pain is NOT gain
- Healthy Diets Aren’t Temporary (Nor Difficult)
- There is No One Right Way to Do Fitness
Now you know what does and doesn’t work. Well done; this information will help you stick to what works and stay away from things that don’t.