Well, it kind of is… but not the entire answer.
Okay, calm yo’self.
I’ve been in the fitness game for a while. I know more than the average muscle-head; I’m curious and constantly reading new materials, questioning “traditional” methods when they don’t work, and studying the body in my spare time. I’m fascinated by the way it all works together. It’s a complex system, and as such, fixes cannot be simplistic.
But no one wants to hear that.
We’re comfy with convenience. We expect everything to be instant, easy, and simple. But when it comes to transforming your health, it’s not just about getting more exercise.
Our country, among others, has a weight problem. The reasons are varied, lengthy and not my focus today. Today, let’s rip off the blinders and bring a common, incorrect thought process to the foreground: Exercise is not the only solution to getting healthier, fitter, becoming more attractive, etc etc. Whatever the goal, adding exercise is a start, but exercise alone won’t get you the results.
I hear it all the time from people who work out casually.
“I work out, so I can eat whatever I want.” I’m sorry, what? No, you can’t.
You can’t do 20-60 minutes of cardio and go home to eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Or half a pan of brownies. Or both. I know, because I tested this theory personally, and I ended up 20 pounds heavier than where I’m at now, both baffled (LOL) and disgusted (OBVIOUSLY) with the way I looked and felt.
You can’t lift lackadaisically for an hour and then eat an entire pizza and a bunch of candy. To be fair, you really shouldn’t be eating candy after any workout because it spikes your blood sugar, gets you high, and then you crash, hungrier than before (sugar drives appetite, lights up the brain the same way cocaine does, and does next to nothing for you on a nutritional level). Added sugars gotta go.
You can’t lose weight simply by exercising if what you eat sucks. I use this analogy a lot when I’m describing junk food to my friends: It’s like putting diesel fuel into a gas-powered car. It will fuck up your engine. It may still run, but at some point, the internal stuff breaks. You’re doing the same thing to your body when you don’t properly nourish it. On the outside, it may look okay. You may not actually be carrying an extra x-amount of libs (Geek Speak for pounds because lbs). But internally, you’re a fucking mess, and you don’t even know it.
I have many friends who look “fine.” They’re attractive people. They don’t have abs (not that abs are a requirement of being attractive, though they seem to be universal for qualifying as “fit”), but they aren’t people you’d look at and think, “You gotta be eating some real shit.” But they are. You just can’t tell… yet.
I’m no nutritional expert. As previously stated, I still consider myself a complete rookie; I’m learning a lot about different foods and how they decompose in your body: what benefits it, harms it, and how all of this affects the system as a whole. Not just based on calories, or macros, or even micros, but the way toxicity affects the efficiency of the system, and often, how these kinds of foods impede everyday processes necessary for optimal health and function.
The point is, nutrition is more important than exercise. It’s difficult to make those changes, especially for those of us hooked on sugar. So, like, a vast majority of us (guilty). I used to be disgustingly sugar dependent, and it took me forever to get myself off the Sweet Tooth Binge Train. It’s something I have to be very careful about.
The best first step is education. We’re all “busy,” but we also somehow have time to peruse Facebook and laugh-cry over Buzzfeed articles (uber guilty). Why not add nutritional learning to your every day? A few of my favorite places for beginners:
- Food documentaries on Netflix. Any of them. Favorite: Hungry for Change. And if it’s no longer on Netflix (because I ended up canceling my account for good), iTunes has it for relatively cheap. Rent it. Or buy it, and watch it 20+ times like I have
- Engineering the Alpha. This book by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein is about fitness, nutrition, and those pesky things called hormones that basically run your shit. While it’s geared toward males, it’s chock full of important, easy to follow information about hormone function, how the food you eat fucks those up, how they impact the way you look, and more importantly, the way you feel. I’m mesmerized with it, and I’m currently a week into the program (post to come soon)
- Your local library. Don’t forget that it’s abundant in knowledge just waiting for you. Or check out Meetups.com, and see if there are groups in your area. You can be social while learning neato things about prolonging your life AND increasing its quality. (I feel like a friggin infomercial, but really: Take care of yourself. Everything else is so much easier, better, lovelier, etc when you feel good because you’re healthy.)
Remember, I’m still learning, too. If you have things you love that’d be good for newbies, share! If it’s not clear, I’m fascinated with learning (self-learning, because traditional schooling methods don’t really work for the way my brain understands things, even though I’m a college graduate. THAT was a struggle. Studying? Lectures? Goo. I tend to go with Gary V and his thoughts on the educational system. These are clips from several different videos, but it condenses the thoughts I agree with).
That’s a lot to chew on, but a good appetizer to start. Take care of that bod, friends. You’ll extend your life and increase the quality, and who doesn’t want both of those things? Added fun bonus: You’ll look smokin’.