Dealing with the fitness media - context should be your number one consideration
If you have spent any amount of time browsing through today’s health and fitness media, then it’s likely you will have come across countless promotions selling the next best product or method to get you back into shape. Whether it be the newest superfood or the latest fat blasting workout, much of this information can end up making most people feel confused or frustrated as they are often littered with contradictions and inconsistencies.
The idea here is not to debunk any of these fitness tips as false or wrong (although some of them may well be), it’s more to provide an insight into how the context of this information should always be your number one consideration when applying it to your own life.
If we start with the world of nutrition, not many things stand out more in this regard than health/sports drinks and recovery shakes. Many of these products are sold as something that will help you become fitter and healthier, but when you take a closer look they are often only useful in specific situations.
When we study these products through the lens of a very active person or an elite athlete who is training upwards of 5 times a week, sometimes more than once a day, these drinks can play an important role. In this context, these individuals use the drinks or shakes as a convenient strategy to meet the extra energy demands of their training and to improve their recovery speed. Many of these types of drinks are designed with this in mind and will contain high amounts of easily absorbed sugar and extra calories, which in this situation could be considered valuable.
However, when we put this into the context of someone who more closely resembles the general population the benefits of these types of drinks can quickly get misinterpreted. For the average health conscious person looking to lose a bit of weight this type of product will only end up adding unrequired calories to their diet. The energy and recovery demands of a generally active person are often not high enough to rationalise the use of this kind of strategy. Additionally, many people fall into the trap of using these products in the place of quality whole foods and even drinking them without having exercised. In this context these products end up becoming far from healthy.
We can also apply this principle to the world of exercise. Over the last 10 years, much of the fitness industries focus for weight loss training has been on short, high intensity, no pain no gain style workouts. Now this isn’t necessarily wrong, as there is plenty of science to support this, but again the context of a particular individual’s situation has to be taken into account for this type of exercise to be applicable.
On one hand you could have a young professional with an active, sporty, injury free background, looking to fit an exercise regime around their new job so they can drop from 15% to 10% body fat. When they decide to take on this type of training it’s highly likely they will get the results they desire. On the other hand, you could have a sleep deprived, highly stressed father of 4 who hasn’t moved from his office chair in 15 years and likelihood of the same outcome from this type of physical activity is going to be pretty slim.
As with most things in life it’s impossible to take a black and white, one size fits all approach to diet and exercise, despite what most of the fitness media might be telling you. What’s the best approach? The answer is and always should be……it depends. It depends on who you are, what your goals are, where you are starting from both physically and mentally and perhaps most importantly it depends on what methods you feel you can adhere to over the long term.
Here at Matt Roberts we work hard to ensure that we provide advice and use methods that fit into the context of our client’s goals and also the reality of their world. Our aim is always to help our clients over the long term and to work together to find ways to ensure consistency. If you have friends or family you feel might benefit from this type of approach then spread the word. Our referral scheme means anyone who joins on your recommendation will receive a free consultation and we’ll also add two free sessions to your account.