We live in a time where wondering is short lived because the answer to almost everything is at our fingertips. Arguments about who is right are squashed in a the amount of time it takes to ask your phone whatever question you are debating with your friends. Unfortunately, I think this has turned us into a society of mediocre experts and it is affecting the way we treat people.
It used to be that we had an idea or a method in life that belonged to us because it was tried and true, and it met our needs. We shopped at Whole Foods because they have the best selection of apples, and we eat a lot of apples. We drove a Ford because every single human in our family has always driven a Ford, and we like family tradition. We have bedtime at 7:30pm because it leaves our children well rested and (relatively) pleasant humans the next day. In this overwhelming age of information, we no longer have to have ANY experience with situations or lifestyles to suddenly be slinging facts and judgement at everyone we know or meet.
I see this A LOT in the fitness and wellness community, but it really applies to all aspects of life; from working out, to relationships, to career choice, to parenting and to lifestyle. While these factors play a role in ALL choices we make in life, let’s focus for now on how to be charging toward your fitness goals while being not only respectful but helpful to others. What we need to remember is that we all make our own decisions based on a variety of factors:
Do you find yourself snickering at the amount of weight someone is pushing at the gym? Is doing yoga not a ‘real workout’ according to you? First, ew, stop it. Second, pause for a moment and realize that everyone’s goals, particularly in fitness, are not the same. Some people are seeking to build muscle mass, others to lose fat, even others to tone muscle but not build. This means that we all need to train differently to reach their goals, perhaps very differently from you. The fantastic thing is that there is such a wide variety of fitness programs, styles, gyms available currently that we can all find something that provides the training that will lead us to our goals and ultimately success.
Do you know if you are introvert or extrovert? It sounds like a simple question, but the definition of these personality styles isn’t as surface level as it seems. You can be outgoing and socially spunky but still be an introvert. Being introverted or extroverted has more to do with your means of recharging. When you’ve had a long day, when you feel stress, when you need a minute to regroup…do you turn to alone time or do you get energy from friends & family? Introverts need some quiet alone time to get up to full charge, while extroverts need to bask the energy of a group. These personalities and life preferences can play a role in how we train as well.
Group training like CrossFit or Zumba can make extrovert’s heart sing; while plugging into an iPod and busting out some weight training is just what the doctor ordered for introverts. Just because your head says “Oh, that looks awful” when you think of a certain type of training, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect the FEELING that everyone gets from their soul mate workout. It looks different to all of us, but it feels just the same. Encourage that feeling, no matter what path it takes.
This is the tricky one & where we all run the risk of being a bit self righteous by trying to share our information. There is a lot of information regarding training style, nutrition, and wellness available at our disposal. Some points are scientific and should be shared, but there are so many methods and approaches that are based solely on the success of a few (bro science, if you will), and while these can serve as really great models, we shouldn’t hold everyone to the same set of rules. You know what I’m talking about…. She is eating a REAL sandwich with TWO pieces of bread? Ugh, get ready to blow up, too many carbs. She is carefully counting her calories every day? What a waste, IIFYM is so much better for you. Eating a VEGAN DIET?!?! OMG, but CHEESE! (Ok, I might have muttered this one once…more power to ya, vegans!)
The problem with all of these judgmental opinions is that none of the above situations are unhealthy. We need to stop focusing on educating the world on what makes us feel like superstars and make sure we maintain the common success: HEALTH. It is actually really awesome that there are so many roads to health, because it means if one doesn’t work for you or it too much to maintain, you can always try a new path. Um, YAY!
That said, the information we have is valuable. If you have taken the time to research what works for you, please don’t hesitate to share it! Use it to encourage others to TRY new things, but don’t deliver it as gospel. If you finally broke a weight loss plateau by adding weight training to your cardio, SHARE how that worked for you. If you finally lost the last 5 stubborn pounds by eliminating dairy, SHARE your experience. Share, don’t tell…and always, always be grateful for variety.
So, that said….keep on counting calories, doing kipping pull ups, calculating macros, running on the treadmill, intermittent fasting, lifting heavy ass weights, and being generally awesome. Whatever it is you do, do it good until you do it great. Ya’ll are awesome. Cheers!