4 Health & Fitness Truths of 2021
It's 2021, the future is here. While we might not have robots that do our bidding or flying cars (yet), what we do still have are myths surrounding health & fitness.
There is - forgive my language - a shit ton of information out there in the world surrounding health & fitness, with much of it questionable. In this post, I'm going to go over 4 truths, some of which may be hard to hear, but it will serve you better in the long run.
Weight training is good for your physical and mental health.
Besides helping with fat loss, building lean muscle, and increasing strength, weight training has real and tangible benefits for your overall well-being.
We know the physical benefits extend beyond the aesthetic; resistance training can help with preventing bone loss, improving insulin sensitivity, and numerous other things. But the other awesome bit is that strength training can help with mental health as well.
Regular resistance training has regularly been shown to improve mood and might help combat depression, by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain. Ever get that good feeling after having a kickass workout? Well now you know why.
It's not all about looks - train for longevity.
When you're young, you can get away with doing a lot of stupid shit. As you age, not so much.
Fitness is the same: when you're a young gun, you can do the heavy lifts with shitty form and train balls-to-the-walls 5-6 days in a row with poor recovery. The thing is, these things can sneak up behind you if you're not careful. The goal of a fitness routine is to be healthier so life is better for you, right? It should be. If you're not training for the long game, you might need to reevaluate what you're training for.
Also, don't live in the gym. Fitness is more than bicep curls and squats. Get outside and move your body; go for a hike, a run, do some yoga, play a sport, just move! Your body craves movement, and what's the point of building strength, muscle, and endurance if you aren't using it?
Don't chase big lifts or low bodyfat percentages just because that is what you see in your social media feed. While those can be worthy goals, doing them purely for ego can steer you into dangerous territory. What you should be doing is training for longevity; which means training smart and training hard - but not stupid - and following a sound plan so that the gains you make will last you a lifetime.
Just because you have a big bench/squat/deadlift doesn't mean you are fit.
Does having big lifting numbers make you fit? How many gymgoers base their fitness standards on this idea?
Fitness is a wide spectrum. Should you be able to squat and pick up a heavy object? Yes. Does it need to be 500 pounds? Probably not. Maybe you only need to be able to lift your bodyweight, or 1.5 x your bodyweight, or whatever number. But chasing big numbers purely for the sake of lifting big weight can pigeon hole you. Being super strong is fine, but know that it requires sacrificing gains in other areas.
If you don't plan on competing in a powerlifting or strongman competition, why chase big numbers? It's all preference, so don't let me tell you what to do. I'm definitely not saying that you shouldn't practice certain movements; in fact, it's best for your body to practice many exercises and movements.
But can you walk up 3 flights of stairs without feeling winded? Run a mile? Can you squat down comfortably, or touch your toes? All these and many more things become increasingly important as we age, and they are important regardless of our age. If there are things you can't do that otherwise 'unfit' people can do, maybe it's time to reexamine your fitness goals and training.
Spot reduction doesn't work.
One myth that refuses to die is the idea of spot reduction! It doesn't help that there are still people selling this idea to consumers.
Many people still buy waist trainers, sear h for exercises that target belly fat, etc. But here's the hard truth: You cannot choose where you want to eliminate bodyfat. When you're in a caloric deficit - meaning you take in less energy than you burn - you will lose weight. But where that weight comes from on your body is hugely genetic.
Why is this a good thing? So that you can stop worrying about it. Don't worry about that stubborn bottom belly fat, or the extra flab on the back of your arms. Consistency is your ally, so keep making healthy choices daily and keep up the workouts.
It should also be said that how you look doesn't define you. Just because you're not ripped with hard muscles or toned like a Victoria Secret model, eating right and living a healthy lifestyle will give you so many more benefits that just looks. Besides, you'll probably look really good to 99% percent of the population anyway; we are often our own worst critic.