Saturday, April 13, 2013

Truth: It doesn't take anything special to get into shape

A couple of topics in one here today and I'll warn you in advance, if you like your blogging politically correct you've come to the wrong place.

So, getting into shape. There's a quote going around from the Pirate movies where Captain Jack says "the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem", and I think this applies so well to people trying to lose weight and get into shape. Especially with political correctness, there's an attitude that "in shape" is some sort of elite condition that requires exceptional circumstances, and is not a realistic expectation for most people. As a result... people either give up before they even try, and accept a false belief that they are "supposed to be" fat, OR they go to extreme, counter productive lengths.

Let's clear a couple of things up early on.

Ripped abs, very low body fat, extra muscle mass... this is not the natural state of a human being and there is no reason for anyone to feel that they should look like that, unless of course that they decide that's what they want. In which case, they'll need to train quite specifically and strategically towards that goal. I've written in the past that this elite level of training is really beyond the level of activity that is natural to a human being, and so it is essential to fuel appropriately.

Let's define this as "getting into ELITE shape", and it only happens through the right amount and type of training combined with appropriate nutrition.

Just being "in shape" though... we're talking about being in a normal state, quite literally "the shape of a human being", the physical condition that you should be in under normal circumstances. There's a nice, politically correct, "feel good" notion out there that people come in any variety of shapes and sizes, all of them are fine and healthy, and it is unreasonable (and quite horrible) to think that any of them are better than any others.

Well, unfortunately it is my sad duty to inform you that that is all bullshit. People do come in different shapes and sizes under normal conditions, and they wouldn't be super-ripped... but there is a limit on this. Being in normal shape requires nothing out of the ordinary. Contrary to what those nice, kind, politically correct people will tell you, it is being excessively out of shape (aka obese or morbidly obese) that is the result of exceptional circumstances.

So let's wrap it up.

To get into normal shape, or even beyond normal shape and into GREAT shape is simple.

  • Eat an amount of food suitable for an adult human being.
  • Train in a manner that makes up for the lack of strenuous activity in modern life, by pushing and pulling some heavy objects around for up to an hour a day.
That's all. Some days you'll eat more, some days you'll eat less... as long as it's about right on average, your body will utilise it as fuel and to adapt to training.

Here's what's not required and is actually counter productive.
  • Overly strict, starvation diets with restrictive food choices.
  • Excessive calorie burning (calorie wasting, I should say) exercise.
Unfortunately, that's what most people do though. Why? Because they have been TRICKED into thinking that "in shape" is a condition that requires exceptional circumstances. Ridiculously, people have been taught that the way to get a healthy body is through unhealthy measures such as these. How does that make any sense at all?

When you excessively restrict calorie intake, while also excessively burning calories, your body's response is to conserve and store energy. This is an exceptional circumstance that leads to unhealthy weight gain, just the same as inactivity and excessive consumption would.

Bottom line: you're an adult, act like one.

A sensible adult would not over eat on lollies and cheetos, and pretend that this is normal. Neither would one expect to achieve a healthy, normal body type by starvation.