Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What's Down-Right Ridiculous about #FitFam

After I read Greatist's article by fitness expert on "The Brutally Honest Body Image Lesson that Should Be Taught in School," I felt convicted of some of the points she makes about identifying the reasons for working out. Are you training to look better and/or feel better? And do you enjoy your training or do you dread it? These are questions that need to be revisited periodically if you've joined the #fitfam.
This is a photo from the "Greatist" article mentioned above.
When I began training for my first fitness competition, I started tracking my progress via Instagram (IG). Immediately, my feed was filled with #eatclean #traindirty #getupandgrind #meatheads. I fell in love. But, one of the lessons I've learned (and many times over again), is that too much of this kind of  messaging we see, read and post can become less "inspiring" and more misguiding.

Do the photos you see and the captions you read help you with your daily grind? Do they inspire you to work harder in the gym or educate you on how to eat healthier? 

What you'll see on my Instagram profile
Many of them probably do, and to that — more power to ya! But if you see an image or read a message that makes you feel bad about your body, then the person who posted it is probably not looking to inspire anyone, but is probably trying to fuel their own tank by getting some kind of positive feedback.

I often go through my feeds and unfollow so-called "experts" or "coaches" who don't post resources that can help me and my homies on our health and fitness journey. If you know what I'm talking about, then why the heck are you letting that crap fill your feed? ... Or worse, fill your head!

That being said, here are my top tips for for setting apart your fitness journey from the #haters and #selfies out there.

Be the Best YOU that You Can Be

This is an idea that must be renewed every. single. day. Literally, I wake up and ask God to remind me to thank my body for supporting me in all of the torturous activities I do. I also ask God to purify my motives for working out and instilling discipline in my nutrition.

When I think of my fitness goals, I have to be careful to remember that my ultimate goal is to glorify the Lord with my body. Any goals to reshape my body can get so convoluted by the messages sent to me via social media, magazines, and my own critical chatter box that I lose sight of why I train my body in the first place.

You will never be at peace with your body if you're too busy trying to change it.

I need to be sure I'm not trying to change my body to be like anyone else's but just be the best ME I can be. I'm pretty sure I will never have that perfect hour-glass shape with a 8-inch difference between my waist and butt. And maybe the best fitness plan for you doesn't entail super-heavy-crossfit-style lifting, but rather a combination of aerobic conditioning and body weight movements, like a little of this, a little of that, etc. Whatever it is, own it and do it!

Set Smaller, Achievable Goals

One of the biggest challenges I see for my clients in personal training versus group training is the lack of accountability available between me and the client. I can only call, encourage, text, email and push a person so long. To these people who have trouble sticking with a fitness/nutrition program, I advise setting specific, measurable goals.

Instead of thinking, "I want to get stronger and feel leaner," think "I want to be able to do 20 pushups in a row without stopping." 

Here are some ideas for goals:

  • To fit into a certain size of clothing
  • To gain/lose inches
  • To lose body fat percentage
  • To be able to do a specific exercise for a specific amount of reps/time
  • To be able to run/walk a specific distance in a specific amount of time
  • To be able to lift a specific amount of weight
  • To be able to cook a specific amount of meals on my own
  • To eat at home a specific amount of times per week
  • To bring my lunch to work a specific amount of times per week

Stop Following Social Media Stars

Is it just me or does everyone and their dog on Instagram (IG) claim to be some kind of expert, guru, competitor, professional, etc.? I have to be careful here because I understand IG is one of the most influential spheres for those in the #fitfam. Many are just trying to share their story and what's worked for them. I'm one of them! My passion may have turned into my career, but I have to constantly edit myself on IG to make sure whatever I'm posting has the potential to help someone else or serve as some sort of valuable resource for one looking to get fit from the inside out.

Too many people on IG are posting selfies in their undies and hashtagging it #discipline or even worse, including some kind of inspirational caption that has absolutely nothing to do with the aforementioned, borderline soft porn. 

Some of the photos on my Instagram
When it comes to messages like that on social media (and traditional media), my advice is to remove it from your line of vision. Don't entertain that kind of messaging by liking or commenting. In fact, the best thing to do is de-follow these "friends." Unfortunately, these kinds of people are probably more insecure than any of us.

The best thing to do is surround yourself with people and messaging that give you either practical instruction or sincere inspiration, and pray for those who don't. 

Other tips for sticking to your #grind and finding your place in the #fitfam:

  • Track your progress with pics and measurements
  • Appoint people to keep you accountable
  • Record your reps/sets/weights/distances/speeds/etc in a journal or on your phone
  • Join a group fitness class or atmosphere
  • Plan your meals for the week and prepare meats in bulk
  • Schedule your cheat meals or "flexible moments" around events or parties
  • Focus on what you can eat instead of what you can't eat
  • Focus on strengthening your spirit, soul and body in every workout
If you or someone you know struggles with negative self-talk or wants to make the steps necessary to get healthier, click on the tabs above for more information about my services or the gyms where I coach. If you have questions, don't hesitate to email me. Thanks!
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