They didn’t even ask MY advice!
But I’m not upset about that largely because, well, I have plenty of advice for people who want to start the new year toward a healthier, fitter, and maybe leaner you, but nothing new just because it’s 2017.
Let’s start with the reason for this post. I was contacted by a writer who did an article on how to get motivated to be fitter and healthier. She did not ask my advice; she only asked my opinion of the article. The dynamic graph was impressive. And the advice of the 100 so-called ‘experts’ was pretty standard.
There was nothing new for 2017.
That’s where I get to riff. You see, if you know me, you know I’m a well-read exercise scientist/personal fitness trainer who’s got way more experience in Nashville, Tennessee, the South or even throughout most of the country, which means more than most people on earth…and I still don’t know how to motivate people to get fitter and healthier.
As a hired gun, a personal trainer does the things anyone can ask of a motivator: first, we’re there by appointment; then we guide clients through reasonably challenging and stimulating exercise routines; then we discuss nutrition, lifestyle, disease-management, etc; then we set them up with a few bits of homework based on their stated goals and obvious needs.
Then we send them home at the end of the session to do whatever they were willing to do to help themselves in the first place anyway.
I’m sorry if that sounds skeptical and cynical but that’s what I’ve seen over the nearly 30 years I’ve been in the business full time. As I am fond of telling clients, especially those wanting to lose weight, you are with me for 2 or 3 hours a week at a pretty high dollar amount. That leaves about 165 hours a week on your own.
And all it takes is one meal at McDonald’s or Dalts or even a high-end restaurant to blow all three workouts!
So, unless I’m there with you day and night, and unless you’re willing to comply with every one of the fairly-well researched behaviors that would alter your body and mind, health and wellness, fitness and sanity – well, you’re not and neither am I. We are only human after all.
Besides, when I have had some successes with folks accomplishing their stated initial goals – usually weight loss but sometimes more fitness or less pain – it has come on their backs, not mine. In other words, they incorporated some of what I taught and showed them and they made the changes necessary. They took the time, found the energy, focused on their goals and made them happen.
In other words, I credit you, the client, with your success, not my motivational capabilities or intellectual prowess, if there are any.
So, back to the advice from the pros. All good points were made, and the summary data is well worth taking in stride. The individual comments, if you go to the bottom part of the article, are, again, affirmative of the main points – find a partner or some social element to your exercise program; set realistic goals and keep records; have fun, etc. etc.
But I do take a contrarian position on the “Right Nutrition” piece.
If you’ve followed any of my prior writings on nutrition and weight management and/or health, you know that I’m not a food nazi. The word “Right” implies that there is one primary and maybe a few auxiliary ways to eat and which foods to eat. I would suggest another possible way to view the matter: life expectancy.
A massive study years ago found the highest predominance of centenarians (living over 100 years) in three cultures: Okinawa, Japan, among Seventh Day Adventists in the US, and Georgian, Russia (I think; I could be slipping in memory on that one.) And they don’t eat the same. The Okinawans eat a lot of white rice and seafood, and veggies. The Adventists are vegetarians. And the Russians – they live in the mountains, drink vodka, and probably a less-than-balanced diet.
In conclusion, fitness pros are opinionated, knowledgable, and sometimes arrogant (like me.) They make good points as a whole and individually. But when it comes to motivation, self- or other-, put me down as a skeptic. Your successes are yours, your failures are….well, I’ll let you figure that out.