Listen to the constant chatter about fitness and nutrition, and you’d assume the health industry was broke.
I admittedly have become tired of reading blog posts that debate all of the problems.. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to figure out how to lose weight, gain muscle, or just find a diet plan that actually works.
Bring up any topic, and you hear complaints on how to improve the fitness industry, ranging from:
- Bad trainers
- Bad gyms
- Bad diets
- Bad studies
- Lack of studies
- Lack of information
- Too much information
- No discipline
Calm down, the last one is a joke. (Really, it is.)
I could go on and on, and no matter how many “flaws” mentioned, addressing any one of these issues would still leave a hundred others. This is why some people view improving health, fitness, and nutrition a lost cause. If the system is beyond repair, what’s the use in spending time trying to find a solution?
The obvious answer is that we have no other choice. That’s because there’s nothing more valuable than your health.
There’s a legitimate reason why so many people are willing to spend so much money trying to look and feel better. Your health is important. Your appearance means something to you. And building a body that can withstand the innumerable stressors of life if one of your biggest priorities. This is the modern day equivalent of, “survival of the fittest.”
If you ignore that responsibility, then it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have–life will find a way to crush you.
So it makes sense that we keep trying to fix the system. But at this point it’s worth taking a step back and admitting what should be obvious: what if we’re trying to fix the wrong problem?
What if you shifted the focus from external factors you can’t control?
There’s a very simple philosophy that helps reduce stress: spend the majority of my energy focusing on aspects of my health that you can directly control.
I don’t stress about outcomes that are beyond my influence. And while I play a role in the fitness world, I’m not egotistical enough to believe that I can control the outcomes.
If it were up to me, we’d all spend less time trying to fix the fitness industry, and more time trying to fix ourselves as individuals.
The real issue starts with self-perception.
If I could change one thing in the fitness industry, it would be that everyone would be more comfortable in their own skin.
It might sound ridiculous when you consider the image-based reality of fitness, but changing this mindset is the foundation of less stress and anxiety, and more success and results.
Fat people shouldn’t hate themselves for carrying extra weight. Thin people aren’t meant to suffer every time they look in the mirror. And muscular people could remove the feeling of failure every time they saw someone bigger or stronger.
You see, regardless of your physical state, everyone lives with inadequacies that make living healthier a more complicated process.
It’s our own self-perceptions that oftentimes are more crippling than the bad trainer, diet plans, or gym chains.
At the end of the day, loving who you are is what will motivate you to do what’s necessary; believing that you can become something better than what you are will help you overcome whatever bullshit exists in the industry.
If you’re willing to fight for you, your body, and your life, then everything takes on secondary importance.
The flaws in the industry are just fuel to the flames. That’s why I try to spend my efforts on spreading the truth about popular topics.
But the fire starter is your poor perception that erodes the value of your efforts. And that oftentimes places hurdles that can stop progress before you begin.
Your own personal struggles cat be motivating. I was once a former fat kid and someone that suffered many injuries. Those personal struggles motivated me to learn more about the human body, and ultimately drove me to a career where I could help people overcome the same obstacles. Pushing harder and fighting forward when your back is against the wall is something we should all strive for.
But you don’t need frustration or failure to succeed. You just have to understand that it’s oftentimes part of the process.
Learning to love who you are regardless of what you look like or how far you are from your goal is the first step towards creating a plan for long-term success.
By doing so, you’ll know and understand that you’re worth more than the image you see in the mirror. That your success can be defined in many ways, and your appearance is not the only measurement of health.
This is one of my primary goals with the clients I work with. Part of the object is to help you reach your goals. The other aspect is psychological, motivational, and behavioral. It’s teaching people that their insecurities and flaws are normal. That building confidence is a process. And that within everyone lives someone that is awesome.
Sure, you’ll still run into frustration, and failed diets and exercise plans. But you’ll like who you are and believe in what you can become.
And once that happens, it’s not a matter of if, but when when everyone will be able to take charge of their health and establish their own rules of body transformation.
When that happens, the complaints will stop and a new health economy will rise.
Adam Bornstein is a New York Times bestselling author and, according to The Huffington Post, “one of the most inspiring sources in all of health and fitness.” An award-winning writer and editor, Bornstein was the Fitness and Nutrition editor for Men’s Health, Editorial Director at LIVESTRONG.com, and a columnist for SHAPE, Men’s Fitness, and Muscle & Fitness. He’s also a nutrition and fitness advisor for LeBron James, Cindy Crawford, Lindsey Vonn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His work has been featured in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Fast Company, ESPN, and GQ, and he’s appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, E! News, and The Cheddar.