As anyone who has worked in a gym for more than six months will probably know, people tend to be somewhat overly optimistic about how much weight they can lose and how long it will take them to do it, especially when holiday time looms.
One of the elements that attract people most to a concept, idea or course of action is its possible ease of execution. Given the choice of two possible options, people usually opt for the easier one, whether that ease is financial, time saved or physical exertion depends entirely on the individual in questions view of what is easiest.
The vast array of diets and exercise plans with the promise of rapid results feeds into that human desire for the easiest route. Adverts for meal replacement drinks, point system diets, twelve weeks to a bikini body, lose ten pounds in a fortnight, plus the ever popular before and after pictures of people losing ten, twenty and even thirty kilos, help to fuel the notion that it is easy.
With so much information available at our fingertips, we are able to research or find out about any subject with a few taps on a keyboard. As scarily omnipresent as it is, Google is one of the best resources available for modern living, with so many of us utilising it daily and in some cases, multiple times. Everything from recipes to racing cars, places to pictures are searched for online.
It is hard to get away from the look, the aesthetic, of fitness. We are, after all, primarily visual creatures. Bodybuilding and fitness competitions exist and flourish on the way the competitors look. Nobody cares how fit they are. The coveted six pack, jutting hipbones, V-tapered back, are all looks, filtered through media aesthetic and Greek statue mythology. Though the female body beautiful of the modern day is a complete media fabrication, how we look and what is considered attractive is not wholly natural.
It is not until you cannot do something that you truly begin to miss it. Fitness is like this. You discover how unfit you are when you try to run for a bus, the lift in a four storey building is not working and the stairs are your only option or, especially if you are someone who maintains a moderate degree of fitness, get injured.
Ricky Hatton, the former light-welterweight and welterweight boxing world champion, famously earned the nickname Ricky ‘Fatton’ for his penchant for gaining an enormous amount of weight between his fights. He would walk around, fat of face and rotund of body, quipping his way through social functions and television appearances. Come fight night he would be ripped and ready.
I am a big fan of bodybuilding.com. It is a fantastic website, jam-packed with information from people who are passionate about everything health and fitness related. There are workouts, recipes, blogs – ooh, I should post there! – and fellow fitness enthusiasts. Members have profiles where they can display their progress pictorially, or numerically via body measurements and stats. They can tell you how they feel, what workouts they are up to and what workouts they have coming. Like I say, it’s a fantastic site.
It is an unfortunate side effect of blanket media and social media, that physical fitness and one’s appearance is such a dominant aspect when it comes to fitness. Especially for younger people, with advertising and the use of actors/models targeting their demographic, there seems a societal pressure to conform to certain norms.
It is not enough that we in the fitness industry coerce you into doing physical activity that you neither need nor enjoy, somehow fooling you that actually the opposite is true. There is also a whole slew of people, both qualified and other, who would have you believe they know what you should eat. Right.