Fitness: 7 Things You Need to STOP Doing
Quit wasting your time doing these seven things, and you will be well on your way to your health and fitness goals in 2014 and beyond:
1. Bread & Pop
Seriously… stop. I don’t care what any of the giant farm-lobby-supported health organizations say; bread is the ultimate processed carb. I’m not saying that the occasional slice is going to kill you, but making a staple out of something that-can-only-be-produced-by-something-only-grown-by-monocultural-farming is a bad idea.
And pop or soda is 100 times worse. Every time I see kids drinking pop I want to punch their parents in the face. This may sound extreme, but what if instead I threatened to give them diabetes, heart disease and obesity? Would that sound better? Because that’s what they are doing to their kids. Childhood treats become adult habits. High fructose corn syrup and pop are the tobacco of this generation. Mark my words: someone from the class of 20XX will file a suit against the producers of this poison for giving this generation obesity.
I hope they win.
Yup, I said it . I don’t care whether you are talking 30 minutes on the dreadmill or elliptical or your morning jog. Quit moving slowly. Again, it’s not going to kill you but you literally and figuratively aren’t going to get anywhere fast. If you enjoy it: Great. Do it because you enjoy the activity, but stop thinking it’s doing you much good. Use it to get you warmed up then get to some intensity. Go hard and fast. Do some intervals. Run like you stole it.
3. Not Squatting
If you’re one of these guys that randomly picks up heavy things looking to get “jacked” or “ripped” or some girl wandering the sugar-coated dumbbell rack hoping to get in some “shaping” or “toning”: just stop. Stop fucking around with all this bullshit you see in “fitness” magazines and squat. Grab something heavy and squat. And all you people out there half-squatting, doing standing sit-ups and touching your ass to the bench: quit desecrating the most sacred movement in exercise and get your ass all the way down, ass-to-ankles. Yes, I know some people aren’t capable of it but they can be: they just need to work on it… and it’s important so you can take craps in the woods and pick things up off the floor.
Squatting also makes you run faster and longer, jump higher and it’s what your butt is made to do so that ends up looking pretty good even if you don’t have sweet yoga pants. More muscles are activated in a barbell back squat than any other exercise. If it’s not coming naturally, find a professional to help you on your way. If you do no other strength work: just squat. If your gym won’t let you or your trainer isn’t teaching you: find a new one, because they won’t be around long and neither will you if you can’t squat.
4. Measuring Your Heart Rate
I don’t care whether you are trying to get the heart rate monitor on the treadmill or using a strap or FitBit. If you’re using some manufactured device to tell you how hard you are going: stop.
I’m not saying there is no value in knowing what your heart is doing. There is some good stuff to be learned from HRV ( Heart Rate Variability) and a few other measurements . . . but those are best used on the ferraris of the fitness and sports world; not you. The idea that you need to work at a moderate heart rate zone to make sure you burn a high percentage of your calories from fat is total bullshit.
Let’s suppose calories really are an effective measure of exercise and you burn a higher percentage of your total calories from fat with moderate work. Saying this is better than higher intensity work is like saying having 50% of my net worth is better than having .5% of Bill Gates. You can have HR monitors and fit bits, but if you don’t regularly go hard enough to make yourself want to stop, you’re not getting that much done. If you like running or riding machines that is fine –just do it fast enough that you can’t read a watch.
5. Participating in BS Charity Runs
This is not as much about health and fitness, as it is about Columbus pride and not-supporting events in this city that make douche bag promoters want to come here. If running with a mustache motivates you to kick it up a notch and get fit: go for it. But please pick a legitimate event that does what is says it does. Many of these “themed runs” are just a kitschy stab to get your entry fee. Very little of the funds raised go to anything other that the promoter’s pocket. In Columbus, we are some cool, awesome people. So if you promoters want to have an event: do something cool and awesome or piss off.
6. Not Following/Sticking to a Program or Your Commitments
The best program is the one you will commit to and do. Commit to something, put it out there and follow through. Gyms have gotten a bad rap for asking people to commit financially to a course of action (and in a lot of cases these guys are douche bags).
But if your commitment to your credit cards, cable and cellphone contracts is stronger than your health and fitness commitment, no amount of “inspiration” or internet advice matters. If your main goal is to spend as little as possible on your most valuable asset, how the fuck can anyone help you?
7. Looking to the Internet for your Fitness Answers
What do you like to do? What are your goals? The internet does NOT have the answers to these questions. Do one squat right now, quit looking at the internet for your answers, think for yourself and move your ass. You have a body and it wants to move. So move it.
Your food should heal you.
Your workout should challenge you.
Your people should support you.
You can have results or you can have excuses.
The common denominator in all of this is You.
Quit pretending your “reasons” are anything other than excuses. Do the work, now.
Mitch is the owner of Fit Club the CrossFit Affiliate of Downtown Columbus. For more information, visit www.ohiofitclub.com.
Photo by Jennifer René of Jennifer René Photography.