Monday, March 12, 2012

Be The BEST, Not The Thinnest

Body fat seems to be the enemy of 90% of gym-goers these days.  They don't lift to get strong, they don't run to get fast, and they most certainly do not pedal on that spinning machine to train for their next summer bike trip.  No, they lift, run, swim, bike, squat, pull, and jump to get LEAN.  They want those rippling abs, popping veins, and to fit into those size 1 jeans.  It's become an obsession, and in my opinion, it has gone too far.

Sure, there are exceptions.  Some people go to the gym for different reasons.  But those "honest to goodness" gym-goers seem to be getting scarcer and scarcer.  I have to ask, what gives?  I lift because I love lifting, and love feeling strong.  I eat healthy because I want my body to perform at top notch levels (a "champion" level, actually), and if I maintain a lean, muscular frame as a result of that, so much the better.  So many people torture themselves to eat so cleanly they're basically grazing with the cows, and run for so long that one of these days they might forget their legs on the treadmill.  All in the name of 7% body fat.  Listen, I'm about to drop some knowledge on you that might surprise you:

Some body fat is actually HEALTHY!  Anywhere between 7-15% is healthy for a male, and 10-20% is healthy for a female (by the way, body fat percentage means the total percentage of body mass you have that's not LEAN body mass.  Lean body mass is muscle, bone, and all other essential body mass.  Body fat is excess adipose tissue.)  Sure, that may seem pretty low if you're an average, slightly overweight middle aged person, but the upper end of this range is extremely achievable through regular exercise and a clean, balanced diet.  And the lower end is still EXTREMELY achievable if you're determined.  Remember, you get out what you put in.  There's no magic trick, but I've given you hundreds of tips and tricks at this point to get started.  So if you're confused, scroll through my articles for workout ideas and awesome diet advice.

But you have to ask yourself.  Is maintaining 7% body fat really what you want?  Sure, it may be nice to look shredded for a month or two, get some good pictures in, but let me tell you something, to get as ripped as this:

takes pure, unfaltering dedication.  Can you do it?  OF COURSE!  But if you ask Kane Sumabat (the guy in this picture, who is sponsored by Controlled Labs, a very successful supplement company), he'll tell you how crazy his workouts are every day, how incredibly strict his diet has to be, and what his life is like (FITNESS FITNESS and MORE FITNESS).  This is his life.  And while it's possible to get cut like him, it may not be worth it to the average individual.  And that's completely, 100% OK.  You can be at 15% body fat and look GREAT.  Heck, you can even be a little higher than that, and look darn good.  It's all about your diet, your dedication, and what you put into it.  If you eat clean and work hard, you will look good, no question about it.  NO...QUESTION...ABOUT IT.

But wait, am I overlooking some crucial advantages to fat loss?  Listen, fat loss can be extremely important.  If you are overweight, trying to lose fat is an extremely reasonable and intelligent goal.  It can help you live a much longer, healthier, more enjoyable life.  But don't forget about the other things the gym represents.  It's a place of self trial, and new challenges.

So here's what I suggest:  Don't JUST run to lose that gut, run to be the fastest you can be.  Don't just lift because you were told to by some stupid article online, lift to be a strong, powerful, impressive individual.  Set goals for yourself.  Jump higher each day, try to squat a little more, run a little faster for a little longer.  Don't think so much about the fat, or being 100% shredded, just try to be the best.  The weight will come off, you'll look amazing, and you'll BE amazing too.  So what if you're not 2% body fat.  If you can out-sprint everyone else, if you can throw more weight over your head than all those other hulking guys, if you can do more burpees in one minute than any other girl, no one will care that you're not some perfectly sculpted bodybuilder.  You're strong, you're fast, you're a BEAST.

Don't go to the gym to be the thinnest.  Go to the gym to be the best there is, was, or ever will be.

Good Luck.

1 comment:

  1. Kane follows the iifym principle, he's diet is the opposite of strict, he eats bacon and pop tarts on a regular basis :p