We won’t apologize for the longish article, this is your body, your health…your life.
2014 marks a new year and another’s pass, do you remember being younger? Do you recall your energy and body? Are you of the mind that time wears us out or that youthfulness slips away? Fitness tends to centre around the idea of change. Making a change, wanting a change…needing a change. We think change is just as misunderstood as it is plain old tough.
Often to get to the core of things one must risk getting a bit philosophical and we have no problem starting – what may be one of our most important posts – stating that time is essentially change. Time can be recorded, remembered even predicted but as an actual real everyday thing it is simply recognition that everything is on some level at different rates…constantly changing. ‘Before’ simply means when things were different as later fundamentally means things won’t be the same forever.
Past, present and future are not equal in a practical living sense. Your present is this moment as you experience the change, the other two are always purely theoretical. Don’t believe us? Look at a clock with the seconds ticking by. Look at it then look up and say what time it is to the second…immediately look back down at the clock, it isn’t that supposed time anymore. Don’t scoff, one second, a one-Mississippi count is plenty of time for an incredibly wide and significant amount of things to have happened…yes to ‘have’ happened.
Time…as Einstein said; “is what keeps everything from happening at once”. Funny point because it’s true. You are not, nor have you ever been static, some things may have seemed to remain constant but close inspection will prove different. Patterns repeat but the final details change even if on a level tough to perceive in everyday life. Many of you may have been introduced to this concept in grade school with regards to geologic time verses human life span (where canyons are carved over eons and seemingly solid stone moves and changes imperceptible to the everyday eye).
What does this mean with regards to health and fitness?…everything. Things will always change and the true Tao (way) of fitness is not so much a matter of trying to stop the current but to get into the flow with the proper tools. What to eat, how to exercise and how to treat conditions are all just little details. If you can’t see and deal with the forest of life as it were, then climbing to the top of the tallest tree won’t matter much.
We humans tend to approach being in or out of shape with plenty of procrastination and denial. That is, we tend to over estimate useable time or just feel that time is only against us. These extremes are but wrestling with reality which though part of human progress and making a better place in life, can be misleading, pardon the pun…over time. This is the tough issue of needing acceptance and giving yourself the freedom to change.
Facing your honest condition and considering needing to change often causes this fear↔denial codependence. We fear trying to change so we make excuses and rationalization to avoid making tough choices. This is of course why helping people make these choices is a meaningful profession for us.
It is gratifying to see people stop the cycle of personal avoidance and lack of personal acceptance but it can’t be a passing fancy. It can’t be just a kick start…it must begin with a solid, well founded, properly understood viewpoint on the subject not just a list of rules.
Even a cursory look at our past articles will show how we avoid telling you what specifically you must do. Even though people think and act as though they want specific orders of what to eat and how to exercise if you have worked long enough as a fitness professional you’ll know different. People make their own choices as soon as there is stress involved. You naturally pick and chooses schemes you feel affinity with, this doesn’t necessarily mean ‘like’ just that you will attach to things some conscious others based on personality. We have always promoted that the key is always dealing with yourself as an individual. Not attaching to fads or getting stuck on others plans is important. Anyone can get the process of being fit started…few cross the finish line, which brings us back to time.
The problematic thing about health and fitness is there is no real fixed finish line. Setting goals and accomplishing them is fine but time marches on, goals are only checkpoints. Your body changes constantly and finding balance by adapting IS the finish line.
Change is tough because we are designed to be skeptical of noticeable change just as we can react harsh to anything which stands out as significantly different than what we have come to know as ‘the norm’. Health if not fitness over the eons has been a crude matter of our bodies working to maintain homeostasis. This where physiological processes attempt, against influence, to remain balanced and regular. Body temperature, sleep patterns, localized and systemic injury recovery, body mass composition etc. are all heavily regulated but in a rough reactionary way.
We hear time and again from clients losing body fat that others think they are losing too much and perhaps the change doesn’t look healthy (loss of cellular fluid/turgor from less than maintenance calories can temporarily make one look drawn). This even though the individual may still have plenty of visible fat which is simply covered by clothes . We have detailed in past posts why fat loss is not really a positive state to be in and this is what others sense.
The goal may be healthy but the losing portion has many negative aspects and should be handled with care. The same can be said with building conditioning and strength where folks may appear to over do it even injure themselves if they aren’t careful.
Serious change is often met with a sense of losing control because we are conditioned to try and see things in a manner which makes us feel secure, essentially it is human to strive for security. We can take the sensible stance of saying we don’t regret the past however most often our present abilities and behaviour say different. As we age which in the present just means change, we can mistake being stuck riding in a rut for a secure feeling of balance.
We confuse habit with security much like correlating the collection of ‘stuff’ with achievement. The more we experience signs of repetition, like having things around us staying maintained, the better the sense of security.
An almost perfect connection can be made with fat gain and fat loss. For our ancestors living and surviving has been harsh for so long that we humans are strongly influenced to build fat stores, survival habits and find/keep useful things. Giving up stuff is difficult just like shedding fat stores. From an evolutionary perspective fat loss is counterintuitive at best and almost always a recipe for disaster in the wild.
We live in a new age and like it or not things have changed fast. Now what helped us avoid the elements, starvation, boredom and such…threaten to ruin our quality of life if not cut it short. It may be going too far to suggest ’embracing’ change but for health and fitness it certainly needs to be understood and respected in a proper context.
The great news is you don’t have to give up the energy and enthusiasm of youth if first you accept that from a physiological standpoint you have always been changing. Periods may be looked back on as good or bad but you were always dealing with change to remain fit and healthy. Remember at its core – fitness is just your capacity, at any given time…to live and experience quality of life.
Making big changes, especially with regards to physiology and fitness, brings on big bumps and a somewhat disturbing, jostling about. Significant alterations and adaptions cause tremors and twisting through our entire body system. This is best accepted not so much with the attitude of paying a price but by letting this sink in:
The feeling of disruption and uncomfortable alteration which comes with some change IS what causes the change.
It is the body sensing the stress of disruption which actually commands and initiates the metabolic changes desired.
It is the actual agitation which provides the code sequence to recover, rebuild and improve or at least maintain.
Healthy change allows us to better deal with the stressors of life. Well managed change improves living. Physiologically, proper change permeates every aspect of us and improves all of it. It’s not a necessarily evil but a wonderful part of being an individual in river of time.
If you want real lasting fitness change and to know what to do to get and be healthy start with:
◊ Knowing who and how you are – what makes you, you?
◊ Don’t look away, get use to being present and responding to your ever changing state. Get comfortable with adapting.
◊ Put time and effort towards maintaining youthfulness. Let every personal choice reflect this…not anti-aging mindset so much as a pro vitality point of view. Manage that which causes the changes we categorize as aging rather than fighting or ignoring such things.
That is your diet, that is your exercise plan. Put together these things and good fitness decisions will flow from it. As always there is no guarantee with matters of health and there is no such thing as ‘super health’. Health is something you have or do not have. Fitness is the main ingredient, let it be the hub of your change.
Be well, we look forward to sharing more with you this new year.
Tierney & Andrew