By Zach Columbia BS NASM FPT
The other day I had someone in my office that said to me, “I don’t care about being healthy, I just want to look good.” Not going to lie, it made me laugh pretty hard. In reality, this woman just said aloud what just about everyone is thinking. If you’ve read any of my past articles or listen to the Healthy Living Scottsdale Podcast, then you’ve probably heard me touch on this subject. If there weren’t aesthetic benefits to working out, few people would actually do it. With that being said, I feel like recognizing how the two are related is incredibly important.
First off, I’d like to discuss the topic from a shear survival and procreation point-of view.
Stop and think about what physical attributes we as humans find most attractive. I will tell you right now, they all communicate health and wellbeing. A fit physique? We think of strength, safety, and an ability to procreate. Someone who appears unfit, appears unhealthy. Overweight, communicates to obesity, disease and an inability to provide protection or care. A nice smile communicates joy, happiness, and a healthy diet. Nice hair communicates internal health through absorption of minerals and a healthy diet.
It’s about survival. Humans want to procreate with someone that’s healthy and are therefore more attracted to healthy attributes. That’s why appearing healthy is so sought after in our society.
Second and more importantly, you should never jeopardize your health to accomplish a goal.
This is the most backward predominant thing I see in the fitness industry. There are so many powders, supplements, and diets that negatively impact health long-term, but help with weight loss or muscle gain in the short-term. While I can totally empathize with someone who wants to see fast results, it’s simply the wrong approach.
Think about medications. How often do you see a commercial for a new medication on TV? After the scene of a beautiful woman walking through a peaceful meadow, the commercial then lists horrific side effects two pages long. This is the perfect example of what I’m talking about. Sure, the medication may address one symptom, but it causes all kinds of other horrible health issues instead of fixing the underlying cause; health.
Just like appearing unhealthy is a symptom of some underlying health issue, appearing healthy is a symptom of being healthy. People don’t ever recognize that they have a health issue until a noticeable symptom pops up, but the symptom is not the issue, it’s the result. What then is the right approach and perspective?
You don’t lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose weight!
Ingrain this in your mind. It’s the only true answer to what you are ultimately trying to accomplish. Prioritize health first and the symptoms will be what you wanted to accomplish in the first place. Once you start to get healthy, you’ll likewise start to notice the symptoms of your improved health. If you don’t put your health first, you’ll never reach your desired result… at least not long-term. In other words, you may be able to hit your goals without prioritizing your health, but you’ll never be able to hold on to them.
My advice; always start with the goal of health. If you’re unhappy with the way you look or the way you feel, understand that it begins with your health, and YOU are in control of that!
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