“Cheating” your way to fitness

After reading the “Can you cheat your way to fitness?” Article on the BBC this morning, it sparked a bit of a reaction in my head. Summed up the article is saying that you are supposed to get in around 150 minutes of exercise a week and from there you can get around 110 minutes from doing chores around the house. My first reaction was a little bit of anger in regards to saying its fine for people not to get out and exercise and try a healthier lifestyle.

I can see conversations now “I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle, always get in my exercise for the week.” “Oh yeah? Where do you go running?” “Ahhh no, I just do the hoovering twice a week instead of once now”. This type of thinking isn’t good, there is a growing problem of obesity in the UK so to give people the idea that doing no exercise and doing some gardening is going to give them their weekly exercise seems ludicrous to me. Surely we should be pushing people to be doing more outside of the house/work than reassuring them that they will be fine doing what they are doing.

While I’m aware all kind of activity is going to raise the heart rate and do good, I personally don’t feel doing my weekly chores around the house counts as any form of exercise. While reading this article I kept thinking about to a year and a half ago where I did very minimal exercise at University; I sat in lectures all day to come home to do my assignments sitting at a desk and then have some down time by playing computer games and I thought this was a perfectly fine way to live my life. However I was ever so gradually putting on weight and becoming increasingly more un-fit.

I had tried to lose a bit of weight by doing some fad/crash diets and maybe go running once in a while but I wasn’t fully committed to making it a lifestyle change so it never really stuck. It wasn’t until September 2013 where I thought enough is enough and joined a gym with a good friend of mine. We did some reading, got educated and made ourselves a program. The first 3 months flew by, 5 days a week, yet my diet still wasn’t on point at all. I lost a bit of weight, felt my cardiovascular ability was a bit better but there was definitely a long way to go still. I got my diet in check and saw results which continued my motivation and desire to constantly become a better version of myself.

At no point did it ever feel like work I HAD to do, I wanted to do it.

What this is all leading up to is me saying there needs to be a change in the way the media deals with exercise and fitness. There needs to be education about certain marketing myths such as “If you do 50 reps of a light weight you’ll get toned”, first off the word Toned needs to be eradicated from the English dictionary what people tend to mean is they want a lean muscular look but that only comes from having some muscle mass and a low body fat percentage. No amount of reps with a 2kg weight is going to make you “look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club” (a common phrase thrown around fitness forums). Another common myth that grinds my gears is being able to spot reduce fat, I see it in the gym all the time: rows of people laying on the floor doing sit ups thinking they’ll get their six pack abs in the next few weeks. Now I have no qualms about people training their core, it’s a very important muscle group the problem I do have is that 85% of people will only do sit ups and do nothing else to help get the abs they want so badly.

People need to get serious and get educated and are going to need help getting there. It’s not going to be easy as people only want quick fixes rather than putting work in.