Here’s a quick little wake-up call to anybody that has ever believed that bodyfat can be torched in 30 days. Do you know what the most dangerous word in fitness (and possibly the entire world) is? Convenient.
According to Google, the definition of convenient is “fitting in well with a person’s needs, activities, and plans,” “involving little trouble or effort,” “situated so as to allow easy access to,” and “occurring in a place or at a time that is useful.”
But when it comes to fitness, convenience is not your friend. In the end, changing your body requires willpower.
Yes, I know that flexible dieting and If It Fits Your Macros (a.k.a. Everything Fits My Macros) both sound awesome to the average fitness-ee. It’s nice to be able to work out in the convenience of your own living room so that the general public doesn’t have to see you sans-makeup and sweat-covered. It’s great to only have to work out for 30 minutes, three times each week. And lifting lighter weights for high reps isn’t about staying long and lean. You don’t want to lift heavy weights because it’s hard-ass work.
When fitness professionals spread the idea that fitness is convenient, easy, quick, they’re doing you a huge disservice. Because being healthy isn’t any of those things.
Sure, it’s not as hard as your Instagram-idol might make it out to seem, but that’s only because Instagram coaches only post the PRs, the hard workouts, the repulsive stomach-turning meals, the well-lit abdominal and upper back photos. They only want you to see those things, not because they want you to fail, but because they want you to recognize how physically, mentally, and emotionally strong they “are.” They want your likes, your comments, your shares.
But make no mistake, being healthy isn’t convenient, easy, or quick either.
Going to the store and purchasing chicken breast, broccoli, and brown rice isn’t convenient, eating the Christmas candy stuffed inside your stocking is.
Going to the gym, running through a 15-20 minute warm-up, and then busting through squats and deadlifts isn’t convenient. It’s not really all that enjoyable either. It would be much more fun to skip the warm-up and just move through an ab circuit as you lay comfortably on your back.
Running sprints isn’t convenient either. It requires putting on shoes, finding a track or a hill, and sprinting back and forth until you’re just about nauseated. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just drive to the gym and walk on the high-incline treadmill for a half-hour?
And never mind going out to eat with friends or family. It’s much more convenient to order the burger than it is to explain to curious friends and family why you didn’t.
It’s more convenient to make excuses than it is to follow through with actions.
When I wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Goes Fitness, I noted that the food with the path of least resistance is the food you’re most likely to choose. It’s the same with exercise. And sleep.
As a human, you are literally programmed to resist resistance. Why would you deprive yourself of food when it is so readily available to us? Why would you place unnecessary stress on your body in the form heavy weight when you could be at home watching Netflix instead?
Because our modern life is now too convenient for us to be healthy without these things.
Fitness is meant to help us break out of our convenient lives and challenge us beyond what our normal, every day routines are capable of. Lifting, sprinting, and mobility work are all meant to be a taxing, albeit in different ways. Without the strain, there is no adaptation. And the adaptation is what makes you stronger. And as Mark Rippetoe once uttered, “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.”
The five components of health might only technically include body composition, strength, cardiovascular capacity, muscular endurance, and flexibility, but there’s more to it than that.
A good body composition probably means a better health markers. Strength might be mental, as well as physical. Cardiovascular capacity isn’t just the ability to run a mile on the treadmill, it’s the ability to run around with your children. Emotional endurance is just as important as muscular. And being flexible with your schedule is just as important as being flexible in the gym.
But becoming these things won’t be convenient, easy, or quick. Don’t let anybody out there convince you otherwise. It’s going to be hard-ass work.
But if you have a little bit of willpower, it will be worth it.