Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cheat, Don't Lie

Like everything else that I’m interested in, I like to read magazines about things that deeply interest me. I subscribe to at least four magazines in addition to buying another 5 or so off the magazine rack. Fitness is no exception. Unfortunately, these magazines are deeply part of the same fitness establishment that drives me crazy with so much inane advice that is so counterproductive to overall health and strength.

Examples of this are fitness magazines that give out cocktail recipes. Sure, they’re using nutrient-rich veggies and fruits in the mix but its still an alcoholic drink. Or, the suggestion that, “the occasional slice of pizza or bowl of ice cream is actually good for your diet (Men’s Health, February, 2008). The sex-drenched articles could be left out, as far as I’m concerned too. I could keep going but I’ll just limit myself to why these annoy me so much and why I think that they’re wrong.

The notion of healthy alcohol is laughable. I’m sure that some alcoholic drinks are better than others but this is like saying that you’d rather get shot in the chest with a .22 than a .45 because it’s a smaller bullet. Both are bad for you, even if one is going to do more damage. Alcohol is a liver poison and there is where the problem lies. Your liver is a magnificent, multi-purpose organ that does many things for your body, including metabolizing all of the carbohydrates and fats that enter your bloodstream. A healthy liver is essential for fat loss and maintaining a healthy weight. When you drink, you damage your body’s energy distribution center. No amount of fruit or vegetable juice added to booze is going to change that.

Just as laughable is the idea that junk foods are somehow going to help you maintain a good diet. I cheat and eat foods that I’m not supposed to, just like everyone else. I refuse to believe that it’s doing any good for me though. Eating that way is a setback to overall fitness. The question is whether the setback is great enough to show a noticeable impact on it. I know that I could eat far more junk than I do and still maintain a healthy bodyweight, along with decent health and strength. Many others aren’t so lucky. I have a friend who, after two kids, will notice jeans getting tighter after only two days of bad eating. Put it this way: Non-smokers don’t celebrate quitting by lighting up a cigarette. Why should you celebrate newfound health and strength with a meat lover’s pizza and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s?

Now it doesn’t have a lot to do with obtaining strength but it absolutely has something to do with overall health and that’s your sex life. Men’s Fitness, September 2007 featured an article on open relationship marriages. This risqué, promiscuous sex advice just puts you in danger of getting an STD, it’s just that simple. No protection or testing is going to save your ass if you sleep around. This could easily cover another article so I’ll delve into this more in a future article.

The bottom line is that we all cheat a little and do thing that are counterproductive when it comes to maintaining health and strength. What is important that we don’t do is lie to ourselves and say that it is okay. Ultimately, what gets people is getting into the habit of saying that this little bit is fine. Habits are crucial to health and strength. By always telling yourself that this little bit is fine then you end up with a dozen or so little things that, added up, kill your progress. Before you know it, you’re unhealthy and weak. Figure out what your tolerances are for these cheats, moderate accordingly, and be honest with yourself.

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