When it comes to being healthy and fit – living the fitness lifestyle – every single day you’re either living it or losing it. There is no status quo when it comes to a healthy lifestyle; every day your body is a little bit better or a little bit worse…
There’s a simple reason for this: you and your body come from opposing viewpoints when it comes to measuring fitness. You want a body with enough muscle and limited fat, right? Your body, on the other hand, has learned through evolution to want just barely enough muscle and sufficient fat stores.
Why does your body want what you would class as unhealthy and unfit? Its job is to ‘protect’ you and keep you going, and to do that you need sufficient energy no matter what the situation. Energy, in terms of your body, means calories. While your body needs enough muscle to function, muscle burns calories faster than fat does – so ‘extra’ muscle means a loss of potential energy saved for future needs. Fat, on the other hand, is stored energy – energy your body may need in times of reduced caloric intake. Such times range from the 8 – 12 hour fast between supper and breakfast to times of famine. That may change over several generations now that we live in a culture of overeating, but for now you’re stuck with the genetics formed over the past million or so years when food was much less plentiful and much harder to procure daily.
So to overcome this genetic cycle, you have to remain vigilant in your pursuit of a fitness lifestyle. No, you don’t have to hit the gym and lift weights 7 days a week. That would be counter-productive, as you need about 48 hours between sessions for muscles to heal and grow. But you DO need to keep your body in that cycle, so that each day it’s either working out or recovering. And proper nutrition should be a daily habit 7 days a week – remember that food is simply fuel, and any day your body doesn’t get the right fuel is another non-optimal day for someone looking to lead a healthy fitness lifestyle.
In short, the playing field has changed but your genetics haven’t adapted to those changes. You can’t just sit back and think your system is going to keep ticking along just fine without your input – it’s just not going to happen. So while everything may seem just fine on the surface, if you’re not ACTIVELY staying fit and eating right, internally you’re backsliding.
Make fitness and healthy eating your daily habit and before long it’s no longer a major effort but instead it simply becomes your lifestyle – your healthy lifestyle. If you’re young, don’t put it off for somewhere down the road – you can be doing irreversible damage to your system in the meantime. Think you have a fast metabolism and can eat anything you want? Talk to a few people with Type 2 Diabetes and you’ll find many of them felt the same at your age. No, they didn’t put on extra fat from eating anything and everything – but they DID dull their insulin receptors and eventually developed diabetes because of it.
If you’re older, don’t accept aches and pains on waking or a lack of energy by early evening as normal – both are signs of not being in shape, of not having been living a fitness lifestyle. Get back on track with your exercise and healthy nutrition, get enough sleep and watch how quickly those symptoms disappear!
Your body may not be optimized for your goals, but it WILL respond to the input you give it. If you teach it you need a lot of energy every day, it’ll respond accordingly. If you teach it you’re going to lift heavier and heavier weights it will respond by building bigger, stronger muscles. If you teach it you’re going to run further and further or faster and faster, it will develop the cardiovascular resources to cope with that. It needs your help, of course, in the form of proper fuel – healthy food choices in the right amounts – and it will do what’s needed from there.
So did you live the fitness lifestyle today, or did you backslide? The choice is yours and yours alone, so take action on the exercise and healthy nutrition front EVERY day and enjoy your healthy & happy fitness lifestyle and all the benefits that come with it!