The fitness industry doesn’t really want you to get fit. Kyle Swetzig tells you why, and what you need to do to establish and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Companies sell “sexy,” because we buy “sexy” with the hopes of becoming “sexy.” But here is a secret: They don’t ever want you to become “sexy.” If everyone was “sexy” they would have to find something “new”, hence why they keep everyone in a constant loop in the fitness industry. The industry is always marketing a new diet, a new exercise, and sometimes even surgeries, with hopes of making billions of dollars worldwide. The good news is I’m not here to make money – I’m here to change lives, so I’m going to tell you the truth on becoming healthy.
Before we start we need to STOP, and take a step back to look at my statements above. As a fitness instructor I don’t want people to show up to my classes; I want to inspire them to live a healthy life. The healthier society is, more great things that can happen! A grandmother can hold her grandchild, a father can raise his child, a college student can study for their PHD. What ever your dreams are, being healthy will help accomplish them, however, the fitness industry doesn’t teach people how to adapt, which mostly ends in failure. Back in 2000, (I know it is a few years old) a systematic review of over 898 weight loss studies from 1931 to 1999 showed that 30% of people will drop out of their fitness program. 50% of participants will lose some weight. However, here is the kicker: Only 15% will maintain their weight loss after 3 years! (1)
As a fitness instructor that is a shocking stat. Think about it. Out of every 100 first-time people who walk into any LesMills class this year, three years out, 85 of those people will not adapt a healthy life style. Talk about a kick in the gut!
It even gets worse! A recent study (2015) shows even darker stats. King’s College of London claims “the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity. The findings suggest that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at population level.” That means if someone is severely obese they have less than a 1% chance of getting into a “normal healthy” weight…..EVER! (2)
With obesity on the rise, talk about a double kick in the gut! Is the fitness/food industry failing? As an instructor, am I failing? Sadly, I want to say yes. The industry’s priorities are set on the quick, rather than the long term. Let’s take any random diet. Here are some common themes you will see: Calories are king, forcing you to eat in perfection. You cut out carbs, sugars, GMOs, gluten, protein, or you add carbs, protein, sugars (HELLO PREWORKOUT, yes supplements are part of a diet) and the list goes on. Diets love placing you in a BOX. Is this “box” realistic for the rest of your life? No. Are you really going to be slamming protein shakes and doing box jumps at 90 years old? Fitness programs and diets alike both have an all-or-nothing attitude. How often do you hear “GO HARD OR GO HOME?” They also like to focus on the scale, rather than healthy. We determine health by a number, rather than how we feel. Look at any Women’s health magazine. “How to lose 10 lbs of fat in 3 weeks!” It’s contrary to any men’s health magazine. “How to gain 10lbs of muscle in 3 weeks!” Okay, both admirable goals, but are they sustainable, and will you have a healthy balanced life after completing these challenges? You might find yourself putting more time at the gym to maintain these results rather than being with the ones you love. These are answers for you to decide, however we both know that you won’t eat a specific diet for the rest of your life, nor will you do the same type of workout for the rest of your life either.
So how do we focus on obtaining a healthy lifestyle so you can accomplish your goals and live longer, happier life? I do not want you to be one of the 85 people that will drop out of a commitment that you made to yourself and your family. I asked my participants what they did to develop a healthy life style and came up with five key tools you can use to over the rest of your life to accomplish this.
#1. This is the most difficult and possibly the most important. It is to ask for help. YES! Ask for help right away. We naturally don’t want to do this. We feel insecure doing this. If you can’t ask for help you won’t accomplish anything no matter how “great” you are/think you are. Jesus Christ had 12 disciples! If God needed help navigating this world, you do also. Having people support you through the process is key. It will allow you have fun, make friends, and even find something bigger than yourself. This can be in the Group Fitness room talking a Les Mills class, a running club, a volleyball league at a local bar, or even a church basketball group. Whatever it is, find people with a similar mindset to help you get moving.
#2. Focus on the solution, not the problem. So you are overweight, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are super skinny and want to gain muscle. Whatever it is, stop focusing on that. Let the people you connect with know what you are trying to accomplish and develop a passion about how you are going to do it. When someone asks or gives you feedback on how you are doing, don’t focus on the problem. Need an example? Joe wants to get to a healthy weight. Someone compliments him on how he looks. Rather than saying “Thanks, I lost 10 pounds”, Joe should focus on the solution by saying, “Thanks, my goal is to run a half marathon in October, and I am do A, B, C, and D!”
#3. Another hard one here. We are not perfect people and again I am going to ask for some humility. Be honest with yourself on your shortcomings and failures. Write them down and take a look for anything in your life that is seriously affecting your goals of a healthy life style. If you go to wing night every Wednesday and have 3 beers, is this accomplishing your goals? Probably not. I am guilty. I love wings and beer. However, if you are honest about your shortcomings, you can adjust. I know if I have wings and beer with my buddies Nick and Ken, I have to switch something up later in the week. (BTW Nick and Ken I found a new wing place I want to try.) Each person’s shortcoming are to the individual, but please be honest with yourself.
#4. We are asking for some additional humility here. Be truthful with progress and relax about the situation. Are you doing everything that you set out to do? If not, adjust it, but don’t disregard it. If you seriously can’t wake up at 5 a.m. to hit the gym at 6, that’s okay! Make an adjustment and find time at lunch. Be honest with yourself. If it isn’t working, it isn’t helping you. Make adjustments to your plan, but don’t give up on your goals.
#5. Give yourself credit. Write out daily goals that will effect a change to this lifestyle. Even if they are small goals, you still accomplished something. Add to it the next day. Write in a journal about how you feel. Write your successes; write your failures. Revisit them weeks later to see how you have progressed. A little faith goes along way. You have more in you than you think.
Now all of these might change in sequence at any moment. But with these five tips you will not only accomplish a goal to sustain a healthy lifestyle, but I know you will learn a few things about life along the way, and break you from the “fitness loop”.
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Special thanks to Nikki Allen Photography
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This article originally appeared on Kyle Swetzig.com
Ayyad C. Anderson T. “Long-term efficacy of dietary treatment of obesity: a systematic review of studies published between 1931 and 1999.” Obes Rev. 2000 Oct; 1 (2): 113-9
King’s College London. “Low chance of obese people recovering normal body weight.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2015.