We’ve all seen it before, a man pumping some serious iron in the gym, headphones plugged in, arm curl bar curving under heavy weight, his face in an intense stare in the mirror as he grunts out his reps. It’s a common sight in a lot of gyms and one of the reasons people end up not taking much of a liking to gyms. Just because you go to the gym you’re not automatically healthy. The same guy staring into the mirror arm curling way too much with gigantic biceps has a problem.
Enter gym gut.
Gym gut isn’t the worst problem we could have as a nation. At the very least these guys are going to the gym and burning off those extra calories from lunch on the run. Imagine what would happen if they didn’t go to the gym at all? Health doesn’t come from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. You can’t just look pretty on the outside, you have to have pristine organs if you’re going to live long and without chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. The best way to do that is to monitor what is going into your body.
Think of it another way. You save up your money to buy one of those brand new 2020 Corvette Stingrays. You have zero miles on it when you buy it, I mean you drive it off the showroom floor. You wash and wax this thing on the regular, be careful never to drive it in salty road conditions, and baby it gently over curbs and speed bumps for the next 10 years. Here’s the catch, you never changed the oil on it. In those years you’ve racked up almost 30,000 miles and not one oil change. What would be the best outcome? The engine seizes but a high-end mechanic is able to fix it and you can drive it again. What’s the worse outcome? The engine seizes, the car catches on fire, and you have to stand there and watch it burn.
Time to take care of the insides, too. There are a lot of diet fads out there that tell you not to eat carbs and to overeat protein. Just be balanced and don’t eat too much of anything and you’ll be good to go. Try and stay away from the empty calories of alcoholic beverages as well. A little red wine can go a long way during dinner, but keep it to the serving size of five ounces, which admittedly isn’t easy to do, especially if you’ve got a nice bottle on hand. Too much alcohol usually causes some poor eating choices at the end of the night like sugar. A well-proportioned Mediterranean Style diet might be a great place to start.
The stereotype that someone who works out all the time should go home and devour a 120-ounce porterhouse because they “need the protein” is nonsense. All it leads to over time is clogged arteries and colon issues. If you’re reading this and you’re 20 years old then you probably don’t have all that much to worry about, yet. Habits start young though and if you think that you can eat that way forever then you will be sorely mistaken as you age and your body can no longer process these calorie-dense foods the same way. This is what leads to the eventual gym gut. Men who haven’t reevaluated their diets can be living dangerously.
You cannot exercise away a bad diet. It’s just not possible. This doesn’t become very apparent until your metabolic rate slows and your body starts to change.
Eat more raw fruits and vegetable, stay away from alcohol and learn to manage your stress and you can keep your body looking trim and sexy for a long time. In fact, as you age, lifting heavy weights is no longer necessary. Lighten up the weights and go for higher reps. It’s not about how much weight your lifting, but time under tension. Less weight and more reps gives you lots of time under tension without putting added stress on your ligaments and joints. You also need to have a balance of cardio exercise and something for balance, like Yoga or Pilates.
Eat healthily and you will be healthy. The focus should be internal, not external.