We’ve all seen those workout regimes that promise extreme results in a little time- and we know how appealing the idea seems at first. But, these seemingly innocuous titles promising miracles are dangerous. Titles like “Get Abs in 2 Weeks” and “Lose fat in 7 days” are alluring and give beginners to work out false hope. Here’s why:
#1: They're Misleading
Every single individual had a different body and metabolism. It may be very hard for one person to lose weight, whereas another might struggle to gain weight. With people having such different bodies, it’s unreasonable to claim that a workout or a regimen will give everybody abs.
#2: Aesthetics > Health
Additionally, it creates a negative body image for many impressionable and young people. Surrounded by workouts that focus on seeing drastic results can be very harmful to one’s own body image. It creates an impression that prioritizes physical and aesthetic improvements over changes made to one’s health. One’s eating habits and health should be prioritized over aesthetics.
#3: It's Simply Impossible
Workouts that tell you that you can achieve definition in one part of your body over the rest are absolutely absurd. It's a known fact that for certain features to be more defined, like the abdomen and back, the individual needs to have an overall low body fat percentage. This means that it's impossible to spot reduce. In order to become slimmer in one area, you will need to lose weight all over.
#4: Unhealthy Role Models
Lastly, it’s rather naive to assume that your favorite workout influencer is healthy. Many influencers are under such scrutiny in the public eye that they may resort to unhealthy eating habits, like starving themselves, and overworking their bodies. You never know what's going on in someone's life behind a screen.
In this post, fitness influencer Stephanie Buttermore posts about her struggle as a bodybuilder and her transition to a healthier lifestyle.
What Should You Do?
It's remarkably easy to fall for gimmicky advertisements when it comes to working out, but there are a few things you should do when you come across deceitful content.
Firstly, you can definitely watch that video or follow that regimen, but understand that you may or may not attain the results promised. Also, switching the content you consume can make a huge difference in changing your mindset when it comes to exercise! Look into influencers and athletes that preach health over all else and prioritize balance. Some of my favorites are Stephanie Buttermore and Natacha Oceane.
Lastly, don't fall into the trap of calorie-counting. While eating healthy is important, everything must be balanced, and make sure you notice when you tend to go extreme - either in your workouts or diet. Catch yourself before these bad habits become a never-ending cycle.
It’s important that we intentionally move away from these toxic expectations and focus on our health and be patient with our bodies. Progress in the gym takes time, and as long as you put the work in, you will reach your goals. In the meantime, make sure you listen to your body: take breaks when you need them, and switch to other movements as necessary.
With all that being said, here are two things you should remember as you start your workout journey.
#1: The Mental Health Benefits
Working out consistently has been proven to significantly improve one's mood and optimism. Moving your body every day can actually positively affect your outlook on life, and it can even prevent serious mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. As you work out, notice your shift in mood over constantly looking into a mirror or stepping onto a scale to judge your progress.
#2: The Physical Benefits
Beyond aesthetic modifications, working out improves the entire body through activity. Consistently working out can improve muscle strength, endurance, and the overall functioning of various body systems. By improving one's health, doctor visits become less frequent and the quality of life improves dramatically.