Given the fact that I spend the majority of my time writing about health and fitness and running and exercise, you might think that after a few years, I’d be pretty sick of it all.
But I’m not. That’s why I chose this as a career. After I worked for a few years as a personal trainer, in the heart of it all, I knew that I wanted to take the new passion I had found and combine it with an old love—writing.
So, that’s what I did, and here I am.
I’m not sick of it all. In fact, I’m only just getting started. But I have come to find that there are certain things that do tend to get on my nerves.
The other day I took a screenshot of the homepage of a website that will remain unnamed, not because I was impressed by it, but because it was kind of disheartening to look at.
“10 Ways to flatten your belly”
“15 Foods that Banish Belly Bloat”
“This Workout Will Get You a Hollywood Body”
These were the headlines being promoted in the “Health and Fitness” section of a major website, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that these things have almost nothing to do with improving your health or fitness.
There’s no such thing as a workout that can get you a “Hollywood Body,” whatever that even is. A “flat” belly is an overrated aesthetic that’s probably not worth all of the sacrifices you’ll need to make in order to achieve it (although I do get why it’s a “thing” and, if I’m being honest, am personally mesmerized by the allure from time to time), and belly bloat? Really? There are no other more interesting health- or fitness- related topics we can talk about?
I beg to differ.
Does the media keep perpetuating these same “fluffy” stories because we keep clicking them? Or do we keep clicking them because it’s all we’re being offered?
I mean, that’s a complicated debate that applies to much more than just health and fitness content, but in either case I’m not so sure there’s a clear answer.
But the one thing I do know is that I am trying my hardest to not waste time by contributing to this pile of unhelpfulness.
I can’t say that I haven’t been slightly or even fully guilty of it in the past (especially when I was just starting out), but as my knowledge has grown and my experience has widened I’ve become more and more adamant about avoiding it.
I can’t think of a better example to help more clearly explain what I’m talking about than a recent experience of my own, as a fitness content consumer rather than a “manufacturer,” if you will.
So, remember how before I mentioned that I get the whole “belly fat” thing? Well I do, because as much as I exercise and eat well, the one place where my body refuses to lose fat is in my lower abdomen. I know, me and almost every other woman out there, right?
Since mid January, I’ve been following a strength training plan for nearly eight weeks. I’ve watched my arms and shoulders become more defined. I’ve noticed a nice increase in muscle mass and definition in my quads and my glutes (thank you squats!), but the fat around my lower abdomen continues to cling to my tummy.
I don’t know the answer to everything, but I’m educated in health and fitness enough to know that since my exercise and sleep habits are pretty on point, the answer to getting that belly fat to finally go away likely lies in reevaluating my diet and adding a little bit more high-intensity cardio to my workout routine. Only that’s not something I really want to do, because I’m pretty happy with my current eating habits, and even with a schedule that limits me to about 45 minutes of gym time in the early morning, I already exercise six days a week.
But that’s a whole other story. (which will be in next month’s issue.)