They will always boil down “failure” to lack of hard work or lack of will.
It just isn’t so. But you wouldn’t necessarily know that until you’ve worked a decade of 60-100 hour weeks in big box clubs where you cannot isolate yourself inside your phony bubble. You wouldn’t know it’s wrong until you run scientific experiments on metabolism. You wouldn’t know it’s wrong if you didn’t look to find any other explanation. You wouldn’t know such a thing as TOO MUCH exists if you never study economics.
I have known the hardest working, most dedicated, most compliant people who are already PAST the point of diminishing returns. When you are PAST the point of diminished returns, you don’t get MORE benefit from MORE input. You get less.
I’m ashamed of how I and some of my early employees created imaginary narratives about gym-goer regulars who increasingly got in worse and worse shape over time (circa 2005). We thought they were closet eaters. We thought they just weren’t working hard enough; or they were eating “too much.”
But then we got to know some of these people, well, like REALLY well. One girl worked out twice a day, HARD. She met with me and a few of my employees for nutrition programming and we found she was UNDEREATING. This was not a total statistical outlier, mind you. I’ve come across this HUNDREDS of times. Again, if fitness is your hobby, not your true profession, you wouldn’t know this. Your data set is incomplete.
I mean, I think it’s cool that people who like being in shape call themselves trainers or coaches. But just check yourself. Before you have over 10,000 hours of dedicated time focused on laypeople and helping them improve, please shut up. You found something that works for you and your tiny little populace of basic bro clients. Please stop making grand sweeping generalizations about humanity.
And if you don’t understand how human physiology can gain fat while undereating and working out A LOT, just recuse yourself from the discussion. I once had a client whose blood lipids, glucose and calculated liver glycogen reserves represented about 2800 Calories. Her MEASURED resting metabolic rate was under 600 (the calculation tables would’ve anticipated she be closer to 1800). She couldn’t get her heart rate high enough to burn more than about 160 Calories per hour. And at an hour she’d be ready to collapse. Even if she fasted completely and worked out four days in a row, there was no guarantee her body wouldn’t just break down proteins in order to feed the gluconeogenic pathway and spare body fat. Never mind the fact that my collapse comment wasn’t hyperbole. Ok, genius, tell me how to solve this one with your calories-in/calories-out “just push harder” methodology. Iron will and hard work don’t overcome physical laws.
No single technique works for everyone. Move more/eat less is a decent idea; and it’s not terrible advice all the time. But it misses a fair bit of nuance, namely that most people aren’t eating enough NUTRIENTS to run a halfway decent metabolism. Some conditions are different than others. Once you are “in shape,” you are an anomaly, and abiding by very different rules than the average American whose underlying health is extremely compromised.
I have a client who lost 20lbs over the course of 6 weeks when I forbade him from exercising. That’s right. I demanded that he NOT exercise. He was in a state of complete overwhelm. And I reasoned that he needed to REDUCE perception of stress. Exercise can be an eustress for anyone. But it can be past the point of diminishing returns for people who view it as torture.
There are ample studies showing that two groups of people dieting and exercising the same way have different results based on sleep. Rest and recovery contains a magic we are loathe to understand. Now, advances in bacteriology and microbiology are showing us that our symbionts are powerful allies or enemies. There’s a complexity that we can’t escape, no matter how simple-minded we wish it would be.
Push harder is simple. It sounds good. It makes for a great motivational speech. But its practical application value is ZERO for a lot of people, maybe most. Stress must be managed, and intelligently leveraged. It can’t just be heaped upon itself wantonly with an expectation of good. And if that’s all anyone ever returns to in their philosophy, there’s a good chance they’re a fake fitness “expert.”
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