Big difference. Unrelated, in fact. You ever get frustrated by trying to do what “in shape” people do? It doesn’t really get you inTO shape. That’s because most in-shape people haven’t overcome what you have in order to get inTO shape.
It’s like trying to figure out how to bootstrap launch a business by studying other businesses. Most businesses exist because prior wealth came from mommy or daddy or a familial investor. You gotta find outlier examples or someone to “adopt” you.
Likewise with fitness - most examples aren’t very helpful. Motivating or inspiring? Absolutely. Educational or informative? Eh... too much bro science and conflicting narratives.
If you weren’t a natural childhood athlete and you find yourself in adulthood trying to get inTO shape, it’s a VERY different experience. If you did have an athletic childhood, but it’s been years since you were really healthy or active, it’s VERY different. At a certain level, being lean and fit is a skill of certain hormonal and enzymatic cascades. You’re unskilled. You can’t use skilled examples as your template. You can utilize them for inspiration. Don’t conflate that with instruction.
I know. I know. Rules of biology exist independent of the personal experience of the person invoking them. True. But there’s the x-factor of what is right for the individual.
Consider this: when I used to do new hire development, we would reach a day where we talked about prescribing homework for clients; and I would ask the group what they thought were best activities for the rest of the days of the week. If the trainer was herself a runner she’d say, “running.” If the coach himself loved yoga, he’d say, “yoga.” If the new hire liked lifting, he’d say, “lifting.” And so on. To the first, I’d ask, “what about an amputee or a client who just had knee scoped?” To the second, I’d say, “what about someone with preexisting hyper-mobility or Ehlers-Danlos who needs MORE joint stability?” To the third, I’d say, “what if they dislike lifting or cannot hit safe postures on their own?”
Fit gurus have passion. They all have their likes. But they haven’t yet figured out how to connect fitness to an outsider, an outlier, or an unexpected case. What I’ve learned over thousands of clients and members is there is no totally “normal” or “expected” case.
I learned this firsthand. I have rare lever ratios, odd muscle insertions, and a vast history of injuries and health troubleshooting thanks in large part trying to listen to “experts” who were playing by a completely different set of rules than mine. My personal experience lent itself to predominantly working with clients who are equally or more vexing in their orthopedic and health issues.
And I have to say, most of the people I’ve coached would not be able to make any progress with the typical advice and formats out in the fitness world. In fact, they all tried, and ended up working with me mostly as a direct consequence from popular programs failing abjectly.
I get it. It’s very frustrating to hear “eat less; move more” preached at you. It kinda burns coming from people who just haven’t faced what you have. I understand. It’s irritating hearing about the primacy of heavy squats from people who never moved like you, never dealt with your injuries, and don’t understand that there are VASTLY different skeletal builds. It’s a non-starter when you’re overstressed with life to hear a stress-free kid tell you to do MORE. You’re not weak-willed or lazy. You’re just listening to the wrong people who straight up don’t get it.
Personally, I want to spend most of my time in a week educating people or playing with my kids. For me, that means I will do at a maximum maybe 90 minutes per week of what would be considered exercise. I find that makes me much more capable of understanding busy professionals than when I was first in the industry, at a time when it was important to me to be the biggest, strongest, or leanest person in the gym. That list of priorities has no connection to me or most humans. If a guru's understanding of fitness requires 8-16 hours of workout time and hours of meal prep, how does that instruct the person who simply wants to improve their overall week?
Just pick steps and work steps which are a net win. Start where YOU are. Work YOUR steps