By, Sean Light PRT, RSCC, LMT
The room temperature is cool but the feeling in your gut is icy. The sound of the clock ticking the seconds away is now screaming in your ear.
There you sit, all alone, in that familiar white room, on that familiar white paper. Lysol is the only thing you can smell.
Waiting for those footsteps to grow louder, followed by the jolt you get when the doorknob starts to turn.
The doctor walks in, “What’s the results Doc,” you anxiously ask?
“Well,” he says, “it looks like you have (insert disease/ailment here).”
But HOW?!?!?! I eat well, I exercise every day. What more could I have done?
Look at football and all of the new concussion data that is coming out. As the first generation of football players are getting older now, we are starting to see the toll that it has taken on their bodies. This is football generation #1.
Now let’s look at fitness. Historically speaking, this is the first time that exercise is a widespread phenomenon. There are gyms on every corner. Big gyms, little gyms, yoga studios, Pilates spots, cycling, Orange Theory, CrossFits and the list goes on and on and on. Everyone is doing something and if they aren’t, they know they should be. And in a few years, we will see the results of fitness generation #1.
We are going to see devastating results from YEARS of relying on businessmen and marketing campaigns masquerading as knowledgeable health care professionals preying on your ignorance.
Pulling workouts from an Instagram model because she has a nice ass or lifting with your friend because he plays football is displaying a complete lack of respect for the complexities of the human body.
I cannot wait to see the statistics on what I expect to be a soaring number of disc herniations and back surgeries in the coming years. Go ahead and add cases of unexplained anxiety issues, high blood pressure and worsening vision to the list.
Most of these trendy new fitness fads are just a strategic marketing campaign designed to suck you in. CrossFit has a catchy slogan and a national fitness competition boasting physiques from men and women who look like they could be fighting for Sparta in the movie 300. Orange Theory has you workout in “the orange zone” the entire time targeting high metabolism and fat burn (which I actually think is a cool and effective concept). Yoga is supposed to increase your flexibility. Spinning is long duration cardio in a room that’s basically a club and Zumba dances away the pounds.
Trainers are real people. They have real people problems. They are businessmen and businesswomen trying to pay rent and put food on the table. It’s not exactly a great business decision to start emphasizing the need to have a pelvic diaphragm that can both ascend and descend and charge people $150 an hour for a recovery or meditation session. The market gets what it wants and it wants six packs, an ass and a pair of guns that would make Kim Jung Un stir in his throne. They just don’t care about their respiratory pattern or the motion of their sphenoid or their autonomic mobility…………….yet.
All exercise is not created equal. Fitness can have a gigantic positive impact on your body and mind but it can also have just as gigantic of a negative impact as well.
Let’s look at an example here:
Maybe you are trying to shed some weight so you decide to hit the treadmill. You go as hard as you can for as long as you can. You minimize your rests because, well, resting is for the weak. Your heart rate soars. The treadmill, somehow, magically tells you how many calories you burned and that number looks good so you now like this exercise.
You crush it, doing it every day and if some is good, more is better. So you start doing more and more exercises.
Now your phone is showing how many calories you burned because it just installed the magic calorie reading software that the treadmill uses and that number is zooming up. But that Instagram model must have run out of time in his 60 second post and didn’t get a chance to show his massive recovery program that I’m sure he has. I mean, he’s got a six pack, so uhhhh, yea he’s an expert. And I’m sure all of the exercise physiologists out there will agree that 60 seconds is more than enough time to convey the basics of calories burned, heart rate training and recovery.
Now you go to the doctor for you annual check up and he tells you, “well I think you need to exercise more, your blood pressure is a bit high.”
“What the hell do you mean exercise more? I’m a freakin savage! Did you see my latest IG? Got like 175 likes?”
“Well maybe your diet needs to be cleaned up?” He might say.
“Nope can’t be that, I’m keto right now so I haven’t had a carb in months. Maybe YOU need to clean it up!”
What neither of you realize is that on top of your workouts, you’re working a stressful 8 hour job. Your girlfriend’s birthday is coming up and you don’t have a gift. You’re dominating Game of Thrones episodes on HBO and your getting a solid 5 hours a sleep every night. You’ve now created a state of chronic vigilance also known as hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Your body doesn’t shut off. Keep this up and the doctor will give you some pills to take until death do you part.
Where do you get your information from? Are you Googling workout questions? Scrolling through fitness hashtags?
Who is your trainer/doctor/therapist? Do they love their job or are they just collecting a paycheck? What are their certifications in? Is it a PhD or a weekend certification? What books are they reading? Are they reading at all?
How will you make sure that doing the right things?
I don’t have that answer. It’s impossible for the general public to properly decipher between what’s really good from really bad. But what I do know is that you will pay the price for putting your trust in the wrong person.