As a fitness freak or a fitness enthusiast and a coach for quite some time now, I often am bombarded with the weirdest of fitness-related questions from different people at the even weirdest of places and at the weirdest of times. There was this one time, back when I had bulked up quite impressively, and just as I got off the urinal after pee-ing, during an interval break in the cinema hall, as I walked up to the washbasin to wash my hands, there was this guy, who kind of like was checking me out (Lol! Or so it seemed) – and then he suddenly walks up to me and says “can you give me some tips to get a body like yours?” and I went like “right now? here in a public toilet?”
Another time, I was sitting in front of my laptop all glued into some spreadsheet I was perusing, sipping on a grande-sized black coffee at Starbucks, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, one guy walks up to me and asks “can you suggest any healthy food that I can buy here at Starbucks™?” I just looked at him and laughed! (Like really, healthy stuff, at Starbucks™!)
So, let me try to bring out 5 common questions that I get asked often that drive nuts when it comes to fitness. But let me begin by stating that I do not doubt the intentions of the people who come and ask me questions. Frankly as my 9th std. Maths teacher used to say “No question is silly!” Having said that they do drive me nuts, but I understand the origin of these is due to a lack of knowledge on the part of people in general around health and fitness. I do understand that we as humans are always looking for overnight quick-fix solutions.
With the insane level of misinformation that is spreading these days surrounding health and fitness, I do understand the obvious confusion it creates in the minds of a layman. Hence, in this article, from the point of view of a layman, I put to rest some frustrating (yeah!) yet some really common questions that arise in the minds of people.
ANNOYING QUESTION #1 – “Can you give me some tips to get fit?”
Tips? It takes hard work.
I think this question hands-down tops the list. Last year I had written an article ‘What is going to happen?’ in which I had mentioned the Gap Theory of Interest as researched by George Lowenstein in ’94. That curiosity happens when we experience a gap in our knowledge. This gap creates a sort of pain, that makes us vulnerable and susceptible to any piece of information thrown at us, and because we urgently desire a closure of this gap, we tend to ask for ‘tips’ as a quick fix.
And yes, tips are given by waiters to diners who are unable to decide on what to eat at a restaurant! But when it comes to health, no one size fits all. Every individual’s body is different from every other individual’s body. The body structure, height, weight, BMI, tendencies, genetics, lifestyle, pre-existing conditions, habits, etc all need to be factored in before one can be advised about a health plan.
So this question is kind of lame, don’t you think?
How can what I follow be applicable to anyone else?
Think about it!
ANNOYING QUESTION #2 – “Bro, how much protein do you consume?”
With the advent of bodybuilding and body shaping, and with the insane amount of body photos being posted on Instagram, the one macronutrient that has achieved massive fame is – protein. I can also say, the one macronutrient that has become infamous is – protein as well!
No doubts that protein is the most essential and vital component that needs to be a part of one’s diet, however, the other nutrients (both macro and micro) also have an essential role to play in one’s long-term good health. But over time this protein craze has only grown. We only talk about protein when it comes to health or workouts and ignore the importance of others. That is, to say the least, very unfair.
Some facts –
For the protein to do its function of growth, repair, maintenance, etc the body requires its dose of carbohydrates and fat. Without an optimum supply of these, protein gets wasted.
A so-called high-protein diet will replace sources of carbs and fats with proteins. When too much protein is consumed, don’t be naive to think that it would get stored somewhere in your body for further use, instead, it will get converted to fat by a process called deamination.
The optimum consumption of carbohydrates will have a protein-sparing effect i.e. the body will use carbohydrates as its source of energy. But if it doesn’t find the desired amount of carbohydrates, it will use protein as a fuel. The body will first get rid of its glycogen stores and then attack muscles burning amino acids to get energy. This can lead to muscle catabolism.
In short, don’t be paranoid about protein only, think of nutrients, think nutrient density and think of an optimum balanced diet that suits you.
ANNOYING QUESTION #3 – “How do you motivate yourself to exercise regularly? I can’t get myself around to doing that”
I somehow can’t get myself around to fathom this one either. Why does motivation have to come in something to do with your long life? I always tend to retort back to my clients when they ask me this that “Do you want to see yourself suffer from all sorts of health problems? Or do you want to see yourself suffering from debilitating physical ailments? Or do you want to suffer from chronic physical pains? If the answer is a resounding ‘No’ then – motivation shouldn’t be a consideration.”
Did you know that the sedentary or inactive lifestyle is the 4th top cause of death in the world?
Should you give a shit about motivation if your health is on the line?
ANNOYING QUESTION #4 – “I just want to lose the fat around my belly? rest all is fine for me. How to do that?”
Sorry to bust this myth and no matter how much I wish this were true but you can't choose where you want to lose fat. There's no such thing as spot reduction exercising or eating in a certain way. You don’t get to choose where you want to lose weight, only your body has that choice and it makes that choice without telling you.
And all of us, have tendencies based on our genetic & hormonal profile to carry weight in certain areas in our body, and hence find it hard to shed that weight. This does suck, but my only suggestion is to worry about being consistent with your eating, exercising, and overall lifestyle as there is no magic wand to expecto patronum that flab away!
ANNOYING QUESTION #5 – “Bro, you want those six-pack abs, eh?”
To them, my humble, hand-folded, and eyeball-rolling submission is that “Bro, it’s not about six-pack abs.” Think long-term.