Kill the Lies

Our theme as a company for this year is to kill the lies, specifically the lies that are keeping you from being healthy and fit. Most of these lies are lies we tell ourselves that are amplified by society as a whole and the fitness industry at large. So, in typical NBS Fitness fashion, we are attacking those lies head-on. Earlier this year, I made a series of posts outlining 12 different lies. I’ll share the first three with you here. If you’d like to read all 12, go HERE to check out the blog where I list them all out. 


Lie #1: Fitness is a lifestyle choice


As physical work has removed itself from our daily lives so has the cultural belief in the value of physical abilities. Instead, we now see exercise as a hobby and the act of training as a lifestyle choice. The choice to develop one’s physical abilities and the choice to allow one’s physical abilities to deteriorate are treated as being equally valuable, a matter of personal preference. This is not true. Once choice adds value to a person’s life and to the world as a whole. The other detracts from both. Taking care of your body, maintaining the health and fitness you were born with, is a matter of personal responsibility. You were given a great gift, one you must steward well.


Lie #2: All Exercise is of Equal Value


Like I stated yesterday because physical activity has been removed from our daily lives, the view of it has shifted from that of necessity to that of choice. Likewise, the type of exercise one does is viewed as a matter of individual choice and all choices are considered equally valuable. The issue is that not all exercise choices equally improve fitness. Your cardiovascular system doesn’t care whether or not you like cardio. Your musculoskeletal system doesn’t care if you’re afraid of lifting weights because you’re falsely afraid you might get “bulky”. Your body is going to respond appropriately to both the activity you do and the activity you don’t do. Regardless of how passionate and consistent you are, if you’re only doing limited types of exercise, you will suffer the same consequences as someone who never exercised at all in the areas you don’t train. If you’re going to spend the time each day exercising you might as well do something that is specifically designed to improve your health and fitness. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself with a body that’s broken and incapable of appropriately getting you through life despite the fact that you really loved exercise.


Lie #3: Now’s just not a good time (aka I’m busy)


Dr. Seuss calls the most terrible of all places “The Waiting Place.” It’s called this because it’s a place of stagnation and it’s a place of lies. It’s easier to say “I’m gonna do it as soon as ….” than it is, to be honest with ourselves and our shortcomings and insecurities. It’s easier to place blame on an arbitrary schedule that we pretend to have no control over than it is to take personal responsibility and go through the difficult and uncomfortable acts of change. The compounding interest in health and fitness works the same way it does in investing. The longer the period you spend making positive deposits the larger your surplus of gains. The longer the period you spend placing yourself in greater debt and not reversing your bad decisions the harder it is to climb out of that pit. Waiting cost years…DECADES of your life. Think it’s hard to get out of bed and go train in your thirties? Wait till you’re 60 with 30 more years of stagnation inside of you. “Someday” equals never, and never equals death. Stop waiting and start doing.


The biggest lie I told myself for the longest time was that all exercise was of equal value. I allowed my health to deteriorate in the pursuit of a singular focus. I had to kill that lie to finally become healthy and fit. What lie do you need to kill?


Lie #4: Fat loss is a good goal for people who are just starting out


What’s the #1 most common health and fitness goal? You guessed it: fat/weight loss. So why isn’t it a good goal? Simple: 1) The ability to lose fat is of little value if the ability to maintain fat loss isn’t also available and 2) most people don’t have the ability to lose appreciable amounts of fat when they first begin. In order to lose large amounts of fat, you need to be able to burn large amounts of calories. Since most people only have an hour so to dedicate to exercise each day, this needs to take place in a relatively short period of time which requires appropriate amounts of muscle mass and appreciable levels of output (aka fitness). That’s why these are better goals to start with:


  1. Improved mental fitness that provides consistency and moderation ensures you maintain your progress.
  2. Increased muscle mass so that you have a powerful engine for burning calories
  3. Increased performance (aka fitness) so that you have the output for burning lots of calories


If you do that, you will not only burn more fat but you’ll ensure you keep it off for good.


Lie #5: A good physique is a good indication of health and fitness.


The function does not necessarily follow form but the form does follow function. Meaning, you may look great on the outside and yet still be horribly unfit and unhealthy but, if you train to perform like a superhero, you’re going to look like one too. It’s valuable to have goals for health, physique, and performance as they all tie into each other and are necessary throughout life. If you only focus on the physique to the detriment of health and performance, at some point you will lose all three.


Lie #6: The negative impacts of aging are primarily from aging.


At 90 years old, people should still be able to do at least one pull-up, deadlift at least their body weight, and run continuously for at least 3 miles. If this seems unrealistic, it is not because 90-year-olds don’t possess the innate ability, it’s because most 30-year-olds can’t do the above either. And, when you start to deteriorate from a place of health and fitness that is already severely lacking, bad things happen. Bad backs, bad knees, bad shoulders are always improvable if not completely fixable because they are usually from a lack of use/misuse and not just from being old.


Ideally, people would start to exercise as children, build upon that into adulthood, peak in their 30s and 40s, and maintain as much as possible into their senior years. If you can deadlift twice your body weight at 40 and keep deadlifting, you’ll still be able to deadlift your body weight by 90. The issue is not an increase in age but sustained neglect.


Of course, this is ideal and we rarely live in an ideal world. I recognize many people have already lived out portions of their life and can’t go back. There is good news. First, regardless of what age you start at, you can make tremendous improvements. I believe most people can still hit many of these standards if given enough time and possess enough motivation. Second, you can help set an example for future generations. Even if you start later than ideal, what’s important is that children see their parents and grandparents not just working out, but striving to hit proper standards of fitness


Lie #7: You’ve gotta have the right clothes


Americans spend more money on exercise clothing than they do on actual exercise. We’re a materialist society and buying clothes doesn’t require any of the physical discomforts of exercise. It also doesn’t bring any of the benefits either. Don’t get distracted by fitness fashion that keeps you from actually becoming fit. If you’re motivated by clothing then set up a system to earn it. Don’t buy those shoes until you can squat your body weight. Reward yourself with those pants once you can do 25 unbroken push-ups. Don’t put a $10/month body into $100 leggings.


Lie #8: You’ve got to train for hours upon hours to get fit


The Biggest Loser, while motivating, gave a lot of people a false sense of what it actually takes to get fit. In the show, people basically exercise all day and, as a result, lose tremendous amounts of weight. Unfortunately, most of the contestants put the weight back on once they leave the show. You don’t have to train all day to get fit. In fact, it’s more likely to backfire because you will burn out and get injured. You do have to be consistent though. One hour a day, 4-5 days a week, for years on end will always beat going all out for a short period of time before quitting.


Again, how much weight you can lose in a short period of time is irrelevant compared to how long you can maintain an appropriate level of health and fitness. Be smart instead of impatient.


Lie #9: I’ll train more if I have a home gym


There are a few instances in which a home gym is justifiable:


  1. If you live an hour or more from any training facility whatsoever. In that case, you’re looking at a 3+ hour commitment to getting an hour of training in. In this case, a home gym might save you a significant amount of time and might be worth it.


  1. If you’ve been consistently doing at-home workouts, 3-4 days per week every week, for at least a year using body weight and/or limited equipment. In this case, lack of equipment might actually be limiting your progress. You’ve already shown commitment to getting your training in and doing the best with what you’ve got so some more equipment might be beneficial.


  1. If you’ve been consistently training at a facility, 4+ days a week every week, for at least a year and are looking to increase your weekly training hours. In this case, a home gym allows you the opportunity to supplement your main training with some additional training at home.


Lack of home exercise equipment is almost never the limiting factor keeping people from reaching their health and fitness goals. It’s usually a lack of accountability, lack of guidance, lack of community, and lack of commitment. A home gym doesn’t address any of these. Make sure you have these taken care of (a coach and a community) before you make a large investment in something that has a low potential for use.


Lie #10: Supplements are the key to success


I have a running joke where I like to ask people how long it takes to look like you’ve been training for 10 years? Supplements are exactly what the name implies: a supplement to a quality plan done consistently for a long period of time. They are definitely beneficial and oftentimes can help increase the quality and/or the consistency of the plan but by themselves aren’t going to account for much. What supplements should you take? Well, that depends a lot on you and the plan you are on. Don’t get sucked into spending your energy focusing on supplements and looking for the best pre-workout (I highly suggest not taking one). That plan is doomed to fail.


Lie #11: All music has equal value in developing fitness


Rock and metal, with a handful of their sub-genres, are the only two music genres that can effectively increase fitness. Some rap, when used sparingly, can also have a positive effect. Country and pop are essentially useless for improving fitness. Don’t argue with this. It’s science.


Lie #12: You understand what the term “grind” means


The term “grind” is often thrown out when it comes to reaching goals but I think it’s commonly misunderstood. What it means is purposeful work designed to reduce friction. A major difference between people who reach a goal and those who don’t is the ability of those who do reach them to continue to work that friction down until it no longer exists. This is not necessarily the result of harder work but instead more intelligent and persistent work. Over time, this difference appears to the outside as those whose results come easy and those whose results are more difficult to attain. Instead, the difference is that their family values are set towards their goals. Their time and money are spent accordingly. The relationships they foster are around like-minded people who mutually support each other. They have ground away most of the friction points that would typically derail others. Because they have the experience and skills developed through smoothing these out, they are better able to address future points of friction. Essentially they build momentum in such a way that their confidence in overcoming any potential points of friction in the future allows them to overcome them with what would appear to be ease.


The point of the grind is not to continue doing the same things that are difficult but instead to learn to make them easy. And then find the next challenge to smooth out and takedown.


In Health,

David Allen

CEO, NBS Fitness


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