I’m not talking about truths like:
- “Carbs are not the devil.”
- “Cardio will make you fat.”
- “You need to change your lifestyle, not your diet.”
If you want feel good truths that make your pants wet, go to Instagram or read a magazine.
Otherwise here are the real “ugly” fitness truth you need to know.
Ugly Truth #1 – Changing your body won’t change who you are
This took me a while to understand.
I started working out when I was 14.
Back then it was because I beat this guy in middle school in arm wrestling which made me feel obligated to get stronger and stay the strongest.
When I was 14, I was shy, introverted, and awkward.
Over the next few years I put on a substantial amount of muscle, and got strong (at least for my age).
I wish I could say my confidence skyrocketed, I hooked up with a different girl every week, and the shyness disappeared overnight once I improved my body.
Today at 25, I’m still introverted but I at least I can say I’m less shy and awkward.
Just because you start training, eating right, and improving your body, doesn’t mean all other aspects of your life will change.
And building a great body is definitely not the “switch” for changing your underlying personality.
If you’re getting into this whole fitness thing thinking that it’s going to change who you are as a person, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Of course that’s not to discourage you from improving your physique.
Workout and eat healthy for yourself.
Don’t attach the end result (e.g. having a six pack will make me happy) to your self-worth.
That’s how you end up ruining your life.
“Enjoy the process.”
As overused as that phrase is today, it’s true.
Because in the end, the process is all we have.
Ugly Truth #2 – Fitness can ruin your life
Everyone has a deep desire to be a part of something greater than themselves.
It’s why people call themselves bodybuilders, crossfitters, or powerlifters.
It’s why people will proudly put on their Instagram profile that they are a #flexibledieter.
This type of labeling gives people a sense of purpose.
And you know what, that’s cool.
It’s great that people have an interest in something that positively impacts their body and mind.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is when all this fitness shit starts taking over your life.
- It’s when you make training legs more important than visiting your grandma that you haven’t seen in 6 months.
- It’s when you refuse to eat a slice of birthday cake because it’s too high in fat.
- It’s when you start getting anxiety because you missed 1 out of 5 workouts you had planned for the week.
If you’ve ever experienced any of this, then you need to tone it down 100 notches.
Unless of course, you’re a competitive fitness model or athlete (but chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not).
Right now there’s a 4 year old girl in Ethiopia dying because she doesn’t have clean water to drink, and you’re bitching because you ate too many carbs yesterday.
Relax and shut up.
Ugly Truth #3 – Fitness hasn’t really changed in the last 100 years
- Eat less to lose weight.
- Eat (slightly) more and get stronger to build muscle.
ANY, and I mean any diet/workout plan that’s been called new or revolutionary are variations off the two points above.
Let’s look at some of the popular “game changers” in fitness over the last few years:
- P90x and the game changing “muscle confusion” is just periodization put in fancy words because most people don’t know what periodization is.
- Intermittent fasting is just varying meal frequency so it better fits your lifestyle and sometimes increases dieting adherence. But calories stay the same. You don’t lose any more weight eating 2000 calories in 2 big meals vs. 6 small meals.
- IIFYM is just calorie counting done one layer deeper. Instead of tracking calories alone, you’re tracking three separate variables: protein, carbs, fats. This helps people become aware of the actual foods they’re eating, which leads to better body composition.
- Detox or juicing diets work, not because of magical “detox” effects but because you’re not eating fast food 3x per week like a fat ass. Plus detoxes are dangerously low in calories. That’s why you’re losing weight.
Ugly Truth #4 – No one wants to build a great body
A Ferrari is a sexy car.
Few people would disagree with that.
But no one wants a Ferrari.
They want the power, prestige, and increase in self-worth that comes from owning one.
Very few guys give two craps about the car itself.
The same goes for getting a ripped six-pack.
I’m willing to bet that you don’t care much for getting a six pack as much as you care about it (potentially) giving a better life, more confidence, and chance with bagging hotter girls.
Right now there’s a little 4 year old girl in Ethiopia dying because she doesn’t have clean water to drink, and you’re bitching because you ate too many carbs yesterday.
So stop saying you want to get lean and muscular like Ryan Reynolds or Chris Evans.
You don’t want a body like Ryan Reynolds.
You want the imaginary benefits you believe having a body like Ryan Reynolds will provide: confidence, funny personality, smoking hot wife (Blake Lively), and money.
Ugly Truth #5 – Everything is your fault
Don’t have time to workout?
Don’t have money to eat healthy?
Have shit genetics?
It’s your fault, your fault, and your fault.
First off, I refuse to believe that anyone is so busy that they can’t workout at least 3 hours per week.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely spending 3 hours per week on Facebook and Instagram.
Cut that out, and boom, there’s your 3 hours.
Don’t have money to eat healthy?
Oh but you have money to eat like shit which will lead to health problems in the future costing you thousands?
Crappy fast food like McDonalds isn’t even cheap.
If money is really tight, mow some damn lawns or go sell anything you don’t need on ebay.
You’re doing nobody a favor by ruining your health.
The worst thing you can do is just let your life continue without even attempting to change it.
But now you’re probably saying, “But Keith, I can’t control my genetics.”
You’re right, you can’t.
Life will always throw something your way and you can’t control those things.
But you have 100% control over how you react.
Shitty genetics suck, yes.
But you know what’s worse?
Accepting your fate and not doing shit.
Fitness is one of the hardest things in life to master.
Unlike something like getting a PHD in neuroscience, it’s a life long journey.
There is not off switch.
There is no “easy” path.
Which is why I wrote this post in first place.
These 5 “ugly” truths are topics few people talk about.
It’s not sexy but it’s the stuff that will determine your success.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
What are some “ugly truths” you discovered as you got into fitness? Let me know in the comments below.
[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Still struggling to build the body you want?”]
I used to workout 6+ hours per week, ran on the treadmill like it was my second home, and ate enough brown rice and chicken per day to feed a small village.
But today I workout less, don’t spend even step foot on the treadmill, and eat the foods I love every single day.
Let me show you my exact blueprint for doing it.
OMG I love this so much.
I suffered from body image issues since I was in high school and could never get over it. Thank you for writing this.
Thanks ashley, hope you’re doing better these days 🙂
/I liked this review. Most of the information I agree with. Changing your body won’t change who you are or how you interact with people. While fitness is important, you will have time in the future to make up a lost workout, but you won’t always have time to spend with family. I will always put family first. Dieting should be something maintainable. You shouldn’t become that one person who refuses to eat cake. Who does that? Life is a journey and you should have fun with it, not worry about everything that is happening. I also agree with everything being “your” fault. We are responsible for everything we do and we cannot blame anything on genetics. Everything we are boils down to how hard we try. The effort we put into what we do is shown in the results. The only truth I disagree with is #4. My grandfather taught me that it doesn’t matter what other people think about us, we need to live our lives for ourselves and be true to who we are. Some people want to build a great body just to do it. I am one of those people. Up until 9/1/15 I was 6’4″ and 330 lbs. The only reason I decided to change was for me. I didn’t do it for confidence or other people’s opinions. I am working toward a six-pack because it is a challenge and I want to earn it, even if only for a day. I am down to 193 lbs now and much closer to my goal than I thought I would be by now and I still eat cake and donuts and brownies. Moderation is where it’s at.
Hope I didn’t come off as ranting about what you wrote. I really enjoyed the read and agree with most of the information.
I agree that you should do things because you enjoy the challenge of it.
Thanks man, glad you enjoyed it.
Blunt as usual. I do wish to counter the topics a little.
(1) Changing my body is actually literally changing who I am.
Our physical composition is the manifestation of ourselves. All the little habits we create, adjust, and maintain do start to restructure our core. I started cooking my meal, for REAL! Something changed entirely. Now I’m more diligent and organized just planning grocery, dividing proportions, packing meals to work, and making the kitchen my shrine and temple. Suddenly most girls are lazier than me. “It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.” Batman Begins
(2) Obsession of any kind ruins your life
I’m in a career that is defined by smart and brilliant people. As a kid I was bombarded with adulations about how awesome it is to have gotten the degree, the 5 extra letters behind the name, paid of all debt, and bought crap. Ding Ding Ding! They’re all burned out, out of shape, and miserable. If they’re not miserable they’re all horrifically intense people I don’t want to spend time with. AND they still want to get in shape despite all the money and blah blah blah.
(3) Fitness really hasn’t changed. But interpretation of it is better.
Guys like you are making things easier for everyone to understand how this all works. If I was still reading magazines I would be in the darkness of supplement ads. Of course you only see like 3 people out of a 100 who really sticks with it day in and day out.
(4) No one wants to work that hard to build a great body
I hear a lot of lamenting about wishing they had a great body. NO ONE WANTS TO WORK THAT HARD. No one wants to do the math with calorie counting. No one wants to cook every weekend. No one wants to write down all the metrics. No one certainly doesn’t want to NOT talk on the phone while lifting and dick around. BUT they still want that body.
(5) Everything really is my fault. Or rather it is all up to me to get this done.
1. yes changing your habits will change who you are, but the sole act of changing your physical appearance doesn’t always translate to changing who you are deep down.
2. Yup, “mo money, mo problems.” (i think that’s the saying).
3. Thanks yeah, consistency is key. Try different approaches to see what works best for you.
4. Agreed 🙂
It was you who pushed me to finding answers about finding acceptance and finding the healthy dose of motivation for pure sake of achievement and not validation.
I’ve been on a good stride lately with nutrition and training but I had to learn a ton of set backs to get here.
(1) Time – This thing takes a LONG time. Life tends to happen in so many ways in between, failed exams, interviews, moving across country, a girl or several turning you down etc. On top of that we got plateaus that hit us every few months. So if I’m too fixated on the outcome then impatience kicks in, suffering follows, and the result becomes elusive.
(2) Age – I’ve lifted for over a decade and it’s no secret that there are certain soreness that got piled up over the years with bad posture, overtraining, and lack of stress management. Now I do yoga and foam rolling every week and cut down my training to 3 days a week but focus harder on food and sleep. The body is feeling better. Plus when you’re in your 30s, all the crazy gung ho shit you pursued in your 20s do start to feel like distant memories of a crazy kid.
(3) Better athletes – The world is a huge place. Today I posted A Crow’s move I filmed myself doing in yoga class on IG. I got some attention and checked the responders’ pages. There are seriously better looking men and women with stronger and faster skills. The best part is I’m not all jealous or self conscious of seeing any of that. I’m happy there are ridiculously good athletes out there appreciating my moves. It’s all because I’ve accepted who I am as an athlete and not get fixated on being a badass or some shit.
I’ve got a career I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with but nonetheless rewarding to build, picked up a lot of reading, and become more spiritual to practice the “non-fitness” lifestyle. All those awesome athletes, good for their achievement but life doesn’t keep going on in the gym, beaches, and in photo shoots. I’m glad I got other shit going on too.
Agreed on all points, john.
You def need to be more careful with lifting as you age so it can be something you do for the rest of your life.
Thanks for all your support, man.
Hehe this was a much needed kick in the behind. It is true that getting a six pack doesn’t change much.
I’m afraid it does change who you are.
Science is observation. In that vein,
for a more obvious case study, simply
notice those that are the extreme
obese and who work, really work at it.
When they change, they have a new light
about their countenance. You cannot
dispute this. Their friends notice it.
I noticed it of a colleague at work a
few years back. He was very humble about
it and shared with me what he was doing.
He was a previously shy, almost mouse-like
individual. Now he was modestly deflecting
compliments almost every hour about how
much better he looked. He wasn’t a
Mr. Incredible, but he was way better off
and it showed and he was somehow liberated.
So, if you haven’t ever been really heavy
then I suggest you gain about 40 to 60
pounds of fat, then go lose it. See how you
feel and then you can speak to what you
have suggested here. So, I would dis-agree
with you. Don’t know your motivation.
I’m assuming it was to stir up some noise
or get people angry.
I was the same way, tons of people gave me compliments about my body when I started looking better, and I did the same as your colleague, modestly deflected them because you really can’t do anything else but put on a smile.
Not saying you’re wrong, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) assume how other people really feel. You NEVER really know.
I used to be like that, get anxious because I missed a workout, spent time with mates and took some time off and realised it wasn’t so bad. Even if I miss a week I don’t feel bad because I can catch up later. All around people are so worried about their fitness that they don’t take time to live the little things around them. Great blog Keith, absolutely loved it. 🙂
Totally agreed, thanks Avi.
Great piece. First time I’ve commented but I’m a regular reader and appreciate your posts.
Thank you Kem, appreciate it.
Thank you, it was so great. I visited here just by coincidence and you know what, i couldn’t even guess that it gets me really motivated this much. I feel really terrible and get angry for myself when i skip a wo day or unplanned things suddenly appears and ruins my wo. You reminded me that i’m overreacting, and i realize that i miss all the fun part of fitness journey. I plan to save this writing and read it time to time 🙂 Sorry for bad English, thank you again
Yo you should make a youtube channel dude. You make understanding fitness so easy, and you can make money from youtube 🙂
Great posts as usual and thanks
hah, i’ll consider it. Who do you watch on youtube?
It nice to find a funny fitness blog like this.. there are so many myth about fitness and this open my mind very well.. thank a lot for this..
Can you build muscle on your dick?
To do so, you need to give 2-3 blowjobs per day, with a minimum of 90 minutes between each BJ, 3 times per week on non-consecutive days. Each blowjob needs to last 4-5 minutes. Any longer or shorter, and this technique won’t work.
You should start seeing results (typically 1-2 mm increases in girth) after the first day.
Very good post! It puts a lot of things in perspective.
Great post. I do think though that if you’re able to develop and stick to a fitness program and diet, you can use that discipline in other areas of your life to become a better person, pursue ideas, hobbies, interests, etc. That discipline can give you a foundation for other things, to build from. But yes, it won’t lead to results, but can be the bridge to it. Love the process for results, like you say…and love the “no excuses” for the last point. That might be the biggest one of all. Thanks.
Ya agreed, anything you do in life has the potential to carry over into other aspects of your life.
Yep. You nailed it. A spade is a spade
I don’t disagree you for the most part, but going from a skinny 130lbs (at 6’2) to an athletic 185lbs really DID change me on a deep level. As a skinny guy, looking in the mirror reminded me that I was skinny and I wanted desperately to change. Now, looking in the mirror reminds me that I DID IT. I WON. It’s a reminder that if I set my mind to something, I can do it.
I know that sounds silly. I gained 55 pounds. I didn’t discover the cure for cancer. But that little reminder every time I see myself really had a positive impact on me. Plus, my mood improved, my insomnia disappeared, I went from being at high risk of having a heart attack to being at low risk, and my heart specialist told me it was the most profound health improvement he’d seen in his entire career.
Just wanted to say that at least for some people, transforming their body can cause a deep change. It did for me.
for sure man. Just saying that for some ppl, changing their body doesn’t always result in revolutionizing every other aspect of their life like some might expect.