“You girls really need some CrossFit.” Umm, what? “Yeah, your program is severely lacking all the great things that CrossFit could do for you.” I blinked at him, nodded, and walked away. I had better things to do than to instigate an argument that I knew would only lead to frustration.
I’ve noticed something, and I’m sure some of you see this, too. Some fitness icon – a professional, an expert, a guru, or what have you – invents a new concept. CrossFit. LeanGains. Zero cardio. And then all of a sudden, it’s the next big thing. Alas, another fad! Everybody and their mother is doing it, so you should do it, too. Right?
The last time I checked, your body is not the same as my body. My food preferences (I have a love for Swedish Fish and gummy bears in particular) may disagree with yours. My everyday habits, my lifestyle, and my goals are unique to me. So why – why – are you trying to shove your own beliefs down my throat?
If you’ve been keeping up with my writing, you know that I’m an intermittent faster. I do it for a whole host of reasons, the most important being that it works for me. For me. Now, if you were to ask me if you should jump on the Lean Gains bandwagon, I’m not going to give you a blanket yes answer. In fact, for many individuals, I would discourage it or at least strongly encourage that it be approached with caution. If you don’t want to do it, that’s cool with me; I couldn’t care less if you prefer to eat throughout the day.
“You guys, I can’t seem to fit in all my calories in the 8-hour window. I’m absolutely stuffed. I ate so much in one sitting that I just threw it back up – oops – and I’m about to eat it again because I need those calories. What tricks do you have up your sleeve to make intermittent fasting work?” Here’s a brilliant idea: stop trying to cram all that food into such a small timeframe. Whatever diet you decide to adhere to is supposed to make things easier for you, not more miserable. Intermittent fasting is great, but it’s not magic. Just like anything, it has many benefits but also has its downsides. The rapidly rising popularity of this relatively new way of eating is undoubtedly exciting, as there are many individuals who have reported positive effects as a result of this change. But if you’re a hardgainer, if you struggle to eat enough food in the first place, if you’re an endurance athlete who trains hard in the early morning hours, if you’re hypoglycemic, if you like eating breakfast in the morning – then why the hell are you making this difficult for yourself, all in the name of following a popular diet that obviously isn’t suited for you?
The same goes with cardio. I hardly do any of it because I have my own set of beliefs about what’s effective and what’s not when it comes to training and nutrition. But I understand that for every handful of individuals who achieve their aesthetic goals without getting on the treadmill once (yay!), there will be some who actually enjoy hitting the pavement for a morning jog. If you fall into the latter category, then that’s great; I’m not going to force you to stop doing something that makes you happy.
If you want my opinion, I’ll give it to you. And I can present the facts that provide reasons for why I do what I do and say what I say. You don’t need to be an intermittent faster; you don’t have to do CrossFit (and I sure as hell won’t); you’re not going to die if you detest heavy lifting. Collect the relevant information, absorb it, and then decide if you want to adopt the idea. If you don’t like a certain approach, you’ll find another one that works just as well.
Are there some methods that are better than others? Of course. But try to tell me that I absolutely need to do things your way and I will say this: nay, ignoramus; how would you like it if I chained you to a barbell and ordered you to squat because you “need” to do it to be healthy? So no, I don’t need CrossFit, thank you, and please – let’s just leave it at that.
There’s no one set path to achieving a goal. So cut the bullshit.