They say a lot can change in 2 years. You’re older, wiser, have more perspective, supposedly have more tolerance, and hopefully much more knowledge.
…things can go the other way too. You can become more frustrated, more intolerant and be dismayed at the trends you see occurring again and again with very little power to do anything about it.
2 years ago I wrote an email about how (ladies especially) need to eat more carbs and train less. It was before the “aspiring bikini competitor” trend kicked off, and I’d hoped we’d have seen a turn around in the industry by then, but sadly we have not.
So, today, I’ve reproduced the email from 2 years ago with updated comments in bold. Anywhere you see bold text from here on in is the 2017 commentary on the 2015 mail.
—2015 mail starts—
Sometimes it feels like the universe has it’s fist up my … ahem … and is just controlling my mouth with no input from me.
Because the last 2 times I’ve sat down to write an email, someone or something has popped up that reinforces what I wanted to talk about.
And it just happened again.
One of the most worrying things about “the industry” (that’s the irish fitness industry) is the amount of female trainers popping up in pretty good shape.
(it’s not morphed from the trainers being in pretty good shape to every second girl on instagram’s suggested content feed being either a skinny girl with a giant hole, or an emaciated lady with the outline of abs and not much else)
Pretty good shape…
But if you actually follow their social media presence, you start to notice worrying trends.
Borderline orthorexic / non purging bulimia type stuff.
Punishing themselves for cheat meals with extra cardio.
Demonising foods and having real issues with abstaining from them.
Training morning and evening multiple times per week.
AND THEN USING THIS SHIT TO INSPIRE OTHER FEMALES??!?!?!?
Ok, I get it, I get it.
I have a penis.
I could never understand.
But do you know what else I have?
(it shares four things in common with Penis)
The perspective to know what is and isn’t sustainable, and to see when training and food is being used to mask bigger problems.
(for some additional context, when I wrote this email I did it knowing Sarah had struggled with a mild eating disorder for years which up until a few months ago she hadn’t spoken about publicly – so now that it’s out there you’l probably understand my frustration more. To hear the full schoop, go watch her excellent TEDx talk here:
It’s great that more girls are joining gyms.
It’s great that they’re learning how to squat, bench press and deadlift.
It’s great that they’re eating better quality food.
It’s NOT great that they’re taking an unhealthy level of obsession with it.
I don’t assume to know anyones shit, but I do have a rudimentary understanding of human psychology.
And I know that if you’re OBSESSED with being lean and do everything all the time to make it happen, that IS unhealthy.
It’s less unhealthy than throwing back pints and shots all weekend, obviously.
(…and funnily enough the sesh moths who were on the piss “loving life” all weekend back then are the same ones who are the gym bunnies now – they’ve just replaced one unhealthy pursuit for another)
But getting a full force boot in the balls is healthier than a knife in the stomach.
And I don’t want either one of those.
So here’s the thing – you don’t need to starve yourself, train all day and not have a life to see results.
(hell… I’d contest that if that’s what your’e doing – you probably need to do
the complete opposite and examine the real, underlying causes of behaviour, but I digress…)
One of the girls I train popped in to the office today for a chat after training and she did something she’s never done before.
She thanked me.
..don’t get me wrong – I know for a fact she’s always been THANKFUL, but today she actually came in to say it.
(which I know was hard for her, so I won’t rip the piss too much)
Do you know why she was thanking me?
Because after years of training with us, in the last few months she’s done a couple of things she’s never done before;
> she’s training less
> she’s eating carbs
..and she looks fucking unreal. I hadn’t seen her for a couple of weeks, and today I had to double and triple to take to make sure she was the same girl.
She’s already lost more bodyfat than I can reasonably expect you to believe.
But this latest change?
This change was THAT drastic.
Within like 6 weeks, changing 2 things.More carbs.
Know what else changed?
> more energy
> better sleep
> higher quality training
…are you REALLY telling me you don’t want those things?
I could wank on about insulin, melatonin, stress management and all that other bullshit too, but the best reason to eat more carbs and reduce your training volume is this;
=== IT FUCKING WORKS ===
Getting into great shape, being fit, healthy and looking the part is supposed to be a part of your life.
Not your ENTIRE life.
Don’t be the person who shows up to the party with tupperware.
If you’re out with your buddies, have a couple of drinks.
A hot date comes up, skip training.
A friend needs to talk, stay up all night talking to them. Screw morning cardio.
Life’s there to be lived. Not wasted on a crosstrainer.
Enjoy your body. Stop smashing it to pieces.
And before any of you guys or girls freak the hell out and thinking I’m talking about you… Relax.
If you’re a competitive bodybuilder or fitness athlete, you’re allowed be a little bit insane. It’s in the job description 😉
But for everyone else… Nah. Just nah.
Better put on the troll repellant.
Know how I know when I’ve written some genuine shit that will impact A LOT of people? I get nervous before I hit “submit”.
—–2015 mail ends——
When I first lashed into this I was expecting to have to add more context, but I think this ended up being a fairly timeless piece. I coulda just left it alone, re sent it and not said anything, and it’d still be true.
If I was to rewrite it, I think the only additional thing I’d be griping about is bikini competitions.
Really, for more of the girls competing in them they’re just a competition to see who can lose weight the best. I know I know I know that everyone has to start somewhere and not everyone competing in a PL comp is strong and I’m ok with that, so why should I moan about first time bikini competitors having enough muscle…
The answer to that my friend, is simple.
Most “first time” bikini competitors also become “only time” competitors because they realise how miserably difficult a long term diet it.
Worse, they just do it to get the stage photo so they can keep it on their IG / FB and show it off when someone talks to them about training.
But the most BRUTALLY DESTRUCTIVE thing that comes from this bikini comp bullshit is something I’ve seen a few times over the last couple of years.
You diet down, get on stage, deprive yourself of all kinds of things for months on end.
Then you rebound. And you rebound HARD. And as much as you tell everyone you’re controlling it, you’re not. And eventually you end up back bloated, fat, overweight, unhappy and softer than a three day old balloon.
…and unlike a real bodybuilder you probably didn’t take advantage of the post comp window to actually build some muscle.
And then you gotta stop posting shredded selfies on IG. The likes stop rolling in. You’re no longer one of the most popular IG’ers on fitness and suddenly that self esteem and confidence you THOUGHT you’d created comes crashing back down BECAUSE IT WAS BUILT ON A HOUSE OF LIIIIIIIIIES.
(you’ll justify it by telling everyone you’re taking some down time, concentrating on you, blah blah blah – we all know its a lie)
So, you go back into prep mode. You pick another show. You start another diet. This time, to further enhance the package you get your lips done, a bit of botox in the forehead too, and maybe a boob job.
Because goddammit if you’re gonna get on stage and show everyone how healthy you are you wanna look the part too right?
….think about that.
If you are sick of the madness, have tried the instagram diet, followed some bullshit 6 week online plan and got nowhere, please please please please please do it the right way and get in touch with us by booking an assessment session here: https://revolutionfitness.ie/pt-intro