Filling the Fitness Need

exercise-236x300I have been a long-time subscriber of popular health and fitness magazines. I keep trying to find the one that really speaks to me, but there are subtle little things that keep me from really loving most of them. What really kept me interested were the success stories from real women – the ones who overcame enormous hurdles to better themselves. The ones who hit the tipping point, and rather than give up, they persevered. And I enjoy learning about new fitness trends and tips.

Other than that, magazines don’t really hold my attention. Here are a few things I’ve noticed about them, fitness-related and otherwise:

They’re basically a very long ad. I don’t mean the ads themselves, but the front-of-book and back-of-book articles tend to promote a series of health and beauty products for women to look better, look younger, look stylish – whatever. I’ve almost always glazed over these sections because, in most cases, I’ve never had the money to spend on these items. Many of them are outside what is realistic for a lot of women to spend on superfluous beauty items.

Recipes aren’t terribly realistic. I’m not a a foodie, nor am I a cook. (Thankfully, Boyfriend is.) But I do still like to browse to see if there are simple things that I can make for myself from time to time that are healthy, taste good, and are easy to make. More often than not, recipes show meals that include odd ingredients, look like regurgitation, or are too over-the-top for my abnormally simple tastes.

Readers would have to already be very fit to do most of the exercise routines. You’ve seen the magazine covers. Tight butt in five days! Drop two dress sizes in two weeks! Crap gold in three easy steps! OK, the last one is a stretch, but you get my point. How can they make such promises, you ask? Well, thus the real point of this rant.

Over time, I noticed that the exercise routines in my magazines are, well, really tough. They would have to be to be able to produce the extreme results they promote. They’re tough enough that they are pretty uncomfortable to do, and I’m not exactly a couch potato…

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. No one disputes this. And yet, magazines that line checkouts and newsstands everywhere promote fitness promises and routines that very few people can do – and those who can do them, I wonder how safely they can do them. The moves are often complex, put significant pressure on joints, or encourage people to twist in ways that are not typical of daily movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people hurt themselves trying to do these routines.

In fact, I’m afraid that these types of routines are going to create negative workout experiences for a lot of people. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned during the past few months, it’s that when people have negative experiences with exercise, they’re less likely to commit to fitness.

Think about it: Do you do things you hate? Do you force yourself to do things you don’t have to do?

Probably not.

So, what’s the point? The point is that I’m trying to figure out what to do with my personal training certification, and I think I’m closer to finding the answer. I think the right direction for me is in a weight management specialty that focuses on body weight, realistic movement, and can be done at home at little to no cost. This is not an original idea – there is no such thing. But I have the communication and media skills, fitness and training skills, and the determination to pursue this in a way that can help people. It’ll take a while, and I have a long way to go, but I think I’ve at least found the direction that will be the most meaningful for me, and that can really help a lot of people. Maybe someday, the routines and guidance I can offer will find their way side-by-side with today’s popular magazines.

But that’s enough babble for now. Time to stop talking and start doing.

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