Today’s conventional wisdom drives us towards setting health and fitness goals at every opportunity. Fitness experts tell us if we don’t set goals, we are limiting our success. So we set some goals, and for many, the focus is getting leaner, healthier or fitter. While this process may seem simple enough, why do many of us fail to achieve our goals? The answer may lie in a missing component: context. Without context, goals have no meaning, and over time can result in loss of motivation and lack of success.
Getting leaner, healthier or fitter are common goals when it comes to exercise and training. However, many people tend to prioritize one at the expense of the others, without fully understanding that they are inter-dependent. In this post, we explore why it’s important to consider goals in an integrated way for long term success.
Getting leaner is a common goal, falling under the category of body composition/appearance, and may include weight loss, building muscle, as well as getting leaner. While exercise is often viewed as the main strategy for getting leaner or losing body fat, this is misguided. By far, the best strategy for getting or staying lean is proper eating habits and metabolic optimisation. In fact, over-exercising in the pursuit of weight/fat loss can be detrimental to health.
In a similar way, we can refine the goal of getting healthy. Being healthy means different things to different people, and should not be confused with fitness goals (although getting fit will drive many aspects of health). In every day terms, health objectives may include improving cardiorespiratory function, lowering stress, increasing energy levels, and pain-free movement. While regular exercise is essential, it’s not the only driver of success – proper eating and recovery is also required.
Getting fitter is probably the most common, yet least understood goal. Components of fitness include strength, power, endurance, agility, balance, and flexibility. While many goals are set around individual components of fitness (eg. get stronger) – at EVO we believe in balancing these components through a variety of fundamental movements such as squatting, bending, lifting, pushing, pulling and locomotion. While exercise is the main driver for improving fitness, it’s also important to understand that over-training can negatively affect your other health- and appearance-related goals.
Having defined these goals, it’s clear to see that they are linked. The pursuit of a singular goal can both affect, and be affected by the other goals, in positive and negative ways. For example, getting fitter will improve your physical capacity, but may not get you leaner if you’re not eating right. On the flip side, over-training may result in fatigue, stress and loss of energy, thereby negatively affecting your health.
The bottom line is getting lean, healthy or fit may be limiting if considered individually; but providing context and building strategies around all three goals may in fact produce longer term success and longevity.
EVO maintains a strong position that getting lean, healthy and fit should not be viewed as distinctly separate goals. These goals are inextricably linked, and can be achieved easily and simply through balanced eating, movement and recovery. With this in mind, the question is not whether being lean, healthy or fit is best, but rather can you be lean, healthy and fit? The answer is yes!
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