Why is fitness so hard?

Oh, that makes no sense as it very easy for you? You are the exception, the freak and the idol of jealousy for the rest of us common folk who work our asses off for modest gains. Go away – this isn’t for you.

Now, surrounded by common company, let’s get to the bottom of this. I feel the question is actually quite simply answered by the fact that fitness (used in the general sense of the pursuit of any physical endeavor) is no harder than anything else, we simply have two problems facing us that shape our view of it incorrectly.

  • Many life things have gotten easier by comparison
  • Fitness is sold as something that is easily obtained

 

Things in Life

Think about it, 200 years ago, it was a struggle to feed and clothe oneself. It was difficult to travel, it was difficult to necessarily find clean water, and it was difficult to get an education, among hundreds of other things. In fact, few things were easy – except contracting horrifying diseases and being killed in the name of this king or that.

Things have changed tremendously – in the western world, food is plentiful, few people are killed in farming accidents, there is an educational institute of some kind or another on every corner and we can fly half way around the world in the time it takes to watch the collection of works directed by Adam Sandler.

But, some things remain the same. It is no easier now to get fit than it was 200 years ago. Despite having access to great information, tools and programs, the actual effort required is no different than it would be at any given time. In fact, I am prepared to argue that if you took a farmer from 1814, gave him all the food he needed and told him, instead, to dedicate his hours of toil in the fields to hours of toil in the gym, we could create a monster.

This man, by example, is used to things being arduous, difficult and taxing. In our comfortable modern lives, physical taxation is something that is more of an opt-in than anything else. As a result, we quit so easily. Further, we don’t have to be fit – millions live well into their 70s by luck and absence of threats alone without a single thought to their health. It is easy as fuck to simply exist, why put in the effort?

This is also the reason why you find so many superb athletes come out of Russia, China and other places where athletics (especially Olympic endeavors) can be a way out of their situation and into a sustainable form of living. This represents a means to success rather than just a hobby or something that rich people do. They have to get Gold to put food on the table. Despite Michael Phelps’ incredible ability and prowess in swimming – he’s a middle class white dude who could have just as well went to college, got a desk job and made a fine living in the US. This just isn’t the case for people who seek fitness – this can only be the case for those who require fitness, of some kind or another, to live their life.

Quite simply, it is the difference between need and want. Where your ordinary affluent westerner can afford to pursue fitness as leisure, there are many others who elect to pursue it as a means to an end. The game changes significantly at that point. Most of us can, contrarily, afford to not be fit.

This brings us to the next item.

 

Fitness IS EASY!

Seriously, this bothers me to no end to see fitness and fitness analogues (equipment, pills, memberships, videos, etc.) sold as simple consumables that require only a credit card number. Fitness is sold as something that is as easily accomplished as installing new carpet or mowing the lawn – if only you wished for it to be, had the resources and then just did it, it would be done.

Fitness would be more adequately compared to learning a new language or changing career fields. If you have no experience in this area, you will be up against a large number of obstacles and, without persistence and grit, you will likely fail.

Fitness should be treated like a part time job – you either put in consistent hours to get that supplementary paycheck, or you quit and focus on something else. If you go in to your part time job 1 hour every 3 weeks, you wouldn’t have much room to complain about the measly $49 extra that ends up in your bank account. If we add in some element that required you to pay a flat amount to do this work (i.e. the “gym membership”) to the part-time work equation, this would be an example of where you end up losing money on the venture

This all begs the question – is it worth it? Well, that all depends. Is learning Spanish worth it? Is the dedication required an attractive compromise to gain the utility of the language? Is the time spent in the gym worthwhile in order to improve your life capability and look shredded? That’s up to you – but, make no mistake, it does in fact require time and dedication. The Fitness Industry has lied to you repeatedly and consistently for decades. The more quickly you realize this and either go all-in with fitness or decide it’s not for you, the better off you will be.

Fitness is a LIFESTYLE, make no mistake. Just like you cannot be a Heart Surgeon on the weekends or a double black belt shogun of some kind or another by attending a class every odd Tuesday for 6 weeks, you cannot achieve fitness goals unless you think in the 6 month, 1 year, 5 year and eventually lifetime perspective. A doctor has the benefit of knowing that they have 10 years ahead of them filled with intense education and long hours.

Someone who is woefully out of shape or with lofty fitness goals (being “shredded”) does not seem to particular realize that, not unlike the doctor (not to trivialize their training by comparing heart surgery to six packs), they have a path in front of them that requires investment, dedication and long term planning.

In the end, I observe two factors that make fitness seem very difficult to the average onlooker. In the end, it is no more or less difficult than anything worth doing. If thought of in the right context (learning a new language) and understanding that it takes a timescale similar to that of mastery within any skill domain (music, education, language, craft skills, programming….etc.) we are now presented with a realistic view that can be more readily undertaken with a fully aware and cognizant mindset.

Best of luck learning your new language!

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