Sunday, 30 November 2008

Negative assumptions....

I wasn't sure what to write about this week until I heard a radio interview with a chap from Leeds who was attempting to become the 'World's fittest man' by completing a series of physical challenges. I actually bumped in to him in the gym the other day and he seemed like a great guy, I hope he managed to achieve his goal but can't seem to find out how he did via the tinternet. Anyway, what was it about the interview that gave me the title of today's blog.........?

Toward the end of the interview the guy posing the questions asked what the toughest thing about all this training was, to which the reply came that it was having to eat so much boring food, such as 'plain dry salmon'... and that with a daily consumption of 9,000 calories per day it had become rather monotonous. Having worked in the fitness industry for the last seven years I know from experience that the negative assumption i.e. in order to be fit your diet must be plain, dull and boring is all too common, and here live on radio was the 'fittest man in the world' emphasising that terrible stereotype. There seems to be some kind of widely held belief that if you're not eating chips and cheese for lunch and Domino's Pizza for dinner (which is equally bad) that life surely mustn't be worth living... in fact when I experimented with giving up sugar earlier this year I was met with the (serious) comment from a fellow gym user of 'why don't you just give up living?'!!!!!

The sad thing about all of this is that the complete opposite is true and actually one of the greatest benefits of training so hard is that you get to eat the most amazingly nutritious, tasty, wonderful food crammed full of a wide range of minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and of course... calories. Don't get me wrong, I'm in no way a believer in the 'train hard & eat junk' point of view but if you're going to train well you need to eat well and by that I mean really really well. Over the last few years Hels and I have become fairly keen 'foodies' and are increasingly moving toward an organic, locally sourced diet high in complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats and free from artificial additives of any sort. The way we see it is that food is one of the great pleasures in life and should be thoroughly enjoyed right the way from buying it, preparing it, cooking it and finally eating it... not to mention the fact that by doing that, both your quantity quality of life will significantly increase... really it's a win/win situation and one which is only made possible by living a physically active and challenging life. Unfortunately, the typical exercising adult mistakenly believes they need to consume a diet full of low-calorie (i.e. low goodness), low-fat (i.e. low taste) and sugar-free (i.e. aspartame and additive full) foods... and the far more common sedentary individuals of this world burn so few calories throughout the average day that if they were to consume the required amount of highly nutritious and tasty foods full of all the necessary goodness they'd be the size of a house in no time at all.

Anyway, to cut a very long story somewhat short I'll simply redirect you to the best article I've ever read on modern day diet dilemmas.... 'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.'

The subject of incorrect negative assumptions is unfortunately rather common, so much so that I often wonder if they've been created as part of some kind of conspiracy to keep the 'common man' from rising up and achieving something... every day I'm faced with someone who assumes that they should hate their job or the gym (or any form of exercise for that matter), that healthy food must be boring food, that you can only have a good time with alcohol or wake up with coffee, that once you're married the spark disappears and that Mondays must surely be miserable... and heaven help the early rising, t-total vegetarian, with a healthy addiction to exercise for whom life surely must barely be worth living.

Anyway, I can feel myself climbing up onto my 'soap box' so I'll leave it there...

"Don’t take the silence of the yams as a sign that they have nothing valuable to say about health."
- Michael Pollan

See you soon,


p.s. In case you're vaguely interested my current healthy food addiction lies in the form of lathering pretty much everything I eat in oodles of this lovely stuff... enjoy :)

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