The fitness industry needs a revamp
Updated: Jan 11
There are so many things we have to fix in fitness. We are immersed in a culture where fitness is associated with going hard or going home. We watch trainers yell commands to push past the pain on television shows; we see fitness companies put out ads that tell us not to just hit the gym but to “demolish” it; the top posts that get the most likes on social media are those that feature ripped bodies doing crazy things. We have been engineered to believe that we must push ourselves when it comes to fitness. But human bodies aren’t meant to be overexerted every day. They will break. We need to free ourselves from this existing culture and learn to stop, rest and recover when we need it.
"We only get one body in our lifetime; we need to treat it right. There’s nowhere for us to escape if we break it."
Our limits vary from person to person. All bodies are built differently due to differing factors like genetics, lifestyle, diet, fitness level, and so on. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. At the end of the day, you know your body best. Learn to listen to your body. If you cannot go on, stop. Just because someone else can do it doesn’t mean that you will be able to. A well-trained professional may not get injured but someone who leads a largely sedentary lifestyle might.
What many people don’t realize about injuries is that some stay with you forever. Superficial injuries to the skin like cuts will heal. The effects of injuries to the joints and ligaments tend to hang around longer. Even though my ankle, which I sprained a few times more than ten years ago during my netball days, has recovered, it no longer has the same strength and mobility. I still find it giving way at the most random times in the absence of any particular trigger.
Injuries do not solely occur while working out. You constantly move your body. The way you sit, stand, walk, sleep, climb the stairs, lift something off the ground - these little, taken-for-granted things you do every day - have long term effects on your body, especially since you are likely to have formed habits out of these everyday movements. For example, sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day, five days a week, with poor posture like a hunched back or a protruding neck can lead to issues like back and neck pain. Think of your body as a rubber band. If you stretch it everyday, even just a little bit, it will eventually, suddenly snap one day. These injuries do not only undermine our productivity and quality of life, but some also take a long time to heal, leading to chronic pain. Acquiring the right knowledge on the proper way to use your body can spare you surgery or a lifetime of pain.
The goal of Sunnystep Fitness is to provide the best fitness knowledge grounded in our core beliefs: wellness over performance; form over fancy; and finally, facts over fads. We should not damage our bodies in the pursuit of our fitness goals. Sometimes people do too much too soon, which may result in injury and pushes them further away from the goals they set out to achieve. For example, a beginner to running may set a goal to complete a marathon within one month. He may get hurt if he blindly pushes himself beyond his limits, which could leave him with a body that is weaker than it was before he started running if the injury doesn’t recover well.
Exercising with proper form also prevents injuries and makes exercises more effective. If you do not engage your core correctly while doing crunches, for example, you risk lower back and neck pain because your back and neck are overcompensating in order to help you perform this exercise. Take the time to master your form before upping the intensity of the movement to try to look fancy.
It has become ridiculously easy to find “fitness information”, both online and offline, in this day and age. But not all exercise videos you find demonstrate correct form, and not all fitness advice out there is true or will apply to you. Programs that offer tempting shortcuts like building abs in two weeks can be misleading. We need to be equipped with universal truths in order to distinguish the facts from the fads.
I hope you find something to take away from every issue we release. We only get one body in our lifetime; we need to treat it right. There’s nowhere for us to escape if we break it.