Faster or Better
Faster. Lose weight faster. Get in shape in ten minutes a day. Six weeks to your best body. Torch fat faster. These headlines are splashed on magazine covers in every grocery store in America. But I’ve learned that faster isn’t always best when it comes to getting in shape. I’ve seen and read it in different forms from three separate sources. I got positive confirmation in a YouTube video by Dr. Mike Israetel and a conversation with my brother. I saw the negative results of dropping bodyfat too quickly in a few Instagram posts where people had loose skin. Many of us have seen the articles about Biggest Loser contestants rebounding to have more bodyweight than before. They cut calories and increased their energy output while living in an environment away from the normal temptations. Basically they went on an enforced elimination diet. I experienced the same thing in boot camp at Parris Island.
The dirty secret of boot camp is eventually you graduate and have to start making your own choices again. My drill instructors always preached the mantra “Being a Marine is harder than becoming a Marine.” That’s because as a Marine, you no longer have someone stopping you when you are about to eat too much. You have consequences for overeating. You no longer have someone making you exercise. You have consequences for being out of shape. The same goes for people who hire a trainer or nutritionist. At some point, most of us end up back on our own. What do we do without someone looking over our shoulder? Is the change forever?
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. I’m on a diet for the first time in my life. I’ve cut weight for sports before but this time I’m actually trying to change my physique, not just shed water while keeping the same body. This is a process of discovery for me that I’ve not had since I first started training with weights over twenty years ago.
Batman Not Captain America
One important discovery is the realization that if I want to be the sort of person who’s got an admirable physique I need to become that person. I need to become a person who puts in regular work in the gym and at the table. Yes, at the table. Eating what I should is also work. From preparing the food to training my willpower to not let food of any kind control me. The person who devotes time to keeping my body in balance so I don’t get stiff and lose normal range of motion in all of my joints. Yes, I want that in one Captain America Vita Ray procedure. But is it realistic? Or put another way, how could I possibly build an NFL running back’s physique over the summer when it took that running back years of hot summer two a days, early morning practices in high school and hours of dedicated training from elementary school to adulthood? What is possible is building a Batman physique, spending time to develop what God gave me into a machine that functions optimally the way He designed it, whenever I need it to function, however I need it to function.
Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant Galatians 6:7 (New Living Translation)
So if I want to have that running back physique, I need to put in the time. Yes, I can mimic his training and if I’m dedicated, I’ll look more and more like him physically as time passes. When I become that person, I’ll have that person’s physique. It’s as simple as sowing and reaping. In fact, since many athletes let their bodies go when their careers end, I might have that physique later in life than the guys I envied when they were playing. It’s not who can get abs fastest, it’s who can keep them longest.
John Greaves III is a freelance writer and amateur powerlifter in North Georgia. His work has appeared in Power Magazine, powerliftingwatch.com, NaturalStrength.com, Strength Advocate, the Chattanooga Times and various trade publications. John is the author of the coming of age novel, A Different Kind of Giant, available on Amazon.com. You can contact him through his website johngreavesIII.net.