For the last ten years, I've spent much of my life researching and studying all things fitness related. I've owned a gym, coached high level athletes in both training and nutrition, and I've written a few ebooks. I've taken people from completely obese to having six pack abs and stepping on stage, and I've helped people who could not lift the bar put hundreds of pounds on their lifts. Many people consider me to be an expert in the field of body composition change, and I have thousands of followers on my non Warrior Soul fitness social media accounts.
Now that I've bragged enough, I'm going to tell you something else: I hate the fitness industry. I hate it for the same reasons that I hate most things about popular culture. The industry has become a bastardized version of truth and reality. It has created distorted visions of what is healthy and unhealthy, and it has fetishized the human form to a point that many are knowingly sacrificing their health to pursue aesthetics.
The state of the industry as it is has not only transformed what we think fitness is - it has censored the information available to the average fitness consumer from delivering information about what is healthy to delivering only the information that the supplement companies and big players in the industry want to provide.
The YouTube fanboys and Instagram lackeys are too far gone to help and I will not try to help them anymore. But my mission with Warrior Soul requires that I try to help you, US military veterans and patriots, to the best of my ability with the knowledge that I've acquired. As such, fitness is going to be an essential part of this blog.
But before I give you workouts and nutrition recommendations, I want to share five lies you've been told that could be holding your own quests for fitness back.
1. You need 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight to build muscle.
There is no bigger lie in the fitness industry. I weigh 190 lbs, my max squat is 500 lbs, and my max deadlift is 600lbs. I eat no more than 80 grams of protein per day, and I didn't eat more than this prior to my last bodybuilding show. This, of course is me, and you are different, but science has also shown the old one gram per pound of bodyweight premise to be false. For a good summary of the plethora of research on this matter see here http://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-protein-intake-for-bodybuilders/.
Additionally, eating high levels of protein can seriously inhibit your health. I highlight the reasons for this in detail here: http://www.chrisalbertfitness.com/blog-1/2015/10/23/why-you-should-probably-cut-your-protein. By eating massive amounts of protein you can ruin your gut and bowel health, decrease your insulin sensitivity (which can lead to diabetes), and expose your body to harsh chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer.
Why then is this idea still so prominently presented as truth in the fitness industry? I don't know, but when a large part of the supplement market consists of protein supplements, the reason probably has something to do with money.
2. Being super lean is healthy
When you go anywhere under 8% body fat, you are seriously putting your metabolic and hormonal health at risk. There is no reason to be this lean unless you are competing in a show or doing a photo shoot, and even then, most fitness competitors do not stay leaner than 8% for more than 48 hours before they begin to get back to normal body fat ranges. Staying this lean for a long period of time can lead to increased risk of injuries, decreased testosterone and poor sexual function, and metabolic damage.
If you are an active athlete or active duty military personnel, 10 to 12% body fat is a far healthier range to stay in for optimal performance and it is also aesthetically sufficient in that you could see your abdominal muscles at this body fat percentage.
3. You Need to Lift Everyday
You don't, and lifting heavy everyday can hurt you (yes, overtraining does exist). If you want to be lifting beyond the age of 35, you need to take some recovery time. That doesn't mean sitting around. Rather, you should be spending time working on mobility (www.mobilitywod.com), getting rest, and working on other aspects of your life. If you want to be fit, you need to take care of yourself. If you don't, then there will be a time when you can't squat, bench press, deadlift, or walk normally. Train hard, but train smart.
4. You don't have to eat vegetables.
I am amazed at the amount of fitness personalities who openly tell their followers that they do not need to eat vegetables. Vegetables provide easily absorbable vitamins and minerals, and without them, nutritional deficiencies occur. They also help to guard against total body chronic inflammation, which can lead to joint health problems, digestion issues, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is especially true if you eat meat which can cause all of these issues.
You should include at least 8 to 10 servings of vegetables in your diet, along with some fruit, to ensure proper bodily health.
5. Fitness personalities are heroes.
If there's anything that drove me out of the fitness profession it's this. It is perfectly ok to admire someone, but the amount of hero worship going on in the fitness industry is disgusting. There are many great athletes in the industry. They work very hard, and I take nothing away from them. But they are not people to be worshipped or described as heroes. Working out all day and being strong or pretty does not make you a hero, and worshipping these people like they're heroes degrades the word for those who deserve it. What makes you a hero is your sacrifice for others.
I've left the fitness industry, but I will be posting regular fitness columns here. If there's an aspect of fitness that you'd like to know more about, or if you have any questions, please let me know. I want this blog to be valuable to you and I do not want to just impose my view of what fitness should be on you. Tell me what you're struggling with, and I will give you answers to the best of my ability.