Know Thyself: 5 Fitness Truths To Help You Become The One
In the 1999 blockbuster movie The Matrix, we’re introduced to Thomas Anderson played by Keanu Reeves. In this first installment of a trilogy, Anderson, as well as the audience, spends the first half of the movie in confusion.
Thomas Anderson was a normal guy by day: he’s a computer programmer for a respectable software company; has a Social Security Number; he pays his taxes; he helps his landlady take out the garbage.
However, he passed his nights as Neo, a computer hacker. More importantly, he was looking for answers, and there was one question that kept him up at night.
“What is the Matrix?”
He scoured the internet looking for the one person who he thought could finally answer that question: The cyberterrorist Morpheus. However, Morpheus finds him first. And on that day everything changed.
Everything Neo knew (or thought he knew) was a lie.
“The System Is Our Enemy”
I believe that fitness can be very similar to The Matrix. Magazines, websites, even your local gym bros might be a part of it. The Matrix is everywhere.
The Fitness Matrix creates a construct of misinformation and lies. There are also agents of The Matrix promoting these lies to keep the construct going. These individuals have a vested financial interest in keeping you in the dark.
Then there are the people that are plugged into the Fitness Matrix. Over time, these bad fitness ideas become so ingrained, that even people outside of fitness circles believe them. Your friends and family propagate this misinformation. They mean well, but they don’t know the truth.
Many of these ideas even contradict each other. How are you supposed to separate fact from fiction?
Well, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? Are you ready?
“All I’m Offering is The Truth… Nothing More”
There are few absolutes in fitness and nutrition, but here are what I like to call The Five Fitness Truths:
1 – Eat according to your goals – Nutrition is individual. Eating the right amount matters more than the types of foods you eat, or when you eat them. Calories, no matter what they consist of, can be consumed in excess or in a deficit. Meal frequency is also largely irrelevant. No matter how calories are split up, it’s still the same amount of food. This means that from a physiological standpoint, one large meal is the same as six small ones.
2 – 60-80% of your metabolic rate is set in stone – Living (literally, what you’re doing right now) accounts for the largest part of your metabolic rate. Eating accounts for another 10%, and physical activity, ranging from walking to the most intense workouts, only accounts for another 10-30%. There are no magic superfoods, pills, potions, or wraps that can boost your metabolism in any significant way. Save your time and money.
3 – Weight training has more benefits than other forms of exercise – Weight training strengthens and builds strong lean muscle; it has cardiovascular benefits; it strengthens ligaments, tendons, and bones; it even has cognitive benefits (training your body = training your brain). No other single type of training can make those claims.
4 – Workout intensity matters more than duration – You can have a great workout in as little as 25 minutes. Get in, work hard, and get out. Workouts shouldn’t be easy, otherwise, they’d be called “your mom.”
5 – Consistency is better than perfection – When fitness becomes a part of your life, you understand that a single bad meal or a single missed workout is meaningless. Thinking about the long haul puts things into proper perspective; it compartmentalizes a single bad decision which prevents it from turning into a series of bad decisions with even more deleterious effects. For example, if you have a bad meal on a Thursday, you don’t have to blow the entire weekend and “start strong on Monday;” you can start strong with your very next decision.
Within these Five Fitness Truths, there’s a lot of latitude for personal preference and flexibility. The biggest key to escaping the Fitness Matrix is knowing what works for you.
Neo’s quest for the truth about The Matrix led him to ask even more questions. In order to find the answer to these questions, Neo consults The Oracle. However, The Oracle doesn’t spoon feed Neo the answers (and not just because there is no spoon).
To me, what follows is the most important part of the movie, and contains an idea that has stuck with me ever since.
During this conversation, The Oracle points to a sign over the doorway to her kitchen. It says “Temet Nosce,” or Latin for “Know Thyself.”
However cryptically, The Oracle tries to tell Neo that he already has all the answers he seeks, he just isn’t ready to see accept it yet. Once he understands who he really is, he’ll see that he already has all the answers he’s looking for.
Like Neo, you, too, already have the answers seek.
“The Matrix Can Not Tell You Who You Are”
Regardless of the fads the Fitness Matrix sends your way, all that matters is the approach that works for you.
For example, one of the current trends in nutrition calls for skipping breakfast. But you know that you feel horrible when you don’t eat in the morning.
Should you skip breakfast?
Another trend is to count macronutrients and to reach the macronutrient targets with “junk food,” like ice cream, but you know that you can’t start a pint of ice cream without finishing it, completely blowing your nutrition.
Should you incorporate these foods into your diet?
It’s said that running is absolutely necessary to “get shredded, yo.” You know you’d rather watch paint dry than run on a treadmill.
Should you start a running program to lose fat?
Low Carb? Low Fat? Cheat Days? Crossfit? Powerlifting? The only way to be sure if something will work for you, assuming the reasoning behind it is sound, is to try it out for a few weeks, just enough to get used it and get over the initial resistance.
When you apply the Five Fitness Truths, you don’t ever have to fall prey to bad fitness advice again; these Truths establish a solid foundation of what works for everyone. However, how you stick to these Truths is up to you. If the approach is enjoyable, it will be sustainable. And if it’s sustainable, then you’ll do it long enough to see results.
Only you can decide what works for you.
By focusing on the truth, instead of trying to dispel myths, you’ll be able to save years of frustration and make consistent progress.
“What Are You Trying To Tell Me? That I Can Dodge Bullets?”
No, dear reader. I’m trying to tell you that, when you’re ready, you won’t have to.
Are you ready to be unplugged from the Fitness Matrix? Only you can answer that. But now you know that The Real World is out there. Now you know that you have the answers.
Neo’s name was a clever anagram for “One;” he was The One the whole time, he just wasn’t ready to believe it.
Morpheus believed in Neo. We believe in you. If you need help on your path to becoming The One, then you might be a candidate for our Premium Online Coaching service.
If you’re ready to take The Red Pill, you’ll stay in Wonderland, and we’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Or we’ll just get you swole, which is pretty much the same thing.
Buckle your seatbelt Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye.
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