*Note - I got this image from Christian Thibaudeau as it sums up my article clearly. Be sure to check out his work https://www.facebook.com/christian.thibaudeau/?fref=ts
No matter the goal, whether it is to gain lean mass, lose body fat, play in the NRL, or become a world champion in any given sport, I believe improving health is the foundation.
If you are not healthy it is very hard to be performing your best in any field. Many people will neglect their health to try and achieve their goals. This is especially true when it comes to losing body fat and getting lean. Personally I don’t care how lean you can get depleting yourself and training excessively, especially if you have underlying health issues that aren’t being addressed. The results will be short lived even if you do manage to achieve them and in reality you will be no better off.
For example, if a woman comes in to see me and wants to get down to a low body fat percentage but has some kind of gut issue, has chronic fatigue, and has a host of hormonal issues, I am more concerned with trying to improve her overall health then I am to get her down to a low body fat percentage. By improving gut function and addressing the underlying causes of dysfunction many times this will help them get leaner anyway. The problem is people want instant results. The above approach may take a little longer but the results long term will be far better and will also last a lot longer.
I see figure models, or more often, the average women trying to emulate a figure model, starve themselves and take fat burners or even drugs to accomplish their goal, potentially ruining their long term health. Not only that, with the amount of time they train and how depleted most tend to be, they don’t have much time or energy for anything else in their lives. I respect the dedication but there are much better ways to go about it. If it is your sport and you are doing it for a short period of time then that’s what you have to do to win but if you are just an average person trying to look good you should focus on your health first so you can enjoy your life.
The same goes for a lot of men. The most common thing in a public gym is the bloke who starts training and after a few short months of gaining minimal muscle decides he is going to take steroids. They think it is the answer, a quick fix to short cut the hard work necessary. It isn’t, it is a disaster. The risk for this type of person far outweighs any reward. Often they have no idea what they are taking, why they are taking it, the best dosage, timing, nothing. They are just playing Russian roulette.
It would be rare to see an Olympic gold medallist with a chronic disease. It isn’t just about training hard or eating a super strict diet and neglecting all other areas of your health. It takes a total approach to health where all factors are considered.
What if you just want to have energy and be good at your day job? Same thing applies. Focus on improving your health. You will have more energy, better focus, and more motivation. Pretty much every successful business men I have read about all put a priority on maintaining and improving their health.
If you focus on eating clean whole foods, supplement to replenish nutrient deficiencies where necessary, remove exposure to toxic chemicals as much as possible, train smart, sleep well, give yourself enough time to recover, and do it consistently enough, you will be well on your way to achieving your goals. Once you have done that consistently for a while you can then start to move to more advanced strategies to further improve your performance. If you do this, when you go to work with a coach they will be able to progress much faster and start to individualise your nutrition, supplementation, and training programs, then if you have no base to work from at all or if they have to try and fix all the issues you may have created for yourself by looking for quick fixes or neglecting any underlying health issues.
The best advice I can give is to pay a reputable coach straight off the bat to help you achieve your goals. This will save you a lot of time and money. Think of it like this, there are millions of articles on the net saying what the best way to do xyz is, now for you to go through and trial all this out you could spend a lifetime and get nowhere and could also ruin your health in the process, or you could invest in a coach who has proven results. They could then put you on a path that will not only be best for your health but will also increase your performance. I see this with the young athletes I train. The results they are getting are far superior to myself at the same age because I have 16 years of mistakes and knowledge gained that I can pass on to them so they don’t have to go through the injuries and wasted training time that I did.