Mens-Health-December-2012-coverpress_shape-Cover-May-2004

And as disappointing as it may be, there is also no such thing as “6-Pack Abs in Just 9 Days”, or getting “Bikini Ready by June 1”, when it is already well into May. I’m sorry, but I gotta break it to you – it just ain’t gonna happen.

We’re pretty used to getting what we want when we want it these days. We are just not used to waiting for stuff any more. Everything is available instantly – we can buy appliances off Amazon with the click of one button, order take-out meals by dialing a number, shop for groceries without leaving the couch. Everything is so easy. And I am so grateful for all the technological advances that have made life so convenient.

The only problem with it, is that we then assume this same level of convenience can be translated across all other areas of our lives too. And those expectations are reinforced by neon-colored magazine headlines and catchy commercials with unrealistically beautiful people telling us we too can look like that or feel like that. Tomorrow.

On TV, a commercial for fast-“food” is immediately followed by one for a miracle pill that will reverse whatever heart-burn/gut-irritation/obesity the previously advertised ‘food’ would cause, and then another will tell us that, by shaking some gadget while we lounge about on the couch, we too can have sculpted arms in just 1 week. And what’s not to get excited about?! We all want to look and feel great, and if we can do so quickly, and with no effort, then so much better!
But here’s the thing:

There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

At least not when it comes to our bodies and our health.

Right now, Dr Oz is ranting on about a “revolutionary new fat buster” called Garcinia Cambogia . A few years ago a herb called Hoodia was all the rage. We’re obsessed with finding the quickest ways to lose weight, and we want it to be EASY.

But our bodies do not work that way. They are perfect reflections of how we treat them. And this means how we treat them over a life-time. That one time you ate a paleo meal will do nothing if you’re eating bread and cheerios at your other meals. The one workout you drag yourself to once a week will do little in the face of sitting on your butt the rest of the time. And even if there was a super quick weight-loss option, this will not equate to instant beauty. For starters it will not make you fit and healthy, and there is no such thing as beauty without the radiance of health.

I have known plenty of people who are obsessed with being thin, way over being healthy. They’d happily be skinny regardless of their health. What they fail to realize is that beauty is impossible without health. And, far more important than physical beauty, health will enable us to live out full, energetic lives, and be truly of service to the world, since we won’t be spending time fighting illness and struggling with low energy.

Conversely, I have met people who I’ve seen become positively beautiful through a process of transforming their health through hard work in the gym and addressing their nutrition. We have a few such examples at our box and I am constantly amazed at their dedication and the results of all that effort.

Seeing these examples reminds me of the fact that it’s not ever about a “4-hour body” or a miracle herb from Amazon (or from the Amazon jungle). It is about respecting ourselves enough to put in the time and effort it takes to truly transform ourselves from the inside out. This is what distinguishes true beauty from a superficial, empty version.

So, whilst doing a one-off Whole30 will leave you feeling better than you have in years, and possibly a few inches smaller, if you leap straight back onto the cereal/bagel train, the results will be short-lived and it’ll just be 30 days of your life you may as well have spent eating ice-cream.

There are no quick fixes.

deal-with-it

So before you fork out money for a jar of Garcinia Cambogia, or re-mortgage your home to be able to stock up on the latest protein supplements, here are some tips that will actually work:

  • Eat well. As we constantly say, there is no substitute for a nutrient-dense, real-food diet free from inflammatory foods.
  • Workout smartly. Not necessarily more, (although for most people it will be more than their current sedentary norm), but smarter. Make your workouts count and make them actually good for your body. CrossFit more than has you covered here.
  • Sleep 8-9 hours a night. Without adequate restful sleep, you will never be healthy. Period. And you certainly will not be doing your looks or body composition any favors.
  • Manage your stress – get your work-life balance on track. Stress impacts the body on every level. It can be a positive thing if we manage it correctly, but more often than not, we don’t. And when we don’t, our health suffers.
  • Be happy. As esoteric as this seems, happiness is closely linked to good health. That, and laughter. So be happy and laugh.
  • Do these things every day for the rest of your life.
    Not for 4 hours, or for 4 days. Not even for 4 weeks. Do. Them. Every. Day.

    Having good health and a great body takes a life-time commitment. But it will guarantee you a lifetime of being able to make the most of your experience on this planet.

    I think that may just be worth the effort.

    All respect to Tim Ferris and his book, (which incidentally has some great content), but the title is *very* mis-leading. It is designed to appeal to our wanting-everything-for-nothing sides, but read the book and you will see that his recommendations require a life-time, rather than 4-hours, of following in order to be effective.