Four toxic fitness relationships to break up with now

By Tia Norris, February 2020 Issue.


in the pursuit of getting healthier, people can pick up some dangerously

unhealthy relationships along the way. From obsessive tracking, to varying

degrees of self-sabotage, and yo-yo exercising or dieting, almost everyone I

work with accidentally acquires one of these toxic relationships with diet and

fitness in time. The keys to change are: first, recognizing the problems as

actual problems; and second, committing to better behaviors and thought

patterns going forward. Here are four of the most toxic fitness relationships I

see, and how to break up with them forever.


Obsessive weighing, or playing the numbers game at all


have a saying as a trainer: “if you play the numbers game, you’ll never win.”

Read this twice: the scale is a second tier, or even third tier, assessment of

progress within fitness. Too many people place a tragic amount of emphasis on

the number of the scale; when, this number is not only extremely variable but

it also doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to transformation. Here are

some things that greatly affect small variances in your daily weight: caloric

intake, sleep, stress, sodium, water retention, hormones, activity level,

weather conditions, altitude conditions, bowel movements, and so much more. …

Your weight will fluctuate naturally every day according to this long list of

contributors, making the scale weight a somewhat unreliable measurement!

Moreover, don’t neglect the fact that as you get stronger and fitter, you’ll be

building muscle along the way. Most often, clients like the way they look with

more muscle and less body fat — and most often, that physical transformation

does not translate into much loss, if any at all. Let go of the scale and

instead focus on progress pictures, strength achievements, energy levels,

clothes fitting differently, and other positive measurements.


Perfectionism and the elusive, invisible standard


often, people begin a fitness journey with goals that are far too aggressive,

and those that will take a long time to fully achieve; but, alongside their

aggressive goals, they assign a ridiculously short time frame to achieve those

goals. They think they should already have it; they think they should already

be further along, faster, stronger, bigger, smaller, fitter; and then they

criticize themselves so unduly harshly for not hitting the goals, albeit

unfounded goals from the start. Beware the perfectionistic thinking patterns;

seek out a coach or an expert who can help you to set realistic goals, and then

be patient with yourself. Getting fit, and strong, and lean, and fast,

takes a long time! Settle in for the long haul and set your expectations

accordingly … it’ll save you a lot of stress and heartbreak down the road. 


Senseless comparison to others


on #2 above, for the love of God: stop comparing yourself to others. They are

on their own journey, at their own stages, with their own strengths and

weaknesses and struggles that you most likely aren’t taking into account. You

don’t need to be as fit, as strong, as lean, as fast, or as whatever as those

around you – all you need to do is be the best that you can be at any given

time. Ask yourself: are you doing your very best on your program at this

moment? Do you devote as much time as needed to your exercise? Do you make time

for recovery, mental health, massages, and other self-care? Do you maximize

your efforts on meal planning, tracking, clean supplements, and efficient

timing? If you aren’t doing your best, then find ways to get to your best. If

you are doing your best, then you can’t possibly be further than you are at

this point – accept that and let the rest of the comparisons GO.


Extreme fad diets, calorie slashes, cleanses, and other quick fixes


can’t possibly roll my eyes any harder at people who believe that this shit

actually works, long term. Sure, these extreme measures will shock your body

into submission for a short while, but of course, they’re not sustainable,

period! Accept the fact that changing your physique takes a long time … and if

you can truly wrap your mind around that, then ask yourself if the sharp

calorie cuts and all-juice diets will really last for months or years at a time

– all of them will fail the test of sustainability, therefore making them poor

strategies for real, lifestyle-type of adaptations. Any diet that eliminates an

entire macronutrient will not work. Any diet that drops your calories below

what you need to technically metabolically survive (your BMR; look this up)

will not work. Any diet that has you not eating much, will not work. Small

changes over long periods of time are the best bets!


of these toxic relationships can be solved easily, on principles: be patient,

be kind to yourself, and focus solely on yourself. Cut through the BS of the

diet industry, supplement marketing, and false promises… put in the work, over

and over, to see the results. Break UP with these toxic behaviors, and make

smarter plans to truly get healthy from the inside, out this year!

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