Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Truth About Trends

Hey guys! I know I haven't been on here in a while, and it's the same excuse as always: life has been cuh-razy. 

I know. Lame.

Since I last posted, I have:

  • Graduated college
  • Moved back to Spokane
  • Started a travel itinerary business
  • Begun re-editing my novel after what I called a brief "moping hiatus"

Life has NOT gone how I planned it at all, but I'm trying really hard to look for all the positive things going on in my life instead of dwelling on what I don't like. 


So let's talk about what I'm really here for: health and fitness trends.

I grew up doing sports so I was always pretty into fitness, and when I got to college I really started to care about what I put into my body.

But (as I think we all know) learning about health can be super confusing! Aside from general research, it seems like a new health trend or diet pops up every few weeks that is supposed to be the best thing for everyone.

Overall I’m a pretty rational person, but I used to have a really hard time figuring out my workout schedule and diet because of the changing popularity within the health industry. My freshman year of college it was prepackaged protein shakes with no regard to sugar and late-night workouts that kept me awake for hours afterwards. My sophomore year it was hours of cardio and fat-burning supplements. (Terrible, I know!) My junior year it was more cardio and basically starving myself (from an article that said the only thing that matters when losing weight is that you have a significant calorie deficit). And my senior year was full-on veganism and working out regardless of how I felt.

While some of these things work for certain people, nothing I just mentioned really worked for me. I thought it was supposed to because it was supposedly what every celebrity and personal trainer was doing at the time, and it was incredibly frustrated to pursue a lifestyle that was 1) not giving me results, and 2) totally miserable.

And it took me until I was 23 years old, but recently I had an epiphany:

Do what works for you.

Everyone is different. Yes, we all need to eat a balanced diet and drink enough water and stay active to be healthy, but those are still really broad guidelines. If someone is allergic to spinach it’s not going to improve their health, no matter how many vitamins it has! Working out in the morning can be a great start for some people, but if it gives someone a massive headache for the rest of the day, they can probably work out at another time and do just fine!

An example from my own life that covers a couple of different points:

I got pretty serious about veganism a couple of years ago. I thought I’d try it out just for fun, and it actually made me feel better than I ever had after a couple of weeks. I had never tried being a vegan before because I heard things like chicken breast and whey protein were so good for you, and veganism would take those away. Turns out, not everyone needs meat in their diet.

Personally, veganism made me feel amazing. I had more energy and didn’t crash in the afternoon and slept so much better than before. I realized meat was making me feel groggy and bloated and I could find dairy alternatives to anything I wanted. (Dairy had always made me feel sick so I wasn’t consuming very much at this time anyway.)

I liked veganism so much that I started to research constantly. I watched documentaries and read articles and was 100% convinced that no human being had any necessity to consume animal-based products.

One of the things I learned from all this study was that humans didn’t need nearly as much protein as we had always been told. You can find a lot of protein in plants, but if you eat nothing but vegetables and bananas all day, you should be completely fine.

So I did that. (More or less.)

And it worked for me for a while. It was exactly what my body needed and wanted at that time, which was great.

Recently I started working out a lot more and incorporating weights into my training. For the first couple of months I was seeing ZERO progress. Like, so little progress it was kind of unbelievable. I also noticed I had a hard time recovering from my soreness and I was tired all the time.

So I did some more research and I found out that based on my fitness goals, I needed more waaaaay more protein in my diet. As I mentioned before, I was eating almost exclusively fruits and vegetables at this point, so my protein intake was extremely low.

At first I struggled with this. They said I didn’t need that much protein! How am I supposed to know what’s real??

This is when the epiphany came. When I first embraced veganism, I wasn’t working out a lot and wasn’t trying to burn fat or gain muscle. Fruits and veggies made my body feel good and they were really all I needed at the time. But as my goals changed, my diet needed to change as well.

Still staying plant-based, I upped my protein intake and within weeks started seeing the results I was looking for. I was also able to recover from my workouts faster and didn’t feel like a gym session took all my energy for the day.

Continuing on the path of listening to my body, I slowly incorporated eggs and fish into my diet. I was breaking the vegan code, but I needed those extra protein sources and healthy fats. And guess what? I saw even more improvement!

Long story short, just because a diet or workout is trending, it doesn’t mean it’s the only thing that will work for you. Your lifestyle should be based on your health goals and how you feel, not what other people are trying to tell (or sell) you.

Listen to your body and you’ll get the best results!

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