May 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Clients

Let me begin this week's post with a profound truth: there is no silver bullet.

Allow me to contrast two examples of what I am talking about.  I received two emails from clients over the weekend; one who was just returning from her vacation, and the other who has a trip planned in two weeks.

The first client, for whom I had written a 10K training plan prior to her trip, thanked me for giving her "something to look forward to" after a vacation packed with fun, family, and yes - a bit more food than usual.  She mentioned that even though she wasn't going to start the plan until she returned from the well-deserved vacation, it was enough motivation for her to keep focused on her goal and have a set way to return to fitness after the break.

The second client, a virtual trainee for whom I've written several strength and conditioning plans, informed me of her trip and asked me for ways to thin out her thighs.  She wants to wear a bikini on her vacation and, "without anything too tough," wants to tone up her upper legs and hips as quickly as possible.

As you can imagine, my disappointment over the second client was only balanced out by my appreciation for the first.  Here at bene-fit, we advocate realistic consistency and long-term commitments to health - not quick fixes and that persistent myth of "spot reduction."  Furthermore, fitness is better understood as a feeling than a physical form; building and maintaining your health is a marathon, not a sprint.

I responded to the second client in the only way I knew how - with stark honesty.  I advised her to continue her established balance of cardiovascular and strength training, monitor her diet closely to avoid excess sugars, sodium, and refined carbohydrates, and stay hydrated and well-rested in the weeks leading up to her trip (I also recommended a great organic self-tanner - the only "quick fix" I can truly recommend for an imminent beach vacation!).

So back to my first point, which bears repeating: there is no silver bullet, and there never will be.  Much-heralded technological and medical advances like Alli, lap band surgery, and the now-illegal ephedra have come and gone - and new drugs, procedures, and chemicals like them will continue to thrive in a culture like ours where weight loss is the "new national pastime."  If you want trim thighs, go out and get running.  If you want to reduce body fat, strength train and boost your metabolism by eating a healthy breakfast.  If you want to find peace and balance, find a yoga studio or teacher and begin to integrate mindful movement into your life.

bene-fit simply asks you to consider spending your time and money a bit more fruitfully - by investing in your overall health and wellness with regular exercise, a clean diet, and holistic healthy habits.  It is within your power to make the changes you want, but you must be willing to do the work and stay the course.  There are no shortcuts on the journey to your best self - but if you are really in pursuit, you don't need any.

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