Friday, 2 November 2012

Avoiding the "side-effect" syndrome of fitness goals

A comprehensive fitness program should produce results in the following three parameters:
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
Any results outside these three parameters are mere side effects.  Let me repeat: any results outside these three parameters are mere side effects.  And I am not implying any negative connotation when I use the term side effect.  Some of these side effects include changes to posture, immunity levels, body fat level, weight, sleeping patterns, appetite, etc.  As one can see, the list of these side effects can be really long.  And classifying these side effects as a positive or negative depends on the individual and their context.  E.g. weight loss may be a good thing if you're just coming off a holiday season during which you've binged a lot.  But it is probably not a good thing if you're already in the underweight zone on the BMI scale (or any other metric that you're following).

Now, it's quite common to see ourselves setting goals focussed exclusively on these side effects: in fact, it's usually one of the reason people start to hit the gym, isn't it?  Typical comments one gets to hear from newcomers is, "I need to lose at least five kilos before my cousin's wedding."  This is short-term mentality at its best.

If you are following a fitness program that is focussed on any of these side effects while compromising on the three fitness parameters listed above (strength, endurance, flexibility), you're doing yourself more harm than good.  In fact, even if you are focusing on one of those three parameters while compromising on the other two, you are doing your body a disservice in the long run. So, please set yourself holistic fitness goals, and follow a program that does not compromise on these three parameters. 

Comments welcome.

[Update: Retitled this post]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, I really look forward to updates from you.