Fitness extremes… are they healthy?

Fitness extremes… are they healthy? I have always admired the commitment and determination of the Ironman athlete and fitness competitor. Both sports, although very different, take an extreme amount of dedication, hard work, and MASSIVE commitment. Both sports challenge the human spirit to push past its limits — physically and emotionally. Both sports can absolutely consume your life with training schedules of 15 to 20 or more hours a week. Both sports, although praised for their high level of fitness they require, can be considered one of the unhealthiest things you can do to your body — physically and mentally. What?  Extreme fitness does NOT equal health! Yes, I said it. Just because you can obtain low levels of body fat, or you may be able to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a 26.2 mile marathon (all part of an Ironman triathlon event) does NOT mean you are healthy. It just means you are trained and fit. By definition health is a state of complete mental, physical, and social wellbeing — whereas fitness is the ability to meet the demands of a physical task. Now, don’t get me wrong. Competing in these sports is a major accomplishment. Like I said, I truly respect these athletes. However, for the everyday Joe or Jane who is looking to achieve optimal health, I believe neither of these is the way to go.  With the help of two of my fellow fitness professionals, we will discuss the ups and downs of extreme fitness and why it may NOT be the best way to achieve optimal health. Meet Ashley Mahaffey (a seasoned...

Is the Health and Fitness Industry moving in the right direction?

Is the Health and Fitness Industry moving in the right direction? As usual I have found myself questioning the direction of the health and fitness industry and the messages they are dishing out. First it was the TV show the Biggest Loser ticking me off, and now it’s almost every health and fitness magazine on the market. Seriously, what the hell are they doing?! Sorry, but I really cannot stand how some things in the health and fitness industry are being taken over by the advertising market and big business. On many levels, I feel like the health and fitness industry has become no better than the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, I have decided they now have some love affair with each other — or at least in cahoots. You see, at the end of the day, everything comes down to money — everything! Health and fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry — an industry that has no signs of slowing down. An industry, like many in America, is developing some very bad habits. Let me explain: The other day, I was cruising through the drug store. No, I was not buying drugs. I was purchasing my normal goods — toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. — when I came across the store’s magazine rack. Now, I am not a big magazine reader, but I sometimes like to check out what some of the national health and fitness magazines are saying about what is healthy and how to stay fit. Honestly, I see very little value in any of these magazines. However, I like to know what the average Joe or...

The Biggest Loser…Inspirational or Harmful Message?

Dear Biggest Loser show…. Lately, as many of you know, I have been questioning EVERYTHING. What is truth? What is complete BS? And what is sitting somewhere in the grey area — which seems is pretty much everything. Funny enough, this has made me want to write about the TV show, Biggest Loser. I see it as a show of little “real life” truth, a good dose of BS, and even more grey area. When I ask people about the show, I find that most people love this show (so I understand I may offend a few with this blog). It is very apparent that people love seeing severely obese individuals conquer their fears and lose hundreds of pounds in a matter of 3 months. We see them cry, huff-n- puff, and push through pain and fear. And then at the end, we see one lucky winner win $250,000 dollars. How inspiring. How amazing. How motivating. How VERY unhealthy. I’m sorry — I had to say it. I don’t believe the show Biggest Loser is “healthy” at all. Yes, it may be good entertainment, it may offer some inspiration, and tug at your heart strings — but healthy it is not. Not by a long shot. Oh, I can already hear Bob and Jillian or Anna (the new trainer) yelling at me… “But we are saving lives!” Really? Are you really saving lives — or are you allowing America to believe that health is achieved with 8-hour long workouts, extreme calorie restriction, and an unbalanced/unrealistic life (by removing each of these people from the real world)? These 3 things,...