By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
I was recently asked on Quora:
I want to go to the gym but I'm fat, and will feel like I'm being judged. Should I avoid it?
Here is my expanded response:
Majority of people will give you the expected answer, to go to the gym, get used to it, once you see results, you'll get over the discomfort. If it were only that easy.
There are two things that may happen:
- You go and get used to it and you go more often.
- Or you go, feel ashamed, connect the gym with shame, and hesitate to go back and find that when you do, you can never stick with it.
Working in the gym culture and knowing about attrition, the latter is the most common. Then you associate gym with failed attempts and it becomes a vicious cycle.
If you're overweight or as you put it, "fat" and you're exercising in an attempt to lose weight, exercise is not the only method nor is it the most effective. Of course the other part of the answer is diet, and also lifestyle (stress level, sleep, how long you sit at a desk, how much you interact with people, getting fresh air, annual check ups, etc.)
Going to the gym will not automatically make you eat better. It may inspire you to, but it will not educate you on good eating. You'll have to do that on your own. In some cases, people who exercise end up eating more and worse because they believe exercise is cancelling it out. That's why they may believe, "oh my weight went up because I gained muscle." Bodybuilders understand to bulk, it's not just exercising, in fact exercising will make them lose some weight. They need to eat more.
Then you get into the gym diet, see what the people there are eating. Lots of liquid foods, liquid carbs, cheat meals, carb loading, and lots and lots of supplements.
We try to exercise to lose weight, but exercising is the quickest way to build up an appetite. It would make more sense to get a handle on the eating first before we begin to challenge our willpower.
Start from here
Instead of using exercise and the gym to enhance your eating and lifestyle, try optimizing your diet and lifestyle first, then use the gym and exercise to enhance those results.
- Ask yourself, what is your relationship with food, is it just food is it more than that?
- Secondly ask yourself, do you cook, and if you do how often? People think they can buy healthy food but the problem is you're allowing the food industry to define what healthy is. Their definition will always be a corporate model. Less unhealthy is not the same as healthy. What you can make at home will be in your best interest.
Start with these questions and go from there.
Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.