Every client comes to me wanting to lose weight or to look better. When I first got a personal trainer, I wanted to look like fitness model Zuzka Light until my coach told me she was at an unhealthy level of body fat. It was then I realized I had no idea what “healthy” looked like. And that is because healthy looks different for different people, and there is no set “look” for health.
Why focusing on our looks does not represent good health:
1. You can look like a fitness model and have an unhealthy relationship with food. In fact, a lot of them do! Becoming obsessive over food choices and restricting certain foods can end up an eating disorder for some people. Not to mention you would also have some nutrient deficiency.
2. You can be skinny fat.
3. You can have diabetes and heart disease and look thin.
4. Looks are fleeting and relative. For some people you may look big and others you look small.
5. The scale means nothing if you weight train. Muscle and fat weigh the same (no, one does not weigh more than another) but muscle takes up less space than fat, so you look leaner, but scale numbers do not change – sometimes it will go up!
Why focusing on function and performance is better for your health (and looks!):
1. You can measure performance and strength. Are you increasing in weights each week? Are you moving better? Are you more flexible? If YES, it’s progress!
2. You can feel the difference. Less daily pain. Less achy joints. You feel stronger.
3. You can tell energy levels. You are less tired. You have more energy at work.
4. You sleep better. Your quality and length of sleep improves. You wake up feeling rested and ready for the day!
The BEST part of focusing on function over looks is that once you start focusing on strength and movement, your looks automatically get better! It’s a win-win.
Think about when you are 80-years old, do you want to be self-sufficient or only LOOK self-sufficient? I think no one can argue that looks may fade but we care about quality of life more. But the truth is, if I am a 80-year old who can move well and take care of myself, there is no doubt I will look younger. Resistance training has been shown to reverse aging process.
As your trainer, I care about your long term health and quality of life. I care about making sure you stay active, keep those bones and joints strong, and feeling life without aches and pains. Focusing on function instead of looks will guarantee you live a long, healthy and happy life. And I promise you will look great too!