One of the best movies of all times is Renaissance Man starring Danny Devitto. In it, he teaches Shakespeare to a bunch of military miscreants. One of the best lines in the movie is: ” The choices we make dictate the life we lead.” It’s as straight forward as a concept could be.
I do a lot of reading on the subject of fitness and nutrition. All things being equal, and all things being condensed down to their core essence, it’s about choices. Make a streak of bad choices, they’ll catch up to you, make a streak of good choices and you’ll be all set. The real trick is learning to make good choices a majority of the time.
Going to the gym to make up for bad choices that are made a majority of the time is most assuredly a lesson in futility. Here’s a line I hear a lot from people when it comes to this scenario: ” I have to go to the gym today, I’ve been eating way too much.” Honestly, it’s easier to skip that extra serving of whatever you’ve eaten versus driving to the gym and running for an hour or so. It’s been said by virtually every fitness professional that you can’t outwork a bad diet. Theoretically, it’s possible for you to do that. However, you would probably end up spending every waking moment of your day at the gym.
If you have a life, that prospect isn’t going to fly. We all have things to do and places to be and other interests to explore. Make the best choice possible initially, it’ll spare you hassle later. That’s not to say however, that you can’t make bad choices from time to time. (I’m advising this on the nutritional front and will not be held responsible for bad decisions you make in other departments of your life). Most experts advocate an 80/20 rule. Be good 80% of the time and bad the other 20%. For the most part that works. If you’re looking to really push the envelope you can even go 90/10, or 95/5. Empirical evidence does suggest that going too far in the extreme categories, i.e., 95/5-100/0, will turn you into a major crank-bot. Yes, crank-bot. Prolonged deprivation of the good things in life will bring out the bitchiness in everyone, man or woman.
At the end of the day I suppose it’s better to view fitness and nutrition as simply a series of choices. Focus on cleaning up what you do a majority of the time, and enjoy the remaining time when you can allow yourself to not care.