Sunday, 24 July 2016

Why we should never compare our progress with others

Following other fitness women on social media- usually starts off quite motivating, we do it in search of inspiration and information....  but it can quickly turn to frustration and self doubt, but why does this happen? We all do it- we look at other women and wonder why they are progressing faster than us, gaining muscle quicker or losing fat faster, or their strength is improving quicker. Whether its comparing to other women at the gym or more commonly comparing to women we see online via facebook Instagram or other social networks we need to be aware of a few things!

Genetics / bodytypes
When we compare our bodies to other peoples, we rarely look at factors such as- do we have the same bodytype, height, frame, genetics for muscle and conditioning? When we set our fitness / body goals- we need to be realistic- its better to develop our own 'best me' than try and look like someone else. Some people genetically put muscle on very quick, others can lose body fat very fast, others have visible 6 packs pretty much year round without really training for that, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, a strong or weak body part- all of which can be worked on but comparing my weak bicep to someone with genetically fantastic bicep peaks could just be demoralising!!

Training History / Age
Someones training history can affect how quickly they respond. Someone new to exercise will usually see results much quicker than someone with several years training history. Muscle gain is quickest in the first few years of training then slows down. Age and change in hormones etc can affect our progress- it can affect metabolic rate and muscle building potential, but we can maximise our potential on the right plan, so it doesn't have to be too inhibiting, but we need to be aware it could make our progress slower than a younger person.

Diet History
Someones diet history can hugely affect the progress they see. Someone who has a very poor diet will often see rapid results when they change their diet to a healthy one and someone who has severely restricted their calories in crash diets in the past may find their body responds more slowly or need a more strict plan to see results in the future.

Photoshop & Editing
Be careful when comparing yourself to models in magazines or other women on social media. Often the model doesn't even look like that as usually pictures are heavily edited to achieve a particular look. So trying to look like a picture that isn't even real could be very damaging! Lots of women photoshop their pictures or filter them. This might be done harmlessly to make themselves feel good, but if you aren't aware of this is can be very misleading. Not everything you see is real. Sometimes people have ulterior motives for overly editing pictures- an image to upkeep for sponsors, employers or to promote their business.

Inaccurate / Over inflated 'transformation claims'
This can be from individuals selling their PT services and from companies selling products for fat loss or muscle gain- Sometimes the 'after' picture is taken first while the athlete is in good shape and then they over eat, decondition and take the 'before' pic. Sometimes a person will deliberately over eat and under train for a week or two to rapidly put on weight (mostly water)- which will be easily lost in the first couple of weeks of a 'transformation' to artificially over inflate their 'numbers lost'. So always take transformation claims with a pinch of salt!

Artificially Enhanced: PEDS
Often when there is financial gain to be had or some sort of publicity, people will use means other than natural progression (nutrition, training and supplements) to get their results in a short a time as possible- usually people do not mention the assistance used which can be very misleading for anyone following their progress. Performance enhancing drugs (PEDS) can be in the form of steroids, hormones / hormone blockers, fat burners and many other drugs- usually illegal sold via gyms / online- although there are also some substances in mainstream fat burners which also contain products on the WADA banned substance list. So if someones progression just seems extreme- too good to be true? ... it often is! Use of peds is rife in competitive bodybuilding, fitness comps and bikini / model shows / pageant style shows, its a taboo subject, most wont admit to it as it would be damaging to their brand / company / sponsorship deals etc. Its obviously their choice to do this- but if you don't realise this is going on- you could easily be upset about why your own progress is slower than someone elses.

Now this isn't a list of excuses, for why we cant achieve the body we want! its just things we need to be aware of when we view other peoples progress compared with our own, but we also must look at our own lifestyle and analyse whether we really are training smart and eating right for our body. There is no one size fits all approach to nutrition and exercise- as we all respond differently because of our unique genetics and lifestyles, so we need to find what works best for us, rather than for example copy what works for someone with a different body type.  

These are just my thoughts as I see the world!
I see an often very fake media image of health and fitness and a lot of women becoming disillusioned rather than motivated by what they see- so I wanted to shed some light on why this might be... hope you found it enlightening!

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