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Lifelong fitness takes time

Lifelong fitness.

A friend of mine has recently become fascinated with Pinterest.

For those unfamiliar with this particular phone app’, Pinterest allows people to collect images and videos around the topics that interest them. In the language of Pinterest, ‘pins’ (images and videos) can be added to ‘boards’ (collections of images and videos) and shared between Pinterest members.

As far as I can tell as a casual observer, Pinterest is less about words or thoughts (on which Twitter and Facebook are built) than it is about visuals and ideas: Pinterest is very popular with hobbyists, for example.

One set of topics that are very popular on Pinterest are working out and bodybuilding, with the principles of bodybuilding, bulking, cutting and structuring workouts to grow the major muscle groups all captured in eye-catching infographics on the platform.

If you take a scroll through related Pinterest fitness and exercise pins, what is striking is how precise many of these infographics are, as well as how much they zoom in on some of the key principles of bodybuilding (and how to get bigger through it). How to exercise, how to stagger workouts, what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat is all covered in Pinterest’s easy to follow form, as are such principles as following a push/pull workout programme and how to move between lean, cut and bulked body forms (and back again).

In the era of the smartphone and fast data transfer, Pinterest is well-positioned to benefit its core audience in this form, since it offers content in a way that can be easily digested in smartphone form (especially on the gym floor).

There is clearly a market for this kind of information and training philosophy, which I respect. For myself, and in terms of how I work out and why I exercise, there is certainly value in this kind of approach and information. Where this targeted kind of coaching is less effective, however, is in building a philosophy of lifelong fitness and training to achieve fitness goals.

The reason for this is because to achieve lifelong fitness - living an active, engaged, strong and rewarding life and through that effectively slowing the effects of the ageing process on the body and mind - requires a more textured and nuanced approach to training and fitness. Lifelong fitness means balancing diet, mental attitude and aptitude, physical training and deciding on what exercise is undertaken when, whilst developing a philosophy for living that is both alert and positive.

It is also an approach that must be nourished and developed over time and informed as time passes. There are no shortcuts to lifelong fitness, though there are quick wins in terms of feeling good and being energised and balanced. The road to achieving lifelong fitness may be long and, at times, challenging, but it is worth walking (or indeed, running) as the very process of doing so gives momentum and meaning for the journey that lies ahead.

Looking good in the short and medium terms are credible goals and strong motivators. Moving beyond the medium term, however, requires a different strategy and terms of reference than can be found in a pin or on a board.


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