Fitness Fun

Overcoming Our Annoyance with Health Tips

overcoming our annoyance with health tipsI’ve been searching for some fresh health tips this week. I’ve trolled Fitness Magazine, Men’s Health, even the SelectHealth quarterly newsletter. Finally today I found it: an article on Yahoo! by Prevention Magazine about getting in sync with the body’s natural energy and eating cycles to lose weight.

The daily play-by-play wasn’t my inspiration. It was the comments section. Specifically, 1,372 seriously annoyed people—most of them ticked off with the advice, the rest ticked off at the people who were ticked off.

The exasperating advice? Not 4-Hour Body type stuff. It asks for no extreme diet experiments, no gut-busting workouts. In fact, it’s fairly simple guidance: Get up in the morning, squeeze in a burst of cardio, eat breakfast, eat lunch, take a power nap, have a splash of caffeine, hit the gym after work, eat, relax, go to bed. That’s the fat-zapping itinerary.

But it’s apparently not working for people. From the morning mini-workout to the lunch-break stroll, they’re finding they just wouldn’t be able to do it. That it’s not practical for someone in school and working full-time, or working two jobs, or working and raising a family.

And the mere mention of a midday catnap? It was enough to trigger full-blown comment warfare.

1,186 people gave a thumbs-up to the guy who posted this: “If I take a nap at work I’ll be fired. Maybe I can have my personal trainer take a nap for me in my summer house in the Swiss Alps.”

If this is what it takes to be fit, people are saying, then fitness is strictly the realm of the retired, the self-employed and the professionally in-shape.

Some commenters even (jokingly) said they hope they’ll get fired from their jobs so they can get started on a fitness routine like this.

This kind of comment revolt isn’t out of the ordinary. The comments section of just about any online fitness article will draw hundreds, even thousands, of protestors out to debunk the feasibility of most fitness regimens. My articles have been the cause of mass reader scrutiny on Yahoo! more than once.

“These yahoo writers really do not live in the real world,” said one commenter. That seems to be the general consensus.

And I side with the mutineers, for the most part. Writers do paint an annoyingly breezy picture of exercise and dieting. I’m guilty of doing it. But I’m also on the reader side, and let me tell you: if I had been told that I’d sweat, cry, twist an ankle, and tear my spandex trying to do wind sprints in the park, I probably wouldn’t have tried it. No, I definitely wouldn’t have tried it. But I’m getting into the swing of it now.

So are fitness cynics anti-health? No. Quick to make excuses? Maybe a little. But one thousand angry comments are proof that one thousand people were reading that article. If they really thought fitness was a pipe dream, they wouldn’t be hunting down fitness advice in the first place.

It’s true: we are all stretched-to-the-max busy. Keeping up with a fitness regimen is no easy feat.

But health isn’t a luxury.

If the mere mention of penciling in a few hours of healthy activity a week produces eye-rolling… it could be time to rethink your job and extracurricular activities.

Here’s a link to the Yahoo! article, by the way: How to Lose Weight All Day Long. What comment will you leave?

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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