Your closet is full of moisture-wicking, aerodynamic workout gear. Your shoes are built for speed. And your fridge is stocked with supplements and concoctions to boost your fitness results.
But let's get real for a minute. I'll even leave you in your fluorescent garb if we can discuss the latter of the new standards created for us in the world of healthy living: fuel.
Reverting back to the early days of man, not only were they lacking in orthopedic inserts and rash guard tees, our ancestors didn't have Gatorade or a gym bag with a pocket full of dented and oozing protein bars.
Humans have evolved over millions of years, adapting as necessary at a very slow pace. Our caveman cousins lived off the land by hunting, foraging and gathering to stay alive and keep their family fed. They didn't have a stainless fridge plugged into the big oak tree to store their bounty, or an all-night Denny's if they were unsuccessful in their hunt by nightfall. They ate well when they were able and often had to go without. Their bodies adjusted for this by storing fat as fuel for the times they would need back-up energy when food was scarce.
But today, not only is food overly abundant for many, companies have decided to pad their wallets by selling us on the concept of pre and post workout fuel. Now, making the decision to exercise isn't enough. We must add fuel to our system by calculating the appropriate macronutrient balance for the task at hand (and different than the one tomorrow). Then, within 90 nanoseconds after our fancy cleats come to a stop on our spin bike, we are ordered to grab our chocolate milk or whatever is within reach that fits the 2:1 carb to protein ratio to enable our body to recover from all the damage we just inflicted on it.
(Did you know our bodies are capable of all of this repair work within eight hours after exercise? Supplementing becomes necessary if you are going to exercise again within that eight hour time frame.)
Somehow we've all fallen prey to discounting our own abilities in energy and recovery. We have come to believe that exercise is useless without squeezing fruity goo into our mouth to enable us to go longer than our bodies want to.
With this dependence on food for fuel, our fat (energy) stores remain just that - stored. And our bodies aren't allowed to tap into a resource it spent millions of years optimizing. We remain frustrated and stuck, without being able to lose those last five pounds, or never truly functioning the way our bodies were meant to (and really prefer).
I do recognize however, that there are many who commit to workouts which do in fact require supplementation for training and others whose bodies require it because of diagnoses that require frequent meals or blood sugar management. I am talking specifically of the lot of us who have been misled in our standard fitness regimens.
While I don't recommend you make any drastic changes right away, I do suggest you start to explore the concept of tapping into the incredible resource you have in yourself, before and after your workout. Make it personal instead of falling into the one-size-fits-all mentality the industry likes to use to pad their wallet.
At the very least consider it food for thought.
Eat with purpose.