Getting Fit and Strong: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

My name is Tom Ewer and I am healthy enough.

At least, that’s how I see it. I’m 6’2″ and a notch or two under 200lbs. Consult a BMI chart and I’m technically overweight, but I feel pretty healthy, and I’d rather trust my own subjective measure than one so simplistic as BMI.

Tom Ewer
Judge for yourself!

But here’s what I’m not: what most guys want to be. You know – toned, lean, buff, head-turning. And I wish I was, as many of us do.

So what’s holding me back?

For most of us, I think it comes down to one simple thing: faith. To be more specific, faith that making the sacrifices and putting the hard work in will yield the kind of results that will make it all worthwhile (or at least give us the understanding that an awesome body simply isn’t worth the personal sacrifice).

If I had a better understanding of what I needed to do in order to be fitter, stronger and look awesome naked, I would either feel:

  1. Motivated to do what was necessary
  2. Comfortable in the knowledge that I’m not prepared to that the necessary work for the end result I desire

I’m not looking for an absolute answer here. I’m not expecting to point to a picture of Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Hugh Jackman in Wolverine and have someone tell me exactly what I would need to do and how long it would take to get the necessary end result. But I do feel that if I had someone suitably experienced and trustworthy giving me a greater understanding of and confidence in what was necessary to experience genuine, tangible results, I would be in a far better position to take action (or not).

But I don’t know how to go about getting that information or who to get it from.

I saw an entertaining talk earlier today at the Alive conference in Berlin by a guy called Carl Paoli, an ex-gymnast turned personal trainer.

Carl said something that in his talk that stuck in my mind and inspired this article.

He said that at one point, he was ranked (by some means) as the top personal trainer in the United States. But at the same time, he came to realize that his clients weren’t actually getting any fitter. While he moved onto say that he changed his training methods and got great results, there’s no avoiding that at a time, he was incredibly successful in getting paid as a personal trainer, but not so successful at actually delivering the goods.

So, if Carl was number one and an all-round badass buff dude but couldn’t get his clients fit, how can I trust anyone in the health and fitness industry? Who do I look for to provide me with the information I feel I need to make a pivotal decision about my body, and ultimately, my life?

Perhaps it’s an issue with my mindset. I’m not good with leaps of faith; I like evidence. I don’t like someone to tell me to “do more exercise” because I’ll “get fitter” – I want to know what I can expect from my endeavors.

I don’t need all the answers. But to be anything more than just healthy enough, I feel like I need to know more than I do right now. I need to have a greater understanding of what is necessary to become a fitter, stronger version of myself, and believe someone who tells me how I should do it.

Otherwise, I don’t think anything will change, and I might look back one day and ask myself, “what if?” And what ifs suck.

5 thoughts on “Getting Fit and Strong: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle”

  1. You know what Tom, I say BMI scheme-mi-I.

    That’s a basic number that often times means diddly squat if you stand at the corner of feeling pretty healthy and doing okay on your weight.

    Yes, I do agree that if you had a better understanding of what you need to do to be a spotlight hottie you would feel more motivated to do what was necessary. You’d also want to build into your own self accountability bank. Once you begin to see and feel changes from the inside you know you are emerging at a whole other level. And you’ll want more of it. You could say it becomes organically grown.

    Why wouldn’t you want to take action if it could mean that you lift your level of health up a notch? Being ‘healthy enough’ is a really good ground to stay connected to but may I encourage you to explore a level above that? What does that mean? Not sure.

    Having the desire to acquire ‘information’ can sometimes get stuck in your head. Ego, if you will. Making changes that can transform the way you feel about yourself internally can be one of the biggest paradigm shifts and can help you gain access to another level of your ‘Tom Self’.

    What are you looking for Tom as far as your personal health and fitness? Personally, my answer would be that I want to be strong, functional and living a pain free life that allows me to do all the stuff I want to, even when I am staring down 80.

    “Doing more exercise” is a dumb answer. “Why do you want it to be useful for you”?… might be the better inquiry.
    They ask you that all the time when you are going to buy a new computer: What are you going to be using it for? Apply that to your fitness/movement endeavor.

    What you really need to know for yourself Tom is what you want to be “fit’ for. Your health, the girlies, to impress, successful aging, or to just be buff because it’s cool.

    Then go from there.

    And get outta your head. Just move. I know you like to dance.:)

  2. Have you watched I want to look like that guy yet?

    Should tell you what level of work is needed to get in shape.

  3. Hi Tom!
    Great article. I’m not sure how long ago you wrote this (looks like around a year ago) but I have to agree that if you feel like you are fit “enough”, than you just may be. After all, what you do with your personal vehicle should be completely up to you!
    I am a personal trainer, have a master’s degree in Ex Phys, am a nutrition coach, yoga therapist, bodyworker, …the whole nine yards, and I also have a very average female’s body. In fact, I’d be “overweight” by our current standards. The truth is that, I love health and fitness as a hobby and then made it a fun career despite the possible obstacle that people might be judgy. It turns out, it didn’t matter. I am busy as crap with lots of clients, most of whom have been with me for years. I think they stay because I am really anti-fitness propaganda.

    This is what I have observed in my tenure as a trainer:
    -transformative stuff only works for a small number of people, because of your #1 and #2 listed. Even businesses like Precision Nutrition, that hang their hats on good habit layering, only really see a very small percentage of their participants actually stay compliant. One coach said that of the 300 that start in her pod, really only about 15 or 20 are still consistent all the way to the end, and of those…the transformations are great but not supermodel stuff. That is the very 1-2%, BUT, those are the ones you will see in the marketing. Smart marketing, it works, but it’s far from an accurate picture. The truth is that your #1 and #2 are very compelling reasons why we might want to give unreasonable expectations a rest.

    I like one of your poster’s ideas about making good better, though. I agree with that…I’m totally for it.

    The little 100 year-old people living in the Blue Zones..Crete, Japan, etc. don’t do boot camps or hit the gym every day. They just move, stay connected to loved ones, eat well, sleep, and get lots of sunshine. That’s the difference between health and our cultural standard of beauty -that we completely confuse for health.

    So sure, if you want to do a Mud Run, swing from vines, or throw tractor wheels across the floor and yell “hoo-rah” and that’s your play that makes you happy, I say go for it. But, really most of us would probably not bother if we didn’t feel so hooked into the notion that being athletic = sexy = value.

    I think it’s really time to throw out some of the dumber metrics. For god’s sakes, so many of our studies were so poorly designed, and yet we have all kinds of medical and wellness dogma springing forth from the dung like weeds. You are right not to trust personal trainers to get you to that Adonis physique. For that matter, you may be right not to trust that the Adonis physique is even necessary. There are tons of studies that support set-point theory.

    They (PT’s) may know what to do for their own genetically gifted bodies, but I’d assert that most do not have the slightest clue what to do for yours beyond stuff they read in Muscle & Fitness Magazine. Over the years, I’ve known dozens of trainers who were 1. already athletic since birth and that’s their thing 2. really young and chiseled-easier when you’re in your 20’s or 3. borderline weird with their regimens to stay that way. Sure, you meet the inspiring exception from time to time…the really fat guy that got fit. But, they are rare and I’d still not trust their experience to overlap with mine.

    A return to common sense is what I hope for. A return to the intuitive systems built right into your body that tell you when you’re sleepy, hungry, lonely, tense, bored, etc. is what is needed. The emphasis on hypertrophy and the “look” are entirely cultural and have little to do with health. Remember, healthy, super-buff guys can die of cancer (Spartacus-Andy W) It’s totally possible to be fit looking and be really sick, or be miserable, or depressed, or what have you.

    I never remembered a guy’s muscles on the beach anyway (not for more than 5 seconds it took to ogle them). It’s a person’s overall vibrancy that stays with me. From a female perspective, a funny, quippy guy often gets attractive really fast.

    Thanks for your post! It’s the basis by which I coach each of my clients. I ask them to dare to define health for themselves, and to be very specific. Question everything,…including me!

  4. Hello,
    Its really amazing information found here. The guy is looking fit and fine and handsome too. Thank you for sharing this blog with us.

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