Truths For The Committed Forewarned is forearmed.

Fitness myths abound in their multitude; for every truth there are, at least, twice as many lies. For the novice fitness practitioner it can be confusing to discern the facts from the fictions, but even more experienced practitioners will occasionally fall prey to deception. This is a part of life: to constantly be on the lookout for trickery of some sort.

While it is impossible to catch every snake oil merchant, here are some truths for the committed because forewarned is forearmed.

  • There are no quick fixes. No six-day abs, no ten-day pecks, no thirty-day transformations—everything takes time. The age-old adage remains true: easy come, easy go. Also: there is no easy path from the Earth to the stars.
  • Exercise is only part of the solution. Weight gain and poor fitness are caused by a lack of movement and bad eating habits—a two-part problem cannot have one panacea. Because one spends more time outside of the gym than inside it, an hour of exercise three to four times a week cannot compensate for an unhealthy diet.
  • Moderation is key. Anything caused by excess can only be undone by moderation or abstinence. Thus, weight can only be lost in the opposite way in which it was gained.
  • Movement is medicine. Gyms provide a place for concentrated movement—something that has been leached out of the modern lifestyle. But, really, any kind of movement is good movement. Walking, hiking, dancing, climbing stairs—whatever moves the body from stasis is good. Exercise is a more intense and focused way of getting the body to move; the simpler the movement, the easier it is to get into it. There is no one movement that is good for strength training, cardiovascular exercise, or flexibility and mobility. Rather, different movements should be practiced over a period of time to achieve any one gain. After all, if the supreme movement existed, there would be no need for anything else.
  • You cannot workout to look like someone else. Exercise will only make you look more like yourself. True gains are made when there is acceptance of self. In the long run, it is better to think of what you the body to do, rather than what you want it to look like because the aesthetic might not match the functionality.
  • New is not always new. At best, anything “new” is an interpretation of something much older, something more classic that is tried and tested. Fitness and wellness, like any other industries, are not immune to trends. Avoid the fads, stick to what works.
  • The body is not a machine. It is a biological organism that is susceptible to illness and can be irreparably damaged by great strain. Heck, even machines break. Illness is not a sign of weakness, rest is not a sign of poor discipline, and relaxation does not show a lack of commitment.
  • Gym is not therapy. It is, at best, therapeutic—like painting, or going for a long walk, or having a hot stone massage. But there is no dumbbell, barbell, cable curl, lunge, squat, rep, or set that will cure loss or trauma.

One’s fitness journey—like any journey—will be beset by hardships and wrong turns. Whether one is a raw recruit or a veteran, at The Forge the training advice remains the same: do what you can, as best as you can, as often as you can.

Rémy Ngamije is an award-winning Rwandan-born Namibian author, editor, publisher, photographer, literary educator, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of The Forge.