We need to change the conversation of Men’s Health into something so much bigger.
We need to stop presenting numbers of mass or extremely low body fat % as the epitome of health.
The truth is, achieving those things is often done at the COST of health.
The introduction of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) in a desperate attempt to achieve a body composition that is otherwise impossible to maintain; a leanness that leaves an obsession over food, suppressed mood, irritability and low sex drive; a restriction that can impact occasions and relationships.
When only 3% of males are managing to eat enough fruits and veggies; when every 3 out of 4 suicides are male; when there is a 50% chance of cancer by 85yrs; and when 4 out of 5 aren’t reaching minimum goals for movement – we need to make the progress toward health simpler and more enticing.
We need to create an environment and a social movement that uses fewer scare tactics & guilt messages.
We owe it to everyone to show the image of male health with diversity (all bodies, all ages, all ethnicities) – because we cannot be who we cannot see.
We need to share with proliferation that achieving your definition of health doesn’t equal extreme loss, expensive supps or a lifetime of chicken & broccoli.
Health is about becoming your highest-performing self – and I will tell you now, you are rarely performing your best when at 4-5% body fat. Your best performing self is defined by you – and it will change at each life stage.
It may be getting through the day filled with energy; achieving an ongoing improvement in strength; increased concentration and productivity in the workplace; or having the mental and physical capacity to play with patience and presence with your kids.
So, before embarking on a quest to shred or bulk, I really encourage the question of why. Not because a change in body composition is bad, but rather to ensure that your ‘why’ and ‘how’ lines up with you becoming and sustaining the best version of yourself in all areas of life.
ALICIA EDGE HEAD SPORTS DIETITIAN
Alicia is the head Advanced Sports Dietitian at Compeat Nutrition. She is also a mum and triathlete, so advice extends beyond the basics and is instead focused on providing effective and achievable nutrition for both training and racing.