I recently ran across an article in Men’s Fitness that promised to show me ways to “Stay Shredded All Season Long.” While the article, which was cobbled together as answers to single questions asked of five different fitness experts–leftovers from five different interviews perhaps?–seemed to have some useful advice, I had to question the overall premise. Do I really want to be “shredded”?
One of the questions asks for the best exercises for training the abs. The expert says, in part:
The best way to keep your abs conditioned all year round is to follow a healthy diet with a close eye on slightly restricting your starchy carb intake like breads, pastas, etc.
Do you notice a problem there? This guy doesn’t mention any exercises here. To be fair, he goes on to talk about exercises, but the fact that he starts out talking about starchy food suggests that he’s more interested in appearance than in actual strength. Does a layer of belly fat really have anything to do with the strength of your abdominal muscles? Can’t you have incredible strong abs while maintaining a few extra pounds of flab around the middle? And is that really a great burden to fitness.
The question here is what we supposed to be fit for. Is fitness a purely cosmetic thing? Does the fit person need to look like a Greek statue? Or is fitness found in the ability to do the things that we want to do?
Frankly, I don’t need to be shredded.