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Appearance vs Performance

February 9, 2017

A common misconception is this: If you LOOK fit and healthy, you ARE fit and healthy.

Not always the case. I’ve met plenty of athletes and active people who appear to be well, but are anything but. The body can sometimes hide a poor diet, an unbalanced diet, low energy availability, disordered eating, and even eating disorders (bulimia sufferers are often of normal weight, for example).

Which means when we as individuals or as society focus on appearance as a measure of fitness or health, we are focussing on the wrong thing.

The female athlete who strives for 12% body fat at the expense of energy availability, normal menstruation, extreme fatigue, and impaired bone health, may appear lean, fit, toned, or however you would like to describe 12% body fat. But she is not a healthy woman.

A healthy athlete or active person is in energy balance, and is carrying the optimal level of body fat for THEM.

My favourite example comes from tennis. The powerhouse Serena Williams – the best in the world! – does not carry the conventional appearance of a female tennis player. But she is the best! Would Serena change her diet and exercise to try and appear like everyone else? No – because it would compromise her dominating performance, and her longevity in her sport.

Let’s focus on fuelling appropriately, and letting our body perform at it’s best.

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