I’m doing a running challenge this year. Lands End to John O’Groats (virtually), that’s 874 miles between 1st January and 31st December. I’m currently around the Yorkshire Peaks, just over 400 miles run.
The challenge is set up so you record your own miles on an onlien map, it allows you to decide how to do the challenge; you can record just runs, runs and long walks or to record all of your steps every day. I have chosen to only record my runs because I wanted to use it as accountability to run more. However, that is because I tend to walk a lot anyway so if I included my steps it would not be a genuine challenge. But for anyone who is quite sedentary who wanted to move more counting steps every day would be a great challenge.
There is a Facebook group for people doingt he challenge and it’s a very supportive, nice group and people post their wins and also when they are struggling and everyone is always qick to cheer or offer moral support. What these posts often raise however is how everyone is approaching the challenge differently in terms of what they include as mileage. This often creatse confusion, with people askign am I doing this wrong? Should I be counting that? Of course people always reassure and remind the OP that the challenge is unique to them and tehre is no right or wrong.
This confusion is common not only in this group however but throughout the fitness industry. How often do you see someone on Facebook or Instagram doing a certain plan that is polar opposite to the way you train, eating a certain diet, eating more than you, less than you, training 3 days a week when you train 5, training for a marathon in a different way to you, running 10km in the time it takes you to run 5km, training in body part splits when you don’t, spending 2 hours in the gym when your session takes 45 minutes.
It’s really easy to think you must be doing it wrong. That if that person who looks fit is doing the opposite to you you should do that too. We are all different however. Our bodies, fitness levels, experience goals, time pressures, tastes, willingness to cut cake for breakfast out of our diet, likes and dislikes, mental health, shift patterns, hobbies – all these things will (or should) affect how you eat and train. Therefore unless you find an absolute carbon copy of you out there, your training or nutrition won’t look like someone elses, and nor should it.
Yes, there is lots of generic advice that works for specific groups of people. Group exercise instructors will face common obstacles so advice tailored to them as a group can work- but even then they will need to tweak that to sit their precise circumstances. You sit at a desk all day, I could predict your pain points and suggest some advice that would probably help lots of people, again it would need a bit of tweaking by people and not every piece of advice would be releveant to every person who works in an office.
The key is taking in the advice, the suggestions, the tips and knowing what is and isn’t relevant to you, what will ad won’t work for you. Then being able to look at other people doing different things and not get triggered by it, or feel bad, or superior or like you must be doing something wrong, because if it is working for you and Isn’t unsafe you do you.