Fitness is often associated with bulging biceps, six pack abs, and being as shredded as possible. People living a healthy and an active lifestyle hold back from considering themselves as ”fit” since they look nothing like the fitness models featured in the sports magazines. The terms “Fitness” and “Health” are growing farther apart. Everyone desires a six-pack result from the training programs offered by gyms who sell you out on a 30 day transformation challenge. And this is not your fault, that’s how the social media puts it across, with pictures of Fitness Athletes in all the motivational quotes. Are people, who do not have a shredded body not fit? If you think having Six Pack Abs is the correct measure of being Fit, you are going to be let down by your own body and you will start losing faith in the process.

How Ripped Abs make you Unhealthy?

Being shredded is not healthy. Your body has a certain amount of lean muscle tissue percentage and a certain fat percentage. To be able to see your muscle definition clearly, you need to decrease your fat percentage. There is a certain range of healthy body fat percentage, which is different for both men and women.

There are a lot of body fat calculators available online. This is considered to be the most optimal amount of body fat for the proper functioning of your body. To be as shredded as physique competitors and fitness models, you need to go below 10% body fat, which is a very unhealthy state of your body.

You need to be at a High Calorie Deficit to be able to function at such low body fat levels. Many experienced models and body-builders go through this dieting phase once in a long period of time only for the sport of competing. It is not recommended to maintain such a low body fat percentage since it affects you mentally.

Risks of Low Body Fat Percentage low-body-fat-is-unhealthy

Low body fat percentages can lead to serious heart problems. Slow heart rates, called Bradycardia, can lead to dizziness, passing out, and cardiac arrest. Meanwhile, other electrolyte imbalances due to low body fat percentage due to reduced calorie intake can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death.

Also, low fat affects thyroid production, causing extreme fatigue. The other obvious result of being in a caloric deficit for long periods of time is poor recovery of your muscles. Your workouts feel ineffective and your energy levels are always low. Between sucky workouts, poor muscle recovery, and low testosterone levels, muscle gain is all but impossible in guys with extremely low body fat percentages. The brain functionality deteriorates and you constantly feel irritable.

There is a healthy level of body fat that is to be maintained to sustain. Too high body fat or too low body fat is not the definition of fitness and hence, your end goals need to be different. If you idolize a fitness model and dream to be like him/her, remind yourself that it is not sustainable. You should aim to get stronger and  get better than yourself everyday. Your comparison is yourself and that is the only person you should be competing with. A “dream body” doesn’t exist. It is what you create.

Final take

Being fit is a healthy state of body and  mind where mind is at peace with your body and vice versa. When you feel a connection with inner soul and feel active and alive, you know that you are healthy. Exercising is not just for the physical results. Very often people look at being fit as being as light as possible, which is not true. Play a sport that you love, stay active throughout the day, and do a form of exercise that makes you feel happy. If you do not have that mind muscle connection and drag your feet on the treadmill to get done with it, you will never feel happy, and this is why you will not feel healthy. Do it for being a happier you. Do it to feel alive every second of your life.

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Hi, I’m Kriti Shastry. I am a fitness expert working with HealthifyMe. I’m passionate about weight lifting and motivating as many people as possible to bring about a change in their lifestyle. I also have a YouTube channel which aims at doing the same. When I’m not with weights, I love to write articles, travel to new places, meet amazing people, and visit new cafe`s just for coffee.