How To Explain Fitness To Your Parents
Posted by Michael Vacanti
Once upon a time, in a city just like yours or mine, there lived a young man named Ricky.
Smart, shy, and dorky; with great taste in fiction (house stark) and average taste in caffeine (red bull); Ricky was a good ‘ol authority-respecting boy.
There was one additional quality Ricky had always… carried around with him, you could say:
Ricky was “heavy set”
Until one day… he wasn’t.
For six months Ricky labored in the gym four days per week and paid close attention to his nutrition.
His friends gave him praise.
The ladies paid more attention to him.
And his doctor was ecstatic at a recent physical exam.
But during his trip home, a 50 pound lighter Ricky was met with mixed emotion:
“Are you okay honey?? Your face looks a bit ill!
“You really aren’t going to have anymore pie, son? Your mother made your favorite!
“To me, it just seems, this whole ‘macros’ thing is dangerous, probably.
Ricky’s throat dried up during a what felt like a tirade of passive-aggressive comments over dinner.
In a stupor, the usually articulate Ricky fumbled over his words as he failed to coherently explain what exactly this fitness journey meant to him.
Though, I would imagine if Ricky had time, caffeine, and a quiet place to organize his thoughts, this is what he would have said:
Mom and Dad,
First, I appreciate the fact that you guys care!
Seriously, I know that’s what this is, that you are concerned about me.
And unsure of odd phrases like “sumo deadlifts” and “macro counting.”
Different can be scary, but different doesn’t automatically mean bad.
So, let’s start here.
Macros are macronutrients.
They exist in all food sources, and we all eat them every single day.
Right now, I track them. Sometimes with a food scale. Sometimes without one. Sometimes I ask you the % on our ground beef, and sometimes I ask our waiter to put the dressing on the side.
I probably won’t track forever, but it is teaching me a strategy that allows me to eat some foods I really enjoy while still getting leaner, stronger, and healthier.
You will see me eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. And I eat some desserts from time to time.
By the way… about that apple pie, mom. Of course I wanted three slices!
I assure you my irregular pie consumption was no testament to your baking.
This is actually a pretty good video explaining the nutrition philosophy I’m following.
Next, let’s talk about workouts.
To be honest, it bothers me when you guys try to guilt trip out of a gym trip so I can “spend more time with the family.”
We are talking about 60 minutes out of 16 waking hours – only four days per week.
There are plenty of hours in the day for us to hang out.
No, I’m not “obsessing”
And yes, I am fully aware this is vacation.
I legitimately feel better on days I exercise compared to days I miss workouts!
Though, it really does mean a lot that you love me so much you want me around all the time!
Lastly, I want to touch on something a bit weirder than nutrition and workouts.
Part of you may be concerned that this fitness journey is being motivated from feelings of inadequacy or another not-so-great place… you aren’t wrong!
Do I like looking leaner? Yes. Do I enjoy having a bit more definition? Yes.
But let me remind you of two things… first, if a twinkle of vanity exists in my motivation but the outcome is fantastic bloodwork and extended lifespan, was the vanity all that bad?
And second, you didn’t raise me wrong or not pay enough attention to me. Ha! As all this “fitness stuff” becomes even more mainstream in the next 10-20 years, you will see that I’m not as crazy as you think.
Now, I know 12% body fat looks very different than 35%.
My face is much leaner than it has ever been, and you aren’t used to me looking like this!
But I promise, there is nothing unhealthy about the rate or amount of weight I have lost…
I guess what I need from you is this: I need you to trust me.
I need you to trust that you instilled enough common sense, character, and patience in me that I am not doing anything dumb or dangerous.
I’m not taking shady supplements or endlessly obsessing about my body.
And don’t worry… when my lean bulk rolls around, I will have plenty of calories for mountains of dessert!
A lot of my writing stems from personal experience. This post does not.
My parents never really questioned me or doubted my ability to manage my fitness game.
But after receiving too many emails from you guys, I know it’s something many are struggling with. I hope this helps.