Updated: Nov 14, 2018
The elevator stops at floor 16, and a tanned and shiny gentleman walks in. His perfectly circular belly was putting some seriously serious tension on the button line of his shirt. Eying me up and down, he pats his protrusion and asks: “What to do with this?”I looked down at his belly, and then at the backlit metal numbers. I realise I have the time it takes to traverse seven floors to answer his question. Nevertheless, I did it in one.
Him [looking down]: It will work on this?
Me: Yes. [awkward silence before the door flings open and I step out to freedom].
It’s quite easy to separate tyre kickers from those who genuinely want to make a change. Had be been in the latter camp, I would have gladly stopped and given him the information, but this was not the man that stood before me. Here was an opportunist, that fortune had locked inside a steel box with a gym rat. He had 7 floors to kill, so he thought he’d chance his arm.
Time is precious, one mustn’t squander it patting stray dogs, when there is zero chance of the dog taking any action. I’m reminded of the scene in a few good men when Jack Nicholson shouts at a Tom Cruise in the dock. “What do you want?” TC replies “I WAN’T THE TRUTH!!” And Jack fires back with “You can’t handle the truth.” This man was a rotund Tom Cruise… he couldn’t handle the truth. He wasn’t interested in a systematic castigation of his current lifestyle, or an earnest POA involving months of deep-rooted behavioural change. He wanted a short cut, a quick fix, a magic pill – preferably cookies and cream flavoured.
Let me not drop a bombshell: All the Isopure in China isn’t going to help this guy. That’s obvious. But why did that guy take the information as if I’d just given him The Secret? Why do so many people give such hefty credence to protein shakes when it comes to the health equation? “What protein shake do you use?” is the most posed questions in all athletic pursuits. Take a moment to consider the sum total of your efforts in these last 2 weeks of the Challenge. Recall the sweet agony of a CF class - music blaring, heart pounding, suffocating in a room full of oxygen. Aside from childbirth, you can’t think of one activity to which you readily submit yourself to such discomfort. And that isn’t all - outside those hallowed walls, you still have to reject all your favourite foods, and if you don’t, the agony I have just described counts for nothing. If you are one of the 1% that do manage to appropriate the tremendous discipline required you might drop a few pounds a week. Take the cold, hard reality of what IT ACTUALLY TAKES to get in shape, and contrast it with the proposition that a chocolate-flavoured milkshake might actually help you on your way. It’s preposterous mon cher! I hate to break it to you kid, but in the quest for your best self, they’re just not that big of a deal.
Protein shakes and indeed the entire supplements industry exists to propagate the notion that pills and powders can fast track health. This is just not true. We are natural entities, comprised of flesh and blood, we’re not design to flourish on synthetic substances. If you want more energy, go to bed. If you want more aminos, boil an egg. These are the "supplements" you’re built to run on. Not chocolate-flavoured powders replete with chemicals beyond your ability to pronounce. Pre-workouts, protein shakes, post workouts, fat burners - CHEMICALS. The world is replete with examples of what happens when man tries to exert his influence over a natural system, why should supplements be any different?
Behold the humble orange – a matrix of fibre, vitamins, pantothenic acid, and loads of other goodies that we haven’t yet discovered. A product built by God, and the apex of fruity splendour. Would you have the gall to suggest that men in white coats, with rats, petri dishes, and grotesquely hairy faces, can isolate the goods, and then handily pop it back into a pill that tastes of sugar and lasts for years on the shelf? Would that gall extend to the notion that this pill is a reasonable substitute from an orange raised by the hand of God?
When it comes to protein shakes and supplements… think before you drink.