The Individuality Myth
You know that moment when someone says something that is known to be true in a sense, but the way that they say it leads you to believe that they think that what they have said is true through-and-through, and you just nod and politely shut your stinkin’ mouth? Those moments? I’ll give you some examples:
“All things in moderation.” Yeah, that’s a good one. Indeed. Shotgun to the chest. In moderation of course. Deadly poison. But, always in moderation. A dip in hot lava. Everyone knows that moderation is key, there.
How about this one. “You can do anything you set your mind to.” Excellent. As a 40 year-old weighing in at a buck fifty, I’m going to set my mind to being the Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. No. Scratch that. Since gas prices are back on the increase, I will put all of my efforts into growing wings. Wait. Hold on. I’ve got it. I will pour myself completely into the noble endeavor of creating actual money trees.
I think you’re getting the picture. Some statements, as well-intentioned as they might be, cannot logically or practically be applied universally. Well, call it a pet peeve, but there is one such statement in particular that drives me straight up the wall. And, here it is:
Different Things Work for Different People
Ugh. It even pains me to write it. It goes without saying that this statement is true in some instances. Those cases for which it is true are supported by another common saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Now, I don’t know what the cat did to anybody, but the meaning, here, is that some goals can be reached in a variety of ways.
Let’s take a road trip for example. If a bunch of us gathered at your place and decided to meet up in Las Vegas, there are many different interstates, highways, roads, and paths that each of us could take in order to arrive at the exact same spot. Some routes would be more scenic, some would be faster, some would be safer, but we would all be successful in reaching the same goal.
The Biological Conundrum
However, when it comes to fitness and nutrition, there are several biological constants that just aren’t going to be different from person to person. For instance, if you want to increase and sustain your long-term metabolism, you’re going to have to build muscle, and if you want to build muscle, you are going to have to train with a high enough intensity to flip the protein synthesis switch, and if you flip that switch, you’re going to have to consume enough protein to serve as building blocks for the reparation and building of new muscle, and if you want that whole process to play out, you’re going to have to get enough rest to allow for your body to rebuild itself and overcompensate (or create results). Different things DON’T work for different people, here. Those are the rules. Simple and specific.
But, We're Different!
Obviously, we all have numerous, yet subtle, differences in our genetics that dictate what type of result we will receive and how quickly we will receive them, and these genetic difference often make it seem as though the rules change from one person to the next, but that just isn’t so. There isn’t a person who is going to grow huge muscles by running marathons. There isn’t a person who is going to consistently improve their physique composition while not resting their body enough to recover between workouts.
Now, that’s not to say there aren’t people who will recover faster than others, people who require more protein than others, or people who need a higher level of intensity than others to flip the switch, but that still doesn’t change the fact that intensity, protein, and recovery are each a 100% necessary part of the optimal results process.
It Really is Simple
I know that finding your own sweet spot can be confusing. How do you reconcile the universal biological laws seamlessly with your unique genetic make-up? Well, that’s a question for a knowledgeable professional and you to workout ( <-- pun ). So, my suggestion is to find one, and figure out the game before you play. But, if you knock on MY door, please, please, please don't say it. You know what I'm talking about...