Toxic People And Body Composition

Article by Chris Shugart “It’s Sabotage!” is about toxic people {NOTE – the article is no longer available on t-nation but has been posted on the forum}. I love reading this article because it really resonates with me. I used to have a lot of friends who would rip on me for trying to improve myself and I have to admit that their influence was negative and effective. The big issue with toxic people is that you don’t necessarily see their influence until it has had an impact and the greater the impact, the harder it is to undo. If you make a clean break from the toxic influences in your life, you can begin to build more positive support structure but first you need to identify those toxic people so you can banish them forever. (Okay, maybe not forever because many of them don’t even know that they’re behaving like non-friends, but put them out of your life until they make a positive change in how they interact with you and the rest of the world).

I bring up toxic people in reference to body composition because very often there are negative people in your life who keep throwing up reasons why you shouldn’t try to change the way you look and feel. For the most part, their reason have nothing to do with you and are based solely on their own feelings of low self worth. For some reason, many people can only get up by getting others down. They have failed to see that their is almost unlimited success available in the world and instead see the world in binary terms such that any success of another person is an immediate failure in them.

I don’t see the world in these terms. I believe that there is unlimited success available when it comes to fitness and health because these things are measured by ones individual ability and not by comparing performance to another person. For example, there is no reason why most people in the world cannot have a body fat percentage of 15% and be able to run 3 Km. There is no reason for people not to be able to do a pull-up, 10 push-ups, and be able to walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air. Assuming these things are a measure of fitness and health, my fitness does not improve anytime another person fails to achieve one of these benchmarks.

Translation – I do not get healthier when another person becomes less healthy. I gain nothing when someone else falls deeper towards disease. I actually believe that the world becomes a worse place when someones health and fitness falters. I do not enjoy seeing people fail at the gym, fail to make the right choices when they shop or fail to make the decision to stop smoking, drinking, or being a total layabout.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a supportive family and close friends who don’t try to rip down my passions. When I started to learn how to play guitar, my friends put up with it. When I started to correct my eating habits, my family supported me and stopped offering me dessert. When I decided to take some time off from working, I was supported in my decision because my friends and family believed that I was working towards something.

What does this mean to those who want to change the way they look? Well, simply put, you need to start to clean out the crap from your life. There is an undeniable correlation between your successes and the successes of your 5 closest friends. If your 5 closest friends smoke, there’s a very good chance that you smoke. If they eat crappy food and blame the government for their place in life, there’s a very good chance you eat crappy food and blame the government for everything. If your closest friends are like this, there is an almost 100% chance that you will fail at everything you set out to do because your friends will help to facilitate your failure through negative comments, derailing behaviours and basically making you feel like crap for ever thinking you deserve better.

If you are tired of being overweight and lazy, and all of your friends are overweight and lazy, it’s time to get some new friends, ones who aren’t overweight and lazy. Even if you don’t / can’t get new friends (which is a possibility because healthy people know the potential negative influence that overweight under motivated people possess) you may need to get rid of your old friends and go it alone for a while because your chances of success are much greater if you have no negative influences.

Always keep in mind that true friends want for you what you want for you not what they want for you. They will look to you for inspiration and will try to be inspiring to you. They aren’t going to measure their successes in terms of your failures. Anyone who wants you to fail needs to be taken out of your life forever.