As the New Year is hitting full swing regular gym member are utterly frustrated by the return of the fair-weather members. Each year people indulge in the gluttonous decadence that spans from Thanksgiving through the time the ball drops and everyone sets a resolution to get in shape for the New Year. People vow to work off the seconds at Thanksgiving with a personal trainer. People vow to lose the 50 pounds they gained through months of hibernation and watching television. People also begin to look for the quick fix.
When people begin their workout regimen, they often get two things: 1. a personal trainer; and 2. a bunch of dietary supplements. Most people end their intense work outs by Valentine's Day and go back to their normal routine insisting they are happy with their weight and able to love themselves. I know this routine because my friends are on this roller coaster, and I actually used to be on it with them. This year I stepped off.
This past summer, I saw a doctor for a physical, spoke with a licensed nutritionist, and found a reputable trainer. I worked slow and steady and I made it through the holidays without gaining an ounce. The odd thing is I still get the urge to do what my friends are doing. The ups and downs of crash dieting and exercise can definitely be fun. The thing that stops me is realizing how much of a risk this can be to my health.
Lack of regular exercise can impact the body in multiple ways. The most obvious sign is weight gain and an increase in stored fat. A less visible way is the decrease in muscle mass. The combination of increased fat and decreased muscle mass leaves the joints working harder to support your body. In addition to the obvious impacts, your internal organs also suffer in their efforts to properly function. The organ that offers most concern, because it is so vital, is the heart. The heart usually struggles to keep up with the increase demands for blood and oxygen from a larger body.
The problem with not seeking a doctor's advice and then taking medication (herbal or otherwise) is that you put your life in jeopardy. Taking a simple pill that promises to increase your metabolism may in fact increase your heart rate and put you at serious risk. Another pill designed to help burn fat may cause liver or kidney failure. It is scary to think a supplement purchased without a prescription can cause this much damage when taken according to the label.
Everyone wants to look their best, but I urge everyone to be safe about it. If you are starting to take medication or dietary supplements, please check with your doctor. If you feel odd about the supplement you are taking, go to your doctor. Finally if you are injured because of the medication that was designed to help you, contact a lawyer.