Do you remember your first school-age crush? You know, that one person you were so infatuated with in high school that you wrote in your journal, “if we don’t get together I’ll die.” (Well, apparently, you didn’t die if you’re reading this, so that’s good.)

All you wanted at that time, was for that one person to acknowledge you, to smile at you, or, oh my God what would happen if they touched you?

God, I dreamed of holding my crush’s hand. Of looking into her eyes. Of telling her that I loved her, and finally getting what I wanted.

9 Things That Diet and Exercise Won't Get You

Needless to say, I only ever had my heart broken by my teenage crush. So why all this talk of unrequited high school love? The answer is simple, really.

Recently, I discovered an English Philosopher named M. Jagger. And Mr. Jagger has some interesting things to say about life. For instance, in one of his most well-loved pieces, M. Jagger tells us that we can’t always get what we want. But, that if we try, sometimes we get what we need.

Obviously, I didn’t get the girl I wanted in high school. But, I did get one who has the qualities that I need. And that thought spurred some curiosity in my ole noggin. What are other areas where we don’t get what we want, but instead, get what we need?

Of course, my first thoughts went to fitness stuff because it’s what I do: I help people look better naked. But outside of finding a romantic partner, M. Jagger’s words make sense in the context of improving your health and fitness.

Because: when you start a new diet and exercise routine, there’s a whole lot of shit you want at first, and when you don’t get it in what you deem a timely manner—one day, a week, two weeks, or a month—you get pissed off and start thinking about quitting. And quitting means you’re not trying, and as the wise M. Jagger said, “if you try, sometimes you get what you need.”

And as much as I hate writing, “here are the (insert number) of things you want when you decide to improve your health and fitness,” because it sounds like I have the writing pedigree of a Buzzfeed intern, here are the 9 things you want out of diet and exercise, that you won’t get, but if you put in the work (aka, try) you’ll get what you needed all along.

What You Want That You Won’t Get (But Might if You Try)

9 Things That Diet and Exercise Won't Get You

You Want to Turn Fat into Muscle.

Yea, you can’t do that. You can lose fat and build muscle, but you can’t change the molecular makeup of fat and turn it into muscle. Of course, you can lose fat by eating in a calorie deficit. And you can build and tone lean muscle by lifting weights 3-4 times a week. But even Gandalf the Grey and Dumbledore can’t recite a spell that will turn fat into muscle.

That’s not how the body works.  

You Want Men or Women to Throw Themselves at You Just Because You Have Abs.

Okay. I won’t lie and say that your sex life might not improve when you have abs. It might. Then again, it might not.

But I can tell you one thing: 98% of the time no one—minus you and maybe some random hookup—gives a fuck you have abs. Everyone is already obsessed with themselves. They don’t care about you and your abs. (But hey, you got them, so fuck other people, right? You keep staring at your sexy reflection in the mirror, bro.)

You Want That One (Weird) Trick/Hack

It’s what everyone looks for. That one magical superfood, that one all-powerful workout that would make Ganondorf sweat, that one “weird” trick, that will—in a matter of hours after you’ve passed out in bed—eradicate all the fat around your belly. (Or make your triceps less flabby.)

Well, I hate to tell ya, but M. Jagger is right again. None of that shit will work overnight.

BUT, if you:

And if you do that for 6-8 months (maybe a year) then you might find you get what you need. (But it sure as fuck isn’t happening after eating one avocado or one crazy ass workout.)

You Want Diet and Exercise to Solve All the Other Problems You’ve Been Too Afraid to Face


………….about that.

Look, getting leaner is great. It might prevent you from having a stroke, keeling over of a heart attack at 40, and it’s probably going to increase your confidence which could lead to more sex, better opportunities at work, better fitting clothes, and people being nicer to you.

But it’s not gonna solve your deeper issues that you’re too afraid to face. That shit is on you.

Improving your health and fitness might make accomplishing those scary things easier—because you first had the wherewithal to tackle one (small) thing you were afraid of—but getting jacked isn’t gonna make all your problems go away.

What makes your problems go away is actually addressing your problems. Not running from them.

9 Things That Diet and Exercise Won't Get You

You Want Any Change You Make to Be Easy

You know that’s bullshit, right?

Like, if I put up road cones that block the one way you always take to work, forcing you to “change” your normal plans, you’d get pissed off, amirite?

So do you really think that turning a complete 180 with your diet and exercise will be easy? No. It’s going to suck at times.

It. Will. Not. Be. Effortless.

Everything that is good in life takes effort. And the things that don’t, usually mean next to nothing. But M. Jagger is right about getting what you need. Because what you needed all along was:

  • Proof that you have the strength to push yourself to new levels.
  • The confidence that comes from overcoming adversity.
  • More sleep, more activity, and eating food(s) that makes you feel great every day and not for one or two bites.
  • You develop skills that’ll translate to other areas of your life and provide you the framework for continued success.

You Want to Have Great Workouts Every Time

Nope. Not gonna happen. Sorry. There will be days that you struggle to make it through your workouts.

Working out is a lot like sex: sometimes it’s mind-blowing, and you touch the face of God; other times it sucks, and you lay in bed thinking there could have been a better way to spend the last 30 20 5 minutes.

You Want to Believe that You’ll Never Be Hungry

Firstly, increasing your consumption of lean proteins and veggies will keep you more satiated. But; that doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel hungry while you’re in a calorie deficit. A little bit of hunger is okay, and you should expect it.

Again, this ain’t gonna be easy.

You Want Your Friends to Support Your Diet and Exercise Goals

The good ones will. But many of your friends, co-workers, and even your own blood will try and pull you down. Be prepared for peer pressure that you’ve not felt since that time your friends convinced you to streak across your high school campus.

You Want it All. And You Want it Now

Technically, that’s a line from another famous British philosopher named F. Mercury, but it applies here too.

Change takes time. Get used to that. Forget the outcome; focus on the effort you put in and strive to get 1% better every 24 hours.

If you give the body what it needs—exercise, good nutrition, sleep, water—it will eventually give you what you wanted all along. Or maybe, it will give you exactly what you need to be your best.

Because what you’ll learn through the process is more important than what you see at the end. The end of your quest may give you what you wanted. But what you needed all along is discovered during your trek.

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