The Ultimate Fitness Goal

You could win a Super Bowl and still end up morbidly obese.
 
You could become an Olympic gold medalist and years later wind up afraid to be seen in public because of your weight. You could even become a fitness model, shredded to pieces with a six pack, and later need to request two seats when you fly. 
 
You could set records, earn titles, acquire fame, and still end up with type-2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and the inability to control your food intake or get around without a motorized chair.
 
Accomplishing your wildest fitness dreams doesn't guarantee lifelong fitness. 
 
The most recent season of The Biggest Loser proved this. All the contestants were former athletes who experienced massive success and then let themselves go.
 
Winning Big vs. Winning Forever
Athletic achievements make legends. But eventually the shine wears off. And without the demands of your sport, the pressure of a contest, a photo shoot, or a coach telling you how to work out and what to eat; it's possible to forget what it takes to be fit on your own without all those things.
 
And if your diet and workout regimen were difficult to manage during your glory days, then you're going to be even further away from knowing how to master fitness on your own once those days are over. 
 
So you can win big and still set yourself up for long-term failure if all you know about fitness is how to follow someone else's instructions... especially if those instructions were totally unsustainable to begin with.
 
Being Healthy Without a Babysitter
Winning big is not an achievement that keeps giving. 
 
Recalling your "glory days" won't help you get off multiple medications or save you from a heart attack. To continue being fit you have to continually put in the work and become conscientious with your eating. 
 
That's where autonomy comes in. It means self-rule. And it's the ultimate achievement when it comes to fitness. Why? Because once you're there, you'll know how to live, work out, and eat on your own for best results -- without having to consult someone else. 
 
How do you become autonomously fit? Many ways. You may start by seeking guidance and coaching, but eventually take what you learn there and expand on it. 
 
You research. You read. You try things. You assess. You revise what doesn't work. You get honest with yourself. And while it may be a rough road at first, you eventually become stronger, fitter, healthier, and able to be in shape with or without the demands of an upcoming event or the guidance of a coach. 
 
Those become inconsequential to your overall fitness. And without the extremes of overkill dieting or excessive exercise, maintaining your fitness eventually becomes easy. You start slow, commit, and watch your progress take off.
 
Then, as a byproduct of autonomy, you're ready to do whatever event or competition you want without having to "get" in shape. You'll already be there. 
 
The Dumbest Fitness Goal 
If becoming a legendary athlete doesn't promise lifelong health and fitness, just imagine how flimsy achieving a goal like weight loss is. 
 
When people make their primary goal a number on the scale, they don't realize that permanent weight loss (and leanness) is the byproduct of these other things: eating well, working out consistently, and living sensibly. So why not just make those efforts the goal?
 
Striving to see the scale go down doesn't mean it'll stay down if you never master the healthful living, eating, and working out parts on their own. Achieving autonomy means that you've mastered those things.
 
In addition, trying to become a lower weight -- at any cost -- usually makes people do the types of things that backfire and lead to a higher weight. Which is why prioritizing the scale is usually just idiotic. 
 
Yet weight loss continues to be a top priority for most overweight people, and it's perpetuated by TV, most especially, The Biggest Loser. T Nation has published my article on The Biggest Loser and the four biggest fitness lies that come from that program. Hope you check it out and drop me a line in the comments section if you want to discuss it there!