Fitness and Sustainability

Fitness Regime more sustainable.

Fitness and Sustainability: A Brief Insight.

Here at My Fitness Advisor, we want to make sure sustainability is a key brand value. Fitness and sustainability can seem two very distant subjects; however, we want to bring them together. As the consensus that the climate crisis we face is daunting and existential, alongside the world’s population of 7.7 billion continually increasing, how do we feed ourselves and live sustainably?

 

Food Systems

The current food system has come under massive scrutiny as the food that we eat has broader environmental impacts beyond our own personal one. Many consumers, including top professional athletes, are now changing their diets based on how sustainable the food production methods are and relative health benefits from these sources. This change is translating into a trend within the food industry of more sustainable production methods, with the trend not looking to stop any time soon.

A key observation of this trend is an active pursuit of solely depending on plant foods, even for protein about which the rhetoric has been for some years “you can only get enough protein from meat”. This statement strictly not be the case as eating from a range of plant proteins can be sufficient enough for you to live an active and healthy lifestyle with the chance to mitigate future injury risks and reduce recovery time. Check out our blog on performance on a vegetarian diet for more information on this subject area here.

 

This change in attitude towards plant-based protein has been positive for the fitness industry and the environment. Evidence suggests if the world switched to a plant-based diet.

 

  • Reducing land use by 76% (including 19% reduced land use for crop growth, as additional crops are needed to feed cattle)
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 49%
  • Reducing damage to water supply – with a 50% reduction in acidification, and a 49% reduction in eutrophication (which is when the environment becomes enriched with nutrients. This can be a problem in marine habitats such as lakes as it can cause algal blooms affecting the food chain)

     

    The figures above are all well and good but unrealistic. A global effort is needed to find the right balance. With the clear environmental impacts seen in the statistics above, It can be very challenging for the average consumer to weigh both the environmental impact of the food products they consume vs the real nutrition quality without expert knowledge.

    This is the gap we want to bridge at My Fitness Advisor. We want to cut out the misinformation and let you know how to make more informed decisions about the links between fitness and sustainability.

     

    Fitness and sustainable silver lining Supplements (Whey Protein)

    Over the last ten years, the change in food production is at an all-time high, with every consumer being affected in some way. With more information at our fingertips than ever before, increasing consumer awareness about the impacts and links of food and health has accelerated the desire for foods to provide targeted health benefits specifically, for a consumer lifestyle and current life stage.

    Whey protein is one of these products, with its successes which are derived from its natural properties, including its high source of amino acids, an excellent source of protein and functional characteristics. Whey has found its place within the fitness industry in helping consumers build lean muscle mass, enhance endurance performance and aid muscle recovery post-exercise.

    It is also being used as an essential ingredient for infant nutrition as producers strive to make infant formula’s which are similar to human breast milk and have little allergenic effects. Furthermore, whey dietary supplements can help maintain muscle mass and functionality when ageing, where combined with some resistant training in seniors.

    Yes, there are an array of benefits, but whey still comes from the production of dairy, which, as shown in the diagram below, has the 2nd highest global emissions estimates.

    Fitness and Sustainability

    Reference: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3437e.pdf

     

    But whey protein can be viewed as the silver lining in dairy food production.

     

    Before whey was first discovered as nutritionally beneficial, 100 pounds of milk made only 10 pounds of cheese with 90 pounds of waste as a by-product. This by-product was either used as animal fertiliser/animal feed or disposed of.

    It’s incredibly alarming to think this now useful substance was an exceptionally troublesome by-product from the production of hard cheese in terms of waste management and the environment.

     

    We have briefly touched on the most popular supplement in the fitness industry, but what does the future hold?

     In terms of sustainability, the food industry needs to work under stricter sustainable guidelines to mitigate environmental damages caused. Innovation is now the key to developing new advanced sustainable food production methods, and for whey protein, this is essential with the only by-product in the production process being water. As the demand for more sustainable food continually increases the more sustainable products, we should see on the supermarket shelves, whether that’s in general or directly for your fitness regime.

     

    Sustainable Fitness Clothing

    The clothing industry has a new sustainable spotlight. Fast fashion is dying out with the realisation of how wasteful the sector has become. Sustainable clothing popularity is increasing alongside more people now looking for 2nd hand options on platforms such as Depop and eBay. With more consumer knowledge of how fashion brands directly contribute to harming the environment, this trend is only going to accelerate.

    Sustainable fitness brands are growing in their numbers with big-name brands now changing their attitude towards the sustainability issue. Adidas’s new ultraboost shoe range, is a step in the right direction. In 2020 Adidas plans to create 15-20 million pairs of shoes with parley ocean plastic (a material made from upcycled plastic waste that was intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean) an increase of 11 million from the year before. Nike are also along the same path creating a few products from recycled materials and plan to increase the blend of sustainability goals with long term business goals.

    Smaller brands are also leading the way with sustainability at the heart of what they do. SOS Activewear, based in London, are using discarded fishing nets and old plastic bottles and transforming them into functional stylish and reliable activewear that “supports you and the planet.” Contur UK another activewear brand leading the way is using repurposed nylons, ocean plastics and recycled cotton to create sustainable sports fabrics for its ranges.

    The future of sustainable fitness clothing is something we are going to be keeping a close eye on. New production methods and styles are continually being produced with smaller brands leading the way. Fitness and sustainability in this market segment we believe will drive and initiate the change that is needed. Expect a lot more content from us in this area.

     

    Fitness and Sustainability Overview

    Overall, sustainability in the fitness industry is still not where it needs to be, much like the world we live in today. However, the industry is going in the right direction, and it’s great to see smaller brands leading the way. The large giants like Nike and Adidas are doing their bit; however, profound change needs to be engrained in their business and future brand goals.

    I hope you enjoyed our first sustainable fitness blog, expect much more from My Fitness Advisor in this area as we want to bridge the gap between Fitness and Sustainability.

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