Hey! Happy late Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc! I have been super out of the loop lately. There have been so many ideas on my mind, but finding the time to write seems increasingly impossible with mini Gwinn wandering everywhere and getting into everything. Seriously. This morning he was slamming a cabinet door into the oven just because he could. It kind of happened overnight, but now I have a wild child toddler, and I’m a busy B (yes, “B”, not “bee”.).
I digress. This topic has been weighing on my mind for weeks, literally. It has bugged me so much that I finally locked mini Gwinn in our computer room with my coffee so I could sit down and knock this one out before I adventure out to the gym. Get ready, it’s not gonna be pretty, but let’s hope I get the message across.
If you’ve ever walked by a magazine rack at the grocery store or looked at Pinterest for more than thirty seconds, you’ve seen those absurd “do this lame workout for seven days and watch the pounds drop!” claims, all accompanied by an image of a ridiculously toned/ skinny chick in a bikini or less. To anyone who will be duped by this, please read these words carefully: that chick did not do this lame seven day workout to look like that. No one did this lame seven day workout and immediately looked amazing. Please, put down the Prevention magazine, stop pinning those “inspiring workouts and words” to your fitness board, and take a few steps back from this entire concept of “get fit quick”. Just like getting fat doesn’t happen over the course of a week, getting fit doesn’t happen in 168 hours.As harsh as it may sound, dough doesn’t transform to granite over the course of a week, or sometimes even eight weeks. It takes a lot of time and a lot (I mean A LOT) of sweat to melt fat and gain visible muscle tone. While a week’s worth of working out will make you feel better, give you more energy, increase your appetite (that is a good thing!) and help you sleep better, it won’t magically give you a bikini body for next week’s vaycay. Your best you comes from dedication to improving your health, not attempting to mimic a rail thin model’s body or society’s idea of “beautiful” (unless you happen to fall into that naturally, and if you do, yay for you!) .
In that same line of thought, I have to admit that I was under the impression that “diets” had fallen out of favor with the gen pub. I could not have been more wrong. Seriously, my reaction to seeing “follow such and such celebrity’s three day smoothie diet to fit into your skinny jeans”pins/ magazines was, “HOLY CRAP DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS STUFF?!” If all someone consumes is fruit smoothies for a weekend, s/he may fit into skinny jeans, but s/he will put those on to run to the nearest McDonald’s to indulge in a Big Mac. Healthy consumption of lean proteins, veggies and lots of water as a way of life, not a temporary starvation diet, will be a better fuel for working out/ health improvement. It makes me sad when I see women who are desperate to feel better grasping at hollow ideas for health.
I’ve heard of many women starving themselves and then running on the treadmill for forty five minutes. If anything, this teaches your body to store up any calories consumed because it thinks it will never be fed AND has to endure major cardio. That’s pretty much the opposite of what any (good) personal trainer would tell someone.
My advice: 1. Learn your body fat percentage, not your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI doesn’t tell much at all about your health. By that same token, your weight doesn’t tell you much about your health. How much fat you’re carrying around? That’s WAY more telling. Gyms will measure your body fat percentage for free. Check out what the numbers mean at Health Check Systems.
2. Eat. A lot. a 130 lb. woman looking to lose fat and maintain/ gain muscle tone should consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. I say “at least” because dietary professionals will suggest as low as 45 grams a day and as high as a 1 to 1 ratio of pounds of weight to grams of protein. That seems impossible to most women, especially given the fact that the average woman consumes around 20 grams a day. Protein will keep you fuller for longer than simple carbohydrates and give you the energy you need to build muscle/ lose fat. Vegetables and chicken, vegetables and fish, whatever your poison for meat- this combo keeps you full. Avoid simple carbohydrates like the devil (this includes: bread, cereal, rice, cupcakes, cake, cookies [my weaknesses], etc). If you just can’t live without grains, try quinoa and oatmeal, both complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to break down and keep you full longer. Kelly the Kitchen Kop gives insight with an interview from Dr. Davis on the dangers of modern wheat and other genetically modified grains. I’m not pushing “anti-carbohydrates”, veggies have carbs too (say what?), I’m pushing “anti-genetically modified grains” here.
3. Don’t limit yourself to cardio. Weight lifting and body weight/ resistance exercises are going to help you burn fat more quickly and efficiently than just cardio (unless you are morbidly obese). Another myth to these crappy “get skinny quickly” workouts is that you can target weight loss to fat in certain areas of your body, like “7 Days to Lean Arms!”. If that were the case, all my body fat would be in my boobs and my thighs would look like pillars of marble wrapped in skin. While you CAN target muscles during workouts, you can’t target fat, which is why mixing up a workout is paramount to actual fat loss/ muscle gain. The best fat burning technique I’ve tried- interval training. I’ve pushed this on other blog posts in the past, and I’m pushing it again. My current fave? Turbulence Training, as seen on the Greatist.
I suppose what I’m preaching here is the opposite of what many women do, which is “starve and go easy at the gym”. I say, spoil yourself by eating a ton of yummy, healthy food, and abuse your body like crazy at the gym. Go at it until your clothes are soaked and you can barely walk out the doors. These three day diets and seven day fitness routines aren’t going to cut it; quick fixes NEVER do. Dedication to fitness and a true lifestyle change in how one approaches food will result in a total health and body transformation. It’s pretty obvious I’m no personal trainer or health expert, but I am passionate about my personal health. This makes me seem like a self indulgent psycho to some, but my health matters for the sake of my family (and my sanity). If you’re anything like me, when you feel better, everything seems better, more accomplish-able, less insurmountable. Plus, I’m a lot less likely to Hulk out on someone when I’ve burned all my excess energy (read: rage) at the gym. It boils down to the fact that I just want people I care about to be healthy and happy.
So, in the coming weeks, or whenever I find time to sit down and write a bit, I’m going to start working on the reverse side of “Being Kind is Hard”. Every post for the next several weeks will include a glowing review of someone I love in my life. It will serve as a very public way (with his/ her consent) to display my appreciation, and hopefully spur kindness in myself and others.
❤ to you!