Friday, October 21, 2011

Where I'm at now...

I started to write a post about fitness magazines and their goods and evils, but today as I sit here writing this, I've come a long way since I last blogged.

Firstly, I bought a new pair of shoes. I understand that I'm female and this shouldn't be news, but I bought a new pair of Nike + shoes, and they are some of the comfiest shoes I have ever worn. I spent most of my teenage years in light ass spike running shoes that are designed to help you run by being barely there. These shoes aren't spikes, but they're on par with the level of comfort gained from my old spikes. They have no tongue, so the shoe pretty much fits like a glove. They're light, and the sole is completely flexible. The only issue I've had with them is that I haven't spent as much time in them as I've wanted.

Secondly, I have started weighing myself. Not daily or anything crazy like that, but roughly weekly. The first time I went back into the gym (when I blogged last) I was 69kgs. Last week I was 66kgs, and this week I'm 65kgs. The reason why I'm pointing this out is that despite not having very significant weight loss, I've dropped a dress size. I'm now in my level 3 skinny jeans (level 4 are my fat jeans and level 1 skinny jeans are uber small), they're still uncomfortable, but they fit. I can also see that the fat around my tummy is melting off, I can start to see muscle and shape around my waist. So many people talk about how they want to reach their goal weight of x amount of kilos. For me to reach my goal weight, I'd have to lose 16kgs. However, I know how I want my body to look. If I'm 5kgs over my goal weight but I look how I want to, I'm not going to be stupid and try to lose the last 5 kilos. The first time I ever started dieting for bodybuilding, I took measurements of my legs, tummy, bum and arms. I then stopped doing this when I realised that muscle growth under fat can keep you at a measurement, despite fat disappearing (which is obvious now) and the only time I should be measuring myself is when I've lost a majority of fat and have to focus on muscle gain. That's why the scales also lie. I've lost fat, I know that. I fit into my clothes better. But I've only lost 3 kilos in a whole month. Go figure.

I have decided that I will also gain some credibility and get my personal training certificates so I can get out of the shit workplace I'm in now and live in a gym forever. When I first started dating my fiance I used to find it funny and sad how many people spent a lot of their lives in the gym. The reality is that we were just at two very different places in life. I was used to training outdoors and going on long runs and walks with my dog to keep fit, he was used to picking up heavy things and putting them back down to keep fit. He got me used to the gym, eventually, and then life got in the way for us. We stopped making time for the gym. February last year I was at my heaviest, and I never want to get back there again. I've had a less stressful job all year (so less emotional eating) and I haven't been indulging in bad behaviour in general. Also, after getting my beautiful Samoyed in April this year, I've been walking more, and with the husky in tow that's even more of a work out.

At the moment I can see the impact that choices have on my health. To choose not to eat all day then have emergency McDonalds, or to eat all day with small meals of tuna and chicken soup... The choices add up. The only thing I haven't yet gotten my head around is how to manage non-healthy eaters when we're out socially for dinner or lunch. They tend to easily talk me into places where there are no healthy options. I'll figure it out soon though.

And next time I blog, it will be another rant, promise. :)

F xo

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rant: Fitness Fads

So as promised, the next rant is on fitness fads, like Sketchers Shape Ups. Before I get started, don't get me wrong, I have two pairs of shape ups and I spend a majority of my time each day in them. I work in retail where the floor is concrete, so standing up for 8 hours a day on concrete does nothing good for your back and knees. I find that sketchers shape ups and their huge amount of padding lessen the impact of the floor, but I don't think they work for toning.

I went shopping recently with a friend of mine who walks very fast. I'm not a fan of fast walking in shopping centers, why, I don't know. But I had my sketchers on and I tried walking the retarded way that they tell you to in the little booklet to "tone your bum and thighs". I didn't feel any different, but my legs and bum did hurt. I'm sure I would have felt the same way with my normal runners though.

I do have a background in business so I do understand marketing and what it is meant to achieve. There are some great examples of crap that sells for hundreds of dollars because its the latest fad. However, marketing plays on human behaviour. One guy I saw at a bodybuilding show last year (who was an absolute mass monster) came out on stage and people were shocked... they had no idea his physique was like that. Why? Because he didn't subscribe to the marketing that "all body building males should wear singlets at the gym to show off their huge physics". Not even his mum knew how big he was. Go figure.

That said though, the fitness industry is a huge money maker. Think of the billions of dollars spent on the latest tracksuits, runners, gym bags (when worn elsewhere you look like a bum) and the millions spent on supplements and protein drinks, as well as sport drinks (though any exercise buff will tell you that sports drinks are full of sugar). A friend of mine who is trying ever so hard to "tone up" (she wants to look like the glamour models, not the figure competitors) has been training with a lot of 'experts' that have been getting her to push massive weights with them, and because they're all male, they don't know how to train a female. They got her leg pressing 130lb, she was mortified when I told her that all that's going to achieve over time will be huge legs and a huge round ass. I told her the best thing for her was a personal trainer who specialises in women. Her response? They're too expensive. And of course they are, but what would you rather? Listening to some guido who thinks he knows everything because he's been training with his best friend for a year, or someone who has taken the time to perfect the techniques of training on themselves, has a proven track record with competitions personally and with their clients and has a legal liability to see that you're training safely (and correctly). I'd take the personal trainer, rather than the 'expert'. (That'll probably be my next rant...) Now I'm not saying I'm an expert either, and maybe these guys that my friend knows are really good at what they do, because some of the things they tell her are the same things a lot of others would tell her. But I don't want to see her hurt herself due to some moron telling her stupid things, (Which is another reason why I like training alone) or pushed to lift heavy weights when she doesn't want to gain muscle mass.

Anyway, back to my initial rant on fads... The sketchers do not work for toning up everything as they so claim. But it's like buying a gym membership. If you've spent $600 for a yearly membership, and you don't want to waste $600, you go to the gym as often as you can. If you need to pay $200 for the latest pair of sketchers just to walk 30 minutes every day when previously you were a couch potato, then buy the sketchers and walk, you'll be better for it.

I have a nike+ running watch that connects to my runners that tells me a whole heap of information about my "run". I use it when walking the dogs so I can track how often and how far I've walked them. This is a huge fad, but it's helpful to me. I like being able to track what I'm doing, and if there was some kind of way to track lifting weights without having to write it in a diary, I'd be doing that too. The only time I'd diarise my weights would be when I was in training for a competition, with a specific goal to reach.

I'm one of the many that can go into a gym, train hard for 2 weeks straight, and have obvious definition at the end of those weeks. I often get told at work that I look like I work out, even though I haven't been to the gym in a while. I'm aiming to go back tonight for the first time in a month.

I do subscribe to a lot of fads, and my partner has even almost talked me into getting an iPhone just for the apps (though I do love my iPod... so I might just get an iPod touch) because there are a lot of fitness apps, and a lot of other apps that would distract me that I would find hugely useful.

The main thing with fads though, is that as long as you stick to them and they work, there's nothing wrong with them. We need a healthier world and a healthier populations, so we should be doing whatever we can to take advantage of any exercise we can get. In Australia right now, we're hitting warmer weather, and today in Melbourne it was 28 degrees. I've had to wait to walk my doggies until it cooled down, because with their heavy coats they would have been too exhausted. And like I also mentioned before, tonight I will go back to the gym for the first time in many weeks. I'm not sure how I'll go, but I'll definitely sleep well tonight and hurt tomorrow.

F xo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rant: Skinny people at the gym

So today I'd like to complain about something dear to my heart... those anorexic people you see at the gym. I'm not talking about the gym-goers who clearly have worked hard for their physiques, those people are to be admired. I'm talking about the bumbling size 6s (or size 4s in America) who believe they need to 'tone up' or even worse 'slim down'.

These are the people you see nibbling on carrots for lunch, with maybe a can of tuna that they don't finish. You can see their bones and they have no muscle tone whatsoever. It also shits me when these people tell other "normal" sized people how to diet. Newsflash: not eating food does not count as dieting.

I take after my dad who was always a pretty big guy and due to athletics while I was younger I always had muscular legs. Never had huge legs, but my legs were always very strong. I put muscle on very easily, as well as putting on fat even easier. One particular girl I work with has always been a size 6, studied some kind of health science degree at uni and never got past first semester, has never had to lose a pound in her life, cannot tone up no matter how much she goes to the gym, but she's a friggen expert. I was talking to another girl at work about why I try to detox before I start a diet, and she was saying how the "expert" says you should never detox before a diet. Ever. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to take advice from someone who's never had to lose more than a kilo in her life. I'm not saying that detoxing before a diet is what everyone should do, because everyone is different. I just find that detoxing puts me in the right state of mind before starting the diet, and I find detoxing very hard. Drinking liquids, soups and yoghurts for two days is difficult. But it helps prepare me, and I'm already down three kilos since I started last week.

Another thing that these skinny people do that annoys me is talk in kilos. Because they don't have much mass to play around with (bigger people and bodybuilders talk like that too, but it's justified... like when someone says their competition weight is 88kgs and their off-season weight is 102kgs... that's some serious change) Skinny people talk like "oh I'd be happier if I lost 2 kilos... but it's so hard eating like a bunny." I've always been of the opinion that how you look is more important than how much you weigh. Think about how many bodybuilders would be called 'obese' based on the BMI calculations. I may have only lost 3 kilos with my "more conscious effort to eat healthy" (I'm not dieting - haha) but I look much slimmer. I do still have muscle on me, but I've lost a little bit of fat. That makes me happy.

I guess the reason why anorexic gym-goers annoy me is because I used to be anorexic. Doctors say that it is a disease that stays with you for life. I don't believe that is true. Self-consciousness and bad self-esteem stay with you for life, but the ability to enjoy food and not see it as evil can be overcome. I think I may still see my body differently than other people do, but I've learned to listen to others and not take anything too far. The effort to be healthier is one thing, but when you already look healthy, why try and make yourself look unhealthy? Bones aren't sexy, people.

My rant for next time will be on fitness fads... such as Sketchers Shape-Ups.

F xx