Excessive Exercise: An Exercise in Futility

13 Feb

Excessive exercise is an exercise in futility.

I have been a victim of exercising way too much in order to achieve weight loss. The hard lesson I learned is that anything good for you can be bad when you do it too much. You don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to look a certain way. This has a long term negative effect on your body. Before you burn yourself out, let’s take a moment of rest.

Think of your body as a machine. When you feed it well and provide it with the right fuel, it can take you far. If you’re constantly using up all the fuel and not putting it back in to the system, you’re headed for a break down. There’s a difference between being active and being obsessed. Being active means you enjoy movement and fuel that movement with proper eating habits. You are fueling the system in order to enjoy what you do. Obsession with exercise becomes a problem when your body literally hits an energy crisis and will no longer perform.

You cannot expect to exert so much energy without paying the price. It’s not worth hitting the proverbial “wall”. It’s not fun. Not only that, your body fights back with a vengeance in order restore harmony. If you are exercising excessively and not feeding your body properly, you will pay the price. You’ll suffer from fatigue, mood swings and in extreme cases your period stops.

You are not meant to work that hard all the time! Unless you are pro athlete with an impeccable diet. Your body needs movement, rest, food and adequate hydration in order to function in top form. The biggest mistake I see is decreasing calories beyond what you should be eating. You cannot function on 1000 calories or less. If you exercise on top of that, you’ll have no energy to fuel a work out.

Your body uses energy for basic functions. Chewing, swallowing, and processing food requires energy. Respiration uses energy. Anything you do on a daily basis that keep the system operating requires energy.

Your body develops strength at rest.

The stress of exercise causes muscle to break. Like a rip in your shirt, your body has to sew the muscle back together. This makes the muscle stronger and tighter. You cannot accomplish this if you’re constantly pushing too hard and not resting sufficiently. Your body needs time to repair the muscle. Another common mistake I see is people pushing too hard all the time and not resting as hard. 

Exercise is not meant to be abused. If you find that you’re becoming obsessed with exercise, then you need to stop. If it’s consuming all your time and energy, it’s not worth it. Take time to educate yourself about the benefits of proper program design. A proper exercise program is designed to effectively build strength. It is also used to set reasonable goals.

The last thing I want you to do is spend your entire life in the gym. As a trainer I can tell you, proper doses of exercise have long term benefits. Too much of a good thing is a great way to burn yourself out. It’s counterproductive to building strength and losing weight.

Here’s to your health!

 

 

Get Healthy in Minutes! False Advertising in Fitness

07 Feb

It only takes 14 minutes a day! 

And you’ll be sculpted to perfection, right? What a money maker! If fitness only takes fourteen minutes a day, aren’t we being lied to? The time and practice it takes to be unhealthy is the time it takes to be healthy. Don’t be fooled!

The truth is that people who can only work out fourteen minutes a day probably can only do that much. This means if you are not conditioned then logically speaking you wouldn’t be exercise for extended periods of time. That’s probably a great start for someone who is just starting out. The goal would be to gradually work up your overall time.

Another fact about exercise is that when you start to get in better shape, it becomes harder for you to burn energy. You’re just so darn good at it, you have to work REALLY REALLY hard to get your heart rate up. This type of exercise program requires more experience and better conditioning. It is high intensity. Meaning, you’re hauling ass in a really short period of time.

I have worked with people who have various kinds of fitness equipment at home. It’s typically used to hang dirty laundry or is so covered in dust, that it can’t be used anyway. Do you really want to spend a ton of money on a dust collector?

If you don’t have the experience or the motivation to exercise, then adding another piece of equipment to your life may not be wise. Honestly in my experience it doesn’t encourage people to exercise. Most people tell me “I can’t get any exercise done at home. I’m always distracted!”

It all comes down to imagery and marketing. When you see a commercial for the “latest” exercise fad please keep that in mind. It shows you the life and body you could have in only fourteen minutes a day. I’ve spent twenty years in the fitness profession. It takes days, months and years of practice to have the life and body you want.

Don’t be fooled by a gimmick.

If you want to invest in better quality health, then don’t buy in to false advertising. Invest your time and energy into your long term health. That takes more than 14 minutes a day.

 

Soccer Legs: Nothing Wrong with Being Strong

07 Feb

I never quite fit in to the realm of “dainty” or “delicate”

My grandma always said I had “soccer legs”. I wasn’t quite sure what it meant at the time. I always felt bigger than other girls. I also felt like I was rough and tough like a boy. When I look back at pictures from elementary school or high school, I feel like I tower over all the other girls. What I realize now is that I felt strong and capable. My “soccer legs” could serve a purpose in my success.

When you’re young woman, how you see yourself makes a big difference. The world likes to decide what the “ideal” body shape is. There were many times I looked at my strength as a bad thing. I have a muscular frame. I’m sure a lot of other women understand where I’m coming from. In our mad pursuit to be “slim” and/or “skinny” we are literally running away from who we are. We are the women who have thick legs, thick waists and have trouble finding shirts that fit. No amount of diet or exercise will change it. I am born to have “soccer legs” and dammit, I’m going to use them for my benefit.

Women like Serena Williams are big, strong and muscular. Involved in a sport like tennis, there’s no doubt why she stands out. So she should! Depending on the sport, there are certain body shapes more prevalent than others. When we look at the media, the ideal female body shape is completely different. It’s the women who are blessed with smaller frames that seem to get more attention. If we look at Victoria Secret models, you’ll know what I mean. They all have a very similar body shape. Most women don’t look like that. If you do, all the more power to you!

What I’m referring to is how body shape all comes down to perception. Am I jealous of all those beautiful women who simply have a smaller frame? Absolutely not! I’ve seen smaller women squat 135lbs like it was nothing. I’ve seen bigger women dead lift 200lbs like it was nothing.

The point here is, I’ve been blessed with a bigger body shape. I’ve been this way all my life and there’s no sense in fighting it. If you’re blessed with the same body shape then let’s work with it. I am not meant to be skinny or slim. Maybe you have “soccer legs” too and have trouble finding knee high boots like me. I have thick legs that are strong and muscular. We are not built to be small. We are all blessed with different body shapes.

At the end of the day strength knows no size. Health and well being is more important than what size you happen to be. Own what you got and love what you have. It’s the only body you’re given so make the most of it.

Let’s use those “soccer legs” like we mean it!

 

 

Big Boned: Myth or Truth?

06 Feb

People tend to throw the phrase “big boned” around in reference to someone being a bit heavier.

    I had to find out if there was any truth to this. What people are referencing has to do with someone being overweight. Realistically speaking, we are all built with different frames. Does this account for someone being overweight?

Research I’ve read indicates that someone being overweight cannot be blamed on “big bones”. People carry their weight in their “soft tissue — muscle, fatty tissue, their organs.” So blaming extra weight on your bones is not correct. A small amount of people have larger frames, but most of us have an average size skeleton.

The size of your bones does not equate with bone density. Bone density is gauged by the concentration of mineral content. What I have learned is that “big bones” is not an accurate term to describe someone who is over weight. Their skeleton is most likely like average like yours and mine. The issue is they are carrying too much body fat in their soft tissues. This becomes an issue of health and determination for chronic disease.

Our focus should be on developing proper eating habits and activity levels. This would make a big difference in bone DENSITY. Meaning this will help to make our bones stronger. Increasing muscle mass would have a great effect on body fat. The more muscle mass you can develop, it allows you to burn more energy. Having a better ratio of muscle mass to body fat is what I encourage.

Poor lifestyle habits play a big part in your health. Gradual improvements make for long term success. Time to throw away the term “big boned”. It’s no longer a reason why you or someone you love may be overweight. It’s time to treat yourself to the best health ever!

A little bit of movement goes a long way!

The Posture of a Generation

05 Feb

I didn’t realize the floor was that interesting… 

      I catch people every day of my life staring down. No, it’s not just to do with age. I call it “The Posture of a Generation.” It is one that has spent so much time looking down at their phones, tablets, or computers. I’m telling you what I tell them, “The floor isn’t that interesting.” Believe it or not when you spend time looking down constantly, it will effect the rest of your body. It will literally put it out of alignment. You’ll most likely start staring at the floor because that’s what you’re teaching your body.

What happens when you spend so much time looking down? Well, there’s a funny thing that happens when you spend so much time in one position. Your body starts to take on that form. For example: When you spend your day staring at a computer, you’ll most likely be plagued with neck and shoulder problems. Your head progressively moves forward and out of alignment. You’ll end up with rounded shoulders. For each inch your head moves forward, the more pressure it puts on your spine. I call it the “Lurch” posture or (to be more dramatic) “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” posture.

Just imagine ten years from now. You or your kid spending all that time staring down at a phone. What do you think is going to happen? You will eventually become the next victim of bad posture. You’ll be the next “Lurch” and I promise you, it won’t be pleasant. If you want to avoid the chronic neck and shoulder pain, here’s something to keep in mind.

Excessive time spent in front of a computer or cell phone can cause severe long term problems. If you think I’m full of it then come and sit behind my desk. It’s pretty sad when I look around and all I see are people looking down. I see the next generation of “Lurches” being created right in front of my eyes. Here’s my simple suggestion to you…

  Stop looking down all the time!

The floor is not that interesting!