Decisions decisions. I probably take five or six calls a week from people who are looking for the magic bullet for a beautiful body, and FAST. In fact one woman sent me an email last week claiming she wanted to” completely change her shape in three weeks, and what could I do to help her.” They hear from “experts” that Pilates will change how they look in as little as ten lessons, or that Kettlebell practice will turn them into fat burning furnaces. Now, these are educated sane people with normal eyesight and no mental deficiencies so I must admit to a certain amount of disappointment and doubt in the level of intelligence of my sisters out there. But nay and forsooth and all that I decided that a firm stance and being as forthright as possible about how to change your shape is the best approach, you sisters are stressed not stupid, and you need the truth.
Yikes. I’m going to need to write a book.
Forget it, I hate writing.
O.K I’ll cobble together an article, and hopefully change the world.
The TRUTH is there’s no machine, or free weight, or workout “system” or diet method in the world that will single handedly make you over to look like an athlete., or movie star, or whatever it is you think you want to look like.
They look the way they do partly because of genetics, and partly because of hours of hard work.
Are you doing hours of hard work backed up by educated professionals? And were you born with Jennifer Aniston’s body?
Didn’t think so.
I think we’re used to receiving information in snappy little sound bytes, or slick imagery right? And from those images and slogans we glean a superficial understanding of whatever subject they address. The stressed out sister in you is getting this information; you should be buff, glowing and 17 percent body fat.
Advertising is all about making the biggest impression in the shortest period of time.
I know you get this, but you also need to accept it. Those Tabata, Kettlebell, Pilates/Yoga Spin Thigh Master Ab Roller TRX video and accessories combos are all out to get your money. They give you enough information to cover their liabilities, but not enough to train you safely or to your potential. So what’s the magic bullet?
Wait for it…
Eat right and exercise right. Short and sweet enough for you?
Athletes eat to support their level of training. Food. They eat food. They don’t wake up in the morning take a handful of vitamins with a dollop of protein powder and then run 15 k. Yeah yeah they supplement, and I’m not against supervised supplementation but
you can’t eat a bag of potato chips, (800 calories or so) and then go do a boxing class, have a protein bar ( snort….f#$@*ing protein bars!) and feel virtuous again. Your body’s science isn’t set up to accept sawdust as energy so simply put, if you feed it sawdust, it won’t put out enough energy properly to burn those 800 calories, (no matter what the handy dandy little calorie counter on your stair climber tells you.) and it won’t be running at it’s optimal metabolic rate after exercise, because you haven’t given it the energy to do so. And never mind the muscles not getting what they need, your brain can’t function on sawdust either, and if your brain’s chemistry is not optimized through good nutrition, you are going to be unmotivated, sluggish and disengaged with the world around you. It’s a vicious circle and it takes discipline to change.
Listen girlfriends, it’s not as simple as calories in and calories out, so in order to change your BMI (look it up.) you are going to have to invest some time in learning about, and then making your own decisions about proteins, carbs and effective eating for balanced nutrition, energy and mood. No science is exact. Nope, none. So read, think, and choose a sustainable course of action.
“But I can’t do it, I always fail.”
O.K, be a fat cow, but don’t blame the ads, the gym, the methods or your mother. You fail, they don’t fail you.
And now to certain anatomical truths.
Posture is the key to your body doing what it does during exercise. Either good or bad. If the body starts out with a deficiency in its posture, it cannot perform its best. Crunch and climb and squat and row and tabata ( f#$*&-ing tabata, phooey.) all you like, if you start out with postural deficiencies, you will be successful in one thing and one thing only, strengthening those imbalances, making you look and feel worse, not better. Here’s where Joseph Pilates got it right, he addressed the postural deficiencies of clients by doing remedial work first…..hours and hours of it. I know you don’t want to hear that, you want to run 15 k and look like a racehorse next week…but get over it. And I even hesitate to outline what kinds of remedial work you should expect in this article, because I haven’t seen you, but here’s a rough sketch; You probably have a protracted shoulder girdle and forward head and tight hip flexors, causing stubborn looking love handles and a protruding belly. Let’s say this is you.
Now we have to integrate your shoulder girdle with a bunch of tedious exercises involving shoulder blades, neck and thoracic spine. You need to invest in these exercises for a couple of weeks atleast, because your shoulder girdle muscles and their organization is integral to your obliques working properly. We have to pattern your gluteus maximus/ hamstrings/ quadratus lumborum chain properly to assist your pelvis to a more neutral position, that way your abs know what to do when they are asked to fire up. It can take months (not usually, but sometimes) of basic work to peel off the layers of bad posture, because bad posture is really a series of muscle imbalances, strengths and weaknesses in the wrong parts, and it’s your biggest hurdle. I personally wouldn’t even let you look at a kettlebell if you walked into my studio with the posture described above. We’d be on the Cadillac woman, working through your serratus anterior…fun times!
Now listen, it’s true I’m a fitness instructor, and I do get to work on myself a little more than some people have time for, but two years ago pushing 40 and after my second c-section I weighed 182 pounds on my five foot seven inch frame. So I know the challenges. Getting back in shape was not easy, but it also wasn’t that hard. I took my time, I re-integrated my belly and back slowly, I tried to eat right, but didn’t always, and I worked exercise into my daily activities. I walk to work. I weight train, I do some kettlebell, and I do Pilates atleast four times a week. I’ve been on a stairclimber less than 15 times in my whole life. I eat breakfast everyday. I have a tummy pudge from my two huge babies that I accept, and I weigh 127 pounds. My voyage is different from yours, but I take responsibility for it, and I train with educated people. Nobody sucked the 55 pounds off me. I lost it.
Invest in educating yourself, put in time, and you will see change. Isn’t that true of most things in life?
Emelie, the fitness fanatic was easy to spot with that fit, tanned, tattooed (and sweaty), body. She works as a personal trainer at a gym in Västerhaninge. I didn’t ask but I think she is a bit of an extrovert!