Sunday, October 19, 2014

reckless or badass?

I am engaged in a hobby/sport/passion.. whatever you call it, in which your body is pushed to its limits. Intense exercise is hard, strict dieting is hard, and your body might just fight it. Your brain fights it. But I feel like with proper knowledge and coaching, it can be done safely and in a way that maximizes the benefits while keeping your body healthy, and mind sane. That's pretty much what I'm doing, for the next 5 weeks which is a challenge but also very exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing my body change and lean out and take the shape it needs to for Nationals! I'm ready.

And will be comin out with an even better physique ;)

I hear really crazy stories in the fitness industry of way too low-calorie diets and crazy amounts of cardio, all for a sprint to the finish line- the competition- and then the sad aftermath. But I've already addressed that.

I guess what still irks me with current fitness trends is the idea and encouragement that PAIN=GAIN.
Maybe you've seen, heard, or been motivated by the following quotes:

First off, let it be known that I'm not messing around when I'm at the gym. I'm not there to socialize, and half the time I don't even have headphones in because they get in the way. I'm focused on my lifts and I push it hard. I've at times felt a little lightheaded, or feel discomfort- maybe even pain when I'm lifting heavy. That's often an indicator that you're working intensely.

But the idea (originated from Jillian Michaels) that you need to keep going until you are puking, passed out or dead is disconcerting to me. What exactly are you training for that requires you to be on the verge of a blackout? Does the fact that you vomited mean you're a badass? I've never passed out or thrown up during a workout session, I must be going at it way too easy...

I like to think that I get results by normal but intense workouts. And if I were to feel pain, that means I should stop, and stretch, or rest and get a drink... not "keep going til you're done."What happened to common sense?

I know certain training programs that are super popular, and I've done them and they're great. It motivates people and gets them to the gym, and I am all about encouraging new ways to train and having support groups to cheer you on. Maybe it's the old-fashioned bodybuilder-type mentality that I have, but proper form and execution will always trump time in my opinion. Yes these programs will get you in great shape- it's been proven. But injuries due to speed and improper form are not totally uncommon. There are immense benefits of doing similar exercises slowly, and with a mind-muscle connection which hones in on specific muscle groups. Just offering my alternate opinion. (I still love you CrossFitters!)

Moving on..
Sometimes I notice friends or clients or relatives who get up at 5 every morning to work out. Now, I don't do that. I'm not really a morning person, and only recently have I been prescribed fasted cardio in the mornings, so I get to the gym by 6:30 and that's a struggle. The thought sometimes crosses my mind, "wow, so-and-so must really be intense and committed. She's up at the crack of dawn to get her workout in. I'm not that cool ."
I think it's so awesome that people create the time slot to get their workouts in before they head to work, or before their kids wake up. Sometimes that's just what you gotta do! I'm lucky in that I don't need to, but it doesn't make me any less committed. I just have to manage my time differently.

BUT I do want to emphasize:
If you are sacrificing proper sleep in order to go get your workout in, that can really backfire. Adequate sleep helps your brain and body rejuvenate and helps regulate healthy body composition.
When your body is sleep deprived, it messes with two appetite-regulating hormones: leptin and ghrelin. To summarize, you will feel abnormally hungry and crave sugary and high-carb foods and are more likely to sabatoge your diet. Get 8+ hours!!!

I saw someone post on Facebook last year that they had gotten up at 4 am Thanksgiving morning to do a 4-hour workout. Are you planning on eating the entire turkey yourself?!! Unless you're training for a freaking Ironman, I don't see any reason for 4 hours of exercise, ever. I don't idolize people like that, I honestly just think they're crazy. Besides, it's Thanksgiving, one day of enjoying food is not going to kill you.

Bottom line, I think training should be fun, it should be challenging, but it should be conducted with common sense. Don't train when you're sick, take rest days. Get enough sleep. And don't compare with others. I'm a person that rarely sweats when I workout. Am I not working out hard enough or am I just so fit that I don't sweat anymore? lol.. Neither. But my methods are working ;)

 I feel a little "fluffy" because I'm not super lean right now. But I've been hitting shoulders and glutes pretty hard these past few weeks. Operation lean-out commences NOW!

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