Saturday, January 01, 2011
Yes, this is my second blog today! What can I say? I'm getting the New Year off to a good start!
I've heard the phrase "Abs are made in the kitchen" quoted lately by a lot of people I greatly respect. I've given it a lot of thought and have finally decided that, while I think I understand the intention behind this statement, I don't agree with it. At least, not entirely.
You can eat right all you want to and reduce the fat on your body, but the muscle that makes abs is not made in the kitchen. Mine were made mostly flat on my back on the floor doing ab exercises. And since my kitchen has a hard tile floor, I can say with utmost certainty that my abs were NEVER made in the kitchen. Uncovered in the kitchen? Yes! Made there? NO!
I guess I don't like the phrase "Abs were made in the kitchen", because it gives the false impression that if folks just eat well enough, they'll have abs of steel. Tight, muscular abs come from the hard work of exercise. Getting them hard, however, requires dedication to reducing fat through diet. Becuase let's face it: Fat isn't hard, it's soft. So if you have hard ab muscles but they are covered up by soft fat, you're still gonna have soft abs.
I've said before and will say again that you can build all the lean, strong, beautiful muscle you want to, but if it's covered up by fat no one is gonna see it. It doesn't mean the muscle you are building isn't doing you any good, because it certainly is! It's benefiting your health in a myriad of ways I won't take the time to go into here. But the fact is that you won't be able to actually visibly SEE the muscular fruits of your labor if you are over-fat.
It's always a two-part equation to building ANY muscle, not just abs: Fat reduction and weight bearing exercises. You can't leave one out and expect to see big results.
Abs are built in the gym and unveiled in the kitchen.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Remember: It's a Holiday Season, not an Eating Season.
If you don't want to derail your own weight loss efforts, you are going to have to take ownership of your eating for the next month. Scratch that..... You are going to have to take ownership of your eating for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!
Yeah.... I know this reality sucks, but it's where we are- We didn't get fat by being careful throughout the Holiday Seasons prior, so we sure as heck aren't going to get (or stay) skinny by eating whatever the devil we please until January 2nd. Plus, if you DO eat whatever you desire for the next month it's going to be even harder to lose the cravings for the simple carbs when the four-week binge is over.
I have so many tempting food thingys coming up I can't even tell you. But I don't need to, because you can identify- You have them, too! Look folks, we can't make the tempting foods or fancy schmancy occasions with butter and sugar dripping from them go away. We are going to have to deal. And most of the time we are going to have to say "It looks marvelous! So tempting, but NO, and thank you very much for your efforts"- sometimes over and over. We're going to be confronted with food pushers. But if we cave it isn't their fault, it's our own: WE are responsible for the bodies God has entrusted us with, not them.
The fact is that we are going to have to develop backbones if we aren't going to seriously derail our own efforts by January second, and potentially longer if we have a hard time getting back on track. It's tough to say "No" when faced with yummy food you only get once a year. But what do you want more? The yummy food, or the yummy body? It's your choice, but personally, I'll take the bod, thank you.
So I'm allowing myself a few MEALS this month where I am allowed to eat and not count macro nutrients. But the rest of the time I am going to practice complete avoidance, starting with tonight: I have a cookie open house that I will take my daughter to and I am drinking either unsweetened tea or water, and I am eating NO COOKIES or goodies whatsoever. Yes, you heard that right: I will be avoiding the yummy little things all together. Because tomorrow I have to weigh and report it to my FaceBook Holiday Weight Loss Challenge I started. (If you want to join, Click here: www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.p
hp?eid=175671359111675 It's open to anyone.) And next week I have to take progress photos for the cursed thing that RachelMac started and I committed to! (What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment!)
I seriously doubt any of us will look back a few months from now and say "I so regret not eating more garbage this past Holiday season".
So if you've been binging, knock it off! Stop! Today! Right now! Go back to the basics! Claim whole, clean foods as your friend, and treat the next minute like a new chapter in life.
The year is too short to spend more than a full month of it destroying your health.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
This may sound ridiculous, but try to enjoy the process of losing your weight and obtaining fitness.
No, I have not lost my mind.
Celebrate the little victories: Relish being in the next size down, at the 5-pound mark you were waiting to get to, being in the 190's and 180's and 170's (or whatever numbers you need to get through). Gloat a little about the scale going down. Look at your emerging waistline or trimmer arms or thinner face with admiration. Enjoy the process! Because if you don't, that's going to be a lot of time you spend half-living, and I can't think of one good reason to do that willingly. Can you?
This is a journey that is uniquely yours. No one else will have the experience of traveling it but you. Enjoy it.
It took me about a year to lose about 45 pounds of excess weight, and although there were some moments of angst ("Why can't I get down below 166???"), I am glad that overall I enjoyed the process and celebrated little victories along the way. Otherwise, it would have been a year of wasted negativity.
No matter how much weight you have to lose, chances are you aren't going to lose it quickly. Life is too short to be waiting for "When I lose this weight". Live life RIGHT NOW, at your current weight, to it's fullest potential. Don't wait to have nice hair, wear stylish clothes, learn to do your makeup, or anything else that you think could make you feel better about yourself. Regardless of your weight, you have every right to feel good about yourself right where you are. And besides, it's good for you! Like I said in my blog "Love Yourself In Your Current Condition", posted back in April, the better you feel about yourself right now, the more likely you will be to see your weight loss efforts through.
How much of your life are you willing to live miserable?
Monday, November 15, 2010
I love rules and find contentment in knowing I am following them. I think it's the German in me. At any rate, even I believe that there are times it's beneficial to break the rules, particularly when it comes to exercise. So, as promised in my last blog, here are some general rules of weight lifting and why I like to break them sometimes.
Rule: Work specific body parts together. (Back with biceps, Chest with shoulders and delts, etc)
When you work the bigger muscle groups (Quads, Hams, Chest, and Back), the smaller muscle groups assist you in the motion. So, it stands to reason that working the Quads and Hamstrings with the Calves and Abs is a wise idea (calves get pulled into most thigh exercises, and abs are used to stabilize heavily on them, as well). Similarly, the "pushing" motion of chest exercises engages the triceps and shoulders, and the "pulling" motion of back exercises engages the biceps, so working those muscle groups together can thoroughly exhaust the smaller muscle groups and require less exercises to finish them off, therefore saving time. This rule of thumb is terrific, but sometimes you may want to break the body parts up differently based on your goals and objectives.
For instance, I am always working to thicken my shoulders, which are naturally very slight, so I keep my shoulders as far away in my weekly split as possible from chest day (shoulders are now Monday and Friday with my thighs, and chest is Wednesday). This not only gives me two days to work shoulders (most of my body parts get hit once a week), but it also give them a "mini" workout between my two "big" shoulder days, with ample time to recover between all of them.
Rule:Work the big body parts first, then work the smaller ones.
For instance, when working the chest and triceps, always work the chest first. The reasoning here is that if you work the triceps first, they will be too tired to fully assist in your chest and you won't get as good a chest workout. Breaking this rule makes sense when the assisting muscle is the one that you want to build up more than the bigger muscle group. So if you are someone with underdeveloped triceps but your chest is coming along pretty good, I'd advise working triceps first, while they are fresh, to get maximum muscle stimulation in them.
I did something similar this morning: Generally it is advised to work quadriceps before hamstrings, but I hit hamstrings first so that they could give lift the most weight with the best form possible on an exercise isolating them away from quads (hyperextensions). I couldn't have given the effort I did on hyperextensions had I done the hack squats and plie squats that came later on in the workout first.
Rule:Work each body part at least 2 times per week.
For a beginner, this is a fine rule. But once you start really pushing your muscles this one doesn't work out very well for a couple of reasons: The first one is that its hard to find time to work every muscle group to the point where it will reach peak growth twice a week. The second reason is that often, after a grueling workout session, it takes a full week to recover the muscle group enough to hammer it again.
The fact is that most body builders and figure gals work most body parts once a week. This is proof that you can achieve muscle growth by breaking the minimum-twice-weekly rule. Like I mentioned above, my thighs and shoulders get hit twice a week, but everything else just once.
There are more, but this blog is long enough............
It might be worth noting that my weight lifting partner, the most muscular man I have ever known personally, breaks just about all of these rules routinely. He works legs together, but chest, back, and shoulders each get their own day. Abs get tossed in at will, and he does arms by themselves. When he works his arms, he usually works biceps (the smaller muscle group) before triceps. (And his horseshoe is the size of a Clydesdale's!) He never warms up with cardio (another weight lifting "rule") and he frequently goes more than a week between body parts, since they are broken down into just one or two muscle groups for each workout session (However, I have never seen him do less than 5 exercises per body part, and multiple sets per exercise). He might work his legs every two weeks, and they are the size of tree trunks! He spends a majority of time on his chest and shoulders and (this makes me nutz!), he has virtually no weight lifting schedule. I'm walking around with my training notebook that has my pre-planned routine, and he struts into the gym and says "I think I'll work back today!". He's doesn't care about the rules because he's been doing this long enough that he knows what works for him.
The point of this blog is this: When you hear a rule or general guideline for exercise, ask yourself if it is conducive to your own goals and objectives for exercise. As long as it does not compromise your safety, you may find you need to adjust accordingly. And sometimes it's nice to change the rules simply to break the monotony and keep things interesting. Even my lifting partner will take a routine out of Flex magazine and do it for several weeks, just to change things up.
Any other rules you've heard that you'd like me to address in this blog? Please ask- I'm sure I'll have something to say about it. :-D
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