In my ongoing saga to create the leanest, fittest, sexiest body I can, at the ripe old age of 44, I have tried about a dozen workout programs. It all started in 1988 with the purchase of my first fitness video. No it wasn't Jane Fonda! It was the first video released by The FIRM. Body Sculpting Basics with Susan Harris.
This video changed my life in more ways than one. It introduced me to weight training and got me in the best shape of my life! I was a fat kid and it was only after I discovered The FIRM that I was able to keep my weight within a healthy range. Flash forward a few years and I'm able to go to the gym without dieing of embarrassment. I become a regular after work and spend evenings on the stairmaster instead of in front of the TV with takeout. This is good, but what I have never been able to fix is my diet. And this, dear readers, is where I am today.
I've spent the greater part of the last 24 years trying to out-exercise a bad diet and I have failed. I have taken step classes on a sprained ankle, I have gone on bike rides with a fractured foot, I bought the Tae Bo tapes, I've bounced on mini tramps, run 5Ks, taken ballet class, paid thousands of dollars for personal training and additional gym memberships. In short, the 200 lb 14 year old became a certified fitness addict and all of it worked! To a point. YOU CAN NOT OUT-EXERCISE A BAD DIET!!!
Now, I've known about the diet thing being 80% of the whole in shape, muscle definition thing for years. I've been with Spark since 2009 so yeah, I've heard it all before, but still I did not listen. I did Jamie Eason's 12 Week LiveFit Program twice! I worked out while I had the flu, I worked out the day my Dad died. I have been obsessive (dedicated) to my cause. But did I follow the nutrition program. No. Did I try, yeah, but I didn't feel right so I quit and ate what I wanted, when I felt like it. So I moved on to a program without the rigid diet guidelines of LiveFit:
Bodybuilding.com's Female Training Bible program, which is like a baby LiveFit. As with any workout program I've tried I threw myself into the workouts with gusto. I tried to watch my diet and follow the guidelines, but one week of excellent eating would be followed by two weeks of takeout. I guess I figured that if I worked out hard enough, I'd see the kind of results I wanted no matter what I ate, but I was just lying to myself.
I let myself down. Thinking about how hard I've worked, especially over the last year, and how far I've yet to come has really shaken me up. I can't say I've done it all for nothing because I have seen noticeable improvements. Many of my SP Friends have asked me about my results from LiveFit and the Female Training Bible and I'll tell you that each of these programs are great! The FTB is probably easier for a busy woman to fit into her schedule so I definitely recommend you check it out. I did experience some fantastic strength gains during the 12 weeks on FTB. I can now do up to 3 unassisted underhanded pull-ups! Which I am psyched about! BUT, I still don't look like I imagined I would. My shoulders are not defined, my legs and calves are not as sculpted as I would like, my butt isn't nearly as firm as I would like and, HELLO, where is my 6-pack? Maybe part of that is due to the fact that I am not 20 years old, but how would I know since I'm not eating as clean as I could be? Then again, maybe I'm asking too much of myself.
There is nothing wrong with me or the way that I look. I feel great and I look pretty darn good, but what would happen if I concentrated more on my diet and less on exercise? *gasp* What if I spent some of the time I spend on the elliptical on planning meals instead? What if I start devouring Clean Eating magazine like I devour Oxygen magazine? What would Tosca Reno say? I think she'd say, " You need to find a balance." Obviously I've never been very good at balance (ask my former ballet instructor). But what if I made a subtle shift to the kitchen from the gym? Who knows? Maybe I'll find my heart's desire and my six pack among the produce?
This week I have re-committed myself to logging all of my food. I will be honest with myself. I will not fail to log the "bad" foods and maybe, just maybe, I'll learn something. If I can be as committed to a healthy eating program as I am to my exercise programs there's no telling what will happen. Thank you, dear readers, for coming this far with me. Don't think that you can out-exercise a bad diet. No matter how hard you work there is just no getting past it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.