Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Third blog entry of the day. Do I get a prize?!
I don’t claim to know everything, but I firmly believe, based on a lot of research and some pretty compelling evidence, that our body composition is determined primarily by what we put into it, not what we do with it in terms of movement. Tosca Reno, as well as many others, uses the 80:20 ratio - our body composition is reliant 80% on nutrition, and 20% on exercise. Maybe you've heard the phrases "abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym" or "you can't out train a bad diet".
When I look at people whose physiques I admire, they tend to be people who are dedicated to both strict nutrition and vigorous exercise. I'm talking about people like Jessica Ennis, Nicole Wilkins, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Jamie Middleton (Eason), Jillian Michaels, Hope Solo, Lori Harder, the Williams sisters etc (there's a theme here - strong, fit, inspiring women...). But the exercise is, I believe, what takes them the last few metaphorical steps in their physique journey (that sounds really stupid, but I know what I mean and hopefully that makes sense). Nutrition is what sets them apart from the outset.
To define muscles in the way that fitness competitors like Nicole Wilkins do, you have to focus on specific muscle groups and look for symmetry and have a hardcore training plan that helps you target each area. But the Williams sisters don't, as far as I know, spend hours lifting weights every day. They play tennis. They play tennis really hard. Jessica Ennis didn’t get her six pack by doing hundreds of crunches, she got them by being kick*ss at pretty much every track and field event she tries.
What they all have in common, however, is a commitment to a strict dietary regime (at least when they are 'on', I'm sure they all cut themselves some slack off-season). For some of these professional athletes, there are needs for specific macronutrients that are not necessary for those of us not training as a full time job, but they all focus on nutrition. Food, glorious food, seems to be the key.
When you think about it, the exercise is the easy part. If we want to, we can all find an hour or two in our day to work out. And if we have something we enjoy, be it running, or dancing, or swimming, that’s even easier. And you just have to focus on it for that hour or two, then it’s done and you get to enjoy that smug, endorphin fuelled afterglow.
But eating? We do that all the time. Other than when we are sleeping. Unless you sleepwalk to raid your refrigerator… You can’t switch off thinking about eating as much as you can switch off thinking about exercise. I eat 5/6 times a day. As do many of the athletic and inspirational women I admire. That means that as I finish one meal, I’m already starting to think about the next one. It’s tough, all this thinking about food, and it takes a lot of planning to make sure I have clean, nutritious meals on hand, particularly when I’m traveling for work. Food is the hard part.
I feel like I know what it takes in the kitchen, and I know what it takes in the gym. And if I just keep doing it, it will pay off. It’s about commitment for me. Committing to keep faith in what I am doing, because it will work. Maybe not as fast as I would like, and there will be bumps along the way, but I can do it. All those women I admire have faced challenges, but they remain dedicated and focused on their goals. I will admit that these are exceptional people. They are all champions in their field. But I don’t need to beat them, I just need to be even a fraction as dedicated as they are and I will reach my goals too.
Winners eat. They eat consciously. They eat with a purpose. Then they put the frosting on the cake (sheesh, there must be a more appropriate metaphor than that, but I can't think of one right now, sorry!) by pushing themselves in the gym/on the court/track.
With a little commitment, I will lose body fat, I will build muscle, and one day, if I am patient and keep doing what I know is necessary every day, I will have that ripped body I dream of. I will win.