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Is a puzzlement

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pardon the bad quote from "The King and I" but I am as befuddled as he was. As I read the various messages, questions and posts on the message boards I see what I consider to be an unwarrented emphasis being placed on how many calories did you burn or how long did you workout. It seems as if exercise is causing some form of OCD.

Calories burned by any activity can only be measured accurately in a laboratory setting, any other method is at best a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess). The easisiest thing to do is to track calories in since the calories of a given portion of a given food or food product has been determined in a laboratory setting. You can not out exercise a bad diet.

The numbers game of how long one works out substitutes duration for intensity, the question should be how hard did you workout. People claiming to workout one and one half to two hours a day six or seven days a week are deluding themselves in my opinion. Putting in time instead of effort is paying reverence to a false god. I understand why it is done, a casual review of any of the "challenge" type programs on FIT TV will show so called personal trainers subjecting the participants to long duration workouts, normally using barbie weeights or long periods on a treadmill or elliptical. I will not even begin with the misinformation provided by "The Biggest Loser" the only TV show I know which uses a review as its title.

The most damaging aspect is that this type of thinking leads people to not begin an exercise programme, they try to do too much and burn out or the time is no longer avaiable to continue. As long as the numbers game of how many, how long and how often are continually reinforced by peer pressure and bad fitness shows the mind set will dominate.

Besides leading by example and teaching my clients the ways I believe to be the most effective and which fit into an active lifestyle I have no answers or solutions.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I subscribed to the "how bagged was I" principle. If, after a workout, my arms are rubbery, I'm covered in sweat, and I can't walk in a straight line to save my soul, that's a good workout. Any exercise that doesn't leave me completely bagged for half an hour doesn't really count as exercise in my book.

    One of the joys of becoming physically active over the last year is learning that I can move my limits if I push against them hard enough. There's a real joy in blowing past former physical limitations, and that's the REAL motivation for me when I hit the weights or go hiking in the hills now.
    3123 days ago
  • TIPPY211
    I have been gradually sliding from intensity to time. I needed that reminder. Thanks
    3166 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/23/2010 5:33:38 PM
    Biggest Loser is a loser of a show, in my opinion. We don't see the entire picture of what they do in reality, and it is far from reality. Entertainment? Not for me. Even the weigh-ins are hard to believe. Who really loses 10 pounds of fat in a week!
    3202 days ago

    I totally agree, the emphasis on long involved work out sessions can make just the thought of starting overwhelming to people. How can they ever fit in that kind of time?

    That's one of the things I love about how Sparkpeople is set up - it's all about doing what you CAN, and not expecting too much of yourself. Make small goals you can achieve, and build on them. (Can you tell I've been reading The Spark this week?) Makes me wonder if these people are actually reading what's here. *sigh*

    I'm prefectly happy getting off the bus a few stops early and the resulting 10 minute uphill walk home, and getting 20 minutes with Jillian Michaels kicking my ass with her aptly named 30 Day Shred (ouch!) DVD when I can fit it in.
    3202 days ago
    Unfortunately, there are many many many women (and a few guys) who are convinced that the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to do hours and hours of cardio. And well, you can't really fault them that notion because that's what we were taught years ago i.e. the doing hours and hours of cardio would take off the weight. I remember the "no pain, no gain" years.

    I have a couple of very intelligent, highly accomplished women who take my sculpt class. I've talked to them many times that they shouldn't be afraid to lift heavy weights. They won't do it. They are convinced that lifting heavy weights will make them look less feminine. I had one college age woman who picked the one pound weights. I said she should at least try the 5 pound weights. Nope, she didn't want to look bulky. sigh.

    I've asked my class if they see me lift heavy and they reply,"yes". I ask,"do I look like a guy ?" No... okay, I may have broad shoulders like a line backer, but I don't look like Junior Seau ! LOL !!!

    I've managed to convince the younger women that it's okay to hit the weight room. However, the boomer gals are a much bigger challenge. They really do believe that if they lift a heavy weight, they are going to look like the Arnold.

    etcetera... etcetera... etcetera...

    -- karen

    3203 days ago
    I've had the same thoughts. Thanks for expressing them so well!
    3203 days ago
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