Thoughts: I’ve been thinking a lot about the trends in fitness and nutrition lately. It’s hard not to when one has subscriptions to Shape, Oxygen, Self, Health, and Hers, and is essentially living the “Body-for-Lifestyle.” 😛 Add in my most recent non-periodical reading materials–Tom Venuto’s Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, and Dave Greenwalt’s Leanness Lifestyle, and you could pretty much say that I’ve been absorbing more than my fair share of health lore.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of the same issues and topics keep coming up. Everyone seems to agree that the best way to lose fat and get a fit, toned look is to combine a healthy, portion-controlled diet with a regular exercise program that includes both strength training and cardio, but that would make for a very boring monthly magazine. So instead, we get pages and pages of “Fat-Burning Power Yoga” routines and “Six Pilates Core Moves That Will Shape Your Abs”.
I still have a derogatory Army grunt mentality about stuff like yoga and pilates. I do enjoy tai chi, probably because of the martial arts aspect (“This move can be used to block an opponent’s attack”) vs. the “I’m a *girl* and just want to develop feminine, LONG and LEAN muscles like a dancer!” line that I always hear from pilates enthusiasts. The women I’ve met who swear by pilates and yoga fall into two categories–those who were fit and active before they even started taking classes (and swear that pilates has tightened up their abs and booties, possibly with some truth since they are lean enough for minute, subtle changes to show) and those who are not so fit and lean, but believe that they will get there by going to the same classes as the first group.
Reality check time.
You get a dancer’s body by being a dancer and practicing for hours and hours each day. No amount of stretching and pumping your arms up and down really, really fast while huffing like a woman giving birth with lamaze is going to transform a 250 lb woman into a waifish ballerina if she doesn’t rein in her diet, pick up some dumbbells, and work the cardio hard in addition to the yoga and pilates sessions. Also, have you ever really looked at a dancer’s legs? They are pure muscle. You don’t get those kinds of legs from activities that primarily have you sitting on your ass on a sticky mat while a relaxing soundtrack complete with warbling birds and a waterfall plays in the background. In my personal opinion there’s a place for those sorts of activities, and it’s at the very bottom of the fitness priority list after diet, resistance training, and strenuous, sweat-inducing cardio. Rolling around like a ball might be vastly entertaining, but it can’t hold a candle to doing a full-tilt sprint on a treadmill for a full minute if you are trying to lose fat.
Besides, do you actually want to look like the women in the pilates DVDs and tapes? I have a few of the Stott Pilates videos, and the instructors are all saggy-lean (the look I associate with skinny-fat vegetarians) and not at all defined. When the instructor with the short blond hair admonishes me to take it easy the day after such a “strenuous” core muscle workout, I want to laugh in her face. Strenuous is a full hour of push-ups, flutter kicks, and sit-ups without a break followed by a 2-mile run. It is NOT 45 minutes of rolling backwards and clapping your F$#@!$# FEET TOGETHER like a seal and other similarly asinine exercises while a lady with the voice of a librarian on Prozac tells you keep your spine neutral and engage your powerhouse.
If I ever decide I want to look like Olive Oyl, I might just turn vegan and do only pilates. For now, though, I’d rather look like Elektra or Psylocke of the X-Men, so bring on the protein, the free weights and the treadmill. Screw the long and lean. I’m getting strong and jacked!
Nutrition (1200-1400 calorie low day with carb tapering)
1: Strawberry chocolate cottage cheese
2: Pepper-crusted steak with raspberry cabernet glaze, garlic spaghetti squash, and WW toast
3: Strawberry raisin bar
4: Chocolate shake
5: Asian beef stir fry with spaghetti squash
6: 3×1 veggie omelette with sauteed spinach
Multivitamin with iron
Calcium 500 + D
1 T. flax seed oil
Calories eaten and deficit for yesterday = 1578 / -310 (target -337)
Water: 15 cups
Ratios: 38% carb / 35% protein / 15% fat
8:30 am HIIT cardioâ€“treadmill run
Warm up- 4 mph / 0% incline / 2 minutes
HIIT – 4.5, 6, 7, and 8 mph / 0% incline / 4 sets
Max – 9 mph / 0% incline / 1 minute
Cooldown – 4.0 mph / 0% incline / 3 minutes
8 pm Yoga sun salutations
8:20 pm steady-state cardio – bike for 20 minutes
The Awful Truth:
1. Subbed 2 servings of bubble tea for two of my carbs yesterday.
2. Skipped yoga and extra cardio.
1. 100% workout attendance!
2. Am almost done with this week’s laundry duty. 🙂
3. Back down to 130.6 lbs this morning and a 19% body fat reading from the Tanita while dehydrated.
4. Organized my disaster area of a closet.
1. Do the dishes during lunch.
2. Vacuum the apartment.
3. Break down boxes in the living room.
4. Go grocery shopping tonight.