Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reincarnation... Take 2

So I visited my mom last weekend and we got to talking about my new job, and I was telling her stories about my clients, and giving her advice to get the most out of her own workouts, and all that kind of stuff. And she says, "You should put that kind of thing on your blog!" And I told her, "Mom, I've given up on my blog. I haven't put anything up there in months!"

And do you know what she said to me? I'll tell you:

She said, "I know, since April. I still check it every day, right beside your sister's."

Talk about dedication. My dear mother, who checks facebook twice a year to clear out her friend requests, looks at my blog every day to see if I've posted something new. Only I haven't. Since April apparently. Until now.

You may remember in March or sometime around then that I was inspired by my sister's decision to blog. And how about a post later I had already quit again. So I'm going to try this again: Reincarnation, Take 2.

These days, I'm working at a gym in Annapolis and unlike working at my college Rec center, I have real clients with real lives, real jobs, and real fitness deficiencies. And they're really paying me for my expertise. Which increases the pressure to give them the results they want by about a million percent. Unfortunately, most people come in with completely unrealistic expectations.

And since I don't even know where people's crazy misconstrued fitness ideas come from, I'm not even going to attempt to list them. Instead, consider this a list of things that seem very obvious to me but apparently aren't. My hope is that it will also serve to disintegrate some of those stupid myths that people pull out of fake fitness magazines or off the back of their Special K boxes and bring with them into the gym:

1. If you want to burn belly fat, you cannot spend 3 hours a day doing crunches and expect to be skinny by next Monday. Wanna know the secret to a completely flat stomach? Liposuction or Photoshop. (Or hope that you are one of the very lucky few who just happen to have good enough genes that they never have to worry about it.) However, a fit and firm stomach is within your grasp. Major component to getting there: cardio. Very intensive cardio, 45-60 minutes, 3 times a week. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Your cardio workout does not have to be boring. In fact, if it is, you're probably doing it wrong. 40 minutes of cardio can go by like nothing by changing machines every 10 minutes. Start on the elliptical and bust your butt for 10-15 minutes, then hop off, and get on a stationary bike for 10 more, making your rounds through the rowing machine, the treadmill, the stairs, the Jacob's ladder, running outside, etc. until you've been working for the desired amount of time. Funny how this then leads into my next point...

3. During those 10 minutes of cardio, play with the incline, resistance, and speed options that are offered on the machine. (Choose Quickstart so you can moderate them yourself and at your own pace.) Give yourself a 2 minute warm-up, then increase the intensity in one or more of those three ways for 30 to 60 seconds. During this interval, set the intensity so that you are barely able to make it to the end of the allotted time at that setting. After that 30-60 seconds, put the settings back to a comfortable place, and allow yourself a minute of recovery. Doing cardio in intervals with active recovery this way makes the time go by much faster, allows you to push yourself harder, and burns more calories as it raises your heart rate above a steady state activity.

4. Resistance training aids in weight loss as well. Here's why: resistance training -> increase muscle mass -> muscle burns more calories than fat -> resting metabolism increases because there is more muscle to burn more calories -> total calories burned per day increases -> calories burned becomes greater than calories taken in -> when calories in < calories out, the result is weight loss. That's the highly simplified, Reader's Digest Jr. version of exactly how and why that works. More to come on that later.

Whew, so 45 minutes later, this is why my blog never gets updated. Next entries will be shorter, fo shizzle. and hopefully include a workout. So stay tuned, Mom.

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