Wednesday, May 18, 2011

workouts and working out .

What a muddled subject. Everyone has their idea of what the perfect workout is -- and then there are those absolute shit people who say you can "eat whatever you want! Lose a ton of weight! Gain a ton of muscle! And do it all in a week!" Yeah, bullshit. I'd like to see all the documentation, records, and proof before I believe any of that. And that seems to be the general problem with the workout world -- there are so many false promises, so many lies, so much rubbish, all because they want to make a sale and open up your pocket.

In a country whose percentage of obesity is rapidly on the rise, despite the shortage of jobs, food, and a growing percentage of unemployment, you would think people would be willing to give nutrition and fitness advice for free. For the few proud people that actually want to become healthier, and don't make snarky comments at the concern in the doctor's voice about cholesterol that is too high, or high blood sugar, or being overweight.

Maybe it's that the people who are struggling with their weight do actually want to be better and eat better and be healthier, but the problem is that they lack the motivation. If they only partially want to get there and are not really that concerned with it, well, we all know what happens when you aren't motivated: Ladies and gentlemen? Procrastination 101.

For me, every day I wake up and the first thing I do is look in a mirror. And I'll spend a bit of time, and the only thought that comes to mind is, I can look better than this. And for me, that's enough to motivate me to get into shape, to put my health and fitness as a priority. And naturally, I sometimes cave in to watching TV instead of doing my workout, or eating that slice of cake because it just looks so tempting. But I think it's only natural to have those cravings. Nobody can possibly be nutritionally perfect. But what I have noticed is that when you are excited about your workouts and you are getting stronger and faster and leaner, you are even more motivated to do it!

The hardest part without a doubt is the beginning: the part where you can't finish all the exercises. The part when you end the workout dripping in sweat, and feel nothing but tired and sore. But the best part? Make it through the first month and it will all be easy from there.

I happened to flick on the TV last night and start watching a 2-hour showing of Biggest Loser. One of the challenges that they had to do was to walk through the 18 holes of a golf course, which represented the 18 weeks that they had been involved in the weight loss program as a part of the show. They had to start at the beginning, carrying with them all the extra weight that they originally weighed, as flags. Each time they got to a hole, they could unload the corresponding flag that was however many pounds they had lost that particular week. Sounds a little bit confusing, I know, and I probably am not doing the best job of explaining it, either. Nonetheless.... look up a show rerun if you're too confused.

The point is that they could literally feel how much progress they had made over their time involved with the program. They could feel that extra weight slowly going away, and hopefully to never return. Most of them couldn't believe how they even functioned before with all of that weight, they wondered how the heck they were able to move! And now look at them -- they may not be in top fitness, but they are certainly on their way. It's quite an inspirational show, or so it seems, and I think I may start following it a bit more in the future.

It's that feel-good feeling that I'm after with the fitness. And it's that noticeable change in my body that is so desirable that I would do anything to have it. The problem is simple finding the right workout, finding what not only works, but works the most effectively. When I ran cross country, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life -- but not for lifting, obviously. I weighed a mere 145 or 150 pounds. I tried lifting for a bit, but couldn't really get into a rhythm at the high school gym. Then I didn't do anything for awhile, and after getting sick of being a bum, I tried P90X. It's a great program if you want to burn fat and get real cut, but it doesn't help you bulk up at all.

In the end, that's what I'm after right now, is packing on some muscle. For years I've tried to do it in different ways, and after starting to lift a bit at school for about 2 months or so I've bumped myself up to 180 pounds. The goal is 200 by the end of next year.

I've done tons of research online about various workout programs, testimonials, etc. I'm beginning to think what I really need is to invest in a personal trainer, but at this point I really don't think that's necessary. I'm not out of shape, I just don't know what would work most effectively. So I'm keeping and open mind and just trying some different things. I'm hoping that one of these days I'll find one thing that I really like doing, that I can't wait to jump into once I get home, and that really works to help to yield the type of results that I want. Whether that day is in the near future or not, I don't know. But I would love to start getting in the habit of doing it all the time early. It would be quite an achievement to have the body of Tony Horton or Jack LaLane when I get to a much older age.

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