Categories
Fitness

Diversify your portfolio…it works for finances, why not your body?

B. Lee  We’ve all heard when it comes to 401K’s, DIVERSIFY.  How about applying this principle to your workout?  Sounds simple enough, but I’ve found not many do it.   Why?  Well, there are lots of reasons.  I’ll share a personal sense of this.

A WAY OF LIFE

Running was the only “go to” for me, for many moons–and suns.  I passed this trait onto my son, who now runs cross-country and track.  He seems to have taken his vows at the monastery of running.  He’s true to it, and will do little else, unless it is a cross training day at school.  The only other exceptions are INSANITY dvds, or the SPARTACUS workout.  Otherwise, he’s running celibate.   I get it.  I was there myself.  However, when I couldn’t put in the mileage I once did, my weight started to escalate.  Enter INSANITY.

At first, I was hooked.  And to an extent still am.  But I soon found I was having the same problem with this workout, as I was with running.  Only now, working out six days a week, my weight which once plummeted, now started to pick up.  Why?  What was I doing wrong?  As I look back, a couple of things; really more than a couple.

EATING YOUR WAY PAST YOUR WORKOUT

This workout was so intense, it made me extremely hungry.  I was probably consuming 3000-4500 calories/day.  All of the weight I lost in the beginning, now came back.  Again, I had to ask “what am I doing wrong?”

I’VE FOUND LESS IS SOMETIMES MORE

We’re all familiar with the “less is more” mantra.  This may hold true for more than just clutter, make-up, and accessories.  I emphasize the “sometimes,” because I still believe revving up the old metabolism takes heat–and for weight loss, a lot of it.  BUT heat means energy expenditure, and requires fuel.  Sure you get the weight loss initially, but then what?  Again fuel is now in demand.  So how do you strike a balance?  Enter in your combo platter–and no, that doesn’t mean the enchilada, tostada, and taco plate.  It means getting enough exercise to burn off what you don’t want, without increasing your appetite.  What I do want, and I believe you do too, is permanent sustained weight loss.  How to do it?  For me, it means diversifying your exercise portfolio.

CHANGE IT UP; EVEN DIVIDE IT UP

We’ve all heard change is good, or even for the better.  Have you ever thought of changing your workout, during your workout?  Let me explain.  I may start off with an INSANITY dvd.  Twenty minutes into it, I switch it out for ESSENTRICS, perhaps BALLET BOOTCAMP.  Ten minutes of this, and I switch again.  Finish off with a PILATES dvd.  You get the idea.  I may perform an hour to 90 minutes of exercise, but rarely is it the same exercise.

Newer thought believes in the benefit of dividing up your workout, throughout the day.  This may mean you start your day with 20 minutes of exercise, get in a walk at lunch, then squeeze in 20-30 minutes after work.  I realize for many, this appears unrealistic.  Commute, mingled with daycare pick-ups, dinner to prepare, make this more of a pipe dream.  However, dividing up your fitness routine throughout the day, keeps your metabolism in peak burning mode.  Think about it.  If you’re a morning person, you could do 20-30 minutes of cardio.  Weather permitting and job as well, go for a walk at lunch.  Now, if you can possibly squeeze in a 15 minute total body routine after work, you would witness a definite shift.  This wouldn’t just be in your appearance, I can assure you.  It would spill over into how you eat, what you eat, and the dreaded how much.

As with anything, I don’t expect you to take my word for it.  How mindful are you now of your eating habits?  Do you eat out of boredom?  Snack on food better off left on the shelves?  If the answer to any of these is yes (and for most, myself included, it is) dividing up your exercise routine can help.  You see now, you have to watch what you eat, as well as when.  If this is just totally out of reach, then consider changing up your workout the way I do.  The benefit here is, muscles which are overused in one particular setting, get a break. Those underused, must now step up to the plate.  And if have a favorite as with my son, you will find new subtleties in your performance.  Perhaps it’ll be a longer stride, maybe an extra 2 minutes on the trail or treadmill, you couldn’t possibly do a few weeks earlier.  It’s hard to say.

Yes, it’s true not every exercise is for everybody.  Not every food is for everybody either.  But if you’re struggling, and can’t understand why you can’t tip the scale in your favor, literally–it’s time for a change.  And it shouldn’t equate to the spare you throw in your glass jar or cup either.  You don’t build a financial portfolio with leftovers.  It takes planning and decisive action, to get where you want to be.  If you want a strong, working body to accompany you on that journey, then carve out the time, and make the commitment.  Unlike lottery or stocks, it’s not a gamble or risk.  It’s a sound investment.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

Categories
Healthy Living & Lifestyle

What’s in a number?

healthy living waterfall  Many of us assume when we see “the numbers,” they are absolute.  Blood pressure is indicative of this–it is expressed as systole/diastole; almost like a fraction.  Contraction/relaxation–in its simplest terms.  BMI is another example, and then there’s the scale.

Now the latter two, particularly the scale, can be a major source of frustration.  Why?  We believe numbers don’t lie.  That may be, but they don’t paint the entire picture either.  The scale is a such an example.  It reminds me of viewing a lengthy movie; the very first time.  Provided it sustains your interest, you never really catch all the nuances; until you see it a second, even a third time.

Sounds a little strange? Let me explain.

The scale may read 15-20lbs over your desired weight, because muscle outweighs fat.  While most of us realize this, it’s still a difficult reality to face, when stepping onto that numeric platform.  Scales do not differentiate between bone, muscle, fat, or even the weight of a human head.  Jim Carey illustrated this once, many moons ago on the Oprah show.  He actually weighed his head.  Turns out that head weighed 25lbs!  As you can see, the scale cares little about H20 weight gain, whether your biceps are ripping through your shirt, or the size of your head.  It simply states what the weight is, that is placed upon it.  Of course there are ways to differentiate between what’s what.  But the fact of the matter is, the scale remains the most accessible tool available.

FACE THE FLUX

Women arguably face the flux more so than men.  Our weight can fluctuate with ovulation, menstrual cycle, hormones, and even that occasional piece of lemon meringue pie, post barbecue ribs.  The question is what if anything, should we do about it?  For me, it is as simple as this–everything and nothing.

If you are consistently working out, you realize by now you may be hungrier.  Female or male, your appetite is going to be revved up.  Yes you must feed, but know when it turns to greed.  Being conscientious about it is more than half the battle.  It may take a little time to discover where hunger leaves off, and hoarding begins.  I find this particularly true of those who are eating to satiate something other than hunger.  See my post ARE YOU EATING BECAUSE OF WHAT’S EATING YOU?  If you fit into this category, realize that food is not the enemy; but it is not solace.  It’s nourishment–not comfort, nor a filler for the potholes of life.  When you place food where it belongs–as sustenance, you can orchestrate change.  No diet or exercise will do this for you; and neither will really work until you bring yourself to this conclusion.

Whether its food or alcohol laying waste your waist, you have to understand your triggers; or boomerang effect.  As a nurse, I have seen many–but they still come from the same source.  Yes stress, other people, and of course circumstances.  Yet like that boomerang you flail with all your might at the stressors of life, it returns–with equal force & intensity.  Really, only you can decide whether or not to set that force in motion.

As far as weight fluctuations in general, know we all have them.  Medications, cravings, or even pulling or pushing extra weight in the gym can effect such change.  My rule of thumb for myself and clients is 5-8lbs.  Anything over this, regardless of circumstance, gets my attention.  While I’m not professing to be anyone’s psychologist, I have no problem asking “what’s changed for better or worse, over the past 2 weeks?”  I haven’t any problem asking myself this either.

In summary, we shouldn’t be afraid of a platform stating a numeric value.  That’s all a scale really is.  We realize it cannot differentiate or discriminate.  It’s comforting to know at least one thing that can’t.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.  I will be re-posting ARE YOU EATING BECAUSE OF WHAT’S EATING YOU? shortly.

Questions? Comments?  Extra help?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com