Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rant On Being Fit (Not Skinny) and 8 Aspects of Training

I need to go on a little rant.

Today is the official start of my wedding workout plan.  That's right, exactly 6 months from today, I will be walking down the (very, very, very long) aisle with 200+ people (that's 400+ eyes in addition to two photographers and one videographer) all watching me.  Naturally, I want to look and feel my best in that moment.

Ok, stop.  Before you even say anything...

I AM NOT TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT.

I swear, the next person who says I don't need to lose any weight after I tell them I'm creating a 6 month wedding workout plan...

I just want to be healthy and toned.  I strive to be fit, not skinny.

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest challenges of the exercise industry.  Since more than one-third of American adults are obese, there is a significant market for weight loss products and services.  Even my most recent Women's Health and Fitness Magazines (my two favorites) litter their covers with highlights like "Blast Fat Fast," "Superfoods That Speed Up Your Slim-Down," and "Turn On Your Lean Gene."  But what about the other 60% of adult Americans who aren't obese?  And the percentage of that 60% who do not want to lose any weight?

I am looking for a well-rounded workout and lifestyle.  I want to get stronger and lift some weights.  Ok, stop.  Before you even say anything...

I AM NOT TRYING TO LOOK LIKE A PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER.

Honestly, let's just bust the myth here.  If you are a woman lifting weights (and we're not even talking about dinky 2 pounders) a few days a week while maintaining a normal diet, you will NOT turn into a bodybuilder.  Sorry, ladies, but we lack the testosterone to build huge muscles the same way that guys quickly can.  To look like one of those bodybuilders, you would need to significantly alter your diet to include vast amounts of protein in addition to heavy lifting most days of the week.  So embrace the free weights; they're good for you!  

So where does everyone else end up-- those who don't want to lose weight or bulk up?  Those who want a well-rounded fitness routine?

No man's land.

I personally have found it difficult to find an exercise program (without paying for a personal trainer) that is well-rounded.  I'm talking about a program that incorporates what I believe are the 8 key aspects of training (in no particular order):
Are you surprised by this list?  Have I left anything off?  I think most people would first think of strength and endurance, maybe also flexibility and speed.  Lumped in with grace, I include a sub-category of coordination (you could be coordinated and not graceful, but you can't be graceful without being coordinated).  Few sports even attempt to train all of these aspects.  Gymnastics (of course, I am biased) comes close.  But even so, endurance in gymnastics (in terms of cardiac/respiratory endurance, not mental endurance) is much different from that of a runner or dancer.  Gymnastics routines last 1.5 minutes, not tens of minutes.  I applaud fitness regimes like CrossFit, which aims "to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness."  In other words, specialize in not specializing; however, even CrossFit falls a little short on my list above (where is the inclusion of flexibility and more focus on grace?).

In addition to hitting all of my 8 key aspects, I need a fitness program that keeps me entertained and challenged.  And, being a (poor) graduate student, I don't have the means to pay for a personal trainer.  So... I will make my own plan.  And it begins today.  Stay tuned as I keep you updated on my exercise routines!

Does anyone else feel like they fall into the no man's land fitness category with me?      

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