About a week or so ago, my smart, beautiful, insightful (she reads these!) fiancee was telling me her friend had hired a personal trainer but was getting frustrated. The same thing happened in the past; she just wasn’t seeing results. I was curious to see what the issue was and offer any help if I could since I’m a big know it all.
“Well the trainer has been tape measuring her and all of those are going down. And she said her clothes are fitting better.”
About now I’m giving her the confused dog look
“What’s the problem then?”
“She still weighs the same.”
Being a typical male, I’m just not understanding it. You look better, you feel better, what’s the issue? After about an hour of charts, graphs, crying (me not her), we both finally communicated what we were trying to say.
I realized that people often mistake weight as THE gauge of success and she realized that it’s just one tiny rubric when it comes to fitness. Girls aren’t the only ones that struggle with this; this blog post’s inspiration came straight from the men’s locker room today(minus the smell, I hope). I saw a guy step on the scale and shake his head and mutter when he saw the number. This is a guy that’s here 5-6 days, rides the bike for an hour and finishes with 30 minutes on the elliptical. Not surprisingly, he was skinny-fat; low bodyweight but soft looking.
And this, people, is why focusing on weight alone is a recipe for disaster. I don’t know a single person out there that would prefer skinny and soft looking to skinny and toned looking.
The skinny toned person is going to weigh more and there’s nothing wrong with that! Why? Because they have less body fat. Going back to the fiancee’s friend, she might have weighed the same, but she looked and felt better. Her body fat levels were dropping, which is a much better way for measuring progress.
Focusing on weight alone means we do all sorts of unnecessary and unhealthy things; crash and fad diets, hours upon wasted hours of cardio and even deadly problems like bulimia and anorexia. In other words, throw away your bathroom scale and take measurements with a cheap body fat caliper and/or a tape measurer. Sure, if you’re 300 pounds and drop to 200, obviously you’ve achieved something. But if you used unhealthy and unsustainable means to get there, you’re going to gain all of that weight and even more back.
This is why it’s imperative that you let go of some arbitrary fixed number on the scale and focus more on reshaping your body through sustainable means. Focus on eating quality protein, tons of vegetables and limiting your carbs, especially on non workout days. Exercise should consist of high intensity weight training sessions 30-45 minutes in length and very high intensity cardio sessions lasting 5-15 minutes. Just to be clear about the cardio, if you’re not on the floor panting and creating a pool of sweat, you haven’t gone intense enough.
All of these combined raise your metabolism, burn a ton of fat, build and preserve lean muscle and make us feel and look our best