Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Let's Talk About Health Baby - Volume 2


Today of all days the gym happened upon me like a tidal wave of enthusiasm. Who knows what causes these intricacies that change my attitude. I know that I woke up too late, I had a very strenuous night last night, and per usual I was feeling a bit under the weather. In the eyes of many it would be a recipe for disaster but for some unknown reason it always equals into some sort of zone for me as a body builder that I can't explain, but use as a guide to those that have a million excuses not to go to the gym. The best gains I make in any strength and stability at the gym are almost always on a day when I feel like total ass. I've even gone as far as adding a comfortable 40 pounds to bench presses on days when I didn't even want to get out of bed and remained there.

Now the end result when you are working out is to get gains. As this is what I would call the “on season” which basically means that I am doing all of the tricks that make me look hot for the summer {sorry gang, but I work long and hard for how I look and am allowed to be proud of it .. I'm not a liberal} and you'd be surprised all the tricks that work. Aside from the obvious, which would be dieting so I can have all the pretty lines on my belly, there are so much easier ego enhancers that bulk you up immediately. Take a hair cut for instance? Lose three inches of hair and immediately gain 20 lbs of muscle, was an old bodybuilder slogan back in the college days. Sounds silly but it always works out that way as people's perception of how you look always changes with the amount of hair to compare you to. Of course we all know that adding a tan to your body gives definition immediately, but what about disguising your build? This is what I do every year as I wear loose baggy clothes all “off season” to bulk up and then say, today walk in to the gym with the tight tank to see the reaction. It was impressive as usual.

Today though, above all else I was making sure that I enhanced my opinion of the gym in general. This is very important because the average person doesn't like going to the gym. It's called “being normal” because if the gym was the treat of everyone's day then we probably wouldn't have any overweight people. There are secrets to making sure that you don't get a first class case of the screw-its and stop going to the gym altogether. Some days it helps to reaffirm these ideals by sharing them with others and I did that today. It felt good actually, and it helps you to determine who the people to know and the people not to know are at the gym. Why do I say this? Well that would simply follow into my set of gymisms that I am about to list for anyone that cares to know them.

Gymism 1. Pick a time of day to be at the gym and simply “do it” for a few weeks.

This is incredibly important to follow the rest of the plan. Aside from the fact that we all need to install a certain level of normalcy in our lives it also makes it a lot easier to dictate your dietary needs so that you are gaining and losing weight where you need it. A lot of this will be hit or miss based on your specific needs.

Gymism 2. Use courtesy and get to know the people that are there during your workout time.

Take it from me, a lot of the people at the gym are just as insecure, as you are. Trust me I have a 30 inch waist and a 44 inch chest and days like today when I am not hiding under my baggy clothes I still feel insecure. Treating the gym like a hang out changes a lot of that if you have friends to gabble with between sets.

Gymism 3. You don't go to the gym to show off, you go there so you can show off elsewhere!

Let me tell you. I have an ego sometimes and mostly it is because I am forced to defend my YEARS of exhausting work to look the way I do, but any day I want to destroy that I only need to judge myself by those around me. There are always bigger, skinnier, prettier, younger or whatever than you are at the gym. By not playing the “showing off” game you have a much better view of reality, as you improve yourself rationally and then live amongst your actual peers.

Gymism 4. To improve your diet you have to do things that improve your diet.

Does that sound stupid? Well it actually should, but it is nothing compared to the attitudes or denial that the average person who tries to diet will throw at you. I happen to have a Vulcan like logic as it pertains to dieting. It's sad to say that most people can lose up to a thousand calories a day, just by eliminating the silliest of things. They still won't do it {thus the reason I had to give up being in the health industry two decades ago, because strangling people doesn't help your freedom or serenity} and it is infuriating. On the other side of the coin when you get over these things yourself, and find the ability to not judge, you will start winning the battle quickly.

Gymism 5. Never miss a day!

Going to the gym to begin with is difficult, well it is more difficult when you get used to NOT going. If you have done your part to throw the gym into a normal routine, it is equally difficult to miss days. Even if I don't feel up to going to the gym, I go and I either take it easy, or I start off with the intent to take it easy and then find myself doing the work because I am there anyway. More people drop off going to the gym simply because they missed a day or two and it becomes a habit faster than going does.

I will reserve the right to add more gymisms as I go, but that should be a good enough start for anyone that is trying to get themselves into gym mode. Never forget that it is a double edged attack that one needs to take to “getting into shape” and there are benefits to both the known and the unknown. Simply understanding the facts behind the known and unknown should be a boost for anyone starting out. Below are the three phases of healthy weight loss or gain, depending on your dietary needs.

Phase 1. Aerobic exercise.

Yes we hate this and the average person still has nightmares of a leotard and Richard Simmons. Aerobic really means anything that increases your heart rate. If you are a psycho gym fanatic like myself then you will do this everyday, but most people really only need to do it 3 times a week assuming that they are doing the other two phases. If they are not then it requires 60 minutes each and every day to maintain the figure of a healthy individual. 60 minutes of aerobics a day would make me wish to be unhealthy quickly, so here are the real things to know so that you stick with it.

The most used form of aerobic exercise {and what I use} is walking. A 40 minute walk on the treadmill with a moderate speed of 4 with a moderate incline of 7 {trust me it's pretty easy} watching your favorite television show on the gym TVs will burn roughly the same amount of calories as a footlong ham or turkey Subway sandwich fully loaded. How's that for incentive? If your diet is rather healthy and you simply do 30 minutes 3 times a week you can burn up almost an entire pizza.

Phase 2. Anaerobic exercise.

Bigger muscles burn more fat. Simple fact of life. You can start with all the excuses about how you don't want to look like this or that, but without the wonderful benefit of a thing called “steroids” you are not going to look like a WWE wrestler. The volume of muscle to fat is astounding as muscle takes up about one third the space as fat does at the same weight. If you take a person like myself for instance, I can pretty much eat anything I want because my musculature will simply destroy about 2600 calories a day just sitting around watching football. That muscluar, yet still very feminine woman at the gym that we all stare at {either out of lust or envy} probably can burn 2000 calories a day sitting around, and that is a plus in the real world. Besides the fact that lifting weights is still better than busting your ass on a treadmill, and gives you more leisure time to talk and be sociable with the people that are hopefully going to become your friends.

Phase 3. Diet and healthy eating

Why did I place this third? Well because the other two are easier to start off and then follow it up with proper diet. I don't care what Rush Limbaugh says {and I do love the man} but exercise isn't completely necessary but it makes this phase a hell of a lot easier. Dieting in general is a lot simpler than people give it credit for. In the beginning don't regulate your meals just variate the way you eat. I will get an ass kicking for this, but take a friend of mine that drinks 6 ice coffees a day with a cup of cream in each. She will never change this habit, but it is an extra 100 to 150 grams of fat a day. Eliminate that alone every day and you can lose about 5 pounds a week. If you are incapable of drinking coffee without doing this then try a Diet Pepsi infusion to get your caffeine every day. In general in the beginning phases just look for all the fried things you eat and change them to broiled or grilled. Look at the dressings you use on your salads and switch to lighter ones. Check the fat content on your soups etc, and switch to lighter ones. Don't eat less, eat better!

Ok I am officially sick of typing and I don't even know where I am going with this anymore. Thanks for reading this far and you know me, I'll beat a few of these dead horses now and again. Let me tell you this though, if you implement just ten percent of anything I said here you will feel better for it. Just start and don't stop, increase as your body allows you too, and you will feel all the better for it. I don't say this as a know it all gym Nazi, but I say this as the single father that went to the gym 8 years ago after pneumonia and couldn't lift 5 pounds or see my shoes past my belly. I know what we all go through and I hope to encourage with some reality. Enjoy the gym.