Back to the coal face – a.k.a. gym

I joined a new gym today.  For most of the twelve months, since relocating to attend university, I have worked out at home.  Functional, but not always that exciting.  I did try out the university gym for a couple of months, but since there was a definite his area/her area vibe going on (weight area/cardio area respectively), and since in any case there was only one set of hand weights under 10kg apiece, it didn’t maintain my attention for long.

So…it’s been over twelve months since I have consistently worked out in a gym.  I picked this one for a couple of reasons.  Location first up – it’s located on the path between uni and home, so very hard to avoid.  Secondly, the hours.  It’s a 24 hour gym, which works right in with my study induced insomnia.  Thirdly, it’s brand-new.  This has multiple benefits.  One is that they were offering very tempting joining offers.  Two is that there will not be a core of long-term residents who consider they “own” the place.  Three is…chock full of brand new, state of the art equipment.

By and large, I prefer free weights, primarily because you engage more muscles when using them.  Of course, machines that isolate muscles do have an important role to play, particularly for people with injuries, who wish to consider training without causing further damage to a specific area.  And of course, when you train regularly, using machines can help to break up routines, and eliminate monotony.

So, I am intrigued by the range of new designs this gym holds.   Since I don’t work out of a gym, I haven’t really kept up with the latest and greatest designs in machines, and obviously, I am going to be broadening my knowledge base in that regard.

So, the next few weeks are going to be  interesting, as I find my way about this place, and more importantly, work out a whole new routine…and hopefully find some interesting things to write about.

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Great ankles, awful knees.

First sports medicine class on taping techniques yesterday.  After a session on how to do it right, we were all armed with tape, and directed to team up with someone else.  Being lucky that way, I ended up with two somebody else’s, and since I had already been nominated to be the first victim…er, patient…this meant I had both ankles being taped at the same time.  Just as well I wore running pants to the class.

The moment of entertainment for me, was when the assistant tutor came to check my two classmates’ technique.  She is twenty something, and currently on crutches as a result of ankle surgery.  Blithely she asks me what ankle injuries I have sustained in my life.  Just as blithely, I answered none.  She looked at me…hard.  “Never?” she asks? “Nope” I replied.  All around me are my fellow students, many of them considerably younger than me.  Having not much to do while my ankles were strapped up, I had been eavesdropping on conversations all around me.  The class was riddled with all these healthy young things, whose ankle joints appear to be on the point of needing replacement.  And here am I, well, not ancient, but not twenty-something either, freely jumping up and down to prove just how great my ankles are.  It was a happy moment.

Just as well she didn’t ask me about my knees…

How do you lose 6 kilos (13 pounds) in a week?

The answer is simple…you can’t!  Well, short of very expensive plastic surgery.

There has been a tv ad running recently, in which this man talks about his wonderful weight loss system, and confides that he conducted a survey of 8000 participants in this system, who allegedly achieved an average weight loss of 6 kilos per week.    I am assuming that most of them had died (and putrefaction was lowering the weight of the corpse) or they had their legs bitten off by sharks, or something of that nature..or a lot of them had liposuction.

The thing is, whenever someone makes claims like this, refuse to beleive a word of it until you have perused an authenticated (by you, not them) independent study, conducted according to approved scientific protocols.  Aneccdotal evidence (i.e.” my clients have told me this!”) is not scientific or legitimate.  or to put it another way…if anyone had devised a way that consistently enabled people to lose an average of 6 kilos in one week, they would be begging reputable scientists in the exercise physiology/dietetics fields to verify these results, because then that person would patent the method and become a billionaire overnight.  This man is just working on becoming a millionaire by manipulating and deceiving the unwary and desperate into handing over money.

Current scientific thinking tells us that the optimum overall fat loss goal per week is 0.5-1 kilos (1-2 pound).  One of the reasons for this is that there is a physiological reaction to losing fat too quickly.  Those pesky cells we have, decide that we are starving and swing into action to conserve whatever body fat you still have, as well as valuable muscle tissue, and fat loss comes to a screaming halt.  The optimal amounts are precisely those, because they fly under the cells’ radar, and they will let you get away with it.

There is also the fact that you didn’t put the fat on that quickly…it was a slow process (if you tried to gain six kilos in a week, you would be gorging yourself on extremely high-calorie, unhealthy foods, and your body would reject them; i.e. you’d make yourself ill).  So, it has to be an equally steady and consistent process to remove the fat.  You also have to factor in, that in an effective fat-loss program, it includes changes to both eating and exercise habits.

Then there is the muscle tissue aspect.  The more you have (obtained through resistance training) the more calories your body needs to burn to maintain each day (effectively increasing your metabolic rate).  Conversely, when you expend energy (calories) too quickly, some of them come from your muscle tissue, rather than from your body fat.  Hence, you lower your metabolic rate, and make it even harder to lose more weight.

Weight loss is simple; eliminate most, if not all processed food from your diet; get your carbohydrates from vegetable sources; eat lean organic meat (that hasn’t been pumped full of growth hormones) minimise sugar intake (never, ever, EVER eat artificial substitutes; use raw sugar, stevia or honey where sweetening is required), avoid corn syrup like the plague (you do realise corn is what beef-lot cattle are fed, as it fattens them more quickly?), learn to read labels on food packaging.  Then incorporate more physical movement into your life, on a daily basis.  And preferably make it part of your life, not something you see as a chore.  Make good lifestyle changes and fat loss will follow in the footsteps of those changes.

 

But forget about massive overall weight loss in just one week…unless you are so desperate to look lighter on the scales that you really will offer your leg to a shark!

Baby Bodies (aka un-yummy mummies!)

There are times when women in the public eye really make me want to puke.  They project such unreal images of women, in so many phases of their lives.   The one that really gets me going is post baby.  Six weeks after the baby’s birth, when most women are going in for their post-natal checkup, and have barely assimilated all the changes in their life as a result of the new bundle of joy, actresses, singers and their ilk are doing photo shoots, demonstrating how swiftly their bodies have “bounced” back to normal. Continue reading

Personal training vs plastic surgery

Let’s start with the math.  Say it cost you $30,000 for legs, bottom, stomach, back and arms (and that is probably not high enough, particularly if you use a reputable surgeon.  Now say you saw a personal trainer, three times a week,  at the cost of $100 per hour( based on capital cities – most probably less expensive elsewhere).  That is TWO years of personal training sessions (and you don’t have to pay it all up front like you do with the liposculpture). Continue reading

Kids, get A’s in school…exercise!

Yet another study has been released, examining the relationship between physical fitness and academic results in children.  It’s becoming apparent that when so many schools in different countries minimised or eliminated  physical education as a part of the curriculum, in order to focus on academic subjects, that they totally messed up.  As I have stated before, the brain is actually a part of the body, and if exercise  has a positive effect on every other bodily function, then that has to apply to the brain as well. Continue reading