Improved Magazine Workouts for Better Results

One thing that’s really been driving me crazy lately is how women’s fitness is portrayed in magazines. From Fitness, to Self, even to Muscle and Fitness Hers, everything shows a girl doing ridiculous workouts, often decked out in a pair of five pound ankle weights.

Everything claims “if you want to tone this part of your body, this is the best exercise to do that!” meanwhile, the exercises have bizarre names and even stranger “choreography” if you want to call it that.

The outrage started when I saw something called a Princess Pushup in an issue of Fitness Magazine. First of all, what is so wrong about doing a regular pushup? Lack of upper body strength is not an excuse as there are so many modifications that you can make until you’re able to do them.

Also, in this video, the demonstrator says “for all you ladies out there who aren’t a fan of the push-up”. Chances are, if I didn’t do everything that I wasn’t a fan of, I wouldn’t be doing very much at all.

It makes me absolutely insane that all of these “trainers” out there are teaching women that these are the exercises that they need to do to get the bodies they want. I’m even willing to bet that the girl in that video didn’t get her body from doing Princess Push-ups, or any other of the exercises that she demonstrates.

As a solution to this new pet peeve, I’ve decided to start modifying workouts in popular fitness magazines to make them actually beneficial for women to achieve their goals. I’m not a trainer, and I don’t claim to be. I live with my boyfriend who trains hundreds of athletes each week and who writes all of my programs. I read a lot to educate myself on exercise and nutrition. I’ve dropped 7% of my body fat in three months lifting heavy weights and eating good food.

So while these certified trainers may have a piece of paper showing that they passed a few tests, I’ve learned what works for me and several of my friends through trial and error, and with the help of the people around me.

My goal is to bring workouts that work to women who want them, all without the purchase of a pair of ankle weights.

KBF

The Argument Against Scales

Yesterday, when I was weighing myself at the gym, a woman was standing behind me. Usually this bugs me. If I’m weighing myself, I probably want some space and not for someone to be looking over my shoulder.

I got on the scale first and I saw that I weighed 142 pounds. The woman behind me looked at me and said “where do you keep that! I’m bigger than you and I only weigh 130″. At the time, this was not a flattering statement.

I don’t really like the fact that I weigh 142 pounds, three months after I stopped taking steroids. I’ve been working out and eating really well so I keep getting upset when I notice that the scale doesn’t even slightly budge.

I’ve noticed that I look like I’m making progress and I definitely fit in my clothes better, but I was still bothered by my weight staying the same.

Then, this morning I took my body fat percentage.

Three months ago I weighed 144 pounds and was 27% body fat. I was in the “acceptable” range, even if it didn’t feel like it. Today I am 142 pounds and 21% body fat, putting me in the “fitness/athletic” range.

Realizing that I put on about 6 pounds of muscle made me feel a lot better about the weight on the scale. While I’ve been trying not to weigh myself for the most part, sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me and I check anyway.

Taking my body fat percentage today made me realize that there really is no point in weighing yourself to determine your progress, especially if you’re lifting. From now on, I’ll be tracking my body fat percentage, with a goal of 18%.

So today I say goodbye to the scale once and for all. Wish me luck!

KBF

Healthy, Not Jacked

Every time I start to diet, I get into the same rut. I’ll restrict myself so much that I get sick of what I’m eating and I end up binging. That binge will result in me diving face first into a tub of ice cream, never to be seen again.

What I’m realizing lately is that there needs to be a balance between “I’m going to be so strict with my diet” and “eat all the carbs!”

The biggest problem that I’ve had so far with my “dieting” is that I force myself to eat things I don’t like. It turns out that I really hate eggs. I hate the smell, I hate the texture, and I hate the taste. There are very few things that I can put in eggs to make them taste good, and after forcing myself to eat them for about a year now, I just can’t eat them at all.

I ate eggs because I felt like they were the only breakfast food that was packed with protein. Now that I’ve pretty much sworn off eggs, I’ve been drinking protein shakes for breakfast with yogurt and peanut butter. I’m usually sort of nauseous in the morning, so drinking my breakfast is probably the best option anyway.

I also was eating a ton of plain grilled chicken and vegetables. I like grilled chicken, but it’s by no means my favorite food. Besides being bland, raw chicken freaks me out and slightly overcooked chicken is rubbery and gross. I’m not a bad cook, but I’m also not overly attentive when grilling.

My new solution has been to find alternative protein sources that don’t disgust me as much. Chicken sausage and chicken meatballs have been a pretty solid option, especially because you can buy them precooked from awesome brands like Applegate naturals.

Chicken also started to get kind of played out because I was ordering it in restaurants. Billy doesn’t eat seafood, so I never make it when we eat at home, but I’ve been ordering more fish and shrimp when I go out now to mix up the protein I eat.

The biggest thing that I’ve been trying to do is to not deprive myself, but to not just say “screw it, I’m eating this”. I used to not eat hummus because I felt that it was too high in carbs, and now I basically eat some every day. I also wasn’t eating fruit because it’s high in sugar, but I’ve been buying more lately to get extra fiber and nutrients.

I still eat dessert sometimes, and probably more often than I should, but that’s okay. I was so focused on losing the most weight I could, as fast as I could, as I wasn’t enjoying the process. Every workout was calculated and every meal was selected meticulously.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t have a six pack in two months, or maybe not even ever if I don’t want to. I would rather eat food that tastes good and be in good shape, than eat boring, bland food and be shredded.

KBF

A Short Workout is Better Than No Workout

This weekend was definitely a disaster in willpower to say the least. Although I ate everything, the only day that I did not complete a workout as planned was on Sunday.

Usually Sundays are my toughest lifting days, but this week I just felt sick from eati

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ng so bad and couldn’t do it. The fact that my eating choices effected what I did so much was definitely an eye opener. A year ago I would have been able to eat that way and feel fine, but now my body is like “Hey! What gives!”

On Monday we forced ourselves to do two workouts to kind of jump start our week back up. I noticed how hard it was from the very beginning. 25 kettlebell swings with the 35 pound kettlebell made me so winded that I thought I was going to throw up. That’s not normal for me.

 

Everything about the first half of the workout was exhausting and nauseating, and needless to say I took a lot of breaks. That’s not how I like to work out, so it was just anotherdownside of eating so much crap.

The kettlebell workout we did at night was a little easier on me. I kept it short with 35 swings with the 35 pound, 25 swings with the 25 pound, and 15 swings with the 15 pound.photo-59 It was tough and fun, and if I had more energy and wasn’t getting eaten by mosquitoes I probably would have done more rounds of it.

After Monday’s workout from hell, I decided not to let things catch up to me again. Although I had planned to workout before class yesterday, I ran out of time and promised myself that I would do it when I got home. This time, instead of just saying I would do it, I made sure that I actually did something when I got home.

I was tired so I did a short workout of 100 kettlebell swings and 4 minutes of jumprope. The entire thing lasted about 10 minutes.

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Usually when we are short on time, the decision ends up being to not workout at all. It becomes an all or nothing mentality. However, a 10 minute workout isbetter than nothing, especially if it becomes a consistent thing.

 

I got right back into the gym this morning and actually deadlifted 135 for 5! It was another short workout (30 minutes) but it was tough. Not every workout has to be the best one you’ve ever done and it’s not a contest of who can spend the most time in the gym. The most important thing is how you use your time, because that’s ultimately what counts.

KBF

Quit Lying About Your Body

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot about body image and how every woman should love her body just as it is. I’m all for female empowerment and self-love, but the whole “just as it is” part doesn’t sit right with me.

Where is the desire for better in that sentence?

By saying “I love myself just as I am” we cut off an entire part of ourselves that seeks better. If we applied the “just as I am” to other parts of our lives, chances are we would be really disappointed.

Think about it. “I love my career, just as it is”. “I love my house, just as it is”. Chances are we can think of some improvement for both of those things but when it comes to our bodies we’re suddenly the female Mitt Romneys regressing women’s rights back to a pre-suffrage era, and who wants that?

To say that we’re satisfied with our bodies the way the are is basically saying “I am too lazy to fix what I don’t like” but saying it in a way that makes other women not only agree with us, but respect us. It makes gives the impression of “wow, she’s so brave. I wish I could do the same”. Well, why should you have to? Why shouldn’t you want more than you already have? If you wanted to make a certain salary a year or get to a certain level in your company, chances are you would work your ass off to get to it, instead of just saying “I love my life, just the way it is”.

But when it comes to our bodies, most of us are more than satisfied to lust after the bodies of Victoria’s Secret models while claiming “I love my body, just the way it is” and never doing anything about it, all in the name of feminism. Women spend hours every week putting on make-up and picking out clothes, but the second weight comes into the picture, you’re an asshole for suggesting improvement. I think this is the most ridiculous thing ever.

Spending time to improve ourselves, for ourselves, can be the most empowering thing a person can do. The last time I checked, just saying that I was comfortable with my body didn’t make it true, and being truly unhappy about it wasn’t a very empowering feeling.

But looking at the improvements I make in the gym every week is crazy empowering. I feel pride looking in the mirror at abs and muscle cuts and thinking “hey, look what I did!”. That’s what empowerment is. It’s deciding you want something and stopping at nothing to get it. It’s saying “I am going to be the best me I can be” and actually doing something about it.

It’s not slowly putting on weight while saying you’re happy with yourself as you are then getting upset when swimsuit season comes. 

Your body doesn’t have to be your identity, but it can definitely be a part of it. Your weight doesn’t have to define you and it shouldn’t define you. But by refusing to admit that your appearance matters to you, you eliminate the desire to be better and who really wants to stay the same?

KBF

Why Choosing a Gym is so Important

When I was in the best shape, I was going to a gym I loved. Once I stopped working there, I stopped working out almost completely.

I repeatedly said that I would go to the school gym or workout at home, but I hardly ever did. I gained weight every week and continued to tell myself I would start working out again the next day. I never did.

I eventually joined a new gym, which I hated, and stopped going to it after only a month. The decision to go back to my old gym has proven to be the best decision I could have made and made me realize one thing: you need to find an environment you love before you can get in shape.

That place can be a gym, a park, or your house, as long as it makes you comfortable and you enjoy going to it. My gym has turned into my happy place. I wake up in the morning and look forward to going to it instead of dreading the thought of checking in.

When you like being somewhere, you tend to go more often and spend more time there. At the other places I went to, I would try to get in and out as fast as possible, even if that meant sacrificing big parts of my workout.

Now, I’ll spend more than an hour in the gym without even realizing because the environment just makes me happy. I go at a time when the gym is basically empty and I like having a big area to myself to swing kettlebells and deadlift.

The decision to switch happened when I asked myself why I wasn’t going to the gym and I realized that the answer was “because it makes me sad”. A gym should never make you sad, it should do the opposite. You should leave energized and happy and in a better place than you were in before you entered.

If you’re not going to a gym that you’re paying for, ask yourself the question as to why you’re not going. If your answer is similar to mine, maybe it’s time to test out some new ones. You can almost always try them for free or really cheap for a few days.

Don’t let your environment be your excuse. Let it be your reason.

KBF

What My First Solo Spin Class Taught Me About Motivation

Today I really didn’t want to go to the gym. Like REALLY did not want to go.

Usually just the bright lights of the gym are enough to make me want to work out, but I’m not sure if it was the rainy weather or just an off day, but I still didn’t want to do anything once I got there.

Although I told myself that I only had to do 15 minutes and then I could leave, I actually thought “fine, but only if I can do it sitting down”. So, I decided to create my own spin class.

At first, my plan to go into the Spin room and do my work out was more an excuse to be lazy than an ambitious desire to come up with my own interval, cardio workout. I figured that if I was alone in the Spin room, I could safely sit on the bike and pedal as slowly as I photo-56wanted with as little resistance as possible.

The first five minutes were awful. I thought about getting off the bike and just going to lay down on a mat somewhere pretending to stretch. I’m really out of control sometimes.

After I got through those five minutes, a man came into the room. I was very annoyed at first because I had been happy with my lazy solitude. It turns out that I actually NEEDED this man to come in as his presence made me feel like there was someone in the room judging me and holding me accountable. 

Was he doing either of these things? No, not even kind of. He was actually very content to do a very difficult Spin session of his own. But sometimes, we need to feel like there’s a bit of embarrassment in quitting, even if there is none.

In the end, I made it through a 30 minute session of sprints, jumps on a hill, and a few steep climbs. I’m still not back to where I used to be in terms of resistance and speed, but the longer I was on the bike today, the easier it got.

That has to be a good sign, right?

Today was such an important lesson in why we need to push ourselves sometimes. I woke up feeling sore and lazy, but I went to the gym and had a great work out. If I let myself believe the story I was telling myself about why it was okay to stay home on the couch with photo-57Sheldon, I wouldn’t have gotten to have such a good time on the bike.

There are definitely times where you shouldn’t work out, like if you have the flu or if you’re hurt, but a lot of times we’ll tell ourselves that we shouldn’t when we really should. I did it for months, thinking “well, who would really know anyway?”. It turns out that although no one will know if you go to the gym or not, it’ll definitely become obvious when you start gain 20 pounds like I did.

While the weight gain definitely sucks, it honestly isn’t the worst part of putting off exercise. The worst part is being unable to do push ups anymore, or suffering through a spin class that used to be easy.

The knowledge that my body used to be able to do so much that it can’t now is my motivation to go to the gym on days like today. In a year from now I want to be looking at how far I’ve come, not how I’ve fallen.

How do you stay motivated?

KBF