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

Working Out Shouldn’t Suck

Everyone thinks that working out and losing weight should be a miserable activity. We should go to the gym, feel the burn, and leave soaked in sweat and slightly nauseated. 

Most people even classify a “tough workout” as one that leaves you unable to move for the next three days or one that results in throwing up or bleeding. I think the main reason for tumblr_m54orvFGpm1r566gro1_500that is shows like The Biggest Loser, where people are worked until they’re sick or in pain. It makes for better television, but it’s not healthy in the long term.

As someone who likes to be comfortable, I’ve never much liked this mentality, but for a while, I sort of believed it myself. I would run on the treadmill even though it was the most boring and painful thing that I could possible force myself to do, all for the sake of a “tough workout”.

Recently though, I’ve decided that working out should be something that’s enjoyable, if not just flat out fun. I made a list of things that I like to do, and have been switching

photo-62up my workouts to include those things.

By adding in things that you really like to do, you’ll be less likely to get stuck in the rut of going to the gym every day and doing the same thing. I’ve also found that trying new formsof exercise can be really fun.

As much as I hate running, I’ve decided that maybe I’ll sign up for a 5K for a cause that I like or a fun obstacle race. It’ll give me a reason to train, and if I still can’t stand it after a few weeks I’ll be fine knowing that running is just not for me.

To get out of the routine of going out to dinner and sitting around on the couch, Billy bought tennis racquets and we’ve been going to the nearby court to play on weekend nights. It’s fun and competitive, and it gets us both moving when we would normally be watching TV or eating.

photo-61

Losing weight and getting in shape is hard enough as it is, there is no reason to make it harder than it has to be. Pick something you like to do, and stop doing the things you hate. With so many options, there’s no excuse to be miserable while working out.

KBF

How a Change in Priorities Can Lead to Progress

When I first started to work out, my main goal was always “skinnier. get skinnier”. I mean, isn’t that what everyone’s goal is at first? 

I got down to 114 pounds from taking about 8 spin classes a week and being a vegetarian.  I thought I looked great, but I’ve heard that at that point I was too skinny and even looked unhealthy at some points.

Between taking steroids and not going to the gym frequently for a few months, I was pretty discouraged at what I looked like. Actually, at one point I was up to 148 pounds, a realization that made me cry in the gym.

As I keep working, I’ve come to a few realizations. The first is that my priorities have definitely changed. If I was trying to get down to 110 pounds again to be as skinny as possible, my method just wasn’t going to do that.

But I don’t want that again. 

I want to be strong and look strong. I want to be able to sprint and pick up heavy things and move like an athlete, even though I’m not one. How many athletes do you know (besides long distance runners) who are just skinny? I don’t know many.

My second realization is that I am not built to be skinny, truly skinny. There are girls out there who are long and lean and who can get away with being thin girls. I’m not one of them. I have bigger legs and an overall “thicker” frame, as much as I hate that word.

People can tell you all they want that everyone is built differently, but until you’ve seen your body at all stages, you’ll never actually believe it. You’ll continue wanting to look like whichever Victoria’s Secret model is currently dating Leonardo DiCaprio, even though you’ll never be 6 feet tall with a 26 inch waist.

It’s once you become realistic about how you’re built and what your goals are that you’re able to make the most progress.

I will never be 114 pounds again, and I’m damn proud of that.

KBF

Carb Cycling and Other Revelations

For a few weeks, I was attempting to eat 100g of carbs a day. This made me feel restricted and somewhat angry at times.

Then Billy told me that I could carb cycle so I could eat more carbs on days where I actually needed them. This led to the construction of a chart, based around workouts:

Monday: Lift (100g)
Tuesday: Conditioning (80g)
Wednesday: Lift (100g)
Thursday: Conditioning (80g)
Friday: Lift (100g)
Saturday: Off (60g)
Sunday: Lift (175g)

By having a couple of low days and medium days during my week, I can have one much larger day to reboot my metabolism and just have fun with what I eat. Yesterday we had an unexpected date day, so I ended up eating 175g on Friday instead of Sunday.

It worked out though because I had 60g on Thursday, positioning a low day before a high day as originally planned. 

The biggest thing yesterday was that I didn’t overdo it. Usually when I have a heavier carb day I feel like death for a few days after. I had a really big lunch of shrimp tacos and chicken nachos, with a margarita for good measure. Then we went to the movies and had popcorn and half of a bag of Reese’s pieces between the two of us.

Usually, when we would get dinner after, I would figure my whole day had gone to hell so why not just get a huge plate of pasta. I broke this mentality last night when we chose a Persian restaurant for dinner and I chose to substitute the rice for grilled vegetables. 

Everything about that meal felt good and enabled me to feel pretty good this morning too. I started my day off with eggs, spinach and feta and a slice of white bread, and I’m going to have a protein shake before going to see King Lear at BAM at noon.

Hopefully by loading up on protein this morning I’ll be able to make better choices in choosing a restaurant after sitting through a three hour play.

The concept of planning a higher carb day (but not recklessly high) breaks the idea of having a “cheat day”. Cheat days always end up as “cheat weeks” and even “cheat months” for me. It might work for some people, but I can’t just go crazy one day a week and expect to go back to normal the next day.

The cheat day mentality signals that you’re doing something wrong for your body, while increasing carbs to boost metabolism is actually benefitting it.

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

photo-58

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.

photo-60

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