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One of the topics that we rarely talk about here on PrettyHardWork is weight loss.
Since we’re a fitness blog, that may seem a little weird. But, quite frankly, I think that weight loss is one of the worst things you could focus on.
Well… here are 2 good reasons (well – at least I think that they are good!):
Weight Loss Delusion #1 – There is an “end”.
By setting a weight loss goal, you’re saying, “When I lose these specific number of pounds, I’m done!”
But, you’re not.
Once you reach the weight you’ve set out to reach, you have to maintain it.
So, setting goals that change the way you approach food and activity are so much better for you.
Think of it this way – what sounds harder, losing 10 pounds or:
- Stopping yourself at 3 pieces of pizza instead of going to 4 (or beyond)?
- Doing squats, lunges or situps in your family room a few times a week while you watch TV?
- Drinking a glass of water before each meal?
- Walking around the block after dinner a few times a week?
- Saying “no” when asked if you’d like to super size that meal?
- Go on a bike ride with the kids, or to a museum, a zoo, a water park or anywhere you can spend the day walking around?
By simply adding in a little exercise and just stopping before outright gorging yourself at each meal – you’ll lose 10 pounds. The weight loss will just happen when you start making little changes to things you already do.
You don’t have to give up pizza or fast food – you just don’t have to eat as much. You don’t have to stop watching TV, just don’t sit there stuffing your face, move a little while you watch.
Not only will you lose the weight – you’ll keep it off and it will become easier and easier to make more little changes. Before you know it, you won’t ever need to “go on a diet” or “start working out” again. You’ll just be doing it.
Weight Loss Delusion #2 – I need to “weigh in” for motivation.
The scale is probably one of the biggest de-motivators you can find! Within one day, depending the amount of salt in something you ate, the time of day, the weather, the temperature, the amount of time since you last ate, the time of month for us ladies, and tons of other factors that are difficult or even impossible to control – your weight is fluxing 1-3 pounds.
If you’re trying to lose a pound a day and you happen to step on the scale when all of these factors are stacked against you and you see it go up a pound instead of down… you may think you’ve failed.
You know you’ve been there before! Standing on the scale expecting to see a loss and you see a gain and think, “All that hard work and I’m GAINING weight?! I quit!”
Plus, if you’re incorporating any kind of muscle-building exercises into your “weight loss” program – you’re going to actually be adding weight – good, healthy muscle weight.
Stop relying on the scale. Pounds are far too variable to be the measure of your success.
Pick some things that remain more constant. Like, a pair of jeans. Resolve to get into them, zip them and actually wear them out in public. Heck – resolve to have to replace them because they are too big.
Choose some activities that are difficult for you now and resolve to make them simple. Like, push-ups, a cardio class, running a mile, lifting weights, doing situps, etc. Start doing them and work to do more for longer periods of time.
Stop Trying to Lose Weight…
Stop trying to lose weight – and you’ll probably start losing weight!
Focus on making small changes and challenging yourself to look and feel better.
We can often become overwhelmed with life and begin to feel weighed down enough that even our exercise routine becomes a chore. Or if you are over-training it can also become difficult to find the motivation to keep going. In the following guest blog post from Dr. Moshe Lewis, he suggests ways to rejuvenate yourself, get back on track with your exercise routine and feel good about it.
When I work out, my face turns red… maybe more of a reddish-purple actually.
And, I sweat…. like dripping-off-the-end-of-my-nose, soaked-through-both-sports-bras, my-towel-gave-up-20-minutes-ago kind of sweat.
Though I won’t win a single beauty competition for my post-workout glow, I have learned to wear it proudly! My red face and slimy skin mean that I worked hard.
Working Out But Not Seeing Results?
At the gym a few weeks ago, I overheard two chicks bitching about how they had been coming to the gym every day and purposely picked the most difficult classes and instructors – but were not seeing any results. It was true, they were there every time I was there in some of the most challenging classes I’ve ever survived. And, really, they don’t look like women who go to the gym every day.
So, I got critical (not out loud of course!) but, I started noting some things…
One look at them, and one look at me – and you’d never guess we had just walked out of the same class.
Their cheeks were rosy… they were a little sweaty… but nothing a quick dab of a towel and a splash of cool water couldn’t handle. Though I was a little jealous – I told myself there had to be a good explanation for the difference in our appearances and our results.
In the next few classes that we took together, I looked for more differences. And I didn’t have to look hard!
They left the hour-long class multiple times to get glasses of water or sit down for a few minutes. They rarely finished a set of anything. They modified every challenging exercise (without even trying it first).
Meanwhile, I was pushing it every chance I got… squatting a little deeper when I could, making bigger movements, trying to finish every set, doing everything I could to hang on before dropping my knees in a push-up or modifying a move.
Now… I’m not claiming to have done every single move, or that I didn’t stop to catch my breath (and try not to puke) .. but, remember – they did complain that they weren’t seeing results. And though I’m not a model of fitness, I am definitely seeing results from my workouts.
So, it’s fair to say that I do think that I work harder than they do.
Maximizing Your Workout
The more I think about those girls, the more confused I am.
Why NOT work as hard as you can when you’re in the gym? If you’re going to be there anyway – why not make the most of your effort?
Not that my experience listening to and watching these girls should be the case study for everything – but I think it’s a pretty good example.
Ladies – if you’re not trying hard and if you’re not pushing yourself – you are not going to see results. Going to the gym and half-assing it is probably helping you maintain your weight and maybe tone up your muscles a bit…
But… if you’re not seeing results, you may not be working as hard as you could.
15 Signs You Have Worked Out Pretty Hard
So… here are some signs to help you determine if you’re working out hard enough to see results. You won’t see all of these all the time – but if you’re working out pretty hard, these will sound familiar:
1 – You never wear mascara to the gym – Tammy Faye Baker eyes are the worst.
2 – You avoid hairspray – it burns your eyes when the sweat drips in your eyes, and the sweat will hold your hair back after the first 10 minutes anyway.
3 – You felt awkward (and hoped nobody was looking!) three or four times during the workout because you were moving in ways you never have.
4 – Your arms, legs or core shook as you did an isometric hold, or as you powered through your last rep.
5 – You weren’t quite sure if that was sweat, snot or drool that dripped off your chin in that last plank.
6 – You cannot stop off at the store on your way home from the gym – people would stare.
7 – You have to wait a good 20 minutes or more before taking a shower – because you can’t stop sweating.
8 – You’re afraid to sit on your furniture – you just might leave a mark.
9 – You’ve considered shaving your head (or getting a shorter hairstyle) because you can’t not wash your hair after exercising.
10 – You sleep – HARD!
11 – When you wake up the next morning, you’re a little afraid to move… which muscle group is going to be sore today?
12 – The day after a leg sequence, you find yourself grunting each time you try to lower yourself onto the toilet.
13 – The day after an arm sequence, you have to give yourself a pep talk just to muster up the courage to raise your arms and brush your hair.
14 – You have had to throw away your favorite tank because you just can’t seem to get the stink out of it for good!
15 – You have left a class because you realize 15-20 minutes into it that you didn’t eat enough that day in order to sustain the workout.
If you can’t relate with many of the items on that list – don’t expect results. You’re not challenging yourself.
How to Up Your Game
If you’re ready to start seeing results, it’s time to up your game. Here are some things that you can try:
1 – Get a heart rate monitor. They aren’t the most comfortable thing to wear, but the chest straps are the best. Learning what it takes to get your heart rate at your ideal cardio level and keep it there is key. It is different for everyone, and until you see the numbers in front of you, you’re just guessing.
2 – Follow the crazy, red-faced, sweaty girl. I always try to pick someone in class to follow. Oftentimes, instructors aren’t doing every move with you – but there will be a girl or guy in there pushing it. Follow them. Try to do everything that they do.
3 – Go to a class. If you’re reading this and thinking, “yeah, but I work out on my own…” – get to class! You’ll be far more motivated to keep moving and do the right moves if you’re being lead by good instructor. Or – grab a DVD and do it at home. You’ll never see results by doing some tired old routine that you’re comfortable with.
4 – Don’t be afraid to sweat. I admitted it, I was a little jealous that those women at my gym weren’t as big of a mess after our workouts as I was. But, being sweaty for a few hours a day (at a gym – or at home!) is a small price to pay when you look and feel great for the rest of your week!
Start making your workouts count!
*DISCLAIMER: Don’t be a dummy! See your doctor first and be sure that your health can sustain intense workouts. This advice is filled with satire and intended for individuals who have been cleared for intense workouts by their healthcare professionals.
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