The more I take control of my health, the further away I walk from conventional wisdom. There are times, however, when embarking on a whole new adventure, it takes time to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
Easy to Understand
There are some things that are easy to understand, like MSG, trans fats and hydrogenated oils are bad. I also know that eating excessive processed carbohydrates packs on the pounds. It’s also easy to understand that getting adequate rest and hydration are important factors for healthy living.
What has me a bit stumped right now is my exercise routine (or lack thereof).
Lost Inches from Carb Reduction
Now that I’ve significantly reduced my carb intake and dropped wheat from my diet, I’m feeling good. I haven’t dropped a lot of weight (7 or so pounds), but what I have noticed is I’m losing inches.
I recently measured myself (and was measured again as part of a fitness evaluation at my gym) and found I lost 3 inches around my waist, 4.75 inches from my abdomen and 1.25 inches from my hips. Unfortunately I gained an unwanted half-inch in the bust area, but all in all, it could have been a lot worse.
The reduction in inches came from diet alone. Over the past few months I’ve gone outside for walks, but I was a walker before altering my diet. I’ve threatened to lift weights and tone, but I never followed through on my threats.
Now with the slimmer trimmer waistline, I’m motivated to do my part to move things along. As a result, I’m ready to follow through on my weight-lifting threat.
Finding an Efficient Workout
Not wanting to spend an excessive amount of time in the gym, I started researching efficient ways to work my muscles to achieve the results I want. A combination of strength/toning exercises along with a few spinning classes (I spin because I enjoy it, not to lose weight because I’ve never lost weight from spinning) sounds like a nice program to me.
Lifting weights for strength and tone has benefits far beyond the gym. I just don’t want to spend my entire week in the gym lifting. Here’s where high-intensity training (HIT) comes in.
Attractive Features of High-Intensity Training
From the little research I’ve done so far, high-intensity training gets admirable results without spending an inordinate amount of time in the gym. With HIT, the targeted exercises are performed slowly using a weight that will fully fatigue the muscle by the end of one set of 8-12 repetitions.
There are anywhere from 3 to 8 targeted routines to perform that shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. Each routine targets a specific set of muscles. If done properly, you can do a full-body strength training in less than a half hour.
The upside to this method of training is the efficiency and the rest period. Once the muscles are fully fatigued, it takes anywhere from 7 to 14 days of rest for them to recover. If done properly, you may only need to hit (no pun intended) the gym once a week for a grueling 20-minute workout. Folks who really know what they’re doing can do it in less than 20 minutes.
Conventional vs. Non-Conventional Wisdom
After spending time on the BodybyScience and Baye.com websites, I ordered the Body by Science book. I’m still digesting the book, but it makes so much sense. Armed with my newfound wisdom, I went to the gym. Not knowing how to properly use the equipment, I asked a trainer to show me. That question led me to have a fitness evaluation and consultation. From that consultation I learned:
- I need to eat 5-6 meals a day including carbs (no thank you).
- In order to build strength, you must lift weights at least 3 times a week (really?).
- If you want to lose weight you must do cardio 3 to 5 times a week (huh?).
I asked the trainer if 48 hours was enough time for a fatigued muscle to recover and she said yes. I’m not so sure I buy into that answer.
Where Am I Now?
I think I’ll have to leave the trainer’s advice and workout routine at the gym and create my own routine. In the meanwhile, I’ll do high-intensity pushups, crunches and leg raises at home until I come up with a better plan.
Oh the challenges of conventional wisdom.