Before I get started into the meat of this article I want to share something. A client of mine started a blog so that she can share quest for fitness. If you recall, some months back I wrote about Sheila Anderson who came to me to get weight off and started a blog (which can be found HERE) which has helped her share the steps that she’s taken to shed nearly 100lbs!! Sheila then got me in contact with her husband, daughter and sister who all started training with me over the past few months. Sadly, I’ve lost Sheila and her husband to Indianapolis but her daughter and sister are still around. Her daughter, Sarah Pack, started her blog (which can be found HERE) this past week. She hit a few bumps in the road early but has done a great job of getting herself back on track the past couple of weeks. Sarah’s a very strong willed person so I had no doubt that she would get through her slump.
So, working at a fitness center I get a lot of questions from members regarding exercise selection, sets, reps, nutrition….anything that has to do with fitness. Obviously, everyone in a gym has a goal or a reason to be there (otherwise they wouldn’t be there, right). For the vast majority, the goal is weight loss, especially after the holidays. And the question I get asked, more than any other I think, is what machine can I use to lose fat from X body part, or how do I make this tighter. Well, I need to go ahead and break the bad news to everybody who is doing crunches in hopes of getting that rock hard six pack. You cannot spot train for fat loss. In other words, if you want a six pack, doing 1,000 crunches a day will not make that happen. Your abs may get thicker because of hypertrophy, or you may bulge a disc from doing so many crunches, but you will not lose fat in your abdomen. Sad, yes, but odds are you’re doing more harm than good will all that spinal flexion.
The next question almost universally is “then what do I do?”. And it’s the real answer that nobody likes, and this is when I generally lose people’s interest. You have to change your diet. A great exercise program is only a great exercise program with a clean diet, otherwise you’re almost wasting your time. Now, if you’re goal is not weight loss, you don’t have to listen a word I’m saying and you can eat whatever you want…..OK, I still wouldn’t recommend that….but you get the point. Fitness goals are not achieved strictly in the weight room, or on the treadmill, or in the aerobics room, or on the bike. If you want to do it right you have to except that this is a lifestyle change. I hate to hear people tell me they’re on a diet. Diet, at least generally, means short term. Once you achieve whatever it is you want to achieve (loss 10lbs) then you think it’s time to go back to eating whatever you want. If you think this way then you will be on a never ending roller coaster. Think long term and your life will be much easier.