Knowlegde is Power when Learning to be Fit & Healthy

22 Jun

Now, just like anything, knowledge is power when it comes to the fitness world.  I am not a personal trainer yet, but I am working towards it.  The information I am sharing with you is available everywhere!  I have read and learned so much from all of this available information, it is amazing!  When you understand what happens when you eat, work out, rest, and so forth, you will begin to understand the benefits of being healthy.  Bodybuilding.com, Tone It Up, Biotest, and Gaspari Nutrition  are just a few great web resources to learn more about fitness that are out there.  In addition to these web resources, I  like to read Oxygen Magazine and Muscle & Fitness Hers which are also great resources for women’s fitness.

So, let me hit you with some knowledge.  Did you know that after the age of 25, we actually start to lose our muscle mass?  According to Oxygen magazine, Adults over 25 years of age lose .5 % muscle each year and we can’t get it back.  So, with that in mind, it is time to get your butt in gear and start working out!  The benefits of having lean muscle mass are amazing and ladies, don’t worry or be scared about getting big and bulky.  We as women cannot be that way no matter what unless you opt to take steroids (sorry, not going there!).  If you take a look at my competition pictures, I in no way look bulky or masculine and I lift weights like crazy!  Increasing your muscle mass means that you will lose the fat, burn more calories naturally at  a resting rate, your energy will increase, you will lessen your chances of injury, you will look amazing and do I need to continue going on? 

Research has also taught me that women completely have the word diet all wrong!  Boy have we given it a bad rep!  The definition of diet is simple, ready? According to my handy, dandy, Webster Dictionary, Diet is food or drink regularly provided and consumed, daily nourishment.  This is the number one description of this word.  Then, below, say on the online dictionaries, you will see the limiting caloric intake, blah, blah, blah.  A diet is not to starve your self people.  A diet, is simply the food you eat to nourish and support your body.  So if this is the case, why are so many women depriving their bodies of what they need to function?  When you don’t eat, or limit the amount of meals you eat in a day, you are actually slowing down your metabolism and letting your body think it is going to starve.  Then, your body reacts and holds onto every bit of fat it can in preparation for the starvation period.  What does it use for fuel, digestion, brain function, everything?  It goes for your muscle which means you will continue to keep storing even more fat!  This is not good, and is the opposite of what you want.

Now, when you eat, and what I mean by eat, is by choosing lean meats, complex carbs, fruits, veggies, dairy and so forth, you are fueling your body.  Giving it what it needs to function.  When you eat 5-6 smaller meals a day you are increasing the benefits of your metabolism.  You regulate your blood sugar which means less mood swings or energy crashes.  By giving your body what it needs, it will not need to hold on to excess food, fat, etc. that it doesn’t need.  It is very much a supply and demand type of scenario.   Eating clean can be a big adjustment, but you will be amazed out how great you will feel.  No more eating out of a box. No more fast foods!  Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are also culprits of bad things we eat.  The soda, candy, baked goods!  So bad for your body!  Did you know that sugar literally halts your immune system allowing you to get sick easier?  I learned this one and couldn’t believe it!!  I have noticed a huge difference in my immune system now that I no longer eat sweets.  Pop, well, I have never been a pop drinker, but that stuff is just bad for you.  Bad, bad, bad!  Makes you fat, rots your teeth, and makes you susceptible to cravings, and a weak immune system!  If you eat fast food a lot, try watching the documentary, “Super Size Me,” by Morgan Spurlock.  You might stop going to fast food places altogether after you watch this one or you might just limit the amount of times you go out to eat.

As for making the choice to take care of your body, I am going to warn you that it is hard work.  But anything that is great in your life is that way.  Hard work, it has to be done!  In addition to resistance training/weight lifting, you need to make sure you are eating clean, drinking loads of water, working out consistently but not over-training, making sure to rest so that your body can recover and repair and lastly, making sure your heart is healthy by cardiovascular training.  Now careful, the last word I just said can be tricky.  Doing cardio, is pretty much a benefit to your heart only.  It can help burn some fat, but you must be very careful with this!  Cardio is catabolic which means that you will end up burning that precious muscle you worked so hard to gain.  What I mean to say is, don’t over do it on the cardio!  If you ever look around the gym, take note of the gals that are always on the cardio machines.  Do they ever look different?  No, not really.  Do all the cardio you want, but you are not going to benefit and burn fat and replace it with muscle unless you lift weights and build muscle!

Now if you aren’t comfortable in the weight area of a gym for whatever reason, don’t be.  This is where a personal trainer comes in handy.  They are certified and educated to teach you the proper ways of lifting.  Even just doing an orientation with them where they walk you around the gym and show you what everything does will be of great benefit to you.  If you don’t want to do the personal trainer, than I recommend teaming up with a girlfriend that is familiar with the gym and the equipment.  This way you can get an understanding of what each weight section and equipment does.  This is exactly what Andrea had me do for her.  I was able to show here around, teach her how to lift and give her motivation and ideas for switching up her routines to keep it fun and keep her muscles guessing.  Use the power of friends to help you reach your goals. 

In reaching your goals, my last point will cover making goals, writing them down and making sure you have a good support system.  By making goals of what you want to accomplish it will give you something to work towards and focus on.  You can track your progress along the way which is a great way to continue to motivate yourself.  Writing your goals down helps you remember what you were out to accomplish.  As you reach each goal you set, be sure to make new ones so that you continue to challenge yourself.  Taking progress pictures and measurements of your body when you first start out and then every 2-3 months can also let you know if you are on track.  Lastly, having a supportive husband or significant other, family, and friends can help make it easier when the going gets tough.  I do this with Manuel and Andrea.  Being able to talk to people and even complain sometimes because you are in pain, really does help!  Friends can also help talk  you out of going to Taco Bell or having a Big Mac by reasoning and reminding you of your goals.  If you know someone who is making the choice to be healthy, please , please, please, be supportive even if you don’t have the same goals for yourself.  Allowing people to be healthy and feel good about themselves should be allowed by everyone and not discouraged.  Be the best version of you and let others do the same too.

The other thing I recommend doing, is simply researching about lifting weights, eating clean, and how your body works when you are doing so.  Once you get a good understanding of how everything works, you will understand why I am so passionate about this subject.  I will continue to write about different areas in fitness but remember, I am just an ordinary gal, I am not a personal trainer yet, but I will be.  I will continue to do my best in sharing knowledge that comes my way.  In fitness and health, knowledge truly is power.

Written by:  Karly Beth

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