Recently after a workout at the gym, I was speaking to two of the women who attended the class with me. I mentioned I was working with the trainer to lose weight. She said, “I started working with the trainer to GAIN weight” and I thought “you bitch!” (I did not say it, but I thought it loudly). But it made me realize- there are many reasons people decide to work up a sweat. Not everyone wants to buff up or slim down. Some people have different goals. And those goals are what push people to get fit.
There’s more to fitness than just weight loss. Any change in physical activity improves health. One study found that excise improved the health and cognitive function in elderly overweight patients, and that excise alone was as successful as changing diet AND fitness levels (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24787497). It appears that just breaking a sweat is enough to improve life and make aging less a less sucky endeavor. Working with weights can also improve bones and balance, so as you get older you can worry less about falling down and breaking a hip. There are way more benefits of exercise than simple weight loss.
The Mayo Clinic lists 7 health benefits of exercise (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389). Reducing depression, better heart health, and better sleep are all listed as benefits. Of course, weight loss is listed as #1. But motivating yourself to move needs to be more about just your waistline. There will always be a bad week- your work your ass off (you hope literally), eat well, and do everything right. And the scale.will.not.budge. But even if you stay fat (or, as people say now, “curvy”), there are so many other things you get from a good sweat session. Sometimes you need more inspiration than just “I’m fat. . . I need to be less fat!”. Knowing that I can sleep a little sounder, or have a stronger heart, is worth continuing to sweat it out.
And so we come back around the woman who came to the gym to gain weight. I go to the gym to lose weight, gain muscle, and be a fitter fatty. But some people come for the complete opposite reason I do. And having any goal is great. Seeing anyone consistently at the gym, and seeing their progress, helps inspire you. So yes, I am fat, and yes, she is skinny (and together we make a normal sized person), but we can both congratulate each other on our progress. And sometimes a little perspective is all you need to change your drive. So good job skinny lady at the gym- may your workouts make you more fat!
My husband and I just recently decided to join a gym. Yes, fatty has a husband. And yes, you should probably feel bad for him- being married to me is no picnic. Or maybe TOO MUCH of a picnic- I am a fatty for a reason. So, anyway- we decided to join a gym. The place that was closest to our home was Planet Fitness, and so that’s where we decided to visit. Turns out, it’s the perfect gym for not in shape people like me.
Planet Fitness claims to be a “judgement free zone”. This appeals to me, because I can judge myself just fine (I’m awesome!). But I have found that after hitting a weight loss plateau I need more help. And this is another reason that Planet Fitness stood out. Included in any membership is personal training. And honestly, having someone encourage (yell at, push, threaten) me helps. Most classes are small (max of 5) so the trainer can work more closely with you, and there is also a “design your own” program where the trainer meets with you to determine your specific goals. A once a week meeting with the trainer has pushed me to work harder and better (and requires me not to slack).
The trainer always uses the 30 Minute Fitness room. I very much enjoy this area because it works EVERYTHING. It’s a great (terrible, awful, painful) workout because it alternates between weights and cardo. You push yourself as hard as possible with sprints, burpees, high knees, and other forms or torment. Then after each cardio set, which shoots your heart rate sky high and makes you feel like it may explode, you get a short rest and then a weight machine is used. This allows for “active rest”-you tone a different muscle group each time while your heart rate slowly comes back down. Each circuit lasts 1 minute. There are 20 stations, and 30 second rests between each station. It’s a fast set, but an intense workout. It uses a HIIT schedule (high intensity interval training), which gets the heart rate up super high, and then gives short rest periods. I have found that even though it is only 30 minutes, it is the best workout I’ve ever done. I often come home tired and sore, but I feel that I really pushed myself. Which is great, because hopefully my weight plateau will become a thing of the past. But maybe not lose TOO much, because then I will have to change the name of my blog- and I have no clever name for being fit and THIN. So fat and fit may be the best way to go.
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