By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
October 23, 2016
Not too long ago, there was an interesting study that came out in regards to people that are constantly posting updates about working out and their bodies. People who frequently do this were labeled as narcissistic and completely devoid of shame. These people were the types that wanted to be noticed and recognized for every little thing they did, like a linebacker in a football game going nuts over a standard tackle or some guy blocking a shot that was sent out of bounds. Both of these moves are pretty trivial when you think about, for tackling people is what you are supposed to do in football, so why celebrate? And for the blocked shot guy, other than a few seconds of trash talk, you really didn’t get the ball back in your team’s favor. This is kind of the new world we live in when it comes to people trying to show themselves off. It used to be pretty simple, for a good looking guy with a ton of muscles or beautiful model were noticed because because seeing those people in any form of media was rare. Nowadays, “Instagram Model” can actually be a job title and fitness motivator is something that gets people views on YouTube. Not to say that society and the current structure of social media has created more self centered people who are hell bent on getting noticed, it’s just now we have avenues for the common man that isn’t Cindy Crawford or insert male model here to show themselves off to the world. Fortunately for the world, I know I am not much to look at and thus I do not flood the world with selfies (well, not too many) while I go about my daily life. But on the other hand, on thing that I do like doing is posting my workouts.
I’m sure there are a few people out there in social media land that have gotten a little tired of me posting my weight workouts, my running workouts and of course my current push-up challenge. I’ve tried spreading this stuff over the swath of my various social media platforms, and I feel I have gotten a pretty good equilibrium. I haven’t lost too much interest from people for that matter. Sure, I don’t get as many likes in the interim, but I never really did this for the likes. What I do do this for is accountability. You see, one thing I have managed to do for myself is keep things on the consistent for me, making sure I do something to challenge myself and keep this fitness game going for me. Friday night was one of those moments where I could have lost some consistency. Here I was, a day after a decent leg day, and I had slated myself a good six miles for that run. But my legs were not having it. I knew right away that my body would not be bale to handle the rigors of pushing that kind of distance. So in order to make sure my body was consistent and my workout had been completed, I just did my minimum standard of a three mile run. That was tough enough for me, even it was half the distance I really shot for. But as I have said many times over, this is not about the distance or the time or what have you…this is about staying true to my schedule. I am trying to do my best when it comes to this sort of thing, maintaining this difficult life that I have set up for myself and staying on the path. Somedays you just have to accept you will not be doing your best work, which is why I cut the run short. Now this just means I will need to do the six mile run on Sunday, which is okay with me.
Now of course, I could go about my regular life and do nothing in regards to my habit of posting about my fitness and health, but I like to do it. Consequences be damned from the world of professional haters and internet trolls. I say professional because I sometimes wonder if someone can be that angry and upset about every little thing all of the time (especially if they are looking at websites that a little bit of the seedy side when it comes to the portrayal of facts). Recently, I have had to take some different ideas in regards to my fitness, doing things like rebuilding, reassessing goals and even—gasp!—admit I was not eating too well. All those things are on the back burner now, as I have been able to get a stable eating regimen and manage my workouts. Of course, there is still the threat of things changing at a moments’ notice, but at least I have managed to stay on course. Anyway, I like to believe, especially when I go running, that I am absolutely blowing up the calorie count. When I did a six mile run last week, my RunKeeper app told me I burnt 1100 calories. Just for 60 minutes of work! Of course, there have been many professionals and researchers in the world that indicate working out for a good hour with the weights can burn up more calories than straight running. So why do I burn fewer calories working out for 75 minutes than I do running for less time? There is some definite scientific reasons that I won’t get into concerning the body and the metabolic rate, but here is the catch when it comes to my app. Are the calorie counts even accurate?
I have written about fitness apps before, illustrating the fallibility of them and taking a firm stance that are mostly good for keeping track of stuff. The nice thing about having an iPhone is the fact I have a bevy of health and fitness apps at my disposal….for free! Now, I haven’t used any of them but one of these days when I weigh myself and become frustrated with the results, I’m going to upload all of these special apps and start getting super serious. Recently, a small study came to an end that shed some light on the whole fitness app craze. http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/fitness-trackers-dont-help-you-lose-weight-and-genes-arent-to-blame-either-studies-proclaim While people have made assumptions and had certain ideas, they never truly had the hard evidence to back up their claims. Well, this particular study decided to look closely at the whole fitness app craze, getting 500 all between the ages of 18 to 35 and putting them on a two year weight loss journey. At one point, the two groups were separated with one group using online resources at the end oft he day and the other using up to minute fitness apps. Either way, the average loss of weight was strikingly different between the two groups, with the group that used apps using on average eight pounds while the other side lost an average of 13. Of course, all of the Luddites out there are proclaiming victory and jumping around in the Ted Kaczynski shacks, but that doesn’t really prove that the apps didn’t work. This merely proves that apps are merely a tool, not necessarily a key. While the numbers behind the study may indicate one thing, it tells me another….people still lost weight. This means people were still maintaining a healthier lifestyle than they were before, eating a little better and keeping a respectable health regimen. One researcher in this study indicated one thing, that perhaps the advent of technology will make us rely too much on that very same technology, possibly distracting more on the path to their goals rather than actually achieving them.
Now, I like my apps, and I just use them for the basics. That doesn’t mean they will be my one and only indicator in the quest for better health. The other side of the coin is continuing to improve my effort. I want to be the best person I could possibly be, and that means I need to get better at some things before I really start looking at my weight as the primary issue. Right now, my weight doesn’t bother me in regards to my weight lifting, but it will obviously cause some anguish for me down the line if I cannot get to a much lower weight. Of course, this will be a struggle in the next couple months, for I have gotten into the side of eating a little too heavily once again, especially now that I have something called income and money. Starting today I’m going to take some steps to start reducing my intake once again, for I feel I went a little too nuts on the Chao cheese and the Gardein Veggie Burgers (both were on ganga specials at Safeway and let’s just say, I spent a little too much. Okay….I cleaned them out). Don’t worry, I had more than enough to cover my rent and such, but you get the drift. Anyway, in regards to the study I was just citing, there is another caveat to the issue…are people really reporting what they eat? http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/6/13179152/self-reporting-health-studies-accurate-research I stumbled across this great article from a writer that got involved in an eating study. Due to the complexity and the fact she just became disinterested, she actually started lying about what she was eating. The funny thing is that she ended up losing weight at the end of the study, and thus her contrived inclusion in it was validated. This is just one person that was obviously dishonest and making a pretty stark statement about an entire nation of people….that Americans are inherently lazy about anything, especially when it comes to eating and apparently telling the truth. This article of course was a reaction to the results of the said study I mentioned earlier, so the was obviously a nice way to pile on to something that was readymade for some criticism.
Now I have a hard time of believing this person in regards to her assumption, mainly because she is such a negative and boorish person. Remember one of the main tenants of improving your health and getting rid of those pesky bulges? Well, you have to actually have a pretty attitude about what you are doing. Right now, I am doing my best with my food intake and my exercise. I have established a pretty good regimen for my work days, eating breakfast (though I have been eating a little much) coupled with a raw lunch and then come home for an early dinner. I’ll admit, I ate a little too much on Friday, but that had nothing to do with the results of my run. I was running on a pretty full tank that evening, but like I said, I had to call it short due to the soreness. In years past, I would have been pretty sour due to these circumstances, getting angry at Jon for giving me too much leg work and getting angry at myself for going too hard. But like water under the bridge, I was kinda happy just to be able to run, much less three miles of the run.
I will never really put down anybody’s need for technology to help them with their fitness journey. I might give them a stank eye if they are putting more time in to their gym selfies rather than there goblet squats. That’s a guarantee! Truthfully, when someone wants to use any tool at their disposal, especially when it comes to their health, why should you rain on their parade. The funny thing, much like the writer of the second article I mentioned, she seems to have this rather negative view toward health in general, which stems from her own laziness. While it is easy to manifest our own short comings onto other people it rarely applies to other people. Some people have lost way more weight than myself in a shorter time span mainly because they might have been able adapt to a raw vegan diet much easier than I ever would have or they simply got lucky and haven’t suffered an injury. I don’t know what has happened in the meantime, but would that mean I am lazy in my pursuit? Nope, this just means I have much tougher mountain to climb, dealing with the injuries, my diet and my desire to eat everything in sight. That’s just part of my process, not a sign of inherent laziness.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.