are thinking of the nagging wife, but let’s face it gentleman. If you tore a ligament and was trying to walk it off to impress the guys, wouldn’t you listen to your wife when she said she was concerned for you and wanted you to see the doctor? I probably would, even though I am not married. But on the other hand, one of the many things I have had to deal with is getting to know my body a little better as the years have gone by, and that means swallowing my pride and admitting I am hurting somewhere. The last time I didn’t get something checked out was a couple years ago when I fell off a ladder and POSSIBLY suffered a stress fracture in my forearm. I could hear the popping and rubbing in my arm for weeks, but I didn’t do anything because I could still curl and bench press quite easily back in those days. Heck, I didn’t even see a doctor when I scraped up my arm pretty good, resulting in a gigantic scab that looked like some alien growth that you might see on a sci-fi show like Fringe or The X-Files (man do I miss those shows). And while I may be alone of Valentine’s Day once again this year, I at least have the back-up plan of going out and saying “I’m celebrating the 103rd birthday of my home state!” even though my home state politically acts like some crotchety old miser (we’re the third youngest in the union!). So, without further ado, another misguided attempt to be Larry King sans the bad run-on sentence structure and old-time desires.
FAT SHAMING OR A HELPFUL SUGGESTION? Just about a couple years ago, I wrote a pretty interesting blog about fat shaming, and still to this day, it is one of the most read articles this blog has to offer (but it is a distant second to the Ideal Male Body post I wrote). Anyway, I cited research that indicates telling someone they are overweight and need to hit the gym can be counterintuitive to the actual goal you are trying to place on them. Pointing out someone is obese and unhealthy is a double edged sword that more often than not makes someone go in the opposite direction. I’ll be a testament to that, for my parents really got on my case from time to time about my weight, but I never really did anything about it (even when I thought I broke my ankle a few months before I started working out at Parsons Training). It took my aunt being on her death bed and my parents paying for 36 sessions to finally get my butt in the gym, so you can see the difficulty one has just getting their foot in the door. Either way, a new chapter n the fat shaming book was written literally yesterday, and if you have never heard of Bryn Mawr College, well you might soon enough. http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20150131_Email_stirs__fat_shameing__controversy_at_Bryn_Mawr_College.html
Now the college administration, which governs some 1800 students, had their hearts in the right place when they initially set up a new program for fitness counseling. The program that was being set up as a way to set up individualized programs for those that wished to participate, which if you talked to any personal trainer, is a huge advantage in regards to actually achieving goals. You see, when Jon started with me, he knew I was weak and therefore need time to be built up. But he also understood I enjoyed a good challenge, which is why he challenged me early on to give up dairy products (which resulted in a huge weight loss, which was a good way to keep me motivated). Anyway, the trouble with this sentiment is not how they labeled overweight people (elevated BMI index) but in the fact they targeted some 100 people for this program. Yup, the administration basically singled out 6% of the population and said “You are in need of some health counseling, fattie.” Now this story would have never caught fire if they hadn’t sent an email to one woman in particular, who for all accounts and measures is maybe a few pounds overweight at best, but no where near obese. But it does bring up an interesting argument about health policies and the difficulty of establishing one. Now some might say to brush it off and move on, but this kind of illustrates an interesting problem in regard to the health of the entire United States. How do you point out the problem of health to overweight people, and do it in a way that doesn’t single them out or shame them? Now Bryn Mawr never intended for this story to leak out to the press, and I am sure some women at the college will take the school up on its offer, but talk about poor execution. If anything, this small sample size provides some insight into how tough it will be fight the battle of the bulge in this country. Personally, I believe the mistake was going the more secretive route, for this reeks of invasion of privacy as well as some mysterious power asserting body politics onto you. If anything, the school should have just told everyone, and made note they had a limited number of scholarships if you met the preset requirements. I say this because I know the game. I knew I was overweight, but I never did anything about it. Sometimes having that olive leaf is just enough to start making you think.
NEVER STOP WORKING OUT. I am a sucker for cutesy stories. I regularly post stuff on Facebook about dogs going on long journeys to find their owners or cute animal videos. But one thing I have also got into is posting stuff about seniors bucking the trend and being healthy and active at an advanced age. One thing I am thinking about in regards to my fitness is the fact I will need to be healthy for a long time, especially since I am struggling financially and will need to be active in the work place for a long while. I once posted a story about a 102-year-old man that was steadily improving his life due to late life fitness. I posted another story about a group of senior runners that broke records at a track meet, all of them in their 90s and one of them even six months removed from a stroke. And of course, we have all seen posts by the occasional body builders that are in their 70s, busting out reps due to good nutrition and consistent fitness. I even wrote a post about a 90-year old woman that was still doing the long jump! http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2014/01/life-conveniencesfor-better-or-for-worse.html
We now have a new addition to the pile, a 93-year old woman named Kaye Didas. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/93-year-old-michigan-woman-a-fitness-inspiration/ In spite of tumor operations and in spite of being twice the age of the women she works out with, she continues to keep moving along and making the most of her life. “There is no excuse not to be active…If you have a positive attitude, you can’t miss.” Those are some words you can definitely take to the bank, especially from someone that has literally seen the advance of health and fitness as a measure of merely avoiding hunger to the current deluge of information we have today. This also illustrates something I have mentioned before, that if you want to be healthy for the rest of your life, then you are pretty much going to have to work out and eat right for the rest of your life. Hopefully we keep seeing more examples like Kaye in the near future.
WELL, THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG. Near the turn of the year, I insinuated one of the biggest trends that would explode in the year is the use of fitness applications. With so many at our disposal, some people even insinuated insurance companies might use fitness apps to help establish policy rates. While this sort of thing is still a bit down the road, it has barely taken a month into the new year to start poking holes in the “Fitness App Revolution” as people are starting to do comparison studies on them. https://www.acefitness.org/prosourcearticle/5216/ace-sponsored-research-are-activity-trackers Juniper Research put a side by side comparison of some of the biggest named fitness apps, and the results bring up a couple red flags. While many of the accessories that go along with these fitness apps appear to be accurate, the issue being brought up is still caloric. One thing I really like seeing on my RunKeeper is the caloric burn, which is usually 1200-1400 for my running workouts (I typically run six miles at a time) and 550 to 600 for my strength and conditioning workouts. The study indicated that the additional devices (which can be quite pricey) are not entirely perfect due to the fact some people are much more efficient with their body movements. While the accuracy is still pretty good in terms of steps being taken and mileage run, the one statistic that can be taken out of this little study is the idea that people are more likely to to workout if they have a fitness app at their disposal. And then we have another criticism of the fitness app revolution: are only rich people utilizing them? http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/fitness-trackers-just-help-rich-people-get-thinner/384431/ According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), using these apps is still something of a crapshoot, which kind of confirms the findings made by Juniper. But there is an extra layer to this onion—the majority of people that use these apps and the accessories are mostly younger, fitter people or people with a higher income. What this means is how can we measure the effectiveness of these apps properly if the majority of people are already in decent health? Now, I know what you are saying, there are plenty of unhealthy people under age 35 and unhealthy people that make $100,000 a year, but most research indicates these assumptions to be incorrect (even though the obesity rate in the under 30 crowd is rising). I mean, I am pretty darn poor and I feel I am in respectable shape.
But here is another dark side to the revolution. What if someone was selling your info without your knowledge? http://wpri.com/2015/01/30/fitness-apps-may-be-selling-your-personal-data/ Of course, we run into this risk in just about every online forum we may use, but I’m sure people might be a little surprised by this revelation considering your personal body measurements, fitness goals and workout frequency might be factors used to pitch some marketing at you. Now I have yet to see any fitness spam show up in my email, but this just goes to prove one thing. If you want to show the world that you are fit and working for a new body (much like myself), you will have deal with the potential problem of being a marketing pitch. Personally, since I am an attention hog and want people to see, I will merely deal with the possibility of getting random emails for products I could really care less about (like Advocare and Insanity!). I’m surprised I haven’t been getting any spam letters in regards to fitness apps for my dogs! I mean, they actually make those now, along with accessories! http://www.ohmidog.com/2015/01/30/a-fitness-tracker-geesh-for-your-dog/
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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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.
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