Thursday, January 2, 2014

What the gym won't tell you

So you've decided to join the gym for New Years, congratulations, you've done the right thing.  I've watched a number of resolutionaries come and go over the years, and have learned there are a couple of things the gym folks would rather you didn't know which are in fact fairly important.  Since they won't tell I will.

Exercise is important, it's necessary for health, it's necessary for maintaining weight loss.  It's good for your brain and better for your body. It is also a lifetime journey. If you've been away for a while, leave your phone, IPOD, tablet and book in the car and become reacquainted with the sound of your body at work. The inner silence and lack of distraction is rewarding.

Most resolutionaries stop going to the gym within 3 weeks.  They are physically sore, disappointed and have gained weight.  While exercise is a necessary daily ingredient for most it is a lousy short term weight loss tool.  If your reason for joining the gym is to drop 10 pounds by Mardi Gras quit and join Weight Watchers instead.  Then come back. You'll be happier you did.

In the short run you are unlikely to lose weight at the gym. Here's why. Newbies often join with a not overly motivated friend, gym time becomes social and neither of you is likely to work very hard.  Friends become tired or sore, talk themselves and you into leaving early (it's dark out and cold in January).  Exercise will also make you hungry, so feeling virtuous you stop on the way home for coffee and a snack, or begin eating as soon as you hit the door and unexpectedly consume more calories than you had just burned.

So why go?  As Oprah taught you, those who know better do better. The only one way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn. If you stick with your new exercise regime, and use it as one of several tools, you'll see body fat converted to lean muscle.  Vigorous exercise burns calories. Weight training, using low weight levels, sculpts flab into lean muscle mass. Women won't bulk up lifting weights.

I urge you, please GO TO THE GYM, regularly.  Stick with it, it's not a 30 day fix despite what the commercials say, it's a journey that begins each and every day.  Some day you'll even begin to like going.



Coulda shoulda woulda said...

This is such sensible advice that it will never sell!! :) Happy new year

Anonymous said...

Well said Toad. I didn't join a gym until I was already 75 pounds into my weight loss. Don't you think the type of gym matters, too? Some I visited had that 1980's pick up bar vibe. Too much silliness. I happily discovered a "basic" place filled with focused gym rats who ignore this old man. I am thriving.

Toad said...

Congrats Douglas. I presume I'm talking to an adult audience, so no need to remind our friends of the joy of spandex or John Travolta. You're absolutely correct however. There are good and bad gyms (or perhaps age appropriate) you need to search out what's best for you.

Anonymous said...

Toad, a couple points: (1) go to the gym regularly without overthininking it. just point the car and drive and don't give yourself the chance to veto the trip and (2)you're absolutely correct that at some point you'll actually want to go to the gym because your body wlll crave it. Happy New Year good man.

Anonymous said...

I find the gym and WW are a good combination. I have been to both already this morning. Cheers to a healthy and fit 2014! - KT

The Govteach said...

I live twenty miles from the nearest gym, but I work on my own, walking, walking, walking, and light weights. Since March 2013, I have lost 100 lbs.....cutting out soft drinks and desserts also helped.... ;)

Anonymous said...

Best header yet.

Happy 2014.

-old faithful

Patsy said...

Couldn't agree more!