by Matt Espeut, Providence, RI
If you think you can’t KISS away your unfit state, well, you can. KISS stands for “Keep it simple, stupid,” but I prefer – “Keep it simple, and safe.” This is a phrase that typifies my approach. Many people today who are trying to be fit think they have to do ridiculous things to get results. And, truth be told, there are many fitness instructors who will play right into that concept. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be complex with crazy amounts of equipment and complicated techniques.
There is so much confusion in the fitness industry with so many good – and bad – advice and theories. Here are some quotes I hear from people on a regular basis and my response to them. With proper training technique and guidance, based on research and education, and a whole lot of common sense, you can have a workout program that is holistic for your body, healthy for you, and will help you accomplish your long-term goals. It will become a way of life, rather then a dreaded “have to” that you begin finding ways to avoid or a “must do” that compels you to overwork yourself.
* “I do hundreds of crunches every day.”
* Rarely do I have clients do crunches because when you flex and bend something repeatedly on the same plane, it will get weaker and eventually break. This is not good for the spine or the posterior spinal stabilizers. Also, this creates an imbalance by making the rectus abdominal stronger than the spinal stabilizers. Thinking “simply,” how functional is it to move repeatedly within such a short range of motion?
* “I’m going on a no carb diet.”
* I don’t subscribe to this method for weight loss or general health. Based on research that your brain and muscles function on glycogen, I feel that eliminating all carbohydrates puts you at a disadvantage for endurance and muscle recovery. This is especially true after a workout and when your glucose levels are low. I do believe in limiting your carbs to quality sources, such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and legumes. These carbs are fibrous carbs, and are much lower on the glycemic index than processed grains.
* “I need to lose weight before I start lifting.”
* Doing that would actually slow down the process of weight loss. Here’s why: strength training speeds your metabolism. While lifting weights you are burning calories by contracting your muscles. Lean muscle tissue burns more calories at rest. Thus by lifting weights you are burning calories while performing the activity which leads to muscle mass which leads to a faster metabolism.
* “I had an egg white omelet.”
* But you threw away the part of the egg with the most nutrients. An organic, free-range egg is loaded with beneficial fats and proteins and other healthy compounds such as vitamin D and numerous amino acids. The whole egg is also considered an anti-inflammation food. The white by itself contains about 3 grams of protein and the yolk has 4 grams of protein. So you are throwing away more than half the nutritional value for the money you spend on good quality eggs. Eat the yolks.You won’t get fat and they taste great.
* “I had a great workout – got sick – and can’t walk today.”
* I was talking to someone the other day and this is what he said to me – really? This is not an indication of a great workout. Whether you go to the gym, run, bike, or something else, you are doing it to promote health and fitness. Throwing up after a workout doesn’t seem healthy to me. Tearing your body down to the point where you can’t walk the next day or are in severe pain isn’t the right fit for a life approach, either. I train myself, and my clients, hard, but not to the point of being incapacitated for two days or vomiting. I want you to feel mobile and invigorated after a workout. You will sweat, shake, and be out of breath, but never in debilitating pain or sick.
* “I work out and I do cardio every day.”
* To all you workout folks that are having trouble attaining your goals, just step back and reassess your situation. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to work out and do cardio every day. You don’t even need to join a gym. And let’s talk about rest – real rest. Rest should rejuvenate the body.Stay tuned for my column next week on rest – and, as always, if you have a question for me, leave it on my Facebook page at “Matt Espeut” and I’ll be happy to answer you personally.
In the meantime, remember – Just K.I.S.S.!