06 January, 2012

Nothing "Nerdy" About Fitness

Gather ‘round, New Years Resolutioners! I’m going to help you keep your resolutions this year!

At the gym this morning, I heard a 50-something, heavy-set guy complaining to his trainer about not losing weight. There were so many things I wanted to say, but it wasn’t my conversation. I know there are a lot – a LOT – of people who are going to give the whole weight-loss, fitness thing a go at this beginning of the year…Indeed I adjust my workout schedule in January to avoid the sudden crowds, which will inevitably thin out within a month. So this poor man’s dilemma inspired me – or maybe the trainer’s lack of insight inspired me – to share my experience.

No, don’t worry. I’m not self-indulgent enough to give a “my story” blow-by-blow. Just some hopefully helpful thoughts that you might not be thinking of as you embark on your industrious endeavors.

1. Your poundage WILL plateau. Don’t get discouraged! The dude at the gym was complaining that, although he was working out a lot, and had lost weight, his poundage was not dropping anymore. I mentioned a few days ago that I lost weight through a new program that will be available in the spring. This program used a special scale for weigh-ins that tracked things like fat % and pounds, and muscle % and pounds, and other things like metabolic age and BMI (but I’ve actually had a trainer tell me that once you are fit, don’t pay attention to the BMI, because as you build muscle your BMI will rise). Early on, after 3 or 4 weeks of weight-loss, my pounds didn’t budge for 3 solid weeks. It was annoying. HOWEVER, that lovely scale told me that my muscle mass was increasing and the fat was decreasing. YEEHA!

My suggestion? Take measurements. I still do 2 ab-measurements – one at belly-button, and one about 2 inches below. And shop for clothes when you notice your things start fitting loosely.
Break away from the scale!
My weight hit a plateau again later, before settling into its new range. But I’m still in smaller sizes than I used to wear!

2. Change up your workout. I don’t mean just weights one day, cardio the next, and so on in a continuouse cycle. If your usual cardio workout is a half-hour on the elliptical, take a week on a cycle instead, then go back to what you like and step it up a level. Trying new things works different muscles and shakes up your whole system. I have a coworker who runs several miles 3 or 4 times a week, but doesn’t lose a pound. He hasn’t altered his workout in years, and his body is just used to it. When I need a kick-start, I go to spin classes at my gym. I might only be regular at them for a couple weeks, but it helps.

All this is very non-technical. I have no expertise in training or physical fitness, just my own experience. And that brings me to observation number three:

3. No amount of exercise will off-set a bad diet. By all means, eat that cake at your nephew’s birthday party; just don’t eat the whole thing. It’s true that a high-protein, high-fiber diet will be more filling and less fattening than a high-sugar, high-carb, high-fat diet. Try it: for one week have protein for breakfast instead of that bowl of cereal. Amazing. And really, I don’t deprive myself. I like my food and my drink. It’s tough, but keep your goal in mind. Which brings me to a final thought:

4. If you’ve made a resolution to lose weight/get fit you did so for a reason. Try to remember that reason. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip-up on the diet, or backslide on the exercise. As far as exercise, something is better than nothing. If you’re not “in the mood”, just go for a walk – it gets you moving at least.

So go to it! Let 2012 be the year you achieve your resolution!


  1. All sound advice, Red!

    Being a slave to the scale is never good. I don't own one because I'd step on it five times a day. Instead, I have a pair of jeans that are a dozen years old, and periodically I try them on - if I don't have to wiggle to slide them over my hips, then I'm fine. If wiggling is involved, time to increase my workouts. For me, it's a better method than obsessing over every pound.

  2. I generally can lose weight fairly easily, but I have to make a concentrated effort to do it. As soon as I am not paying attention, it's back.


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.