I would propose that physical fitness is a state of having the physical ability to perform at a certain level. For example, Lance Armstrong...physically fit, enough said. Achieving a state of physical health, on the other hand, requires a less performance-based measurement and more of a holistic understanding of the continuous inner workings of these glorious bodies of ours. When your body is in a healthy state, it is free of illness and disease, it is digesting efficiently, sleeping well, and properly balancing hormone levels in a sea of constantly shifting currents. My point in making the distinction between fitness and healthiness is that, while they often come together, that is often not the case.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Let's talk for a moment about the difference between "fitness" and "healthiness." I think that the distinction is very important. Especially because we have all been seriously brainwashed by the advertising and media that constantly screams at us with promises of having both..."Get fit and healthy, now!" "In just 6 minutes a day, you can have that fit and healthy physique that will have the guys/ladies taking notice!" Blah, blah, blah!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I recently had an experience that is rare for me in the gym. I picked up a pair of the heaviest dumbbells that I knew I could lift in an incline bench press. I pressed the weight for five repetitions with no trembling or stalling. What happened next totally puzzled me. After a minute of rest, I picked up the same weight, lay back on the bench...and froze. I was completely motionless and totally unable to press the weight! My first thought was, "So this is what temporary paralysis feels like!" I carefully put the weights down and lunged for the next dumb bells down the rack (5 pounds lighter) and...same thing. Again, I put the weights down and grabbed the next lighter weights...finally a shaky, quivering five repetitions. Ugh!
What happened here? My mind knew that I could lift the weights. I had just pressed the heaviest set for 5 repetitions. I had spent the last few weeks pressing the weight that was 5 pounds lighter. And I knew for certain that the final set of dumb bells should have been easy, but why did I have such a hard time convincing my body of that fact? There is only one answer -- fatigue!
Friday, March 18, 2011
I recently read (and now I'm re-reading) The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. I came across the book when I started noticing that a bunch of the fitness blogs that I read made regular references to it and to Mark's blog called Mark's Daily Apple. I strongly encourage anyone interested in health, fitness and clean diet to check out both the book and the blog.
Mark is an incredible guy who seems to spend most of his life either writing great fitness-related content or running shirtless around the beaches of sunny Southern California showing of his ripped abs and his frisbee skills. A former elite marathon runner and triathlete, Mark is now in his 50s and freely shares all the wisdom that he's gathered through years of serious training. The best part is that all his "serious" training has convinced him that we need to relax a whole lot more and enjoy the carefree fun of an active lifestyle without the pressure of stressful goals to lift x amount, run x minutes per mile, or weigh x amount. I'm totally on board with that!
The first few weeks of Phase 2 of my workout routine have been a lot of fun. I'm 5 sets of 5 reps for 2 exercises per body part. I take between 45 seconds to a full minute between sets and I'm shooting to lift much heavier weights than I did in Phase 1. It's crazy...I've really seen my strength jump! I've also seen some weight gain and muscle growth...slower than in Phase 1, but still progressing. My diet has really tightened up and I've moved to a completely paleo/primal eating style. (I'll do a separate post on that soon!)
Here are the measurements:
Weight = 194 (up 4 pounds)
Neck: 16.5 (up .5 inch)
Upper arms: left = 15.5; right 15.5 (up 1 inch)
Shoulders: 49 (no change)
Chest at nipples: 41 (no change)
Waist at navel: 31.5 (no change)
Hips at widest point: 39.5 (no change)
Legs mid-thigh: left = 23.5; right = 23.5 (up .5 inch)
Total inches: 254.5 (up 2.5 inches)
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
My measurements for this week didn't change a bit from last week. That includes my weight as well.
I think that this is to be expected because I've transitioned to Phase 2 with a focus on hybrid muscle growth and muscle toning or density. The funny thing is that I can see in the mirror that although my overall size is not changing too much, my muscles are beginning to look thicker and fuller. I also notice that I'm seeing tiny reductions in my remaining body fat that are starting to create increased muscle definition. I think this is a good transition that will keep me from getting that stringy look I see in guys that have lost a lot of weight but failed to increase muscle density (to me they look like they melted their fat and all that's left is beef jerky). Instead, my fat reduction will expose well-formed, lean muscles that have a healthy look, but not bulky.
Ahh, shower time! One of the most indulgent times of our adult day. If you have kids, this may be the only time you are alone. A hot, steamy shower is great way to freshen up...but did you know that you could be gaining many benefits from trying cold showers?
Cold showers are common in many parts of the world where hot water is hard to come by. The coldest shower I ever had in my life was one I took in Potosi, Bolivia. Potosi is one of the highest cities in the world and, let me tell you, it gets COLD up there. Add to that the fact that many budget or "backpacker" hotels don't cater to their clients by providing hot water in the shared bathrooms...and you can imagine the shrinkage going on when I hopped around under a stream of tiny ice cubes to try to wash the dust off from a day-long tour of the local silver mines. But I digress...
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
My Week 7 measurements did not reflect much of a change from the prior week. In fact, the only changes I saw were a 1 pound weight gain from 192 to 193 and a half inch loss on my hips at the widest point from 40" to 39.5".
Week 8 marks the close of Phase 1 of my Visual Impact Muscle Building Program! I think I'm at a decent peak for muscle growth and I'm excited about changing it up and focusing workouts that blend growth and strength gains to increase muscle density. My final measurements for Phase 1 show a few small but significant changes from last week. Here they are:
Weight = 190 (down 3 pounds!)
Neck: 16 (no change)
Upper arms: left = 14.5; right 14.5 (no change)
Shoulders: 49 (up 1 inch!)
Chest at nipples: 41 (up .5 inch!)
Waist at navel: 31.5 (no change)
Hips at widest point: 39.5 (down .5 inch)
Legs mid-thigh: left = 23; right = 23 (no change)
Total inches: 252 (up 1 inch)
I'm encouraged by the fact that I have consistently gained in my chest, shoulders and arms while losing in my waist and hips. That's the direction I need to go!
Last week I made a shift to a "primal" or "paleo" diet that completely eliminates grains in favor or increased intake of organic fruits, vegetables and meats. The result is 3 pounds of weight loss. Can't argue with that! (A side benefit is that I LOVE the food!) I'll be posting some primal recipes in the coming days so you can see how amazingly tasty this style of eating can be. (Another side benefit is that it's MUCH easier to eat out at restaurants and at so
cial gatherings...as opposed to eating vegan or vegetarian.)
Oh, and of course, the pics! These turned out a little blurry because two of the light bulbs over my mirror just burned out.