Where I write about things that have bothered me this week.
The other day, I came upon this article: Science Says You Should Start Your Workouts With Cardio at the My Fitness Pal blog. Now, I <3 My Fitness Pal -- if there is a tool that I can credit for why I believe I'm healthier, now, than I've ever been in my life, My Fitness Pal is that tool. But, there is so much about this article that pisses me off. First, it's a blog1, and, much like the haters in the whole #GamerGate sucktitude, because you have the ability to post means you have a voice — and that sucks sometimes.
First, the premise for the “best” workout seems to be what “increases your heartrate the least.” Now, if you’re a newbie to working out, this isn’t horrible advice, because you don’t know how hard to push your body – so, in theory, you can push yourself too hard, to the point of injury. And that would be horrible, especially for the fact that early injury might mean that you stop working out, altogether. But, well, I’m a believer that the more your heart rate elevates, the harder you’re pushing yourself, the more calories you’re burning doing the exercise, and the more calories you’ll burn while recovering from the exercise. Basically, as long as you don’t injure yourself, you should aim for the greatest increase in average heart rate during a workout.
Next is an item of actual safety. Lifting heavy is beneficial — it’s how you make yourself stronger, the fastest. Every time I lift2, I’m keenly aware of what I achieved the last time I worked out. If I my best set was a 275 pound squat for 5 reps, I’ll be thinking about that through my warm-ups, up until my heaviest set. Let’s assume, for the sake of simplicity, that you have a finite amount of strength in each muscle — well, if you do cardio first, you use up some of that strength — so, it’s entirely possible that I’m D-O-N-E after 4 sets at 275, just because of a run at the beginning of the workout. But, in the back of my head, I’m thinking “I did five the other day,” so I’ll try for one more . . . and introduce the possibility of injury by pushing myself too hard. I like to think that I know my body well-enough to avoid this, but, well, I can be stubborn when I’m asking of my own body.
So, in short, be cautious as to the source of an article — here, I simply don’t know what My Fitness Pal was trying to get across, unless they think everyone should be pushing themselves as little as possible, which seems beyond backward.
So, away from the My Fitness Pal blog & onto the application. The other day, I ended up in a lunch meeting. At the start of the meeting, I opened the app & logged everything that I was about to eat. This gathered some odd looks & a “why would you do that?”. Well, I do this to ensure that I’m keeping my eating in track. If I don’t consciously stop & think about what I think I’ll be eating, I’m likely to allow my eating to get out of control. While I think I’m disciplined enough to follow my body, I really don’t want to test the hypothesis. I log what I eat, every bite. Where possible, I log every bite before I eat it.
“What if you’re going to go over your calories?”
Well, at that point, I log, end up over my caloric budget for the day, and move on. I don’t stress over it. And then I showed the person a day where, despite “earning” 2000+ calories from exercise, I still went over my 3000 calorie budget, by an additional 2000 calories. In short, I ate like a pig for a day. The person, simply, didn’t understand why I’d log if I was going over.
My only answer was “if I don’t log when I’m going over, what’s the point of logging in the first place?”
Oh well, I’ll admit that logging is a pain in the ass, at times, but, well, I need something that keeps my eating in check. And this is what works for me.
Lastly, there seems to be a small, but vocal, minority of people who see their diet choices are superior to others. I don’t get this . . . everyone is on their own plan, with their own goals & methods. A snarky facebook post about the amount of sugar in a Pumpkin Spice Latte or the ilk — well, I don’t get it. I’ll fully admit that, since I’ve reduced the amount of refined sugars/flours in my diet, I seem to be making progress toward the body that I want, but, if anything, I feel stupid for this. The act of making dinner requires way more thought than the act of making food should require. I have to bring in my lunch, every day. I miss snacking. Choosing to eat one way or the other doesn’t make you superior to anyone. Now, if you bring in your lunches and then donate the money you’re saving to a food shelter? Well, maybe then, you actually do stand on a moral high ground. But, chicken breast & broccoli, while delicious, does not a good person make.