Meet Debbie. Meet Confidence.

I plagiarized the two short sentences that are the title of today’s post. They are printed next to a billboard-sized picture of Debbie which is featured on a billboard-sized billboard along a major highway on which I often travel.

The billboard is advertising the results of surgery that Debbie underwent at the offices of Acme Plastic Surgery Associates. I don’t know Debbie and even if I did, I would not be so unkind as to write unkind words about her for millions of people to read. But I believe that my legions of faithful readers would be bitterly disappointed if I did not expound upon the truth as I see it. My apologies to Debbie who I am sure is a lovely person.

Before we go any further, let me say that this will not an anti-cosmetic surgery rant. I LOVE capitalism and firmly believe that is none of my business how people choose to spend their hard-earned money. Additionally, the fact that I have spent millions on hair color would completely negate any self-righteous diatribe on the subject.

My issue is one of semantics.

Debbie is a pretty lady somewhere between, I’m guessing, 45 and 55 years old. Her skin is as smooth and clear as a 20 year old supermodel. Let’s assume that she was a wrinkly, unattractive mess prior to her visit to Acme Plastic Surgery Associates.  The fact that Acme is shouting from a billboard that Debbie now radiates billboard-sized confidence makes me want to projectile vomit. 

Because I thought confidence was a powerful side effect of  ‘accomplishment.

As in, “I have the education and experience to apply for the VP position that just opened at the company I work for” or, “After faithfully working out at the gym for three years, I can easily deadlift 100 pounds” or “I am looking forward to tutoring high school students who are struggling in their advanced organic chemistry class” or “I make the best sugarless, gluten-free, high-fiber, organic chocolate cake on the planet!”

Until today, I was unaware that confidence is for sale at the office of the local plastic surgeon. Maybe I have been wasting time educating myself, dedicating myself to a life’s purpose or setting any type of goal.

If the ad agency that created Acme’s billboard was honest, they would have suggested the catchy phrase, “Meet Debbie who feels prettier after her visit to Acme.”

Gack,  I couldn’t bear to spend 3 seconds in the presence of a woman who felt more confident after a face-lift. What a complete and total vacuous bore. If however, that same woman told me she felt prettier after a face lift, I would understand. I personally would feel a lot sexier if I could trade in my AAA-cup training bra for a lacy, underwire C-cup.

Oh shoot, just ignore this post. It seems that I CAN buy confidence!

 

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How To Maximize Calorie Burn During Exercise

Dear Lunge Lady,

A few weeks ago you promised to reveal your secrets to increasing my metabolism and burning more calories every day.

WELL?!

Warmly,

Waiting in Westport, Washington

 

Thanks for the reminder, W. This is a topic worthy of a lengthy discussion.

Indeed, I recently discussed caloric expenditure as it relates to exercise. As you may recall, I shared the news that the typical exercise session burns not enough calories to even bother counting

Some women may find this depressing. I find it liberating. I can do whatever the heck workout I want for however long I choose without worrying myself with how I’m going to burn off the 15 snicker-doodles I ate last night while watching Naked And Afraid re-runs.

Let’s take a moment to consider this popular motivational gem:

4%

Obviously, I’m all in favor of people prioritizing exercise. Wouldn’t it be a happier, healthier world if all of us set aside an hour a day to focus on becoming fitter?

But the logic of this philosophy is so dreadfully backward.

The vastly more important considerations is:

What are you doing with the other 96% of your day?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 8 million times, EXERCISE was not invented as a means of burning calories.  In fact, it is biologically dis-advantageous for a living organism to expend calories at an accelerated rate. Our bodies are designed to conserve energy. 

An OFFICIAL I Love My Muscles Definition:

 

Exercise /ˈeksərˌsīz/ noun  (From the Latin gettus thy assus perpendiculus)

Moving your body in such a way as to accomplish a physical task. Including, but not limited to bending, lifting, rotating, pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, walking, running, climbing, reaching and/or kneeling.

 

Does it make sense to work out like a decathlete for an hour a day if you are just going to sit on your butt for the remaining twenty three?

Does it make sense to say, “I just don’t have the time to devote an entire hour to exercise daily so I just won’t bother doing anything and instead eat an entire bag of DoubleStuff Oreos while I lament my lack of willpower?”

or

Should we realize that we may already have the opportunity to exercise MANY times per day f we so choose…walking the dog, grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, stretching during lunch break, taking the stairs, care taking for another human being.

rant

That was a long-winded way of saying that if you want to expend more calories every day, W, you gotta move your body. Often. The movement does not need to be continuously stressful or cardiovascularly intensive. And it most certainly does not need to be officially sanctioned by an exercise expert.

Officially sanctioned workouts should be designed with a specific purpose in mind*: that’s what sets them apart from the daily exercise in which we all engage. In other words, workouts don’t take the place of the normal activities of daily living. Instead, working out should prepare us to perform the many and varied activities of our daily lives. 

In summary, W, work out to get strong, not to burn calories. Keep moving throughout your days. Eat well and sleep well. No, the pounds won’t melt off. But with time and consistency, you will become stronger, fitter and maybe even leaner.

*Interesting side note: athletes work out to improve/maintain specific aspects of their physical performance. NOT to burn calories.

A Groovy Kind of Love

I’ve been following a friendly argument between two writers on a blog I follow. These 50ish, physically active women with admittedly less-than-perfect physiques have differing opinions regarding the concept of loving your body.

A few days ago, Fit Is A Feminist Issue author Tracy wrote, “…the whole idea that I should love my body seems totally overreaching to me. Why not just have it? Live in it? Experience it? Feed it? Move it in ways I find find enjoyable?” Tracy supports a concept she calls ‘body neutrality’…an attitude of ‘it is what it is’…because she finds it stressful to maintain an unwavering feeling of self-love.

Her counterpart, Sam responded,  “I’ve always heard ‘love your body’ as a permission. Love that body now. Yes, that body. I associate loving my body with the activity of caring for my body.”  Sam says she enjoys the challenge of loving her body unconditionally and that she further enjoys a sense of awe and wonder when contemplating her body’s capabilities.

amimissingsomethinghere

I guess I really don’t understand the disagreement. Is seems as if they share a similar philosophy.

As you know, the management and staff here at I Love My Muscles are mostly concerned that people do the right thing for their bodies. Body-love, as defined in our company’s mission statement, means taking action…action that supports and nourishes your physical self. You can love your body by eating well, sleeping well, moving often.

Personally, I do actually love my body in a hugs-and-kisses kind of way because it’s a pretty integral part of my being able to live purposefully. I don’t feel virtuous about eating healthfully or working out. I just feel better when I do. And I like that. So I do it.

Furthermore, I do not ever look at a thin and/or fit person and think, “Wow, that person really oozes willpower, self-control and everything  good and wonderful about humanity!” I only really get excited when someone has made a point to pursue their own definition of success. That’s the thrill of victory, baby!

thrillofvictory

I don’t guilt trip when I eat something less-than-healthful. I made the choice to do it. and hopefully, I enjoyed it. Now, if I found myself eating poorly often, I would question whether I was loving my body in the best way possible. But I don’t judge people who make different choices than I do.

And that’s where I wanted this post to end up…with me reminding you that you can choose to remove all judgement and emotion when it comes to decisions you make about your health and physical body. Yeah, I can hearing you screaming, “Easier said than done, lady!!!”

Well, duh, isn’t EVERYTHING easier said than done?

When it comes to your health and fitness, you might consider choosing to love yourself by asking, “Is this the best choice for me?”

feelthelove

 

 

 

5 Tips To Avoid Becoming An April (Fitness) Fool

As far as I am concerned, every day is April 1st in the world of exercise and weight loss. In fact, I find myself questioning almost every headline, broadcast and advertisement that has any relevance to my business…I wonder to myself, “Is this for real or some kind of trick?”

Well, that’s not quite true.

My actual thought process looks more like this, “Well butter my ass and call me a biscuit if that isn’t the biggest load of happy horseshit that I’ve ever had the displeasure of stumbling across.”

What you’ll read next is the official I Love My Muscles No-Fooling Guide To Navigating Wellness Claims, Information and/or Products

  1. You need to slam your eyelids closed whenever you come across a headline or advertisement boasting any or all of the following: fun, new, breakthrough, exciting, revolutionary, easy, simple, amazing, miraculous, ground-breaking, secret or worst of all, ‘proven’ and ‘guaranteed to work‘.
  2. If it looks like this, it doesn’t work:

    bootymax

    WHAT?! BootyMax is a waste of precious time and hard earned money?

  3. If it looks like this, it doesn’t work and is flat out embarrassing to wear:
    shapeshoes

    Well, maybe the pink ones work

    4. If it looks like this, it doesn’t work and you will look like a dork using it:

    stepper2

    Is this supposed to take the place of that moving activity we once referred to as…ummmm,’walking’?

    5. Oh my GOSH, how did I miss this and why don’t I have one?!

I know it’s fun to believe that ‘this one simple trick will change your life’. But that mindset is really kind of desperate, isn’t it?

What can and will gradually lead to improved fitness, health and self-confidence is implementing seemingly inconsequential, fairly dull habits into your daily routine. No fooling.

boring3

 

 

Warning: You May Be Exercising Wrong!

Dear Lunge Lady,

What type of exercise should I be doing in order to burn the most possible calories during each workout?

Your faithful fan, 

Flummoxed in Fennville 

Dear Flummoxed,

Before I begin to answer your question, I need to congratulate you for the creatively constructed closing to your letter. Thank you for adhering to the Lunge Lady’s non-negotiable guidelines for submittals to this column.

Moving on…

As a highly paid, renowned fitness professional, I am often approached by women like yourself who want to make the most of their workouts.

You might be interested to know that I enjoyed an intense workout this morning that burned a whopping 978 calories! (click here for another one of my famous 1000-calorie workouts)

tellmemore

Following are the specifics:

I warmed up for a few minutes on a rowing machine. The digital screen on this piece of equipment posts information as to distance covered, time logged and calories expended. It’s one of the few pieces of equipment that I’ve worked with that actually appears to be fairly accurate when calculating the above mentioned caloric burn.

Once warmed up, I began an interval workout that looked like this:

30 seconds of all-out sprint, 30 seconds easy rowing. 

During my sprints, the calorie-expenditure meter jumped all the way up from 550 calories/hour to 978 calorie/hour. 

I was able to keep this pace for about 7 minutes. All told, I spent about 10 minutes on the rower which reported that I had expended a grand total of 83 calories. That’s probably a little optimistic but I’ll take it.

So the truth of my 978 calorie workout is that I was able to do it for 30 seconds at a time for only a very short while.

What I am saying Flummoxed, is that if I had attempted to keep up the 978-calorie/hour pacing for an entire hour, the unfortunate staff at Family Fitness would be picking pieces of my brain off the wall for months-to-come after my head had exploded.

soapbox

My friend, exercise wasn’t invented as a means to burn calories. In today’s world, we need to ‘work out’ because our daily lives don’t include enough physical labor or general activity to keep us healthy, strong or fit. 

In the classes I teach, we exercise so that we can leave the gym strong enough to live the rest of our lives to the fullest. For you that may mean chasing (grand)kids, doing yard work, hauling groceries, going for a bike ride, taking care of an aging parent or traveling.

important

The quantity of calories you ingest in relation to the quantity of calories you expend determines your weight, NOT the nearly non-existent number of calories you burn during 3-5 hours of exercise per week. 

Want to learn more about how you can start to ‘burn’ more calories each day? We’ll pick up this conversation later. Right now, I’ve got to get up from my computer and move my ass.

100calorie.jpg

MEANWHILE IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

1 Thing You Can Do Every Day To Improve Your Health And Fitness

A semi-humorous commercial asks, “What if one piece of broccoli could protect you from cancer? And what if one push-up could prevent a heart attack?”

This ad assumes that you know how unrealistic and silly it would be to think that achieving wellness is quite so simple.

pushups

Guess what? It really can be that simple. Keep reading…I’ve complied a long list of ‘one thing’ you can do to improve your health, fitness and overall well being. Pick any or all of the following actions to do once daily and you will be on your way to a better life.

  1. What if you did eat one piece of broccoli a day? Say you snapped off just one fresh piece daily, washed it and popped in right in your mouth. By the end of the week, you would have eaten an entire stalk. Happily, you aren’t limited to just broccoli. You can try this nifty trick with ANY tasty fruit or vegetable of your liking.broccoli2
  2. What if you walked up one flight of stairs daily? By the end of the week you would have walked up 7 stories! And that might be more stairs than you’ve walked in the past 7 months.
  3. Perhaps you could drink one less soda/beer/sports drink/glass of red KoolAid each day.
  4. And replace it with one glass of water. Maybe you would catch yourself preferring ice-cold lemon water to sticky, sickeningly-sweet anything.lemonwater
  5. What if you walked around the block once before you sat down to watch re-runs of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo? Maybe you would like it so much you would just keep walking right through the closing credits.

    honeybooboo

    On second thought, you probably shouldn’t miss this

  6. Maybe each day you could replace one pasty, white carb with a nutritious whole grain. You might discover that chewing your food is fun. Additionally, you’ll feel full faster and poop better.
  7. Once a day, you could redirect your attention when you feel a less-than-healthful craving for say, a pan full of brownies or a bag of sour cream-‘n-onion potato chips. Over the course of a week, that’s lot of ice cream and chips that didn’t make into your glorious body. But more importantly, you made a choice and proved that indeed, you could put aside that craving. That might even turn into something you could do 2 or 3 times a day.

Not a complete list but a few ideas to get you thinking.

Now maybe you’re skeptical of this less-than-exciting plan. You might even believe I’m full of it.

horseshit

You’re thinking,

“I find that fitness and eating well work best for me when I create an elaborate, unrealistic, time-consuming program that starts with me spending a weekend eating all of the peanut butter, chips and cookies in the house and then re-stocking with lots of lettuce, chicken and Slim Fast. Typically, I find this program to be highly successful for about 3 days after which I throw up my hands in despair having determined that being healthy is too difficult and not a priority at this very busy time in my life. I’m ridiculously sore, tired and hungry as well as frustrated with having to eat differently from my friends and family. So, at this point, I commence to annoying everyone I meet by telling them that this whole business of exercise and dieting is for self-absorbed people who have been blessed with a lot more willpower, money and time than I have been.”

drfill

 

 

Why This May Be The Most Important Fitness Article You Read This Year

Before we delve into today’s topic, I first need to ask a question.

Do you miss reading the  newspaper?

Specifically I’m talking about the big, fat print-edition of the Sunday press that was tossed upon your doorstep by a neighborhood kid riding banana-seat Schwinn down the sidewalks in the pre-dawn hours.

newspaperdelivery

As a young girl, I loved poring over the Sunday newspaper. In our home, it was an unwritten rule that my dad had first dibs. We waited impatiently for him to finish with the the full-color comics, the Parade Magazine and the lifestyle section. In particular, I wanted to get to the pages that featured advice dished by columnists such as Ann Landers, Miss Manners, Dr. Donahue and Heloise.

My own problems paled in comparison to those of the troubled readers seeking to alleviate recurring ear infections, patch up decades-long feuds with siblings, learn the secret to removing stubborn ketchup stains or tactfully request that a neighbor clean up after his dog.

Sadly, the Sunday paper has lost it’s appeal for me…due to declining readership it has been diminished to little more than a sad, flimsy newsletter.

But I am not one to sit around pining for yesteryear. In fact, I’m introducing my own advice column featuring reader questions on all things health and exercise. Dear Lunge Lady looks forward to hearing from you at dearlungelady@gmail.com.

lunchlady

 Dear Lunch Lady has her own column

Please be assured that no question is too silly or too complex. I will answer all questions based on my solid education and experience. And if I don’t know the answer to a query, I’ll just make up an answer that sounds smart.

Since I likely will be receiving hundreds of questions daily, I’ll tell you straight-up that the best way to get your letter noticed is to close it creatively. You know like this…

Kindly,

Cramped Calves in Kickapoo, Kansas

Truthfully, I’m going to read the sign-off before the content. If the signature is boring, I don’t even care how relevant the question is.

Today, I’m delighted to answer our first question which comes from a reader down South.

Dear Lunge Lady,

I’m excited to exercise and am hoping you can recommend the best workout to improve my overall strength, endurance and flexibility.

Obligingly,

Olivia in Okay, Oklahoma

Dear Olivia, 

Thank you for the great question! Twice a week I teach an all-in-one class called Fit Body Training which is followed by Go With The Flow, a challenging and enjoyable yoga-style class. Everybody who comes is motivated and friendly which will  only fuel your desire to keep striving to improve your wellness. It will be a bit of a drive for you, but if you leave now you’ll have plenty of time to make it here before next Monday’s class.I guarantee it will be worth your time and gas money.

Lovingly,

The Lunge Lady 

Let’s get those letters rolling in, ladies!

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