Throughout our lives we all have to pass the different stages of our let’s call it vital cycle. We all go through the years making mistakes and hopefully learning from them. Then when we look back on the past we realize that life hasn’t changed so much, but our point of view took a turn.
What makes you stumble throughout the years, actually makes you grow as a person. I find that to be also true about the world of weightlifting and sports in general. If I take some time to remember my first steps in the world of sports and nutrition…Oh,my……!!! I am pretty scared of myself! 🙂 I’ve done most mistakes that an athlete could have done! When I stopped playing basketball, I spent about 7months recovering from my injury, before I started swimming. During that time I did not stop practicing. I went to the nearest globo gym, got a membership and it all started! I was the new cardio queen. It makes me laugh out loud when I remember the endless HOURS spend on the treadmill. Lucky me there was a TV, so I could run,walk,peddle and watch whatever was broadcasted. Then, pleased with the calories I burned I went back home and ate as much as I wanted, and whatever I wanted.
Did I ever got to look the way I wanted?Hm…NO! There were times that I thought I just didn’t have the right genes, and I was cursed to be skinny fat. And that was a hard statement to swallow, keeping in mind that I was DYING to have some nice muscle definition and a descent lean body.
I was doing everything right(at least according to the popular fitness magazines, and all the fitness myths that are following around)…so why I never lost a pound and the closest I could get to my muscles, was just the feeling of them being exhausted after the two or three hours marathon in the cardio room?
Well, probably because you can’t get something, when you do not work in the direction of building it! How can you expect to get muscles, when everything you do is exactly the opposite? By spending endless hours in the cardio room, you are most likely to destroy even the small muscles you have, in order to provide your body fuel for the cardio session. When you expose your body to long duration activities you kind of send it a signal that it will need some fuel to keep you going through all that. That puts your body on stress to keep your fat so it will make sure it will be able to provide you energy. So instead of taking that fat off your body, you are just making sure it will stay there! What your body is gonna do next is it will burn your muscle instead of fat , and there are two reasons for this: first it is a proven fact that the body breaks down muscle protein to use it as fuel, when there isn’t another fuel available and second muscles use a lot more calories to live than fat does. Thus, by destroying your muscles, there is a consequence- you slowed your metabolism, which is exactly the opposite of what you wanted-to make it faster!
Mistake number two was my nutrition. Food is meant to provide your body the macro and micro nutrients needed in order for it to function properly. Rule number one is YOU EAT ACCORDING TO HOW MUCH YOU PRACTICE AND ACCORDING TO YOUR DAILY ACTIVITY!!! You DO NOT…and I will repeat it DO NOT practice as much as you ate, in order to burn the bad calories and stay skinny. That is not how it works! So stop fooling yourself that you can eat that cake, and then you will go and waste a couple hours in the fitness, and it will all be even. It won’t! And NO, I am not trying to let you down, and destroy your motivation! I am just trying to help you, because I’ve done it…for a sufficient amount of time, and it never worked out that way!
So that was stage one…and I am happy it is far away in the past!
Stage number two is moving to the weightlifting room! That is a big step, but still not where I wanted to be. I remember myself, going to the second floor of the globo gym, where the weights were. I saw all these guys with enormous, pumped hands and skinny legs-the chicken legs syndrome ( but that is a matter of another discussion). And back then, they all looked really intimidating. I was a bit frustrated and doubted my place was there. All I saw were a bunch of machines I did know nothing about and a lot of big biceps. I was lost! So what I did was just look what others did and apply the same to myself. Needless to say, it did not work out that way either. So some more time wasted in the gym, and never achieving the body I longed for.
Later on I was already sick enough of everything and decided to explore the human body and how it functions by myself. So since then I’ve been reading and reading, I know a lot now but surely not enough! I am eager to get to know as much more as I could…and who knows if I will laugh at myself again in the future.
But what was on my mind at the beginning was that we all pass through these stages. Some of us unfortunately stay there forever, others just give up…and fortunately some build on the skills and reach where they aimed. So if you are just as I was, do not worry. Just give yourself some time, and learn! You can be, whatever you want to be, and look exactly how you imagine yourself. It just takes some time and knowledge!
If you want me to give you some advice on how to start…just stay away from fitness magazines, and other magazines claiming they’ve figured out the magic formula to the perfect body; avoid the long line of people in the globo gym, who are waiting for the leg curl machine, the biceps machine and so on…focus on free weights, a.k.a hit the iron and the barbells. Practice functional. Master the squats, the deadlift, push press, push-ups, pull ups and then you can ask me for more. Do those and you won’t need the fancy workout routines and magic pills. If you want to find out more about why functional training is better read this article.
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