Monday, January 23, 2012

How long will this take?

Ads for fitness programs and equipment on television give us the idea that sculpted abs and bulging biceps are just a few weeks away.
Possible? I don’t know. And I don’t care.
But I have been interested to learn the opinions of experts in the fields of exercise and fitness. These true opinions are hard to find. But my favorite experts all have shared thoughts about how much time it should take to develop that dream body.
Funny how right now the one thing everybody wants is a well-defined, tapered abdomen.  What about strong legs, or a powerful back? I don’t know, but I would think that over all fitness should be the goal.
I like two things that Mike Chang has said.
First: If you get your entire body in shape, your abs will follow. You don’t need to “focus” on your abs.
Second: When you see someone on television or on tv that is in peak physical condition, they haven’t achieved this in just a few weeks. They look good because of years of good habits, proper diet, and lots of exercise.
Mike’s sarcastic answer to “How long should this take?” is: You should look pretty good after ten years.
The message is this: Make fitness a lifelong habit. Don’t try to work yourself to death for a few weeks hoping to look like a sexy movie star. Is it possible? Mike says that yes, there is a fast track to a good body if you’re willing to work that hard. But I don’t believe that exercise schedules like that are maintainable. One day you’ll stop. One day you’ll quit.
Still, when you exercise, you expect results. How long did it take me to see results? I saw results immediately. I felt better after just a few days. One of the first things I noticed was my double chin disappearing. Then I noticed my biceps shaping up. I noticed my stamina increasing and my posture improving. I liked that, and it definitely motivated me to continue.
Other changes were more gradual. I noticed an overall sense of wellbeing. My appetite changed and my diet was affected. I didn’t crave soda and sweets like I did before. I stopped over eating. And there were more physical changes. My shoulders broadened and developed. My chest squared up.
But my belly is still big and it pokes out over my pants. Do I pay attention to exercises that work my core? Sure I do.  But I always remind myself that I am working out because it feels so good, and it’s fun, and I’m happy because I’m becoming more fit and healthy.  Give me some time and my belly will look better. In fact, I think I’m going to look better and better overall. I just have to keep believing.

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