Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Weight Training Run Down

187.8 lbs. Of course, you know this means war.

For the record, the next time somebody talks to me about “butt naked,” he’d either A) have a bottle of mental Purell ready for me or B) have the last name of “Clooney” and not a reasonable approximation thereof.

The last friggin’ thing I need or desire in my life is for this program to go BACKWARDS. Hell, if I wanted to put on weight, I’ve got a Denny’s in waddling distance and an In N Out just beyond that. There are far more fun ways to do this, believe me.

Like I said, obsession is not just a lousy Calvin Klein fragrance. I was rehashing what I’d eaten, how hard I’d worked out and in my mind’s eye, sitting in a corner in a little ball glaring at the rest of the world and grumbling to myself. You know, the kind of thing you walk away from on a subway platform. Rapidly. Then, it occurred to me: I have been down this road before: overnight spike and plateau. I’ve started getting nasal congestion and a little bit of eczema.


That sneaky bastard had somehow made its way back into my system. The only thing I had changed from last week was the protein powder I was using. Label check: I didn’t see anything obvious in the ingredients, but I recognized the symptoms (of course, not having studied biochemistry or organic chemistry, I could not readily identify a lot of the ingredients on the label, except to say there were no synthetic compounds). Streamline is a good product, don’t get me wrong. It is high quality stuff. But the quality doesn’t make a difference if there’s something in there which triggers a reaction in my system. I returned it and we’ll see what happens from here.

There are people who have excellent self-esteem regardless of size (and despite societal pressure) and there are people who have the current “approved” appearance yet suffer from self-loathing. Those in the former category are probably not even reading this blog except to hunt for snarky comments (and maybe even not that. There are some true Christians out there). However, for those of us who feel the need to take action to achieve self-acceptance (that would be me), I offer this post.

I find myself, from time to time, explaining why it is that I, a person of the female gender (I am. I have proof) lift weights (or, more accurately, use weight machines). I can understand that because we think think that we will bulk up like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger (with whom he would probably sleep. Think of it this way, Ladies: if you’ve ever lusted after the Governator, you can probably have him. Check the flights to LAX).

The lesser reasons for weight training: boosting metabolism, improving bone density, increasing lean muscle mass, improving balance (yeah, I’m still working towards that one) and so on. According to My Net Diary, weight training will burn calories like crazy. According to Torquemada, that increased burn will last longer than cardio or yoga or Pilates. Health, improved health!

We’ll start from the bottom up with the superficial reasons:

1.       Cankles: Leg press, leg curl and leg extensions help say “Buh bye” to the dreaded cankle. And, those platform stilettos so high that you need FAA clearance to wear them? You won’t need them to make your legs look good. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WALK WITHOUT FEAR.

2.       Thunder Thighs:  Leg presses, leg curls and leg extensions develop long, lean muscles in the thighs. Remember “Thin Thighs in 30 Days?” Same fitness generation as the Jane Fonda workouts and leg warmers? No? How old are you, anyway?

3.       Saddle bags: Abductor (I get abductors and adductors confused as to which is outer thigh) work will help pare those down to virtual coin purses.

4.       Inner thigh flaps for which there is no derogatory slang term: Adductor work. Suzanne Somers and the Thigh Master. No? Seriously, how old are you?

5.       Ba donk a donk: You may like big butts and not know why, other brothers can’t deny. However, there may be a difference between a backside like, say, Beyonce’s and one that you can use to write your name in the sand. Without sitting. The all-purpose leg press and leg curl will tone and tame the tush.

6.       The Pooch aka The Gut (in a minor case, “Muffin Top” or in a more extreme case like mine “Flabalanche”): That which hangs over the belt and has Kelly Osborne bitching about people needing Spanx. Or not wearing bikinis. Back in the 1960s, it was called “Midriff Bulge” (and I heard a LOT about mine from my parents, neither of whom were particularly slender) and the advertised cure was the panty girdle (an advanced form of the Iron Maiden). Working the abdominus rector (aka “engaging the core”) will tighten the appearance of this national obsession. No 6 packs guaranteed, but you’ll be able to stand taller.

7.       Love Handles: Work the obliques. Since I figured out how to engage mine (tells you how out of shape I was), I have noticed that my torso appears narrower. I still have The Great White Belly (I’m not sure, but I may be getting stalked by a guy named Ahab), but it’s getting contained into a smaller and smaller area as the neighborhood gets gentrified.

8.       Back boobs: Mid level and low level rowing machines working the latissimus dorsi, a big honking muscle from your upper arm down to your pelvic region. Over-sized unrestrained breasts (yes, Gentlemen, there is such a thing. Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder at all times) will torture these muscles.

9.       Bra overhang (side): Shoulder presses, high level rowing. Look good under the tank top.

10.   Mutant double boob (front): Combination of bra cup too small and need for better developed chest muscles. Rowing and chest presses.

11.   Arm flaps: tricep improvement tightens them up. A lot of the machines designed for backs and shoulders have a secondary benefit of working the triceps. Seated dips (where your feet on the floor, your hands are on a VERY firm surface like a bench and your butt is suspended betwee the two. Now you raise and lower yourself using the arms. You WILL feel it). As the muscles build and strengthen, the flaps disappear.

12.   Linebacker shoulders: Work the deltoids (anterior and posterior) to narrow and define.

I have omitted Double Chins, Turkey Wattles (aka The Reagan) and No Neck as these tend to disappear with the loss of weight, but can be tightened by tilting the head back, shoulders down and pretending to bite an apple (or whatever you might prefer to bite) repeatedly and perform this exercise a couple of times a day.

I am not a fitness/nutrition/psychotherapy professional and do not claim to be such. I can, however, share what is (or is not) working FOR ME.

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