Why exercise isn’t about weight loss…
I know a race report is due but I’m waiting for my times from Celtman before I write it up properly, as is my want, I had nothing more than my watch on so I’ve no real idea of how long it took me to do anything…other than the bike taking 3hours longer than planned, but that’s a sad story for another day. I’m also going to do one reflecting on my training in regards to my performance, but for now I thought I’d better do the final progress shot and a quick (well you know me I’m prone to waffling…just re-read this its a massive ramble) reflection on why I took them in the first place.
So why did I take them? Back in December I spoke to a couple of personal trainers and gyms about possible business link ups (I’m a photographer in the real world). I wanted to do before and after pictures of their clients, but for various reasons this never quite got off the ground. However it did make me think that I needed a guinea pig/model who was prepared to be the first. So when it came to doing the blog I had a thought why not me? Then a friend said that she really liked progress pictures in fitness blogs and that was all the push I needed.
There were also practical reasons for the pictures as when you undertake a training programme it is important to monitor what you are doing to make sure you’re not pushing too hard or putting too much stress on your system. This includes getting enough to eat because it is too easy to not realise when upping the amount of time your spending training, particularly on the bike. I know quite a few folk who seem to constantly be picking up viruses and struggling with injures and ***WARNING OPINION*** I believe that loosing too much weight (not eating enough), not doing enough strength stuff and most of all not listening to your body is a real issue. Therefore the pictures combined with the measurements were to make sure I wasn’t loosing too much weight…turns out I had no reason to worry as what has always been true with me has continued. I don’t really loose weight I just get denser.
Finally, and possibly the most important reason as far as I’m concerned is the ideological argument. I’m sick to death hearing about weight loss. I have been inundated with adverts for this exercise trick, weight loss miracle and that fad diet since I started the blog, Facebook etc and I loathe it with a vengeance. This may sound odd coming from someone posting pictures of themselves in their pants on the internet, but this is and has never been about getting skinny. I know lots of people will say I didn’t start off massive (it has been said already), but that’s my first bug bare. Judging yourself against other people. There is no point. I’m never going to be model skinny I’m just not built that way. I’m athletic, by that I mean fairly solid, I’m never going to be that light. 75kg is the weight I usually sit at. I have bigger hands than most of the guys I know (my lovely little sister refers to them as my mole-mits and makes digging motions…charming I know) and I also remember knocking a good few guys on their arses in my late teens as part of my early rugby career, so delicate and ladylike are not qualities usually associated with me, but I accepted that a long time ago. My build has allowed me to do lots of different things, be fairly good a lots of things and keep me pretty safe traveling the world, often by myself, so maybe I’m lucky or maybe that’s just the way we should all see ourselves. Look for the positive.
Stop comparing ourselves to fictional people in the media and advertising. They are only there to make you feel shit about yourself so you buy the pointless crap in the pursuit of something that has no real value. I can feel myself getting angrier and angrier as this turns into a full out rant, so I’m going to trail off there and come back to my original topic, but if anyone wants to hear my 2000+word rant on the fatuous superficial nature modern society (I’m pretty sure no one does) add a comment at the end LOL…
…now what was I talking about oh yes why I took the progress pictures. 1. Demonstrate the benefit of before and after pictures. Check! 2. To keep healthy. Check! 3. Not everyone is model shaped. Check (sort of)! 4. Oh yes I remember…even with lots of hard f***ing work change is slow, its difficult and weight loss is a piss poor indicator of progress. As I feel is proven by the pictures. Keep in mind that for large parts of the process I was training towards 15 hours a week including 2-3 weights sessions . Did I get massive? Not particularly. Did I loose weight? Not particularly.
So what did I get out of it I hear you ask…I got leaner. I got stronger. I got happier. I got more confident (okay maybe not one of my issues). I got strong enough to stay on my bike for 11hours (though at times during that period I wished I wasn’t). I got the sense that I am physically able to do everything I want to be able to do. And that’s what it’s all about for me. Being able to do stuff. Not looking a certain way. Any physical changes have been a by product.
So take away message is doing stuff is good! Not doing stuff is bad. Weight loss is a shit indicator of fitness. Exercise and fitness makes you happy. Judging yourself against other people is a recipe for making yourself unhappy. Weights don’t make you massive. I have an opinion on everything LOL
And to finish here’s the pictures from the beginning 😉
DISCLAIMER: In no way should anything I’ve done or said or written be taken as good advice. I have no professional experience in the heath and wellbeing sector and an unhealthy disregard for what people regard as good training and competing practices. So anything you do is all on you x
Well done, you have done amazing x
Great post Claire! After undertaking a strength program 2 years ago I completely agree with you about weight loss vs feeling better about yourself. Great job on documenting your progress – it’s been fun to follow along from across the ocean! Keep at it! – Canadian Cuz Sarah
Perfect, Keep it up 🙂