Physical Training Apr 2001

The Fit Kick

By Bill Whedon

Getting Specific

We all have body parts we would like to improve.  And, of course, we all know that we can't  "spot-reduce" (well, at least, most of us know that, no matter what  the "Tummy-Cizer" and "Butt-O-Matic" folks want us to believe!)  And it's true, as far as it goes.  But as far as it goes, pertains mostly to fat, not muscle.

So, while you can't remove that extra inch of fluffy matter from your thighs directly, you should know that you can instead add some not-so-fluffy muscle, which will serve multiple purposes.  First and foremost, of course, more muscle will make you stronger.  But there are other uses for muscle:

And how do we get this wonderful muscle stuff?  Well, we literally work our butts off!  Which isn't at all as unpleasant as it may sound to some of us.  Especially at the end of the day, when our muscles have that warm little ache that says we did a good job, and we look in the mirror and see the improvement.

No-Work Exercise
... isn't exercise.  Those infomercials which promise it are simply not telling you the entire story.   The "air-walker" type machines, for instance, while possibly a valid exercise machine for the totally un-fit, or persons who have joint problems, simply don't provide enough of a workout for even the casual exerciser, much less, somebody who's been working out regularly.  Now, this is entirely anecdotal, and not by any means intended to be a scientific study, _but_... I've been on just about every brand of those things on the market, and there is no way I could hit my THR (Target Heart Rate) on one, without pushing my exercise/leg-swinging speed to dangerous levels.  The problem with these machines is just that - they supposedly "work you out" by supporting you while you swing your legs (and sometimes your arms) in a somewhat-unnatural arc.  No real serious resistance, and no use of the large muscles on these things.  Easy?  Of course they're easy!  For most of us, though, I'm sorry to say, they simply are a waste of time, money, and (very little) effort, in my opinion.  Another fancy gadget to hang stuff on out in the garage.  If you must have one, wait until spring and get it at a garage sale for ten bucks!

So What Can We Do?
At the risk of sounding like a continuously-repeating tape loop -- Find Something Fun To Do, And Do It!  After your hips?  Your options are many.  You can run, walk, jog, do aerobic dance, step aerobics, tennis, inline skating -- you get the idea.  Arms?  Push-ups, curls at the gym (in the "iron-head" area!), Nautilus, Cybek, resistance tubing, baseball (!), boxing, tossing a medicine ball around, chins, and lots of other exercises.  See your Certified Personal Trainer for more ideas specific to your (personal!) situation.

And How Do We Do It?
Three words.  "Regularly, and intensely!"

Summing Up The Pep Talk
If it isn't hard, it probably isn't exercise.  But just being hard doesn't mean it can't also be fun.  The key to a life of fitness and health is to be found in your own motivation.  You can own every gadget in the world, eat all the weird supplements there are, and still not be fit and healthy.  Or you can simply set yourself on a path which includes:

Best wishes,
Bill Whedon 

Bill Whedon is the owner of World Fitness. He has been a Certified Personal Trainer since 1994. He presently teaches aerobics at several sites, trains individuals who have a need but little money, and programs computers for a living. Bill lives in Lawson, MO.

This article was previously published at the World Fitness Organization website:
Free fitness information and counselling. Fitness Trainer certification programs

Physical Training Apr 2001