Monday, January 2, 2012

happy new year!!!!

happy new year!!!!

here's hoping 2012 is a better year for all - healthier, happier, and more prosperous.....though there are many outside influences that may alter the year's flow. hang onto your hats.....

at this time of year, in the fitness industry, the focus is on weight loss for many prospective clients and trainers and facilities that to neglect to discuss it in a blog would be sinful. on the other hand, to latch onto the basic theme that gets bandied about on how you need to get your butt into the gym to drop those extra pounds you gained these past 6 weeks - or past 52 - or past 20 years!!! - is not my cup of tea. perhaps i've been lax in this regard as so many personal training clients express the desire to lose weight when we meet or even after years of training that maybe i'm missing a market by being so lax. but it's a philosophical decision i made back when i started as a trainer in 1986. i sealed that position at the defense of my dissertation in 1988. after the bullshit discussion with the committee, upon 'approval', we deviated into a conversation on what was next in my life as a doctor of exercise science. i told them i was opening a personal training center - nashville's first. they asked how i was going to 'bring in' a new client, to which, since i was speaking to fellow professionals, i responded with the party line: assess, test, prescribe and implement. that is, i'd test cardiovascular capacity, body composition, muscle strength and joint flexibility, and then create a program for the individual. sounded good at the time...until someone asked "why?"

hmmmmm

why test? because i was taught that that's necessary before implementing an exercise program. but what if someone didn't want to know their body fat? hmmmm

and, other than a few individuals over the past 22 years, most DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. furthermore, many who need to lose wt cannot be measured accurately due to skinfold calipers' deficiency as the extremes. so, i never test any more. i offer but few accept. they know that if they lose weight, their clothes will fit differently and the scale will most likely show it. i say most likely because, yes, a few - esp males - may gain enough muscle mass to counter the few fat pounds lost, but this is rare in females, esp post menopausal ones. just basic science - i didn't make this up. inches may be lost but the layer of fat and the total weight may stay the same. why? because as muscle gets more toned, there is some loss of intramuscular fat that decreases its size; and around the middle, as the abdominals tone, they act like a girdle to pull the visceral contents into a tighter package. but the dimples and folds remain so long as the body fat stays high. and that's the rub.

two articles lately have addressed the many issues that confront those who need to lose serious weight. here's one on brain function and obesity that shows that there is more to wt loss than meets the eye: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/itrsquos-all-in-the-brain-unlocki...

the other, from this sunday's NY Times magazine, is enlightening because of the simplified description of the role hormones play in keeping fat on the body, esp if you've accumulated lots of it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.htm...



bottom line - it's really hard to lose weight. yes, it requires eating less and moving more but it requires a seriouis act of willpower and commitment to get it done. so, if you're trying to lose, start out easy - and aim low for now. i'd call it baby steps. hence the business name: STEPS Fitness.

we're here to help.

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Dr.Irv