A long time ago, long before I had even one little muscle and calendars had just barely started with the 20's, I decided I wanted to change my body. I'd been a ballerina my whole life, which kept me thin (I think the ladies in leos call themselves "svelte") but as I got a little older, being "skinny" wasn't cutting it anymore. I could lose the pounds, but the SHAPE of my body wasn't what I wanted. I felt soft. And I did not like it.
Up late one night, I saw and infomercial for Tae Bo. And ya'll: Those peeps looked hella good to me. They had muscles. They had shape and curve. Their bodies bounced but in a good way. I was thrilled. No equipment necessary and I can do it in front of my TV in my socks and underwear? Done.
I headed out to a video store and bought myself a VHS tape. And maaaan, I hit it hard.
Left knee down. Turn and kick the imaginary bag. Repeat. Drip drip that sweat onto my hardwood floors. Now circle those balled up fists, elbows high to really feel the burn! I felt proud and good about what I was up to and was sure my arms would stop waving back any second.
Nope. Nuh uh. Despite Billy's encouragement to, "JUST KEEP KICKIN IT, GIRL!!!" ONLY 77 MORE REPS!!!" I didn't see any new definition.
I had a boyfriend at the time who moonlighted as a personal trainer. He walked into my workout room (Okay, okay... my aforementioned living room) one day and gently asked me what the actual hell I was doing as I stood in front of the screen, breathless, sweaty and completely frustrated.
"Uh....I'm tired of my ass being so flabby! I want some muscles!!!"
"Babe. That kind of workout won't give you muscles."
"What?! Yes it will! Look at all those people in the video! They look amazing!"
"Not from doing that shit. Those people lift weights."
It was the first time I found myself genuinely disgusted with the fitness industry and the way it uses false advertising. And I still see it all the time as I scroll though social media.
Uber skinny girls using 3 lb dumbbells for 20 minute workouts that promise to give you her teeny-tiny body type. High intensity cardio that suggests you can "get lean" if you'll just push a little harder and do those last five spider monkey push ups. It's all fake, and people, by the millions are falling for it.
Wasting time. Wasting money. Wasting precious months and years feeling frustrated that they don't look anything like the "model" demonstrating the workout.
There's not a one gd thing that's gonna come out of my mouth that can't be backed up by science. How embarrassing. If I tell you that you'll have a physique like one of the coaches in my gym by doing anything other than what they are doing, that's manipulative. And if you are currently in a program or have a coach that has you doing different workouts than what he or she does, you're being manipulated too.
Offering a good product is HARD. It requires constant vigilance on the part of the creator, along with a willingness to change things that don't work, even if those things will make him or her a lot of money.
What kind of weights does your program ask you to use? How many sets and reps? What about rest? Does it incorporate cardio? If any one of those things isn't backed up by what science says actually grows lean muscle, you are spinning your wheels and will end up frustrated.
Not much has changed about my workout attire.... I still wear socks and glorified workout panties. But these days, the sweat I drip onto the mats below me translates into real, actual muscles that take me one step closer to the lean, bouncy little bod I wished for back in the barely two thousands.
Don't be afraid to try something new. Not only can it take you closer to your physique goals. it just might make you fall in love with fitness and your own little self once and for all.