Monday, October 20, 2008

In defense of variety

I spent the whole day yesterday lounging around and being sick. I watched a bit of Band of Brothers (an all-time favorite) and still cried at the end when all the real people whose clips have been shown all along are revealed with their names. I then watched two or three episodes of House. Yep, that's me when I'm sick. I did manage to get up and make a huge pot of homemade chicken soup because that's the only thing that sounded appealing and the family still had to eat. For some reason I assumed that since Pat slept all day that he would be the one to put the soup away. I was wrong. No one did. I woke up to 1/2 a pot of good homemade soup wasted, sitting on the stove. Yuk.

Now it's time for... my mini-soapbox. More than just annoyed about being sick and missing the great workout I had planned for today.

In Defense of Variety.

I do like Craig Ballantyne and his Turbulence Training, but it's not the be-all, end-all of fitness to me. He advertises it like this, "
Lose fat and gain muscle without cardio. Discover the cardio free fat loss workouts using weight training exercise and interval training to burn fat, get rid of stubborn belly fat, and build muscle. " He's all about having 3 short 45 minute workouts a week. (Although if you follow him on iSweat you will see that he works out more than 3X per week to get the ripped body he is showing you on his page). He also makes great videos and shares them on YouTube.

I have Turbulence Training and there are many, many workouts. But - I quickly lost interest because it was boring to me. Very guy-like in nature. Deadlifts, squats, pushups. Nothing flashy and crazy. I like flashy and crazy, that spices things up. I felt the same way about Afterburn by Cosgrove. Guys who just want to get-it-done will love these plans, women who don't like variety would probably do well. I can imagine anyone would do well...but love it? I like to love my workouts...even by adding stuff I hate, it makes me love them more.

So yesterday on Craig's blog he wrote out about working out at the YMCA and then got catty about some of the things he saw there. One that he didn't like was a "40 yo girl doing cable chest flyes on a stability ball." He said "Seriously, you can't find a better exercise to do? You've been reading too much Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine."

I ended up commenting reminding him of how when she did that exercise she was not only working out her chest but working out her core and her body's proprioception. He dismissed my defense of her. Oh well... I still think he's wrong. His defense was wrong, too. He said that lower body strength is what you need not to be fumbling/stumbling in your old age. I beg to differ. You need to work on balance. You also need upper body strength because if you are stooped and leaning that will still make you tipsy. The body is a full package - got to take care of the whole thing. I decided not to argue with him any further. Why bother?

But in defense of her some more... her exercise sounded way more fun than doing just another round of pushups or dumbbell flys! Yep, it sounded *much* better than doing the same ol' same ol' all the time.

He also said about another patron he saw, "
Another fit young girl was doing lying cable biceps curls on the seated row bench. And again I say, couldn't you find something better to do? Do a set of chinups for more results in less time."

Who says we want "more results in less time"? Who says we hate being in the gym and want to get out speedily? Maybe we want muscle confusion, maybe we are addicted to feeling our bodies move and *like* spending an hour or two in the gym. Maybe variety IS the spice of life. It's not inconceivable.

I believe everyone should exercise and care for their bodies. But I do realize that there are some people who just want to get it over with - and I say, "Thank God! At least they are doing something!" I like the fact that people like Craig have made compact programs that will get the fitness job done for them. I applaud that.

However, there are also others (like myself) who love the act of being active. We like variety. Programs like Jillian Michael's "Making the Cut" are up our alley. Or, one that I love, love, LOVE...Tony Horton's P90X. (Somehow I cannot imagine Tony Horton & Craig Ballantyne getting along. I think that would be an interesting meeting). Both of these programs have an ever-changing variety of moves. They are boredom-busting sweat fests!

There are women who like being active but don't want to be "too muscular" - for them there are workouts like Valerie Water's Red Carpet Ready. She keeps the variety going, but the weights low.

I think before I'd send a woman to Turbulence Training, I'd send her to Marci Lall. He has so much information on his blog - and puts up some great workout videos with lots of variety. You get the picture - I like variety.

Another thing that Craig Ballantyne is against is lots of cardio. He wrote the report "The Dark Side of Cardio." Some people happen to like their cardio. I do. I like a long, long run. I like a killer interval workout that is *more*than 15 - 20 minutes long. Even the great Tom Venuto has conceded that some people *need* more cardio in order to lose weight. (His Burn the Fat Blog is great). Every body is different. And some of us need more cardio just because it makes us feel alive.

As for me, one of my all time greatest heroes is John Bingham, you know, the guy with the "courage to start." He's a columnist from Runner's World, aka the Penguin. Once upon a time he was an overweight, cigarette smoking couch potato. He got up off that couch and started running. He's competed in more than 40 marathons and countless smaller races. He is the author of numerous *real* books, not just eBooks (okay, that was a stab at a certain someone just selling their program in 'e' format). He's got a new one , "Running for Mortals." I followed "Marathoning for Mortals" when I ran my marathon to celebrate turning 40. (Unfortunately, my immunologist says that marathons are no longer in my future, because it does a whammy to my whacked out hyper-active immune system. Makes my body feel like attacking itself). He also is the author of "The Courage to Start" and "No Need for Speed." This guy is a REAL inspiration.

Okay, I'm stepping off now.

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