Saturday, June 29, 2013

Muscle vs. Fat:

Hello Bloggers,

     If you have been to my Pinterest page and looked at my Health and Fitness board, you probably knew that this entry was coming. Even though there have been many articles posted about not relying on the scale, and focusing more on measurements, and inches, people still flock to the scale to track their fitness progress. This is a huge mistake. The reason why is because muscle takes up substantially less space, but weighs more, and I wanted to take this opportunity to put this in perspective.

***I would like to note, that there are some cases where using the scale is appropriate and can be a wonderful tool, but its shouldn't be your only tool.***

     This is a photo taken from Pinterest, (as are all of mine) that puts the space difference that each takes up into perspective. You can see that the Tangerines representing muscle, takes up less space than the grapefruit representing fat, and both are supposed to weight about 5 pounds.
You can see how this could be misleading if you used the scale to track progress. Especially if you are trying to track subtle changes. Let me put it into a prospective scenario for you...

Your pants feel more comfortable, and you think your belly is a little flatter, or maybe your thighs aren't scraping together (like mine do), so out of excitement you jump on the scale to see where you're at, and it hasn't moved, or you have gained weight. Now you are confused, upset or discouraged. However, if you had used a tape measure and tracked inches, you would have had a better, more accurate, and encouraging result.

     This second picture I like quite a bit because you can see how the body changes as it builds muscle in comparison to the scale. The girl was not big to start off with, in fact, before her mission to tone up and build some muscle, her weight was at its lowest. When she was at her smallest and most athletic, her weight was at its highest. Again, this gives more perspective as to how much space fat takes up, and how dense muscle is.

     So the final point I would like to make to my amazing readers, and I pray you pass this message along, is that fat takes up more room than muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. Putting a number on skinny is counter productive and ironic. So as you go through your fitness journey, and have discouraging days where you "Only lost one pound", remember that one pound of fat, is about the size of a medium apple, and you should be ecstatic. The best, most accurate way to track your progress is by following your BMI, taking measurements, and being realistic about your goals, and progress.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY... listen to your body. If you feel better, healthier, and notice subtle changes in some areas, do you really need a machine that spits out a number to verify that for you? You know your body better than anyone. Pay attention to it, and if you must use the scale, make sure you are tracking your body mass index, and measuring too, so you have a good solid idea of where you're at.

I hope this helped,
Yours truly,
Jessi Harm

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Inner Thigh Gap, The Unrealistic Expectation

Hello Everyone,

     I am seeing lots of people obsessed with, and repining how to guides on the inner thigh gap. I don't get the obsession. But I also find a lot of the repins very misleading. So I am going to talk to you about realistic expectations, and why things like the thigh gap, or tiny waist goals may just lead to disappointment.

     In the last blog, we talked about your body being unique, and you should set goals for yourself, and not base them around others. This is very true. The shape of your body is determined by many factors, including bone density, height, and genetics. That is why if you took two people and put them on the exact same diet and workout plan, they would achieve different results. To say that you want to work out to look like someone else is going to set you up for failure. You need to understand this. There is no set definition of what a beautiful body is, except for what you say it is. You need to have confidence and know your body well. You may not have an hourglass shape, you may not have wide hips, you may not have the v cut in your abs. All bodies are unique. Look at the difference in bodies from Jessica Biel, Pink, Gwen Stefanie, and Salma Hayek. All are beautiful, but no two are alike.

     The inner thigh gap is one of those things that is not realistic for everyone. Let's play with this logically for a second. If you were to look at lots of the inner thigh gap photos, most of these women are very skinny (like in the photo taken from Pinterest. I don't think it looks good at all), and or have wide hips. In some photos, you can even see that the model doesn't have the inner thigh gap at all, it's just the way she posed. So what happens when you set something like the gap as your goal and don't achieve it. Well you think it's your fault, you train and diet harder, stress out, get upset, or your get discouraged and quit. There are beautiful women out there who are toned and healthy without a thigh gap, like Jessica Biel, she is a female fitness inspiration to many women, and she has no gap.

Now that's not to say that you shouldn't try and work out all areas of your body, but it has been proven you can not just spot treat areas of your body, to lose weight. To tone evenly you need to work your body all over. Try adding one or a few Squat Jumps, alternating lunge jumps, side squats, Bulgarian squats, calf raises, or burpees, to your current routine.

Remember you results and experience may vary, and that is okay.

Yours Truly,
Jessi Harm

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fitspiration, Good or bad?

Hello All,

     So a topic of discussion that has been making waves is whether or not fitspiration is more damaging than good. For those who don't know, or maybe know it by a different term, its when there is a picture of someone athletic or healthy (sometimes just skinny) often followed by a motivational quote. Such as "It took more than a day to gain it, it will take more than a day to lose it."

     The argument is that it can be misleading, or even discouraging. I personally find them motivating, and love them. I feel the people who first started to complain about fitspiration are the lazy people who have excuses, or are looking for the easy ways to get fit, and not getting results by sitting on the couch. However, I can understand how they can be damaging too. I am seeing more photos of skinny models, then toned, Normal,  healthy bodies. 

So, I would like to talk about how to use fitspiration... 

  • Fitspiration is positive
  • Fitspiration should be motivating
  • Fitspiration should encourage you. 
  • Fitspiration models should be healthy 
  • Fitspiration is NOT super skinny, or unhealthy
  • Fitspiration should help you achieve your goals, not MOLD your goals
  • Fitspiration is a tool to use, NOT a standard or expectation
     You need to understand that every body is unique. It is unique in how you gain weight, and will be unique in how you lose weight. Your body is also unique in how you tone and build muscle. Your body is unique in its needs and wants and you need to fully understand this. If you choose to set goals and expectations off of another success, you WILL be sadly disappointed. Every body is unique. I can't stress this enough. 

Remember that motivation and encouragement is good, but pulling it from bad sources or for wrong reasons can be damaging to your success.

Yours Truly, 
Jessi Harm