Monday, December 9, 2013

Healthy Eating and My Social Life

Do you ever get those looks? You know, those looks that say "You're crazy," or "That's a little weird," when you turn down dessert or order a small salad at a huge steak house. I get them a lot, and it's frustrating. Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn't just affect your physical and medical health, it affects your social life. Whenever I'm out with friends and everyone loads up on carbs and trans fats, I'm usually the one sitting there with a salad or steamed veggies. I get those "looks" most of the time, along with remarks like "Come one, one bite of pie won't hurt," or "You have to splurge once and a while." Well, I'm here to say that if I thought like that every time I was presented with a slice of chocolate pie or a basket of bread sticks I would weight 500 pounds. Leading a healthy lifestyle can be like a religion that some one doesn't understand, or a cultural tradition that deviates from the norm, and people aren't afraid to judge you on your healthy lifestyle. A majority of people eat what tastes good, which usually omits fruits and vegetables, so when I'm sitting there with a plate of steamed cauliflower I get glares. But in addition to the food, there's the gym dilemma. I get looked at like I am certifiably insane when I decline an invite somewhere because I need to go to the gym. People just don't understand, and again shoot back with remarks like "It's good to take a day off," or "One day off here and there won't hurt you." Again, if I thought like that it every situation, I would struggle getting to the gym two or three days a week, compared to the five or six that I aim for. My health and fitness are two things that I just have to sometimes put ahead of my social life on my list of priorities. It's a trade off, but in the end I'm bettering myself, so it's worth it. And I've learned to not let those "looks" bother me that much anymore, because I have the ability to lead a lifestyle that requires dedication and stability; and if that causes the weird glares to come my way, then let them come!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Body Pump Exercise Class Review

Source
My friend had a free day pass for her gym that she gave me, so we hit it up a few weeks ago and took a Body Pump fitness class. Going into it, I figured it would be your average, moderate paced fitness class for women looking for a mild workout to stay slim and toned. Little did I know there would be strength training involved. So, if you're looking at taking an exercise class and Body Pump is one of your options, here's my two cents about it:

Body Pump is a full body workout.
Body Pump works your arms, legs, shoulders, back, you name it, it gets worked in Body Pump! It lasts for one hour, where you hit different parts of the body during different circuits, and it also includes a lot of compound movements. However, if you're one who likes to hit the gym every day, I wouldn't suggest taking Body Pump too often at risk of over training your muscles and not giving them proper rest time.

Body Pump doesn't contain pure cardiovascular exercise.
The cardio aspect of Body Pump is that you keep your heart rate elevated because you're exercising for an hour straight with few breaks in between. If you're a runner, or have to keep in shape by doing daily cardio, I would suggest supplementing some into your workout if you take Body Pump on a regular basis.

Body Pump isn't pure strength-training, either.
You are working with a weighted bar and dumbbells during Body Pump, however you have to keep in mind that the type of exercises you're doing are high reps, therefore you will have to use a lower weight. I found that Body Pump is a class with a lot of exercises that would aid in toning the muscles rather than strengthening them or building mass. So, if you're a body builder, or looking to put on some muscle, I wouldn't make Body Pump a regular part of your fitness regimen. 

Body Pump is time saving.
For those who are busy, and looking to maintain their level of fitness without spending hours on end at the gym, I would definitely suggest taking a Body Pump class around three times a week. Like I said before, it's only one hour, and it works your whole body. You could even just stick to cardio on off days. However you plan it, if you're short on time, you should definitely consider a Body Pump class.

Body Pump lacks in ab workouts.
The major downside of Body Pump is that it didn't work my abs as much as I had hoped. There was around a five minute segment of the whole workout dedicated to abs, and I wasn't too fond of it. It stuck to your basic crunches and in-and-outs, but that was it. Not much diversity when it comes to abs, so a supplemental ab workout would be a good idea. 

Overall, Body Pump was a great experience, and I would definitely go back and take the class again. However, I wouldn't take it too often because my goal is to gain some strength. When considering Body Pump as a part of your fitness regimen, one needs to assess their goals and where they want to see themselves in the future as far as fitness is concerned.