May 31, 2011

Changing your body.

If you follow me here then you know that the topics of weight, body image and working out comes up every now and then. And you also know that I have been a person my entire life who never worried about what I was ate. I could brag about eating an entire pizza. I also didn't work out. Sure I'd have the occasional walk on the treadmill, but not regularly.

Then I went to a zumba class on October 1, 2010 purely because I was missing something. I was missing moving, physicality. Sure I got it through dance when I was younger and now through the occasional musical. When it's nice out I love to go for walks. But I wanted to be active, for the sake of being active. I wanted to feel useful and not lazy.

This has started me on a path of changes. The way I view my body, what I want for my body and even what I find attractive.

I became addicted to zumba my first class. I went all over, to many instructors and even wanted to teach it for awhile. It was fun. I'd always said I didn't like working out and when I found this I never felt like I was working out. It was just a great and fun hour. I knew if I could find something to get me active, anyone could. After going religiously for the past 8 months I started to cut back a bit. I thought about it. I'm putting in a lot of zumba time. Sure I've come a long way endurance - wise. I can breathe easy through a class. I'm not drenched in sweat after the way I used to be. But did I look different? No. My body did not change. That's when I started realizing if I was going to put in this time, I wanted to see something. And I truly realized then just how much I didn't know.

I didn't know that cardio is the slowest way to lose weight and/or tone up. I also never considered weights or machines at the gym. I mean, those are for guys, right? Wrong. I started to learn about what I'd never considered. If you do want to lose the last 5 or 10 pounds, cardio alone is not going to cut it. You have to add weights and resistance training.

Now, I'm naturally small. But I wouldn't say I've ever been toned. I've never tried to build muscle. I just thought my body wasn't able to tone. But the truth was, I don't know because I've never tried.

I also started to see a new body type popping up. Lean but muscular. With killer arms. I'd never considered wanting to change my body or wanting to tone up like that. Honestly, what I'd always thought was the most attractive was a thin, skinny body (I still do find that attractive and will be the first to tell you many women are naturally that way and it does NOT mean it's a result of an eating disorder). Now I was starting to be intrigued by women with that lean muscle. And how were they doing that to their arms?!

I think what finally pushed me over the other side was the body transformation of Leann Rimes. Now I know a lot of people are going to think she is too thin, or too muscular, or not like her abs, I get that. But you have to be impressed by the work, discipline and time it must have taken to completely transform herself. I mean, look at this:

There you have it in proof that changing your body is possible. Whatever that means to you. To lose weight, to put on weight, to tone certain parts of you, to build certain muscle groups.

I don't need to lose any weight, so don't think I'm saying I need to be skinnier. But I want to learn how to use those machines at the gym and lift those weights to give me the killer arms and tighten me up all over.

I went with a friend, Jenee last week for the first time. She's been training for years and has probably one of the very best bodies I've ever seen. It was so hard for me my first time out, I'd never moved like that. At one point I felt like I was going to be sick. It really surprised me. But it passed and I pushed through.

Today I did my hour of zumba but this time added an hour in the gym. I went through what she'd taught me and even added a little more with weights I'd researched on my own. It was still hard, but even easier to get through today, as in I never got sick and I didn't have to take as long of breaks (don't plan to cut out cardio, but I see now that six days a week is really not what I need). At this point, what I need is to see some changes and results. It's crazy that I've fallen into this whole new thing, I never thought I would. I never thought I'd be in a gym or wanting to see muscle. Now I'm so interested I want to learn everything I could possibly do. This has opened up a whole new world. I want to see myself toned and strong and defined.

I figure in posting this, others who were in the same boat as me will read this and see what is possible too. You just have to do it. Ask someone who looks the way you'd like to look (like I did with Jenee. Everyone will tell you what you should do, but to be blunt, most of these people don't look like they have first hand gotten the results they speak of. As soon as I was put in contact with a female near my age who actually looked the way I wanted to, I jumped on my chance to get her help) what they do and if they can help you learn. Of course you feel awkward the first time you're in the gym learning new things. Even today I felt a little out of place at first. But you look around and see that nobody cares and it's actually very comfortable. I wanted to stay longer and would have but my arms were feeling like jelly by the end. In the best way possible.

I want to write about this publicly, too, so then I'm not tempted to sleep in, or skip a day. You can hold me to it. I want to change my body. One thing seemed to lead to another all starting back in October and I love that my views and interests are expanding. If I want to tone up, then I've got to put in the work. It no longer feels right to sit around wondering why I just don't tone.

It also makes me rethink the "I can eat an entire pizza"! If I'm going to work this hard, I want to feel fueled. I want to eat right, healthier for me. Sure I'm lucky it doesn't pack on the pounds. But it could one day. And I can't help but wonder if I'd have more energy and feel overall better if I tried to limit the pizza and candy diet. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Giuliana Rancic (another with amazing arms) has a website with tons of workout, health and beauty tips called Fab Fit Fun. Take a look! tons of great tips!

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