Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Skinny Fat

I was at the grocery store checkout counter last weekend. At a counter directly across from me I watched a woman, about my age loading her cart onto the conveyor belt with the help of a little boy. My first thought was, "Wow, she has really good hair." She did. Really. Followed by a shift down in vision to think, "She looks really good in those blue jeans. She is a really fit mom." Then a tall man with a rather large belly pushed a cart up and began talking to her. Husband. 

From that point, I stopped looking at the woman and started looking at the man. He did not have good hair. He did not look good in his extra baggy in the butt cargo shorts. His 2X torso covered by a 1X shirt. What I was really drawn to was his stick thin, noodle like, utterly toneless biceps. Skinny fat. 

Skinny fat is just so nauseating to me.  It assumes that this man, probably my age has never really truly exercised in his life. I have more respect for those that are overweight and working out than those that are skinny or skinny in specific parts of their body and have absolutely zero muscle tone. 

'Now wait a minute,' you might say, 'The fat person doesn't have any muscle tone.' True but the fat person is at that moment, trying to. That person cares. A skinny fat person, they don't care. This particular specimen before me with the wife who looked good in her jeans, stretched out the bottom of his shirt but not the shirt sleeves. His dead fish, limp arms, flapping in the excess fabric. 

I am the first to admit when I look in the mirror I see the before picture of a Biggest Loser contestant. Its a horrible trick my mind plays on me because I rationally understand that is not the case. I had more than one person tell me I looked very fit, as I walked around an expo this weekend.Of course they were probably trying to soften me up for a sales but nevertheless, take it were you can get it, right? Then again, I looked at my scale this morning and thought about how many far I could throw it, rather than stand on it. Which again, I did not. 

Now even in my body dismorphism, I know, I know, I don't have skinny arms. I have always had large biceps, large shoulders, broad chest. Even when I was trying for two iroman triathlons in six months. 

Enough of me. Back to skinny arms. Skinny arms are so unappealing. Nasty. It shows a complete lack of fitness. To me a lack of respect for yourself. So whether you are head to toe, skinny fat or just skinny fat in your arms or ass or legs, do something about it. Please. Creeps me out. And I matter. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Completed the 100 Day Burpee Challenge.

This week I completed another 100 day burpee challenge. This personal fitness challenge lasts 100 days and depending on how many repetitions you complete on Day 1, most people just start at one repetition, you add  +1 repetition to your total. Day one is one rep, Day one hundred is 100 reps. The key in completing this challenge is that the person actually does their burpees every day for one hundred straight days. No missing days, no too hungover, no family events, no travel days can interrupt the streak. It is hard enough for a person to do something for just thirty days straight, the length of time many use to describe needed for creating a new habit, let alone one hundred days. Thus less than 5% of those that start this challenge, complete it. 

The greatest aspect of this challenge is the social media aspect of it. Find or create a group page and then invite all your friends to join. Get the competitive juices flowing. It is much easier to finish this challenge if you have people to motivate you and hold you accountable. Yet in the end, everyone has their own reasons for attempting this challenge. Some have never done a burpee before and consider it a way to return to a fitness lifestyle. Others understand how the burpee can be a transformative exercise. 

Most people see it as an event to complete that does not require an entry fee. It does not require hours of training in preparation. No travelling, no special shoes or spending money on gu's and chews. It can be done anywhere, a living room, a park, a hotel lobby, the grocery store, office hallway, even as a groomsman at your best friends wedding when you are all up front waiting for the bride to make her entrance. 

A denominator is that over 90% of the people that start, do not finish. What invariably happens is people float away, stop posting results. Those that continue, do so with with the same motivation and enthusiasm, but the page starts to get quiet. Whereas dozens of people posted and communicated back and forth several times a day in the beginning, towards the end almost entire days lapse where there may be a solo entry from the one or two or three people still involved. Necessary but perfunctory gestures.  

The best way to finish this challenge is find a group on a social media platform or start your own and invite your friends. I have seen groups of over 800 people who barely know each other online start a group and I have seen small very familiar groups of close knit friends numbering in the tens and twenty's. The common denominator is that everyone try's to communicate their daily results to the group and keep the motivation in there high. Having burpee picture days and side challenges help contribute to a fun and vibrant group. 

Honestly, I didn't give myself a pat on the back after I finished this challenge. Well maybe a little bit that day. Considering I have done weird fitness challenges my entire adult life, it was just another thing I did and did well for myself. Looking back at the start of this challenge, it was only one of four I began in July and I still feel the 30 day running challenge was the hardest to complete. Full disclosure, I ended the Ab challenge in week 6 when my back began to act up and it affected all other events. 

I challenge all of you to enter or start a burpee challenge. You can easily find the common rules and set ups reading the general information area of each groups page. What their standard burpee is, how competitive or close knit the group is. It is not important to start on Day One with everyone else. Coming in late to the challenge can infuse new motivation and enthusiasm.