If your fitness instructor sends the message
that you must burn up that "ugly fat" or push
beyond your physical ability in pursuit of "looking
good," its time to find a new instructor. Recent
research suggests that those obsessed with thinness at any
cost are often attracted to the fitness industry. They end
up transmitting their own twisted perceptions of body image
to their clients.
Theres a fine line between healthy
motivation and excessive, pushing for more by a fitness
instructor. The old theory of "no pain, no gain,"can
easily backfire when youre already trying hard to
keep up with your fitness plan. You should feel challenged
by your workout and motivated to stick with it. If you start
to dread the workout, chances are the demands are too much
for your current abilities. Try choosing a different instructor
or resolve to moderate during the workout so your body has
time to adapt and get stronger. Adequate rest periods between
exercise is also important to help you progress faster and
stay with the program.
Your instructor should also help you understand
your particular genetic limitations and steer you toward
a realistic goal for your body. If you come from a long
line of women who tend to carry weight through the hips
in a kind of "saddlebag" effect, dont expect
to redistribute that weight or morph into a supermodel from
your diet and fitness endeavors. However, you can expect
to improve and feel good about your progress, within your
According to Susan Blumenthal, the U.S.
Assistant Surgeon General, a psychiatrist with expertise
in eating disorders, "Getting regular physical activity
is one of the most important things we can do for our health...but
moderation is key...The main goal of your fitness program
should be good health."
So, if you show up in fitness class and
feel pressed by unrealistic goading from your instructor,
take a walk! Try another class, schedule a few sessions
with a personal trainer, or try a new type of cardio training.
A fun way to mix it up and get some variety in your workout
is to circuit train, alternating between treadmill, bike,
elliptical trainer, stair trainer or rowing machine. You
can also insert weight lifting between the cardio training,
just be sure to keep the pace moving so your heart rate
stays in the training range that is right for you.
Experiment with your fitness routine until
you find the best match for your particular needs. With
the right kind of help and realistic expectations, you really
can work your way to your personal best.