Best of 2012! Weight Loss Wednesday: Break The Stereotype

Editors note: This was one of my favorites this year great advice from Callen. Enjoy!

By Callie McBride

Pop quiz time! Which of these statements is not like the other?

A.) *A leggy couple in matching spandex shorts, guzzling water after their run, to each other* “Wow, we got 12 miles in…not too shabby after the weekend we had. What’ll it be, smoothies or veggie omelettes?”

B.) *A ballerina-bunned, petite college dancer sipping a soy chai latte as she strolls into her contemporary class, to her friend* “I hope we’re done with Arabesque holds today, my quads seriously can’t take it anymore…”

C.) *Two muscle-bearing guys panting after an intense lifting session* “Aw, man, I got the best protein powder last week, you gotta try it, Mega Muscle Energy Boost Insanity Pro 3x!? The best.”

D.) *One Lulu Lemon-clad twenty-something woman, to another* “My supersets are really increasing. A couple more weeks and I’m onto carb-loading, then cutting!”

First off, excuse the stereotyping, I couldn’t help but poke fun at images that seem to surround us as we go about our workouts, even though these are certainly not true for everyone. Still, Scenario D is the one you thought stuck out, right? A pair of cute gym-goers discussing their body-building techniques? Not something you hear every day. You’re probably just as likely to never hear a group of 63-year old men complaining about the aches in the calves due to an especially difficult plie combo in ballet class.

Why does it seem like so many people out there who have a passion for health and fitness tend to stick with the status quo and create a regimen for themselves that includes exercises they might be expected to do? Obviously things like running, biking, walking, and swimming are awesome and effective workouts for everyone, no matter our age, sex, physical strength, or body type. Yet, there are enough sports and forms of exercise that seem so tailored to certain demographic, that I thought it was worth noting. Mostly because I myself am completely guilty of working out how I feel that I am expected to!
From my imaginary hat filled with various workout ideas, I can always count on deciding between jogging, yoga, pilates, cardio kickboxing, or a low-intensity dance class. Of course, I love all of these exercises and find benefits out of them, but is that the only reason I perform them? My brother on the other hand, always steers toward the elliptical, the weight machines, or a pick-up game of basketball. My grandpa? Hatha yoga or brisk outdoor walking. My adventurous, outgoing friend? Mountain biking, rock-climbing, and Insanity DVDs. Again, these stereotypes are obviously broken all the time by people who have different exercise needs or interests, yet the trends still seem to stick out to me every time I step into my gym.

There could be countless reasons as to why we are all drawn to certain exercises over others, and that discussion would be far too long and boring for my liking. Instead, I’m gonna take the “no questions asked” approach. That is, I won’t ask you why you have sworn off Zumba entirely, why lifting weights bigger than your head is a scary thought for you, or why you have never even considered strapping on dance shoes and taking a class. No questions asked, other than to take a little friendly advice. (I love to give advice, if you can’t tell.) Go against the grain! Shed your own stereotype! Try something completely terrifying and new! You’ll never know that you love a new form of exercise until you try it. A little incentive to get you going? Studies have shown that weight loss is more rapid and effective when a person includes multiple different forms of exercise into his or her regimen, as opposed to performing the same workouts day in and day out. Switching it up helps burn body fat and and tone your physique because the  muscles are working in different ways all the time, forcing them to exert more energy and strengthen. Pow!

Personally, I vow to lay to rest my days of yoga and pilates (temporarily, of course) and turn to more intense and challenging exercises; I’ve got heavy weight-lifting, Cross Fit, and maybe some type of tire-throwing, obstacle-course action like Zoe, on the brain. If you make any goals for this October or for the rest of the wonderful year of 2012, consider adding this to your list:

  1. Change up your workout routine.
  2. Beat the stereotype.
  3. Challenge your body.

Stay tuned for what will inevitably be a hilarious and embarrassing story of how, “That one time, I tried to lift some heavy weights…” I’ll definitely stay tuned for your stories.

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