Sexification Education: An Introduction to Fitness
You’re sitting in front of the computer when you get to look down at your belly. You grab a huge flab of fat with both hands. Ooh… suddenly you feel relaxed… you are your own stress ball! Cute. But it’s not very flattering. You’ve had enough of it. You want to get in shape. You want to start a fitness program and dieting plan. You know it’s easy, but you’re so confused on where to begin. Well, clear your mind and let me take you back to school so we can learn about the very basics. Happy learning!
Lesson # 1: Psychology
“Ugh. This is hard already!” But no, we won’t be talking about Freud or Kohlberg or the Psychoalanytic Theory. We’ll be talking about your own mind. The very first thing you have to do before anything else is to condition yourself that you’re starting a fitness program. YES! You are going to do it. Nothing’s going to stop you now. You have the will. You have the desire. You have the power! Lightning bolt! Once you’re all pumped up, then it’s time for you to set a goal. This can be weight loss, weight gain, improving athletic performance, etc. You will set a long term goal (e.g. lose x lbs/x inches from my waistline in 12 months) and a short term goal (e.g. lose x lbs in 3 months). It is advisable that your short term goal be no shorter than 3 months. Don’t expect to harvest the fruits tomorrow if you just planted the seeds today. You will be eating right. You will be sweating your butt off. It will not be easy so get ready for the physical and mental challenges ahead. It also needs to be emphasized that your goals have to be realistic and achievable so don’t say, “in 2 months, I will be Jessica Alba” or “I’ll be Tyler Durden and start my own Fight Club in 4 months.” Wake up! This is the real world. But how do we know if it’s realistic? This brings us to the next lesson.
Lesson # 2: Mathematics
Q: A pound of fat is 3500 calories. There are 7 days in a week. How much calories should be lessened from your daily diet if you want to lose 1 lb/week?
A: 3500 ÷ 7= 500 calories/day
So basically, if you want to lose a pound per week, then you should target a caloric deficit of -500 from your existing diet. On the other hand, if you want to gain weight, then a caloric excess is needed. “Decrease to lose, increase to gain.” or more specifically,
Caloric expenditure > consumption = weight loss
Caloric expenditure < consumption = weight gain
Keep that in mind. Even write it on your bedroom ceiling so it’s the first thing you see when you open your eyes in the morning. It is advisable to lose no more than a pound per week to make sure that you are only losing fats and not muscle mass (exemption is only during the first few weeks of your workout program, when you lose a lot of water weight). If you are aiming for fat loss, in which I believe most of you are, you can achieve caloric deficit in 3 ways: 1. exercising 2. dieting 3. exericising and dieting. Now, there’s a big chance you don’t even know how many calories that pizza you ate last night contains. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be too meticulous in counting calories. Just remember these 4 words for now: MOVE MORE, EAT LESS.
Lesson # 3: Anatomy
The adult human body is composed of 206 bones and more than 600 muscles. Be thankful that you don’t have to know all of them! You have to be familiar though with the 3 major muscles: the chest (or the “pecs”), back, and legs (that includes your butt!); the 3 minor ones: biceps, triceps, and deltoids (shoulder muscles); and everyone’s favorite, the abdominals. These will be the muscles you’ll be focusing on when you start with your fitness program.
Another important muscle, the center of the circulatory system, is the heart. ❤ It is responsible for pumping blood into your whole body. The heart and the lungs, together with all the components of the circulatory and respiratory system, are responsible for transporting oxygen in and out of the body. In exercising, you will be training your heart and lungs so your body’s ability to transport oxygen will improve. Your nervous system is the one responsible for transmitting signals between different parts of your body, and your skeletal system provides structure to your body and protects your internal organs. All these systems are functioning interdependently when you are exercising. “But I don’t give a damn about this, I’m not going to be a doctor!” Well, knowing about your body is important just as knowing the parts of the car before driving it so you can operate it smoothly. You would definitely want to know which one is the gas pedal and which one is the brake. “But I don’t even drive a car!” Well, I ran out of analogies. But you get the point.
You would also want to know about somatotypes (or simply, body type).
A. If you have a pear shaped body, short limbs, soft build, easily gains fat, you most probably are an ENDOMORPH.
B. If you are thin, have a hard time gaining weight and muscles, have narrow shoulders and chest, you probably are an ECTOMORPH.
C. If you have a muscular built, wide shoulders, easily gain muscle and lose fat (the gifted ones), then you are probably a MESOMORPH.
So which one are you? If you are A, take it easy on your calories, and I’m sorry but you have to exercise a lot more than your counterparts. If you are B, your diet will be less strict and you have will be doing less cardio than A. If you are C, odds are things will be a lot easier for you than A and B because you are freaking gifted, you son of a bitch. Just kidding!
Your diet will ultimately depend on your body type, and each one of us has different body types. That is why every exercise and dieting program is best individualized and not just copied from somebody else, like say, your favorite celebrity.
Lesson # 4: History
That is, your medical history. Before you begin any fitness program, you should get a thorough assessment from your physician. Things that will be addressed are:
a) your current health condition, and the questions that will most likely be asked are:
Do you have any heart problems? (this doesn’t include your boy/girlfriend)
Do you have any chronic conditions?
Have you had surgeries before?
Have you had injuries before?
Do you feel dizzy/have you lost consciousness when doing physical activities?
What type of medications are you taking?
b) your current occupation and what type of work you do.
Do you sit for long period of hours in front of the computer?
Do you slouch when sitting down?
Do you do any repetitive movements for an extended amount of time (e.g. hammering, if working in a construction site)?
It is also recommended that you know your baseline vital signs, especially resting heart rate, and blood pressure. All these are important for your own safety.
Also included here is your dieting and exercise history, your compliance, and results. If you have done it before and it didn’t work, then odds are, it still wouldn’t work this time. If it did work, think of how and why you got to do it.
Lesson # 5: Geography
“Where in the world am I gonna exercise?” I suggest you find a local gym. The closest one in your area so going there won’t be such a big deal. Most of the equipment you’ll be needing will be there, and it will give you more enthusiasm to exercise if everyone around you is also exercising. Add to that the fact that your membership is already paid… better not put it to waste! But if and only if this is not an option, then make space in your living room, your bedroom, your garage or wherever possible as long as there is a decent amount of space for you to move in your full range of motion. Lie down, act like you’re making a snow angel. The space you just covered is pretty much all that you need! Make sure there’s proper ventilation though. You will have to invest on a pair of dumbbells, elastic bands, mat, punching bag, or an exercise video. The exercise games on your console will also work as a last resort. This all falls under the principle that something is better than nothing. They may not burn as much calories or increase strength/endurance as other fitness activities but you still burn more than you do when you’re just sitting in front of your PC and eavesdropping about your handsome Facebook friend who “”…is lying comfy on my homie’s lap. Good times. <3”
Lesson # 6: English
Okay this may have no direct effect on you getting fit, but you will also have to learn about some fitness jargon so you won’t be confused when somebody says “Do 3 sets of 12 reps of 8 exercises and then cool down!” You will learn all these as you go on, but here are some of the most important ones for now:
Rep (repetition)– one complete movement of an exercise. That is, taking bicep curl as an example, the whole motion from raising the dumbbell up to lowering it back down. It usually has 3 parts, the concentric, isometric, and eccentric.
Concentric– (also called “positive“)- is moving against the weight; in a bicep curl it is raising the dumbbell;
Isometric– is when there is no visible movement against the weight, when the muscle stabilizes the joint;
Eccentric– (also called “negative“)- is moving with the weight; in a bicep curl it is the lowering of the dumbbell
Set– number of reps performed consecutively
Exercise– apart from the usual definition of exercise as the activity itself, it also means the particular type of workout we do. The dumbbell curl is an exercise, so are squats, lunges, bench press, etc.
Warm Up– activities you do prior to the actual workout to gradually increase heart rate, this can be in a form of stretching, or movements mimicking those in the actual workout with lesser intensity
Cool Down– activities done after the workout to gradually decrease heart rate, this can be in a form of stretching, slow jogging, etc.
Aerobic– activities that require oxygen, sometimes used interchangeably with “cardio“, e.g. running
Anaerobic– activities that do not require oxygen, e.g. sprinting, power lifting
1 RM (1 Rep Max)– the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted in one repetition in good form. This is usually the measure of muscular strength
Lesson #7: Home Economics
Let’s now learn how to cook fried bacon-wrapped meatloaf with melted cheese. “Whoah wait a minute that’s too fatty!”, you say, as you munch on your favorite Krispy Kream donut. Wow. I’m glad at least you have an idea that certain foods are not your friend. It may be a little hard at first to distinguish which foods are really healthy and which are not, especially now when labels can be quite deceiving. To help you decide, keep in mind that anything high in saturated fats, trans fat, sodium, and sugar (unless you’re having a hypoglycemic episode), and anything that is greasy, buttery or processed are not the best food choices for you.
For a starter, you should be able to distinguish the 3 macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Protein– its primary purpose is to build and repair the tissues of the body. Mostly found in meats, poultries, eggs, vegetables, supplements, etc.
15-30% of your caloric intake should come from protein.
Carbohydrates– this is your body’s fuel, the primary source of energy. Mostly found in pastas, bread, rice, fruits, vegetables, etc.
50-70% of your caloric intake should come from carbs.
Fats– group of compounds that includes triglycerides, phospholipids, and triglycerols. Mostly found in dairy foods, nuts, oils, etc.
10-30% of your diet should come from fats.
*percentages depend on activity level
Lesson #8: Logic
Just use your common sense in choosing an exercise program. Ask yourself, “Am I really gonna get fit holding this vibrating thing that can easily be mistaken as a dildo?…” Come on now. “…but the guy who uses it on the TV ad is chiseled, I’m sure it works!” If you believe this, then I’m sorry to say you’ve fallen under the trap of false advertising. Companies that sell exercise equipment/food supplements will do anything to boost the sales of their product, it’s all part of business. Persuasive words, beautiful models, a human mind can easily be deceived. It’s out of your hands to tell them to stop misleading people, but it’s all up to you to not be fooled. If it was that easy, then why is it that most of the people you see are still out of shape? If it was that easy, then what are gyms for? If it was that easy, then why would sports managers pay millions of dollars to their athletes? We can all just shake our way to athletic stardom! I said it once and I’ll say it again, it is not easy. But you can do it.
Lesson #9: Physical Education
Of course. Enough talking the talk, it’s time to walk the walk. Or run the run. If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, don’t rush on things. Start slow, increase gradually. 3-4 workouts per week of 30 minutes duration will do. Your aim here is not to get that sexy bod immediately, instead you are getting your body accustomed to the stress that is induced by the exercise. Your muscles, joints, and nerves will have to get used to the movements before increasing intensity so that you can avoid the one thing that every one in the fitness world wish never exists- injury. Stretch to improve your flexibility. Do core training (such as planking) to stabilize your muscles, do mild aerobic exercises to improve oxygen transport and endurance. Stop when you’re feeling dizzy and out of breath. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Focus on proper form. And by that, I mean every single exercise you do has to be executed properly. Warm-up before your work out and cool down after. Increase intensity when your body has fully adapted to the training regimen to give it a new challenge and thus illicit response.
You have now widened your knowledge base when it comes to fitness and proper dieting. Let me remind you though that your physique will not change just by reading all these lessons. You have to actually DO them. So get your butt off that chair and start moving! Class dismissed.