Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fitness Confusion

 By Sa'ood Abdul-Basit


The other day, I  happened to walk into the Y and noticed something different.  Usually the magazines available for member's reading pleasures are decorated with slim women or in some cases, men, promoting the same thing, "Weight Loss". 

Flex Magezine

Flex Magezine

This time I felt in a way, "accommodated"  when I saw the new edition of Bodybuilding Magazines(Examples Above) made available in the gym, after all, the last thing I want to do is lose weight.   America appears to have a obvious obsession with promoting weight lost. Some say because we are the country with the highest rate of over weight people.  Still is it correct to promote majority of the time slim as being fit?  I'm not against anyone who is slim(I am myself) or would like to become slimmer etc.   Still I feel it is wrong that being "In shape" is overly associated with a slim figure,  after all being slim does not necessarily mean you have a healthy body.

It is my theory that this common practice makes most people follow a low food diet when it comes to working out programs. The main problem is that people do not understand what exactly they would like to achieve with their bodies, but whatever it is they assume it can be achieved by a low calorie diet.

Ladies, do you want to lose weight? lower bodyfat percentage? Gain weight? Increase your Curves?

Guys Do you want to lose weight? get a sixpack? gain muscle? increase muscle Tone? Build Mass?

All these things can be asociated with each other, but in many cases, they can not be all achieved at once.
Lets say calories for example, what are calories?  calories are simply energy for your body .  We all need calories to survive,  the average person burns around 5000 calories each day! Calories come from food,  the amount of calories in each food depends on the type of food itself and its serving size.  Just because a food has less calories, does not necessarily mean it is more healthy, just as foods with more calories are not always less haelthy.(Again Food Type is what  matters the most with this issue)

Workout and Diet 
Different diets suite different workout plans.  A person trying to Build muscle mass would eat completely different from a person trying to rapidly lose weight.

Bodybuilding diets: For us who want build huge muscle  this is the basic of how we want our diet. Consist of a high carb and protien rich diet, usually requires you to eat more calories than you burn each day, this is commonly known as the "Bulking stage".  Secondly, mainly for competive bodybuilders, there is a second stage known as "Cutting",  that serves to rid your body of excess fat and improve the apearance in muscle tone. Carbs are usually only consumed before and after workouts,  protien is still a rquirement to maintain the muscle,  less calories and meals that are of low fat percentage( Clean Meals).

Workouts should Include Heavy Weight lifting and  limited Cardio(during the cutting stage, more cardio is needed)

Weight lost Diet:  Whether you've seen or heard of it from Oprah, the View, Rachel Ray etc. Diets like these maybe perhaps the most commonly promoted in America.  This is for those of us who wish to drop body weight rapidly.  As you probably already know low Calories are a must, meals are usually aimed to be "clean" or as low fat as possible.

Workouts Should Include Cardio, and some weight lifting to maintain muscle(simple weights or Heavy)

I cant be certain why weight lost diets are so stressed in our society. Perhaps it is due to what I stated earlier(The claim America is the highest rate of overweight people in the world).  But I have another suggestion,  Perhaps it is due to the sexist views that women must maintain a slim figure to be considered acceptable by media promoted standards. I believe men do also have a image projected to them as well, of course muscle is a sign of masculinity in our society and many parts of the world.  But I don't feel men are pressured to match the media projected images as much as women.

This issue reminded me of sociology mainly because it relates topics such as  "Weight Loss Obsession". I would label it a social norm in our society based on media facts such as the  Magazines, Television programming, and word of mouth.      

To conclude, most of us do not have the same body type so  before you decide you want to transform your body through diet and exercise,  consider your current body status and do your research first.


  1. Amanda TadrzynskiApril 18, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Great post. It was very informative. I agree that it is very disheartening that being slim is considered being healthy. For some people healthy is being bigger then what is considered beautiful.

  2. This is a good post and i agree with many of your points. Indeed there are many images put out by the media that show what a healthy american should look like. As you know the media doesn't always mention genetics and body type. Certainly they both play a factor in physical appearance. As a result it may be easier for some to portray the picture on magazine as others struggle. However, many do not understand that a person with less weight is not necessarily more healthy.

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