I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to working out and eating for weight loss. (Maybe the oreos spawned that, who knows.) One topic that kept coming up was muscle confusion. Hmmmm, I thought. This sounds interesting.
The idea behind muscle confusion is that if you keep doing the same exercise, day in and day out, the muscles get used to it and stop working at their peak (read–no more weight loss). I kind of figured that out on my own after weeks of the bodybuilding diet and weight pumping. Unless I was willing to do competition type eating and lifting, I was gonna go nowhere. I know some girls who do competitions, and as it draws nearer, they literally have a diet of egg white for breakfast (notice I said egg white not egg whites), lettuce and fish for lunch (also notice I mentioned no salad dressing….plain), a small handful of almonds in the afternoon before their workout (the little bit of fat in them is what they fuel the lifting off of), followed by more lettuce and fish for dinner. WELL. No way, Hosea.
So, I decided to explore the idea of muscle confusion, and started looking for a dvd that incorporated it. I already knew that I needed to change up the workouts weekly. Right now I run a couple of days a week, do at least one day of power yoga, two days where I lift serious weights, and one day where I do something else like kickboxing or circuit training. Sometimes it’s hard to plan the circuit training workouts on my own, though, even though I used to have a personal trainer license. The ideal way to do it is to allow little rest between the cardio and weight exercises, moving quickly from one to another. Well damn my 44 year old brain it’s hard to concentrate and remember the series I’m working on sometimes, so I thought a dvd would be a great idea–let someone else do the planning, and I’d do the work.
A friend recommended that I try the Biggest Loser’s female trainer, Jillian Michaels. She has done lots of books and dvds, and I like her philosophy and training methods she utilizes on the show. She’s a no-nonsense, take no prisoners kind of gal. So this weekend while at Barnes and Noble for my book club, I picked up the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. http://www.collagevideo.com/item.aspx?item=7963
The dvd has three workouts on it…Levels 1, 2, and 3. I generally work out at least 4-5 days a week and had run three miles the day before, so I was tempted to go straight to level 2 or 3. I watched the preview, and Jillian said to start with level 1, and as that got easy to move up. I thought, what the heck, I can do level 1 and then also do level 2 if it’s too easy. After all, the workouts are just over 20 minutes each….how hard could it be?
Oh….my……the next day it hurt to sit on the toilet. I’m not kidding. I am so glad I started at level 1, because that woman kicked my $#% big time. That’s the last time I start feeling smug that I am getting in better shape. This workout was a great big heads up that I still have a lot of work to do. When I watch the Biggest Loser, I forget that these out of shape people are in the gym, daily, with Jillian, busting their chops for 6-7 hours. I will not WHINE about a 20 something minute workout….I will not….I will not!
So, the muscle confusion issue did answer my question…..what to do to mix it up a little bit. No matter if you think you’re a great runner, kickboxer, weight lifter, swimmer, etc., there’s always room for improvement. I found out the hard way! Kudos to Jillian……