Fitness No! No!s per Leanna

That’s me, making good use of the Smith machine by practicing my sloth hanging. (Photo credit to Leah Peters)

photo-1Here’s a list of three things regarding fitness commonly misunderstood.

1. Thinking you can spot reduce.

Some of you may have heard many credible professionals in the fitness industry tell you that this is possible. It is not. Our genetics determine where our bodies deposit fat and also where we reduce it. Just like you can’t add fat to only certain areas of your body (without surgery) the same holds true for reducing body fat in a specific area. You see, I used to wear neoprene wraps around my waist and thighs while doing cardio thinking it would help to burn fat in that specific area. Hmmm, then I decided to wise up and do some research backed by scientific study. Science, you know, the real kind, not Broscience. Broscience is the advice you get from a gym buddy, co-worker, and even some personal trainers.

I like to live by the motto that anything is possible. OK, so I guess spot reduction is possible…….but it’s called liposuction, or cool sculpting. I attached a link to the best and quick read on spot reduction that I found. Feel free to do your own research.

2. The “I workout so I can eat whatever I want” mentality.

Yeah……it doesn’t exactly work this way. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the diet is a very large part of it. I’m not going to give you an exact % because this can vary from person to person. For me, I feel like the diet is about 65%. A crappy diet can derail all of the hard work that you’ve done in the gym. Now, yes, if you’re burning off a lot of calories with strenuous activities like say, walking miles around Disneyland with your kids in 90 degree weather, you can definately get away with eating more calories than normal from less than healthful foods without worrying about weight gain. But in no way does this mean that hitting the gym three times in one week for one hour each time gives you a free pass to overindulge with food and alcohol all weekend long. I’m not trying to sound like I’m on a soapbox here and would never want to offend someone or scare them away. It’s only that when I hear of peoples weightloss woes, more often than not, it can all be traced back to the diet. Benjamin Franklin said that we dig our graves with our teeth. Make all of that hard work you’re putting into working out work for you. If you’re going to go to all of the trouble of doing it, why not do it right, right???

3. Doing crunches to get six pack abs.

Have you ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? I hadn’t until I was 30 years old. This saying means that the best way to reveal abdominal muscles is through controlling your diet, which controls your body fat %. The reason your abs aren’t showing is not because you’re not working them hard enough. I see countless individuals at the gym setting aside significant time at the gym dedicated to ab exercises. Now, this is not a complete waste of time. However, the best analogy I can give to this is that doing crunches to reveal your abs is sort of like washing your car in the pouring down rain. Controlling your diet combined with cardio is a much more effective and time efficient way to pursue getting a six pack. Muscle definition comes from fat loss. I’ve included a picture of myself below. The one on the left was the morning after Nationals & taken in a trashed hotel room. The right one was taken last week and is a “softer” look for me. Which is just a polite way of saying that I’ve put on a little fluff since my last competition. I just call it my winter coat. So basically the only real difference between the two pictures is body fat %. The lower my body fat, the more defined my abs. PERIOD! I do not workout my abs. Ab exercises aren’t as necessary as everyone thinks they are. You engage your abdominal muscles in so many other exercises rendering crunches unnecessary. For eIMG_3100xample, squats. I can get sore in my abs just from increasing the resistance in my squat exercises. You would probably be better off increasing the resistance on any basic lift. Or if you want to strengthen your abs you could do planks.  Planks are great for strengthening all of your core muscles. Notice how I used the term “strengthen”, not increase in size.

Please excuse my appearance in these photos. I usually take my “progress pictures” after a good cardio session when I’m sweaty, flushed and not wearing any make up. Not my best look!

Feel free to message me should you have questions or want additional information.

Stay crazy, healthy & happy!

About the Author:

I'm Leanna Jensen. I'm a NPC Bikini Competitor, Personal trainer, fitness writer and mother of two. I am on a mission to help and serve others by sharing my knowledge of all things health and fitness.

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