This week’s post is short and (hopefully) sweet but the subject matter is decidedly weighty! It is as weighty as kilos and pounds, as weighty as bulk and mass, it is the weightiest topic of them all in the minds of many fitness seekers. It is…
Once upon a time ‘speak my weight’ machines were all the rage, but that was in the days before we all began to whisper our weight… or a lighter version of our true weight. The tell-tale number that our bathroom scales hover over has become a very sensitive subject. But does it really matter? What does it actually tell us? If you ask me, it’s just a number.
Muscle weighs way more than fat, right? And surely we all want more muscle? I am currently wading through willpower hell in search of muscle tone as part of this Train Fitness Challenge. And yet it is my total weight that is the weekly number that determines how much fuel my coach prescribes to aid my muscle growth and enable my body to recover from the tough workouts set. It is the same number that also sets the fuel intake I need in order to engage in normal levels of work, play and performance every day. My kilo count is the number that regulates my energy levels for living life.
So why is such an important number also such a sensitive subject? The truth is that we all make value judgments of one another based on our weights, and a lot of those judgments stem from the direct association between weight, health and unhealthy eating disorders. Too many people in this day and age live under the shadow of their scales and what they believe their body weight is telling them. The general opinion is that the smaller the number, the ‘better’. It is a misconception that is costing people their happiness, their health and even their lives.
Each and every day, I step onto the scales almost before opening my eyes and record my weight. I then enter this number into a tracker that is sent to my coach on a weekly basis. That sounds very much like I’m as much a slave to the scales as anyone else. Guilty! I am regimented by this routine because I am currently living a particularly regimented life. Reading that back it may even sound as though I’m doing something that could be deemed as unhealthy. It could be.
The important thing to take into account is that we are in the midst of a 12-week challenge. We took on that challenge knowing and accepting that our lives were about to stray away from the norm. We also set about it guided by fitness industry experts that understand the figures and their significance. This knowledge enables them to interpret our numbers and prescribe the actions that will not only sculpt our bodies to the desired look but also ensure we don’t encounter any detrimental health issues en route. We are lab rats in an experiment, but not expendable lab rats! One of the most important parts of this experiment is to keep us on a healthy path to muscle building. That path has been mapped out by equations made specifically for this 12-week period. When our time is up, so is our weight watching.
The calculations are formulated for each of us individually depending on how are bodies are changing and reacting to the programme. There is a constant balance being struck on behalf of our body’s needs, shape and energy levels. We are being constantly monitored so we know that we are in safe hands. Obviously we hear the other guys in comp prep talking about their weight a lot. Of course it’s a measure, but it is only one. It is not the be-all and end-all. It is a guide, an indicator to how to make our bodies work best but there is a big difference between losing weight under expert guidance for sporting excellence and losing weight by starvation in order to squeeze into a Size 8 dress. A big, big difference!
So next time you step off the scales and the reading is not what you would like it to be, give some thought to why you’re disappointed. Is the target weight that you have set yourself governed by any clear purpose or point? Is it achievable or sustainable? And does it carry a health warning that is leading you to ignore other important indicators of well-being? I don’t want anybody to read these weekly posts and decide that we have discovered a cure-all solution to everyone’s fitness issues. I stress our programmes are set individually for each of us and for this specific 3-month challenge. We are not holding ourselves up as ‘models’ for others to follow. The numbers that make up our weight are driven by purpose and by date. The current figures are not ones that we will or should maintain for lengthy periods of time. They are set to achieve a physique needed for ‘stage minutes’, not for life.
Life is for living. Never mind the numbers, feel the quality.