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Quit Compartmentalizing My Fitness Routine

June 18th, 2009

I receive emails from fitness websites and organizations on a daily basis. Prevention Magazine, Women's Health ACE, Can-Fit-Pro... I like to get the latest information and check out new and improved workout programs and exercises.

But one thing has been bothing me. And it's not the fact that most of the emails I get are trying to sell me books about some new diet or weight loss program subscription. It's also not the fact that some of these companies (I'm not mentioning any names) don't find it at all ironic that many of the emails they've sent me in the past few years have been for the "last" or "only" workout or diet plan I'll ever need. Then why do they keep creating new ones I wonder? But I digress.

The thing that bothers me is workout routines that target only one or two muscle groups. Who doesn't want tanktop arms, a bodacious booty or awesome abs? The exercises in and of themselves aren't bad. In fact I get a lot of my own moves and ideas from these types of emails. But if I'm spending 30 minutes, two to three times a week working my abdominals, when am I going to have time to work the rest of my muscles.

I know these exercises are a small part of a much bigger fitness routine, so I pick and choose the ones I like and add them to my reperetoire. But some people are so focussed on spot reduction, like getting rid of arm fat for example, that they forget about everything else and think doing eight exercises for their biceps, triceps and shoulders is all it's going to take to lose fat in that area.

I get why these emails are sent out. If someone is stressing about the state of their stomach an email that screams "banish ab flab for good", especially if it also specifies there is no exercise required (don't even get me started on that), is what's going to entice them to go to the website it came from.

For someone who is inactive and possibly overweight the promise of muscle definition and flat abs in a matter of weeks sounds too good to be true, and it is. If you read the fine print these spot training plans require healthy eating, cardiovascualr activity and even more strength training to be effective. Even then it often takes months to see results, unless you're starving yourself and working out excessively, which isn't a great way to make lasting lifestyle chanegs.

So ifyou want to send me emails with exercises suggestions that's great, but be upfront about what is involved and what results are realistic.

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