It’s NOT All About the Numbers

BodyFat_ImpedenceThe world of fitness is overloaded with numbers. It seems like everywhere you look, there are people on message boards discussing new workout plans, or supplement companies trying to sell you the secret recipe for success: how many sets to be completed, calories to be burned, reps to be done, exercises necessary, grams of protein required, carbohydrates consumed, workouts planned, pounds lifted, kilos converted, miles ran, and the list goes on and on. Crunching the numbers is a workout on its own!

In reality, there’s only one number you should be concerned with at the gym: Zero. That’s the number of cares you should give about all the different advice you are being bombarded with as you walk through those gym doors. Don’t get me wrong, numbers have their place. You can keep track of personal records and progress. But, it has its pitfalls as well.

Research shows that stationary bikes, treadmills, stair climbers, and ellipticals overestimate calories burned by 7%, 13%, 12%, and 42% respectively (UCSF).  42%! This discrepancy, caused by rudimentary formulas and the machines’ incapability to consider each unique individual, represents a far larger concern in the gym: the over-reliance on numbers to motivate your fitness endeavors.

A classic example is the weight scale. If your fitness goals are defined solely by your weight, you may be approaching your workouts the wrong way. The number on the scale is literally just the numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. A scale can’t measure muscle, body fat, strength, or your enjoyment, which is ultimately going to play a large part in you consistently returning to the gym.

The workout is your opportunity to do what YOU enjoy. You are in charge of your workout; your workout is not in charge of you! The great thing about fitness is there is an infinite number of ways to get in shape, and Aztec Recreation provides just about all of them: Bowling, Tennis, Surfing, Paddle boarding, Kayaking, Aztec Adventures challenges, dance, martial arts, and so much more. You name it, they have it.

So squat because you want to, run because you want to, or take that windsurfing class at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center because YOU want to. Finally, at the end of the day, smile—because you’ll want to.

Good Luck!

By: Jimmy Shiba, Graduate Health Promotion Intern, MPH CandidateJimmy_Shiba

How are you making your workout more enjoyable? Let us know! #LiveWellAztecs

 

Resources:

https://arc.sdsu.edu/content.php?arc=3 (All the different programs associated with Aztec Recreation)

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/exercise-calorie-counters-work/story?id=9966500#.T1p_TvF8C80  (Article outlining study done by University of California, San Francisco Human Performance Center on cardio equipment accuracy)

http://vtpeakperformance.com/false-reality-calories-burned-cardio-machines/ (Why cardio machines miscalculate calories burned)

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/enjoying-exercise-leads-enhanced-results-study-article-1.1861561 (Research study showing the impact of workout enjoyment)

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/13-tips-to-actually-enjoy-exercising.html (13 simple tips on how to make your workout more enjoyable)

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