Fit and Firm

21 Feb

Over the last couple of days I have had a rather heated twitter exchange with @FitandFirmPT, their beef is with Run Fat Bitch Run suggesting that running is the only way.  They claim (quite rightly) that strength/resistance training plus cardio is better for weight loss.  To quote their most recent tweets, “to say that running is the only answer, no exceptions is ridiculous; not to mention a completely unfounded scientifically incorrect statement.”

Alright, FnF keep yer knickers on.  I agree, the ‘ideal’ weight loss progamme would involve some strength/resistance training just as it would involve a diet that amounts to more than the Grit Doctor’s two golden rules: DRINK MORE WATER AND EAT LESS CRAP.  In fact, I highly recommend any and all forms of training and sports to everyone who is fit and healthy with time and money to spare.  If I could, I would play singles tennis four times a week for my perfect exercise routine but the world I live in is far from ideal.  I have 45mins-1hr tops 4 times a week to get out of the house and exercise (many mums are in the same boat) and I want to maximise the bang I get for my buck.  Caitlin Moran’s brilliantly funny column in the Times magazine on Saturday is on the same page.  She too is a working mum, who just wants to fit into her size 12 clothes – I bet she doesn’t give a shit about her bingo wings (sorry Caitlin if you don’t in fact have them or do, and care very much).  She doesn’t have the time to consider that if she had done 7minutes of strength training with weights at the gym beforehand she would have burnt off more calories on her four mile jog!  She wants as many endorphins as she can get in the shortest possible time and she knows that running is the answer.  For many of us ordinary women who don’t have the time or money to devote to muscle sculpture, let alone afford gym membership, strength and resistance training is something we cannot afford to waste time faffing over. 

I am trying to empower people in getting them to realise that they don’t need to learn anything new, or spend any money on fancy equipment or lessons or be anywhere else first, except outside their front door.  Everything they need to get fit and lose weight they already have – they just need to reconnect with it all again.  Running is free and you can begin your workout from the moment you leave your front door and end it the moment you return.  I am trying to help people to get out of their exercise rut by saying ‘listen here bitches, this doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need to spend any money, because there is no magic pill.  This is going to be brutally gritty’.  Because I think running is really brutal.  And that is why I like it.  I feel it in a way that fiddling around with a dumbell in front of a mirror is never going to match, nor will it give me the endorphin rush I crave, nor any sense of achievement in braving the outdoors. 

Teaching people from the off that they need an exercise programme involving some cardio, some weights, and some resistance training, I believe, is setting them up to fail.  Let’s start with the basics.  I am trying to help people get off the sofa, the finessing comes later on, much later on.  Otherwise, people remain trapped in the mentality that they need someone else, or something else first before they can achieve any results for their body and so remain glued to the sofa, weighed down by an ever-expanding arsenal of excuses.

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20 Responses to “Fit and Firm”

  1. Sally February 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    I love the “ever-expanding arsenal”…..
    And yes…. just get out the door and do it. Putting on the running shoes is the hardest part. It’s all downhill after that.
    Sally, Cottesloe

  2. ann February 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I think you made it perfectly clear in your book that you were not offering some scientific method nor was running the only option. But if one wanted to take the running option, then this was one way it could be done. I found your book funny and inspirational. So much so that it kept me running through minus 12 weather which is what we had in Germany a couple of weeks ago (coming from a climate where plus 12 is considered really cold, that was some achievement!). I feel great. Thank you.

  3. Dash February 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    True, running is ideal to squeeze in to busy schedules.
    But it is only free/cheap to start with … Rapidly it gets oh so very expensive!

  4. Edd February 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Ok, again, sensationalist claims backed up by no Fact whatsoever, worked for you so obviously works for everyone… Setting up people with a balanced program isn’t setting people up to fail because it’s what’s best for them and has been proven time and time again to be the quickest and safest way to not only gain fitness but maintain fitness.

    You haven’t got the experience or knowledge to be able to keep stating your opinion as fact and let others who are boggled by health and fitness believe that what your saying is genuinely what’s best for them, when its completely incorrect. The fact you refer to resistance training as fiddling with a dumbbell in front of a mirror just highlights the fact you have no idea of what resistance training is and no comprehension of how loading in exercise works. You are right you do have everything you need without joining a gym, your body weight, still can offer a perfect amount of weight for resistance exercise and will give you a far greater ‘bang for your buck’ than running can offer. I’ve seen phenomenal results from sedentary clients beginning with just 2x 1hr sessions a week, claiming 4x 45mins-1hr is being pressed for time is again ridiculous. Nobody needs to exercise for more than an hour unless training for an event or advanced goal.

    You talk about craving endorphins that you gain from running, again, strength training is proven to have far greater hormonal benefit. If you want to get really sciencey it’s also proven that in a large amount of cases people who have poor running mechanics (majority of overweight people) the stress of running causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, causing you to store body fat. Lets start with the basics…Every aerobic session you do the body becomes more efficient, therefore you burn less calories. To become more efficient the muscles shrink, reducing muscle mass lowers the amount of calories your body burns at rest. Fact.

    Having a QUALIFIED fitness professional give you advice isnt setting you up to fail, or making you reliant on anyone else. People lose faith in fitness because they don’t see results, which is exactly why they need to do the best exercise possible to give the best chance at achieving what they want to achieve. Going from doing jack to running will see results in the short term but it’s not sustainable and can lead to far greater health issues down the line than a balanced resistance program will.

    Your arguments have no substance at all and I cannot understand how on earth you can justify your opinions with no evidence or fact to back them up with, if you could I’d be more than interested to listen. Unfortunately, you don’t. I, like I imagine you did went through the education system to be able to do the job I do. Stick to what your trained to do.

    • gritdoctor February 22, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      thanks for this. you are right, i am certainly no fitness expert nor have i ever claimed to be one! i leave that to you guys. we may have to agree to disagree on this one ed, but i appreciate the debate, it helps hone my skills!

      • Edd February 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

        Im not entirely sure how you can disagree with fact, but never mind il take that. Your experience of the gym and fitness professionals has obviously been pretty poor previously so how about coming up to Cheshire some time and wel show you just how good a decent gym session can make you feel and then you can see what im telling you in practice, free of charge obviously 🙂

      • gritdoctor February 24, 2012 at 9:12 am #

        if i get the chance to come up to cheshire, i would love to do that – thanks! have a great weekend

  5. TheUrbanMum February 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Most excellent post – I exercise every day and do spend time faffing over whether to Gym and cop the 30- mins of travelling – or use that extra time and just run/walk longer.

    Usually go for the later – plus if you spend a few minutes at the end of your workout and pop in a few Push-ups then bingo – the arms are taken care of too. Body weight is one of the best resistance options anyway. xx

  6. Kylie Starling February 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    After reading your book, I organised a couple of working Mums to join me in my running quest. We run two nights a week and then try to fit in another two on our own. We totally get your message about just getting out there when ever we can and getting that natural high! We all cannot commit time to and/or afford gym memberships. If we lose weight, great! If not, life still feels all the more better for getting out amongst it! We are in the third week of the program and now our group has grown to about six or seven women joining in with us on our quest.

  7. Lisa Smith February 22, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    Agree 100%. I’m finally seeing some results after buying the book and following the advice, something that never happened with gym membership and countless other costly weight loss ideas. I got a small notebook and copied down one motivational comment from the book on each page and read a few pages whenever I get a spare minute. It helps keep me on track. Ann – I think that’s amazing -12 degrees. No excuses for me here in Australia!

  8. Kat February 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I simply can’t afford the gym (or a personal trainer) and it bores the crap out of me anyway — that’s what I’d call ‘not sustainable’. Being bombarded with how many reps of this that and the other will give me this and the other result…asleep already. I wanna be outside.

    I run to be fit to enjoy my fave sports (swimming, yoga, surfing) and I’m sure other people will find something they love to balance out the running. And if not, at least they’ll be getting more exercise than just trundling down the biscuit aisle behind a trolley.

  9. Andi Mc February 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Ever thought about getting a cardiovascular workout by doing bodyweight resistance circuits? The term killing 2 birds with one stone springs to mind. You don’t even need to unlock the front door either, a space the size of a single bed will do, so tidy up the kids toys as a warm up, and lose weight, change your body shape, gain strength and get fit!
    Edd is talking a lot of sense. He has my vote

  10. Mweetman February 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Hmmmm, how much would it cost for me to do body weight exercises? I can’t afford the gym or PT?

  11. Irene - Ireland February 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I have just finished your book and I am still not sure how I feel about it. I understand that Run Fat B1tches Run is useful for getting people off their sofa but I wonder when you use the term ‘fat’ how fat do you mean. For slim people fat is an extra stone or two. For fat people its an extra 8 stone. I am 18.5 stone and I had started walking fast / jogging briefly – I am 5ft 7 I might add but wasn’t always that overweight and I was very fit up to the age of 25 now I am 40! I think your book is aimed at people who are 2 – 3 stone over weight who are not classed as fat – what about people who are 8 stone and more! I am finding it difficult to say the least but I have been there before and I know I will get back but it gives bad advice to people who may be 4 stone plus overweight and they will put incredible strain on their joints and cause damage. Make it clear its just your personal opinion state what weight you are starting at so the rest of us ‘fat bitches’ do not have unrealistic ideas about what we are capable of! I don’t doubt that at any stage you were ever a ‘fat bitch’ in any sense of the word!
    I wish you the best with the book but I hope that you will take some of the comments posted here by professional trainers because they do know and they will tell you someone with that much weight to lose will do more harm than good running!

    • gritdoctor February 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      thank you for this. i have been thinking alot about you’ve said and what the profesional trainers have said and i totally take your points on board. if it is not clear enough in the book (and it clearly isn’t if you felt you needed it clarified), i do apologise and will be sure to make it is clearer in any future edition. But i do say that anyone who is morbidly obese MUST SPEAK TO THE DOCTOR BEFORE EMBARKING ON THE PROGRAMME. I also say that no-one should even attempt the 5minute slow jog in week one of the programme unitl they are able to walk round their circuit comfortably. Anyone who is more than 3 stone overweight is unlikely to get to the stage where they can walk the circuit comfortably for some time by which stage some of the excess weight will have shifted. Again, it is very importatnt to see a real doctor first for the reasons you and others identify quite rightly about stress to joints etc.

      That being said, it is YOU and people in your shoes that I most want to help. I believe (and it is just my UNprofessional opinion) that if you would just MOVE MORE and EAT LESS CRAP and DRINK MORE WATER you would start to see results. Maybe I am just a fantasist, but the way I see it there is a simple mathematical equation involved: what you put in needs to be burnt off or fat deposits result. Hiding behind the ‘excuse’ that ‘I am too fat to make a start’ is a real shame and frankly, just another excuse. you can be slim and you can do the programme in the book safely, it will just take you longer to see results and longer to get to the weight you want to be at, but it will happen and provided you take sensible precautions and advice from your doctor, you can safely start moving and one day be running that circuit the same as everyone else.

      i welcome your input and this discussion and i really hope you will take what you felt was positive from the book and implement it in your life even if it is just to MOVE MORE and EAT LESS CRAP!

      • Irene - Ireland February 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

        Thank you for the reply and I do understand what you are saying – that said I have recommended it to 8 relatively more active friends who want to start running. I have also signed up to do a 10K marathon so something must have seeped in! I have 3 months to work towards walking / jogging it. Good luck with the book and I am sure you will get a more than a few people off the sofa and running!

  12. Denise Whitley March 20, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Hi,
    I just wanted to add my opinion. Before i start i will say that i started my whole ‘change my life process’ at 16st 4lb and 5ft 9in and 40 yrs old, so im approx 5 stone overweight. I have tried every way to lose weight since i was mid twenties from well know diets to strange diets, liquids only, slimming tablets (illegal and legal) and finally a gastric band in 2006. I lost 6.5 st with the band and have kept 3 stone of it off. The band does not work now. I work from home alot and my youngest child is 18 yrs (having lost my youngest child 4 years ago aged 5yrs) so i have more free time than many people.
    This time something seems to have clicked. I realised i needed to exercise. I started attending a military boot camp for four 1hour sessions per week on 16 feb. Its hard work but it incorparates all the resistance work and sprints that i think i need. Its also a bit like having the grit doctor training me! Im also eating much healthier. After two weeks i found that i wanted to start running as well. Having never ran before i searched for a book and yours jumped out at me. I went on ‘map my walk’ and plotted 5k. From the first session i walked/jogged it and it took 40mins (including 4min warm up walk). I have done this at least 3 times per week for a couple of weeks. Im also keeping up with three boot camps per week. In 5 weeks i have lost 1st 9lb and lost 20inches. I love your book and i totally understand where your coming from. What i picked up from the book is that you dont say that its the ‘only’ way (and as we are all adults we all know that to lose weight we need to eat less and move more), but you do say it is ‘a way’ to lose weight and get fit that works well with time constraints.
    The biggest hurdle is to find something that works for you. I had a gym membership for years but hated the commute, the queues for equipment and got so bored. It was easy for me in the gym to stop and not push myself. Run fat bitch run and boot camp work for me. Once im out the door with my trainers on and part way round my circuit i have to push myself to finish it as i have a stop watch ticking over at home; at boot camp i have an army instructer pushing me to my limits. I would say it is possible for fat bitches to run – yes it puts strain on your joints but then again so does being morbidly obese (obese or just fat) for the majority of your adult life.

    I have just found this site and look forward to reading your blogs.
    Kindest regards
    Denise xx

    • gritdoctor March 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      thanks so much for this Denise, you have hit the nail on the head. my point is we are all more likely to do sufficiently intense exercise necessary to get fit and lose weight if we run. and we can all do it without spending any money or learning anything new or getting somewhere else first. its our mindset about exercise that needs to change and running is a great way of accessing that shift. in other words, for exercise to be effective in helping us lose weight as well as getting fit it needs to be hard, strenous, like your boot camp and running. A Pilates classs or a swim (when your starting point is one of very overweight and unfit) ain’t gonna cut the mustard. i really like what you say at the end and I am going to quote you in my next blog. thanks for sharing and keep up the good grit! x

  13. fionadoggett November 19, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Yes! – to empowering people to getting moving outside your front door. Yes! – to incorporating a few bodyweight exercises alongside your run. You can combine both running and bodyweight exercise, for free, in the great outdoors.

    For Londoners, there’s a map and guide to outdoor fitness trails, many of which are originally designed for this very reason – with stations set beside a pathway, encouraging joggers and walkers to stop and perform exercises on the apparatus.
    http://www.muddyplimsolls.com/outdoor-fitness/

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