Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Everyone wants these abs! How do you get them?

I wonder if I had abs like these in the days when my life was ALL about sports? In high school (if I wasn't in a class) I was playing basketball, tennis, or volleyball... I did whatever sport I could fit into my schedule that was in season--track and field, table tennis, field hockey, softball... I skipped, ran, swam, skated (roller and ice), hiked, rock-climbed and biked. (I tried skiing as well but, really, I'm not big on snow and cold).

I honestly don't remember in all those years thinking about what I looked like or what I weighed... and I never obsessed about what I ate. 

Probably, though, I never had abs like these. These abs are the result of either: a) genetics, or b) some serious time in the gym focusing on core work and having your diet down to a science (and/or starving.) Neither of those scenarios are me.

I like to have a glass of wine with dinner. I eat carbs (generally whole grains but carbs nevertheless)! I do not eat a lot of sugar (never had a sweet tooth) though I do enjoy chocolate and will have a dessert on occasion. When it comes to food, generally, I eat a variety of foods in season--and I cook simply--steamed, baked, lightly sauteed and no heavy sauces--lots of vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens.

And yes, I spend time in the gym. Between Boot Camp, Body Sculpt and High Intensity Interval Training classes (of which I generally do most of the class WITH the class) I spend 6 to 10 hours a week doing relatively strenuous physical activity that combines passive and active resistance training, agility, core and endurance. And, although I'm passionate about the benefits of resistance training and staying "active", I'm not obsessed with the gym--I've got a full life that includes running a business, pursuing a singing career, working a part-time job, refereeing Roller Derby, playing golf when I have time, spending time with friends when I'm able and a couple of extra hobbies thrown in for good measure--I have no extra time for "working out" for the sake of working out.

More importantly though, I see no real need for these abs. They will not make me more able to do the tasks I need to do on a daily basis. They won't make me run faster, lift more weight or ease back pain; they won't help me garden, golf or do housework better. They won't make me generally healthier. 

To me fitness is about balance. You NEED to be fit to live a long, healthy life. You need to stay active, but how far you go with it depends on what you are doing it for and how much time you have to spend on it. Professional athlete? You'll be spending more time on your fitness than a mother working full-time. 

It's really OK to strive for a better level of "fitness" -- even if you never achieve "six-pack" abs. I think it's much healthier to choose Fitness for life over an ab-session.