Plus, the things I learned about trying to get fit at 27
Summer is a season that conjures up feelings of excitement, joy and sometimes dread. I don’t speak for everyone, of course, but the select few who, like myself, find themselves stunned whenever confronted with this reality: yes, girl, you really did let your body go and slide down your list of priorities. While I will always be on team #bodylove no matter what, I maintain that every dash of “body love” and dollop of “body positivity” should always come with a heavy dose of self-care. And I'll be the first to admit that the weekly spin class is not enough to combat the junk food, occasional drinks and meals during odd times of the day that fills the rest of my week.
The moment you realize that the summer bod you thought you have is non-existent, you do as optimists do: look for a quick fix workout you can cram in the little time you have before hitting the beach. Enter: the beer belly busting fitness experiment of which the purpose is twofold. First is to slim down the stubborn belly bulge that appears right below the bellybutton. Second is to see how effective the workout is and if there are noticeable changes in just two weeks. The added appeal of the specific workout (photo below) is that there are no sit-ups involved (yay).
In real life, this kind of cramming is common practice. Got a beach trip in a month? Work out till your departure date! Plain, simple and quite frankly, unideal. Is this a common pitfall? Yes. Is it a solid fitness setup? Not at all. It’s basically the equivalent of a crash diet; and anything you can get easily, you can lose just as easily.
With that, the results of this beer belly-busting workout:
Day 1 (April 9)
“The workouts are definitely doable. More importantly, I think they’re sustainable…then again, it's the first day. I’m doing the Level I, which means 20 reps, three sets and a two-minute rest between them. No alcohol consumption until the end of this, too.”[/one-half]
Day 4 (April 12)
“I wound up doing the beer belly busting workout after a late night at work instead of the morning routine I had in mind for this experiment. This was followed by McDonald’s for late dinner.”[/one-half-first] [one-half][/one-half]
Day 10 (April 18)
“Decided to call for reinforcements this week since obviously, when left to my own devices, I will eat everything and anything. I signed up for a diet delivery service on Monday. For five days, it’ll be 1,200-calorie daily meals with just fish as my source of protein. Till next week, beloved Chickenjoy, et al.”[/one-half]
Day 14 (April 22)
“I have the workout to thank for a noticeably smaller waist, that’s for sure (and hooray, I’m starting to see cuts again!) But the bulge, I believe, will need more work over an extended period of time. I’ve got a lot of reverse crunches left to do.”[/one-half-first] [one-half][/one-half]
There are three things to be learned from this fitness experiment: one is that ageing is sneaky AF. It’s something that seems to happen slowly, but also all at once. I tell you, the 27-year-old body does not cooperate, bounce back or behave like a 21-year-old’s body does. Second is that the closer one gets to 40, the more important it is to turn to healthy eating. I found that as people age, a natural shift happens: a teenager or someone in their early 20’s, for example, will need to invest more in being active than dieting. Meanwhile, an older person will need to be more conscious of what they eat rather than how often they exercise—and I'm already noticing signs of this shift. Gone are the days where six sessions of Pilates were all it took to get noticeable results. Fat seems to cling on to dear life; and it’s getting easier to “undo” a workout (the late-night double cheeseburger from McDonald’s on Thursday night is enough to throw anyone's fitness routine out of whack).
I'm shookt by what a couple of years can do to the body. At the same time, however, we're also humbled by the realization that, duh, you will have to work for it if you want to keep a lean, bulge-free physique. Lastly, quality fitness cannot be crammed and cannot be given a timeframe as short as two weeks. Those who are fit all year round call it a lifestyle change for a reason.
Art Alexandra Lara