I recently watched a documentary by Nova about 12 couch potatoes who trained 9 months to run a marathon. Surprisingly, the flick was fair.
No, jogging is not a good fat loss tool, says the film. The only person of the 12 to drop a considerable amount of weight also worked hard on her eating habits and did a comprehensive weight training program. She also stalled after the first 4 months and didn’t drop another pound. I believe it was Alwyn Cosgrove who said fat people run marathons all the time.
No, running (at least modern traditional heel-toe style) is not really good for the joints. One person had to drop out for pain reasons, and several others suffered pretty hard during the training.
These 12 folks were all coached by high ranking marathon competitors, by the way. They weren’t just huffing it on their own. They all finished (except for the pain drop out), even if many of their times we past 6 hours, and no matter how miserable they seemed crossing that finish line, it was still inspiring.
For my little brain, this brought up 2 questions…
1) Now what? What do they do next?
2) Why are marathons, which don’t pack the greatest fitness punch, so popular as a bench mark?
So, Nova, try this for your next experimental documentary:
Take 12 couch potatoes and take a year to train them to clean and jerk their bodyweight (maybe a bigger ratio for men). I bet body composition would change more dramatically (and for the better) then the marathon runners, and they’d have to learn more movement skills along the way.
Just a thought.
Speaking of thoughts and running, freshly morphed from our apprenticeship program into a full fledged Bodytribe trainer comes Terri Truesdale. She runs. But now she also does much more. Her bio was revealing enough that it should be shared as a blog. Here’s Terri…
Part 1: Being Two Dimensional
I don’t know what was worse growing up: being picked last in gym class or being picked. A kid with a ball was something to avoid, a ball heading my way was something to fear. Maybe if I stood sideways no one would see me, living in a two dimensional world. So scrawny I could barely hold a door open. That sums up the first 29 years of my life.
But then I was faced with turning 30 and I realized my life looked nothing like I thought it would (or should) when I daydreamed about it as a teenager or as a 20 something heading out of college. The only movement I knew growing up was ducking from said ball, or later, getting the crappy parking spot in the overflow gravel lot in college. I did a lot of ducking and walking. At 30 I decided I wanted more dimension.
I do not believe in coincidences. Shortly before my 30th birthday I mysteriously received in the mail an invitation to sign up for one of those fundraising marathon training programs. It was not addressed “resident” but had my name on it. To this day I do not know how I got on their list. Every day we are faced with choices – take action or have a reaction. Contemplating my life put me in just the right frame of mind to pay attention to this choice put before me. I chose to act.
I trained for the marathon – the only real movement I have ever attempted in the first 30 years of my life. A few weeks before the marathon I discovered a body part I never knew I had – the I T band. I ended up limping my first marathon, in tears by mile 11. I was faced with another choice. Life is the sum of our choices. Choose to positively act and you end up with a positive life. Choose to negatively react and, well, you know where you end up. But I digress…
So, I could choose to react and say what a failure the marathon was. Stuck in the back of the pack with all the other participants gimping around, while others who were twice my size and struggling with weight issues came and went. Aren’t marathon runners supposed to be these scrawny, zero body fat people? That’s a rabbit to chase on another day.
Or, I could choose to act and positively believe that it is harder to limp a marathon in pain for the last, oh, 24 miles than it is to run it with ease. Yes, I clearly won my race that day! So, I was hooked on running. Despite the swelling and the tears, I had caught the bug.
Part 2: Becoming Three Dimensional
Putting one foot in front of the other at a steady pace became easier. What became harder was holding myself upright. Again, there are no coincidences. My running partner had joined Bodytribe a year earlier and so I decided to go in and check it out. I had to get stronger to hold myself erect and that meant weight lifting. Listen up ladies, those of you who think you will bulk up by lifting weights. I have not bulked up a bit and I am strong enough not only to hold a door open but lift more than my own body weight. I am not the exception to the “rule,” I am the rule. The exceptions are those who actually bulk. We simply do not have enough testosterone (yet another rabbit for another day – this industry has lots of rabbits).
Turns out that running isn’t the only movement that has a bug you can catch. I have been stricken with the weight lifting bug as well. So much so I decided (yup – another choice) to go get a little education on the subject. I got my Fitness Specialist Certificate….and a couple other ones (yadda yadda), but I value more my journey of empowerment – becoming stronger in mind and body, becoming three dimensional – than I do my certifications.
I am no longer afraid of being picked or of others hurling objects in my direction. Something happened to my mind as a result of the choices I made to move my body. I am still on the journey of discovery – learning about more body parts as I explore the world of movement. But more importantly, I am standing tall not so much because I am stronger in body but because I am stronger in mind.
It is no coincidence you are reading this. You may be experiencing some reflection of you own, faced with choices. The question now is, will you react to them or take action as result of them?
She’s a good running dog, although a bit out of shape at the moment (about 5 blocks and she needs a short rest). She’s great on a leash, and she sleeps through the night (although, as mentioned, she might want more bed than she should be allowed).
Meanwhile Tom, Sam and I are off to compete in the Redwood Empire Championships this weekend, a wonderful outdoor weightlifting meet. Details next week.
Last year’s meet