Many people in my regular everyday life who don’t know very much about being in shape, see my defined muscular looking arms and they are confused as to why I look this way. They do not realize it is mainly because of what I eat. Girls often ask me which exercises I do to get my arms to look like this:
(take note.... these arms are defined, but they are far from big, MANY confuse the two. My biceps are about 9 inches around... that is very small. Get out a tape measure and see how small that is for yourself, it's smaller than most who don't even workout at all. If I don't want my arms to look as defined as they are in the above picture, all I have to do is eat a bunch of crap and the definition will be gone within the week. Again,.. my muscles are small, I don't have hulky beast size muscles. If there was any chance that I would get big massive muscles by lifting heavy weights, there's no way that I would do it.
While the pull-ups, push ups, dumbbell curls, and many other exercises all contribute to the muscular arms I have, the reason you can SEE the muscle is because I have low body fat. And my low body fat is obtained by eating all the ‘plain foods’ on the plain food list with the proper amounts for my particular body size and activity level. That’s right,.. the gross plain tuna, chicken, oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, and salads with light dressing. This keeps my body fat low and my muscles visible. Get it? It’s because of what I EAT that I have muscles you can see. Eating right gives you that toned look.
Here is a typical conversation for me:
Friend at a work dinner: “I just love your arms, I’ve been going to the gym for 6 months now and I’m trying to get them to look like that. What is the exercise you do to have that toned look?
Me: “Well, I think pull ups are great for arms, but really any exercise where you challenge yourself with a HEAVY weight is a good one. (women don't get big man muscles from lifting heavy) However, the reason my arms look this way is because of what I eat.
Friend at work dinner: “Really? ?? What do you eat?
Me: “I eat mostly plain chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts, and oatmeal.”
Friend at work dinner: “ oh, I eat some of that stuff sometimes…. “
Me: “That’s great, but 'sometimes' won’t give you the toning you say you want. Are you drinking alcohol on a regular basis and also eating desserts?”
Friend at work dinner: “ Well, I only drink on weekends and I love chocolate and we always have ice cream.”
Me: “ In order to have definition you need to eat the plain foods I mentioned, but most importantly you need to eliminate all the alcohol, fried foods etc.... desserts and ice cream,.. basically all the good stuff.” I LOVE chocolate and ice cream as well, however I must choose between the treats or the muscle definition and I’ll take the muscles. Anyone who can eat all that have have muscle definition, good for you! but I have to eat plain foods only to show muscle.
Friend at work dinner: “ Well, it’s just so hard because I’m on the road all the time with work and have so many dinners to attend and I get so bored of the plain food.”
Me: “If you are on the road, there is no one holding a gun to your head to make you eat crap. There is healthy food in every city around the world. If you really wanted to get the toned look you claim to want, you can keep pouches of tuna in your purse for emergency and eat those when you can’t get to anything else. You can buy them in any grocery store and even Target. Yes, the plain foods will never be tasting as great as ‘pizza or ice cream’. They are what they are, PLAIN and not so great tasting compared to the classic good stuff. When you are eating for looking toned, you are NOT eating for taste, flavor and excitement so don’t think you’ll even come close to the enjoyable meal of a pizza when eating the plain foods. They can be good, but they are what they are,.. plain. I have grown to appreciate eating the way I eat.
Friend at work dinner: “oh, well I could never give up all that stuff.”
Me: “well then you can never have that toned look you say you want, get it?” There is nothing wrong with enjoying the delicious treats you love, but just know you can't boo hoo about how your body looks if you aren't willing to do what it takes.
More confusion and misunderstanding about eating the proper foods for a muscular looking lean body… People actually think I don’t like any of the delicious foods like pizza, ice cream, candy bars, desserts, cupcakes, muffins, all fried foods, etc. because of the plain foods I eat. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I wish I could eat healthy like you, but I like all the delicious unhealthy foods.” That is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. WHO DOESN’T LIKE THE DELICIOUS FOODS????? And who doesn’t crave all the amazing treats everyday? Yeah, I only like the shitty tasting food... can anyone tell me where I can get the worst food in town?.... so ridiculous. It becomes a choice though, eat your delicious food and enjoy the taste of your food, or take your body to the limit and eat the blah food that gets you there. You can’t have both, it’s called sacrifice. You give up the good tasting stuff in return for a great body. Even more funny is when people ‘admit’ they like to eat,… and that they LOVE amazing tasting food. Well, OF COURSE YOU DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…. WHO WOULDN’T LOVE DELICIOUS FOOD? IS THERE ANYONE??? If there were no consequences for over eating I would be walking around with a feed bag around my neck. I have never met a single person who didn’t like to eat and who didn’t love delicious tasting food…. have you? Everyone loves food, not just you.
Also very common….. Women will see me looking lean and tone and give me nice compliments and then say, “ I went to the gym for a while but I just didn’t like it, I wish I liked it like you.” ( I just love assumptions)
Oh really? Excuse me but who said I LIKED going to the gym? I think that was just an assumption. The truth is, I DON”T LIKE IT!!!! I kind of love/hate it... Its hard!!!! It is a pain in the ass. But I do it anyway because I like being fit. It is such a great feeling and so much fun wearing nicely fitted clothing that is it worth the effort. I don’t necessarily love brushing my teeth or taking out the garbage either, but I still do it everyday.. . And while I’m at it, I may as well say again that I would much prefer eating pizza to nasty old tuna. (see crazy tuna rant).
This is a very very very common confusion among many people who are not educated in women’s weight training information: Common assumption: Lifting teeny little one pound mini weights will give you mini muscles and lifting heavy weights equals huge hulk man muscles. WRONG. Men have a huge amount of testosterone which enables them with capabilities to build large muscles if they choose. Women do not have nearly as much testosterone, which means we can try as hard as we want, and lift as heavy as we want and our muscles are not able to get huge even if we try so hard. So women who lift little 3 pound dumbbells aren’t going to challenge their muscles and see much of anything in results. It isn't enough weight to create any kind of result. ( I mean really,.. lifting a pot of coffee weighs more than 3 pounds, how is that a workout with a 2 pound weight?) So women who are lifting heavy weights, as heavy as possible... will have a nicely developed strong muscle, but never large or big and huge like men, it isn’t possible for us. So ladies... don't think you are being so clever by lifting those little weights... you won't get big muscles by lifting heavy, you'll get in great shape and you won't have arm jiggles!
Some friends have seen me working out in the gym and have given me the old warning, “you look good, but watch out that you don’t get too big”. I find this hilarious because it is not possible for women to get big muscles.... Lifting weights has made my body tighter not bigger.. and its holds things together as I age.
More confusion about eating for a fit looking body…. I can’t even count how many people miss the boat on this one, and it is very hard to believe but here’s what happens. A friend will ask me advice on what foods to eat to get in shape. I will tell the basics…. Chicken, fish, veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, nuts, etc…… and the person will be under the impression that by eating these foods..in addition to all the crappy fatty delicious foods we all know and love, that it will produce a great looking body. These are the people who will keep complaining that they are eating salads, tuna, and oatmeal but then they don’t see any results. Hmmmmm, I wonder if it’s because they are also drinking alcohol 3 times a week, and also eating pizza and ice cream during the day, then choking down a stick of pepperoni and cheese on crackers with a blizzard as a snack right before bed. I typically would never mention the elimination of junk food (it seems so obvious) when giving friends advice about what to eat, but now I have to say… .yes, eat the foods that are plain and unprocessed AND eliminate the junk food and the alcohol and you will see great results. I also might add that under eating is just as bad as over eating, you won’t get the results you are after.