So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad* Training Specialist. Runner. Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) Certified Official, Category 2. RRCA Representative, Florida (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Appearance Can Lead To Reality

Guys - Did you need a hint as to what to get or do for your loved one on St. Valentine's Day? I have a news flash for you: Women and men are different. Don't gasp in horror at this revelation. Yes, it's hard to really wrap your arms around the concept that there is a profound difference between the sexes, not only in the ways in which we think and communicate, but also in the ways in which we exercise.

And I've suffered the outcomes which come from ignorance. Not recently, but during my first marriage. My first wife was a professional when it came to quitting stuff. High school, jobs, relationships, diets, workout programs; she left many well-intended commitments over a three-decade span. Of course, as time passed by she figured out the benefits of focus until task completion. I remember sitting, frustrated, talking with my pastor one Saturday morning over coffee: Why she would sign a one-year contract with a fitness studio, go sit in the sauna for a week, then decide to never go after that? It drove me up the wall to see her throw my hard-earned money (GS-4 pay, working for the VA Hospital, nine dollars an hour) into the rubbish, then complain she wasn't happy with her weight.

I didn't care at the time what she weighed. All I wanted was for her to be happy. My pastor reminded me I had a workout facility in the VA, with motivated fitness professionals surrounding me. I'd finish my duties for the day, change clothes and be in the middle of a good sweat on the treadmill or in an aerobics class in less than fifteen minutes, tops. She, on the other hand, had to make a conscious effort to travel from our little apartment to the fitness studio.

I wasn't buying that it was just the motivation which surrounded me - if I didn't exercise on a regular basis I was going to look like many of the patients I served - as the only reason why I could work out three-to-five days a week and try to maintain weight. It was after a discussion with my fitness instructor, Dr. Q., I figured out the men-versus-women thing was deeper than anatomy and psychology.
She mentioned most men can begin an exercise routine and see the first physiological changes in as little as seven days. Women, on the other hand, need to maintain the routine for at least a minimum of 21 days before the first (subtle?) changes are noticed.

Add the variables of increased caloric intake because of exercise (more common in women than in men), an under-reporting of caloric intake (for which most are guilty), and an (all too common) under-reporting of exercise intensity and duration, many women who start an exercise program are left behind the eight ball before the end of the first month. Then, on top of it, I read recent research which claimed 21 weeks, not 21 days, for physical strength and cardiovascular fitness gains to take effect.

So, many years down the road, I was pleased to see my sister-in-law not only purchase a membership but also the tanning option at the gym where my wife and I regularly work out.
My wife and I talked about Lisa joining the gym, and I said:
'What if a health club added tanning during the first month of a contract membership to ladies? You know as well as I do that we tend to think a little more highly of ourselves when our exterior looks less pasty white. A couple of trips to the tanning booth in the first week or two might be the thing which keeps them coming to the gym during the first month or so. Once you can get them past the first three, four, six months they pretty much have a routine developed, right?'

I realize what I'm saying may run me afoul of my friends who work for gyms, because they make their money on the folks who purchase memberships but don't come in. However, I consider my job to get more people exercising (preferably running, more preferably with me as their coach, but...). A health club membership which has a tanning option, if you're thinking about one...or if you're thinking, guys, about one for your loved one...might get your money's worth. As part of the "weights one day, cardio the next" routine, a slight tan can cause the lady to be more motivated by the slight change in their body.

And sometimes, perception eventually leads to reality...once the motivation kicks in.

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