“I have never exercised in my life – how do I start?” – this is the question a lot of people ask when what they see in the mirror becomes unflattering and they start wondering how to get back in shape.
We all know – life happens. You grow older, get married, have kids, get a desk job, settle down, and get busier with life, but less physically active, nevertheless. You quickly grab whatever food is convenient and quick as opposed to what is good.
Modern technology makes basic tasks that previously required active participation (like shopping for anything you can imagine) possible with a tap on the screen of your smart device. Machines removed the need for physical labor. Social media often serves as a substitute for outdoor activities where you might meet (and play with) real people face to face. Figuring out how to get back in shape (and stay in shape) under these circumstances may be difficult.
Even if you were fit at some point as a teenager, the question of how to get back in shape becomes more and more relevant as you grow older. Current statistics, highlighting sedentary lifestyles and less than stellar dietary habits, are not very reassuring – more than 80% of adults in the US do not meet physical activity guidelines. More than one third of US kids – who often carry their habits into adulthood – are getting a significant proportion of daily nutrition from fast food. In Canada only 17% of men and 14% of women engage in the recommended amount of physical activity and about 69% of Canadian adults are sedentary. Europe is not far behind – 6 in every 10 adults above 15 years of age rarely or never engage in any sport and more than 50% never engage in any physical activity, with the trend going down, not up. European Commission reports that 52% of European adults are overweight or obese – mostly as a result of the same bad dietary habits.
Why arm workouts are so popular
No matter what objectives you have with your training, arm workouts consistently remain a popular topic for weight lifters, bodybuilders or competitive team athletes.
This is because having muscular and strong arms is both aesthetically pleasing and functionally beneficial. Not only are large arm muscles pretty much synonymous with strength and masculinity (one of the first things an amateur gym enthusiast does is start doing biceps curls to look better in a T-shirt), but well-developed and strong arm muscles assist and provide stability in larger compound lifts and help in various sports.
Understandably, arm workouts are very popular among athletes of various degrees of experience. How do these fit into the philosophy of big lifts and mostly compound body exercises?
The very first time you hear “skinny fat” – it almost sounds like an oxymoron. Except – it isn’t. It actually describes a condition that is quite common, especially among young individuals. Sure, there is a medical term for it that you might prefer – MONW (Metabolically Obese Normal Weight), but “skinny fat” is a term that, like a harsh wake-up call, shakes you out of the blissful ignorance and actually highlights everything that is wrong with this condition, instead of hiding behind scientifically sounding terms.
So what is “skinny fat”? Simply put, it describes a body type that is slim and “low-weight”, but with high proportion of body fat to lean muscle tissue. On the outside, the problem is not very visible (unless you know what to look for) – skinny fat people can fit into normal-size clothes, eat small portions of what they consider “healthy food” and display no obvious signs of obesity you would typically expect – such as large flabs of body fat, big baggy clothes and heavy mass – so everything seems just fine.
But, generally speaking, “obesity” is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on health – and for the skinny fat, given the relative proportion of such body fat to bone and muscle mass – the definition still holds true. And even if super skinny people may look healthy, atrophied muscles and low-density bones – coupled with other negative metabolic effects of their chosen lifestyle – significantly elevate the risk of chronic diseases.
Are you skinny fat? Do you know how to spot the signs? Let’s see why this is so bad and how to fix this.