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on heart rates and dance and exercise and pie

So, you may not know it from my constant complaining vis a vis my fatness situation, but I used to be an aerobics instructor and dancer and even briefly a cheerleader. So lets just say that I've logged a couple of billion hours of my life in the studio of one gym or another. And here's some thing that really bugs me.

Last night I was at a dance class (Les Mills Body Jam to be exact, offered over at Summit Health and Fitness) and the instructor shoots off a little factoid discovered by the Les Mills crack team of marketers. You see this one time? they brought all these really fit cyclists in to take this dance class, and they measured their heart rates. And wouldn't you know it their heart rates were actually higher in the dance class than they were on the bike! The take away, obviously, is that dancing is better exercise than biking. Now don't you feel better about going to dance class?

Seems plausible but wait a minute...

Assuming the bikers aren't dance experts, they would have to work harder with a new form of movement to get their muscles to move in the right way. This in turn raises their heart rate more than a move they're already efficient at, like biking. Similarly, if you took the dancers and threw them into a spin room, they would have a higher heart rate biking than while dancing because they're muscles are accustomed to dance. (also? they might throw up. Spin is wicked hard.) So basically, you work harder doing something you're not already good at. And when you're good at something you work less hard. That's the basics of exercise.

I get sooooooo pissed at yoga people who I overhear saying "This runner came into my class and he couldn't even stand in a basic warrior pose." Like duh, why should he be able to? Who does that like in the middle of the street? When would that be a useful life skill?

The good news is that the more retarded you look at doing some form of exercise, the harder your heart is working, so good on you if you're going for aerobic fitness. On the other hand, if your goal is to be better at running, then you better run some more. That cross training is only going to help you not go completely insane between runs. And if you want to lose weight, you could talk about exercise until you're blue in the face but you'd better start eating less or nothing will happen.

In that vein, let's return to my original complaint, which is not that gym rats can be annoying but that I'M STILL FAT! There have been some recent milestones on the weightloss path that deserve celebration: over the weekend I squeeeeeeezed into a size 8 dress for the rehearsal dinner, and I also managed to put on my wedding ring for the first time without cutting off the circulation in my finger. I'd congratulate myself a little more, but there's this little matter of still weighing ten pound more than I did before the whole knocking up incident, and ten pounds is sort of a lot if you ask me. It's the difference between fitting into my old jeans and wearing maternity sweatpants every day.

The challenge for me is the whole eating less piece. Or more precisely, less pieces. Of pie. Because let's face it; I work from home where there's APPLE PIE IN THE FRIDGE! And that's some damn good pie. Oy, back to the gym!

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