Sunday 18 January 2015

Kickbox Fast Fix - 2 Weeks Later

   I've been using Jillian Michaels' Kickbox Fast Fix DVD for two weeks now, and I've been loving it. Kickboxing itself is a great all-over-body workout, whether you have an opponent or are shadowboxing, and being a very high energy and body-weight based activity, it's a great mixture of cardio and strength/toning. And, of course, in Jillian Michaels' usual fashion, this DVD has incorporated more strength and more cardio into it than other kickboxing routines, increasing its effectiveness even more.
   I've been using the three routines on this DVD consecutively, one a day in order. Monday & Thursday I use the upper body kickboxing routine, Tuesday & Friday I use the lower body routine, and Wednesday & Saturday I use the core routine. I happened to look at the 'recommendations' section of the DVD on the first day, which I don't normally do, and it said that the DVD was great to use after a resistance circuit, so I decided, rather abruptly, to add a resistance routine onto the beginning of the workout. I had two body band routines on another DVD, each 10 minutes long, and since one was focused on the upper body and the other was focused on the lower body, I assigned them to each kickboxing routine, doing two circuits of the assigned resistance routine before hand, leaving only Wednesday and Saturday without resistance.

   Now, you've doubtlessly noticed that every time I write a 2-week post about a new workout I always say the same things - 'feel tighter' 'hard work' 'great fun' 'feel fitter' - and, in fairness, each of these statements are true every time, but this time I actually have a little more to say.
   I don't know if I was more stressed out than usual when I started this, but I've never actually cried at the end of a workout before. On both Monday and Tuesday, as soon as I finished the cooldown on the DVD, I laughed...and I cried a little. I felt so stupidly happy and chilled out, like I'd really de-stressed in those past 20 minutes of kickboxing without even realising it, and that was pretty awesome. It didn't happen again after those two days, and I think, in part, it was because I was expecting the routines to be impossible to keep up with, and I was relieved that I was wrong. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been easy, and the later into the week I get the more exhausted I am, but I have been just about able to keep up, and that's what I wanted. A real challenge, but not so much so that I'm several paces behind the DVD.

   As always, I never check the scales or the tape measure until I've finished the workout, which is usually after 4-5 weeks, so any changes could be in my head. I'll post again as I always do in 2 weeks with my verdict on the workout when I've finished it. I'm actually going to be out of the country for a week in February, so I'm going to end up missing the last day of the workout, but one day won't mean the difference between half an inch lost or gained, but I'll still get the blog post up. But I do have one more long-winded thing to say before I leave this post:

   Did you know women eat away stress while men take it out physically?
   It's not actually a cliche, it's quite true. Several studies have proven that it's simply the way we're wired up, alongside marketing campaigns aimed specifically at women.
   The average man will take his stress and frustration out physically. They might hit something if it doesn't work, throw something, and maybe even get into a fight with someone. The average woman, on the other hand, tries to eat away her tension. Not all women do this, just as not all men do the former, but the majority do. While I'm not suggesting women start throwing things and hitting eachother, taking stress out physically through exercise is much more effective, both immediately and in the long run, than simply trying to eat it away.
   The reason women try to eat their stress away, whether it's warranted or merely brought on by the Time of the Month, is in part because of the idea that chocolate releases endorphins. The amino acid Tryptophan creates feelings of happiness; Phenylethylalanine acting alongside dopamine in the brain acts as an anti-depressant; Theobromine alongside caffine creates the 'high' associated with eating chocolate. All of these are found within chocolate. In very, very, very, very small quantities. In the same way that radiation is all around us all the time but doesn't harm us, the low quantity of these chemicals that are present in chocolate don't have the noticable effect we actually seek while eating it because it's all just too small. To get the fix we expect from chocolate, that television above all else has led us to believe in, we've had to eat a lot of chocolate, and by that point you'd feel sick and it would all be cancelled out.
   So, while it's not technically untrue that chocolate can make you happy chemically, it's something that has been spread around by marketing campaigns quite incorrectly. Cocoa itself is more effective when it comes to eating yourself happy, but chocolate is not. This is because chocolate bars have lots of alternative ingredients to make up its mass, make it sweet and all this that and the other, and for every extra ingredient added, less cocoa is used. White chocolate doesn't have a hope in hell of making you feel happy aside from the "mmmmm chocolate" (which, I will admit, is pretty good), and even milk chocolate's pretty bad at it. If you really want to eat away your tension with chocolate you'd need to eat dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, or a raw chocolate bar, and even then you'd need to eat a lot of it to actually feel the effects.
   In short, eating chocolate won't help, and may only increase your worries by adding guilt onto it at the end whether getting in shape is on your mind or not.
   Over the past six months after reading about these studies I've actually started making the conscious decision to exercise instead of eat when I'm stressed out. It wasn't an easy habit to get into, I admit, but when I compared the guilt I'd get after eating to the high I always get from exercise, I was able to stick with it well enough for it to have become the norm.

   Exercise releases a much larger amount of endorphins, and what's more, you feel them far quicker and stronger than you do from eating even 90% cocoa, as well as getting an adrenaline rush. Plus, you'll feel even better about the simple fact that you made a better decision for yourself in the long run. Eat away your troubles, you'll only gain weight. Fight away your troubles, you can only lose it. And believe me, I've been a lot calmer since I started more intense exercise (not necessarily kickboxing; strength training and ashtanga yoga are both great alternatives) and stopped eating so much chocolate when I'm pissed off - not to mention the fact that the tension is released and erased with exercise as high energy as kickboxing, rather than bottled up behind chocolate and comfort food.

1 comment:

  1. An wonderful thought! I never thought in this way that women eat away stress while men take it out physically. I loved your solution actually. Is it useful and available also for Boxing in Connecticut


I do read every single comment, and I will try to respond where I can. If you have an important question about my blog or my shop, however, then you might be better off contacting me directly by email. Thanks so much for reading my blog!