This is probably one of the hardest ways for me to begin 2015. A lot of you don’t know this but I had an account on the website weighttraining.com to track how many calories I burned per workout session. It ran for about a year. Out of those years I probably used it for 5-6 months worth of routines, which I consider a lot for myself.
I thought, “Am I really doing this? What’s gonna become of me when I wake up the next morning realizing it’s all over?” Then I just closed my eyes, released some oxygen, and pressed “OK”. Once I tried logging in from Facebook, nothing happened. My account was truly gone.
Weight Training is a wonderful website where you can log in your workouts, track the calories you burned, find meal plants, workout routines and plan ahead when you want to go to the gym. I researched on how to find an accurate way to track the calories I burned while working out and I found this program. The problem wasn’t the site itself, of course. I’m not blaming Weight Training at all; I think their intentions are amazing because they’ve helped so many people reach out and make money from weight loss/fat loss programs they publish online, lose weight, gain muscle, lose fat, become healthier, etc. It’s a great tool if you want to track the calories you burn because that is important. I’m merely describing that I used it the wrong way and how that spiralized me into an unhealthy relationship with exercise.
My first workout was something that I was familiar with–the Blogilates Bikini Blaster HIIT It Hard! routine. I learned how to change up the routines to fit into what I’d do that day. But as my list of workouts grew longer I became more and more dissatisfied with the total amount of calories burned. One hour became two. Then three. I upped the overall intensity as well–woke up in the morning, ran to the gym, spent an hour on a spinning machine, jogged back home and did a mix of HIIT and pilates. In total the calculation would average around 4,500 to 6,000 calories burned. Other users high-fived my workouts as well and commented my unbelievable motivation and ability to fit in a hardcore routine. I felt even more accomplished when they complimented me and I wanted to retain my spotlight.
Every extra rep was one step closer for me to excuse myself to have an extra tablespoon of peanut butter. Not burning enough led me to restrict my calorie intake of certain foods and certain exercises. I’d do jumping jacks while brushing my teeth, squats while studying and swiss ball crunches right before bed. I panicked every time the site broke down and I couldn’t continue logging in every move, or even worse–if I accidentally deleted the entire routine and had to start over again.
Time suddenly became an overbearing necessity. Every single minute counted, so why not fit in some physical activity? It wasn’t until I began to forget and have to drag myself to log in the workout I did when I realized something was wrong. I didn’t view working out the same way before. For once I listened to the voice that’d ask:
I’m burning tons of calories, spending so much time working out that I have only a few hours to study/spend time with the family, so why am I still not losing weight? Why am I not happy? That was when I realized: I was dishonest with myself. I logged in thousands of reps that were not good quality. Workout loggers assume that you’re giving in your all, and I didn’t do any of that. It all made sense. The more reps I put in, the more pounds I gained and the less I loved fitness.
I saw this picture and thought my body looked a tad large. At this time I overate batches of high-fat low carb cookies, dense oatmeal, fruits and whole-grain pancakes and oily vegetables because I thought I burned enough! It wouldn’t be possible though, because I would’ve been a pound lighter.
Right before the start of January, I did my first routine where I didn’t count anything. I just turned the computer on and followed whatever the videos demonstrated. And I broke my first sweat in months. At first it made no sense, but for the whole time I paid more attention to my body than the numbers. Then I finally understood: if you listen to your body’s state of pain throughout the workout, you know what you have to do best. When I got tired, I slowed down but still completed every rep as well as possible, and I moved faster during lower-intensity workouts. This gave me more energy and more desire to exercise!
Relieving this extra task was extremely detoxifying for me. I no longer have to use an online workout journal and show off what I do. Once I deleted my account, I thought of other flaws that was enhanced when I was obsessed with tracking my workouts, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t present some false resolutions I’d forget about:
- Honesty/Intuition: Fitness and health merely seem like numbers, but studies have proven that they work way beyond that. I’ve preached that the best diet is one that fully and intuitively listens to one’s nutrient needs. When I filled up on lean proteins and cut out carbs (a mostly Whole 30 diet, except more bland), my hair started falling out, my nails became brittle and I was cold all the time. I did the reverse and experienced infrequent binge episodes. Now I just listen to what I personally need and desire, or intuitively eat (healthy). When I’m full even if I feel as if I haven’t eaten enough, then I stop, and if I’m still hungry I find something to sustain me but isn’t too heavy. I used to be obsessed with macros, and I’m working to be more in tune with my primal needs.
- Patience: Many times I get sidetracked of what others could do, like the gym bunny with crazy-toned glutes lifting a barbell twice her body weight, or the bodybuilder running and doing burpees and superman push-ups nonstop. In the end I’m still a kid. Really. Seventeen years-old: what can I possibly do compared to them? I still have years worth of improving and I have a long way to go.
- Flexibility: So far I’ve made big achievements in this, like eating my first cupcake in years as well as vegan ice cream on my early birthday. But sometimes I worry with macros, timing and fitting in exercise while balancing my social schedule. Last year not a single day has gone by without a workout session; of course that doesn’t mean I always worked my butt off, broke a sweat or had sore muscles, though I know I can stand to take a rest day.
Will I delete the supposedly embarrassing photo of my weight gain last year? Absolutely not; it motivated me to evaluate what was wrong with my routine. Once I broadened my taste palette and put more energy into how I felt than what I calculated, the stress faded away. However, I will not shun Weight Training completely. It’s highly possible I’ll use it on vacation to plan ahead and log in an honest workout where I actually do every rep in my best form.
I hope that this article doesn’t impose anything negative about the site or the process of counting burned calories itself, because they’re not bad things. They just led me to something unhealthy and didn’t work for me. This was an unexpected article but the story behind it is important for my outlook on my well-being–happiness and health in all, and I just felt it beneficial to spill my honest opinion and background about my flaws so that you can learn from me, support my resolutions and work together.
Have you ever used workout logging to track your calories? Did it work? I would love to know 🙂
Have a blessed 2015,