PlanaFORMA and Munch Manila: Bringing Out a #HappyNewYou
There are no “hard-and-fast” rules to “being fit”. Working with different bodies for almost two decades has made it easier to understand that everyone is different, and its definitely made me more aware of what is and isn’t snake oil.
First-hand experience and research has shown me that these five ideas are nothing more than myth-conceptions that have deceived many of us, myself included, while on the road to self-improvement and overall health.
1. Exercising a lot will help you lose weight
Weight loss is not equated to exercise alone—and too much exercise isn’t healthy.
The Law of Diminishing Returns states: “if one aspect of production is increased while everything else is held constant, then the returns (i.e. #gainz) will eventually decrease after a certain point in time.”
Economics mirrors life in a larger scale: that’s why this very law can be applied to how we exercise.
Fun runs, group fitness classes, and the continued sprouting of boutique fitness studios give us more options, and also bring the risk of over-training.
Professional athletes know the dangers of over-training VERY well, and make up for it with cross-training and rest days.
There is nothing wrong with aspiring to look like shredded career athletes, but mimicking their strenuous training regimes and eating habits is unrealistic and unsustainable in the long run.
These people are professionals who have been training this way all their lives, and their careers last three decades (on average) before early retirement, mainly to preserve their poor joints.
Weight loss aside, regular exercise is still good for maintaining weight, improving mood, reducing blood pressure and triglycerides, and decreasing your risk for some illnesses (like heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s and dementia).
2. Restricting calories is the easiest way to losing weight
Restricting calories is NOT EASY! While restricting calorie intake is an effective way to lose weight, if you plan to keep the weight off, then you gotta do more than watch what you eat.
The biggest reason why fast food is terribly good (see what I did there?) is because it takes zero effort for our bodies to turn it from food to fat. One chew and a swallow is all it takes to send five hundred calories down your gullet.
Multiply that by the number of years you’ve lived with bad eating habits, then it’s no wonder that reversing their effects sometimes feels like a lost cause.
It’s easier said than done, but evidently you get the best results when you change your diet AND exercise habits simultaneously. It’s also suggested that “if you need to start with one, consider starting with physical activity first.”
3. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to burn calories
That said, many of us in this Fitbit-obsessed culture would get to the gym and hop on the next available treadmill, because cardio burns more calories and sweating more means burning more; ergo, cardio is better. Another oversimplification.
Few of us would head to weight machines, and fewer would hit the floor for a round of body-weight exercises.
The big challenge when it comes to doing cardiovascular exercise and combining it with counting calories is the risk of losing muscle mass along with the fat weight that you so want to lose.
Muscle accounts for being the largest tissue in the body, but its contribution to resting metabolic rate (which is the rate you use energy at rest, to keep basic functions going), although higher than fat tissue’s, is slimmer when compared to other organs’.
Our muscles account for ~20% of total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), as opposed to the ~80% that the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, and liver use up combined. In a nutshell, exercise (of any intensity) takes up a minor portion of our daily calorie expenditure, and your body usually burns more when you aren’t exercising.
4. Obesity is the result of a sedentary lifestyle
There are low-BMI individuals who have heart disease, high cholesterol, or hormone imbalances, and overweight people who do yoga, dance ballet, or compete as athletes (even MMA fighters), proving that “being fit” can be relative, even unrelated to your body weight.
It’s both scary and inspiring, and it makes you wonder if obesity really is the menace we’ve been told it is or just a measure of how foolish the beauty and body standards that we impose on ourselves and are all guilty of perpetuating are. Turns out, BMI isn’t a good measure for obesity!
Despite obesity being a very real problem worldwide, there’s much researchers still don’t know about its causes.
5. Lifting heavy is the only way to increase muscle mass
Now, the relationship between strength training and metabolism is complicated, and scientists are still working on exploring it.
But what’s certain is that strength training improves strength (without necessarily creating bulk), coordination, blood-sugar control, and replicates the health benefits of activities like running, walking, and swimming.
There are many ways to gauge your fitness level, the simplest being your physical (and emotional) state after climbing a flight of stairs.
Functional strength exercises help you carry yourself BETTER, without having to carry anything heavier than your body weight.
These myths are why PlanaFORMA decided to usher in 2017 with #HAPPYNEWYOU — a lifestyle challenge that sets out to bust fitness misconceptions and help its #thighwarriors take sure-footed steps to being their happy new selves.
The #HappyNewYou 30-day Fitness Challenge incorporates FORMA’s tried-and-tested strength-interval barre workouts with a meal delivery service (in partnership with Munch Manila). (Photo courtesy of PlanaFORMA)
Signature exercises like the dreaded-yet-effective “pulse” are done repetitively with proper form, promising to fatigue muscles at a faster rate. These isometric exercises challenge small muscles that attach close to your joints, making them shiver and shake so ferociously that you start thinking about the time you last felt an earthquake.
It’s a 55-minute workout that’s modeled after Physique57’s, one that’s effective and inclusive enough to be done by men and women of all shapes and sizes, and safe enough for pregnant (or injured) #thighwarriors.
A workout that advocates losing “inches” (not pounds), PlanaFORMA has been helping clients of all abilities find their strongest selves with full-body workouts, formulated based on Pilates, yoga, and dance.
The first batch of participants began their month-long journey last January 23rd and 30th, 2017. PlanaFORMA hopes to continue offering this program in monthly intervals to anyone interested.
Participants have four weeks to follow a weekly FORMA PRESCRIBED PROGRAM, which are workout plans tailored specifically for the three different #HappyNewYou programs: GO BIGTIME!, VANITY, and HEALTHY 101. Each workout plan (made up of FORMA’s signature studio classes & FORMA ONLINE workouts) is carefully planned in order to include sufficient rest periods and enough variety to keep participants guessing.
Participants Gianco (L) and Cherry (R) both say that their personal experience with #HappyNewYou wasn’t easy, yet both felt good about the results after completing their respective programs. Cherry has continued her meal delivery program in an effort to top-up the weight she had lost after her first month. (Photo courtesy of PlanaFORMA)
With each program designed to achieve a certain goal, whether its losing five to ten pounds, or trying out a healthier lifestyle, all three encourage #thighwarriors to start treating themselves better, starting with making informed choices about how to move and what to put in their bodies.
Ultimately, hard work is the key element that makes every workout feel good. The road to a #HappyNewYou isn’t short and it requires maximum effort and discipline, but it’s exactly what makes every step forward worth it.