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By Audrey Latura
Whether your goal is to shed those sneaky eight ounces you put on in between the cucumber slice you nibbled for lunch and the picture of steak you salivated over for dinner, or you're dealing with the last stubborn 49 pounds of the 50 you swore you'd loose before you went to Cancun two years ago, the time you spend at the gym is challenging not only physically but emotionally as well. A growing body of evidence indicates that the typical new member gym orientation excessively focuses on the number of machines and weight stations available in the facility, neglecting the pertinent issues facing females exercisers today. Many experts now agree that the true key to looking and feeling better during your workouts is looking and feeling better than others. To learn more about this new wave of gym psychology, we consulted with experts in the field to identify the finer points of maintaining a man-made fiber, appearance-centric attitude that will keep you at the gym - and all eyes on you!
Let the label be your guide Many women fall into the perennial trap of sacrificing style for comfort while working out. Cynthia Grey of the Chicago Multiplex warns against that stifling mentality. "Don't overlook the comfort level gained by knowing that your Marine Blue Adidas Sport Lift top and matching yoga Capri pants were far more expensive than the cotton shorts of the poor slob wasting away at mile 4 on the treadmill beside you." Your performance will increase with that added boost of fat-burning superiority and you won't show unsightly sweat stains should you break a sweat.
No good news is bad news If you don't receive at least one unsolicited compliment per workout ensemble, you've likely veered into 'silent majority' territory. Sarah Schroeder, Retail Manager of Gym Express, explains: "When you say nothing about your neighbor's enormous Walt Disney World T-shirt billowing around her spandex-clad thighs, it's not because you're condoning it. If your bra-top and shorts combo keeps the lid on your running partner's mouth like a tomb cover, she probably wishes you'd stop wearing fuschia." Though unspoken, that subliminal negative reinforcement is detrimental to your future weight loss success. To prevent catastrophe, shop regularly for trendy new items and periodically alternate the length of your stretchy pants from ankle to Capri to full length, always minding the most current colors. "How could you possibly concentrate through that Double Dog pose knowing that your forest green, perspiration absorbing baby tee was last fall and everyone was keeping quiet out of pity?" wonders Schroeder.
Bandwidth Wearing head bands shows seriousness of purpose and can sometimes lead to aerobically effective activity. But they can just as easily transport you into to an 80s time warp - and not in a good way! A better alternative, suggests Mark Overton of Sweatshop Fitness Emporium, is a bandanna tied over your head. "Besides keeping the hair out of your eyes, bandannas reek of the physically-fit-enough-to-resist-police-brutality street cred of inner city neighborhoods. They convey power and endurance, which are definitely important characteristics you'll want others to believe you possess while you're at the gym." Studies show that maximum intimidation results from solid color bandannas, while mocking and scorn can result from fluorescent tones. Choose your weapon carefully!
Moulin Rouge A touch of lip color goes a long way in adding a sparkle to your step and serves as a color coordinated compliment to the rouge threatening to melt down your cheeks. Ima Soldorinsky of MAC Cosmetics offers some novel suggestions. "Only use those machines that allow you to read magazines while you exercise. That way, not only will you pick up the latest lipstick application tips and long-lasting brands while you firm up your thighs, you'll also get a constant visual reminder of why you're in the gym in the first place." Nothing is more motivating in making sure you cling to the last tentative strand of your high school figure than pictures of adult women the size of your 13-year old sister. Soldorinsky also advises clients to wear conservative, but fun chandelier earrings, and to eat in very small portions, if at all.
Tidal Wave Even if you step into Applebees' for Monsoon Martinis at happy hour instead of stepping onto the Stair Master, wash your gym clothes when you get home anyway. Dr. Sheila McGinty of the Center for Psychological Maneuverings claims that the simple act of bending and lifting the clothes into the machine has the dual effect of allowing you to stretch the glutes you sat on inertly for three hours while also helping you to make the positive mental association between quality gym wear - which lasts wash after wash compared to generic brands - and weight loss. "The next time you're in the gym, you'll be acutely aware of how your Christy Turlington-designed Nuaala fabrics retain their vivid coloring, and ultimately keep you going back to the gym to show them off."
©2006 Audrey Latura
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Audrey Latura is a 28-year old Marketing Director for a North American distributor of globally sourced specialty steel bars. She lives in Chicago.