Friday, October 12, 2007
0 Lean vs. Muscular Bodies: An Interesting Study of World-Class, Kenyan Runners' Diets + A Brief Look At Sprinters & Their Body-Building Routines
Are any of you fellow runners out there curious to know what elite runners, like the world-class Kenyan runners, eat? Well, I sure am. Check out this very interesting article here.
Now, granted I don't want to be as skinny as Kenyan runners (nor will my body structure/frame or height ever resemble them in the least), but it's interesting to note what they eat & how much of it.
Frankly, I'd rather look like a sprinter. [That's my body's natural tendency anyhow, so I might as well go with it. Speaking of which, this brings up an issue from my past: I still have a beef with my high school track coach, who still coaches the high school team to this day, & I'd like him to know how I feel about it. I hope he's improved in his assessment of runners' abilities, since his earlier coaching days, when my sister & I ran track & field at LAHS. For some strange reason, he put both of us on the 1 & 2 mile races, when we both actually should've been sprinters. Go figure. I still, to this day, feel like my talent was really wasted on these events. Let it be known that I regularly beat the competition in the 100, 200, and 400 meter dashes in our practice track & field heats. Was he even paying attention to this? Plus, in the US Presidential Fitness tests, I set our high school record for the blocks test (i.e., the one in which you had to sprint up & back to the line, twice, & each time, grab a wooden block). Oddly enough, my coach said my body was built for long-distances, whatever that means. I think he was totally wrong in his assessment, because I was never really skinny, like many of the long-distance runners on our high school's cross-country team. Atleast that's what I think of when I think of a distance runner's body, & I think most people would agree with me. Everyone knows sprinters are muscular & powerful, & build for speed.] Love the muscle-definition of a sprinter's body. It's all body beautiful & power. And power's very sexy, baby! ;-)
Hey, I wouldn't mind looking like Flo-Jo, Jackie Joyner Kersee, or Marion Jones (sans drug-enhancements of course!). Are you kidding me?! These women are fierce! They are the embodiment of physical perfection, possessing a beauty & grace all their own, which far surpasses the level of most of us mere mortals. ;-)
While some people might think that, when it comes to muscle, "slim is in," I'm not one of those women. I think that building a "reasonable amount" of muscle can be just fantastic. Now while I'm not interesting in looking like a She-Beast of The Wild, I don't want to be as flimsy as cardboard either.
This reminds me of a discussion I had with my mother several years ago. My mother used to tell me not to weight-lift too much because she worried that my arm muscles would get too big. Of course, I knew that, based on the amount of weight-lifting I was doing at the time, this concern was utterly ridiculous & promptly ignored this advice. Sorry, Mom, but I've got to call it like I see it. First of all, I never lifted enough to worry about this, nor was I planning on becoming the next Ms. Universe, so her worries were completely unfounded. Anyhow, it does bring to light how much pressure women often internalize & exert upon themselves, not only to stay slim, but not get "too big" in the muscles department. I find this utterly ridiculous. (Can I say "utterly ridiculous" one more time! You bet I can! ;-) Watch me work it into yet another sentence!)
I also remember a co-worker (from my last job), who was a fellow runner & soccer player, telling me that she didn't like how "big" & muscular her posterior gets from all of her athletic activities. Now, I took one look at her rear end and promptly (& silently!) chuckled to myself about how ridiculously unfounded this claim was. Not only was her rear small, but the rest of her was in fantastic shape! And let me tell you, I wasn't just comparing it to the size of my own derrière, which, I'm not going to lie, was slightly larger than hers at that time. On the grand scale of rear end sizes, hers didn't even register on the scale.
Why do some women have completely warped body images or unrealistic expectations about their bodies? I just don't get it. It's utterly ridiculous! ;-)
Let me ask you this: Given the choice, would you rather have a muscular rear or just a fat one?! ;-)
Why not celebrate your body's natural beauty & just go with it? If you are naturally inclined to be muscular, just own it & rejoice in your body's appearance. At the same token, if you are naturally thin as a Kenyan, just go with it. Own who you are & be happy to be you. It's more important to be the best "you" than you can be, instead of measuring yourself against some unrealistic standard of body image that might not even be suited to your body type. So take that, fashion magazines! ;-)
But anyhow, back to running & body-building. Not sure what the current prevailing wisdom is on building muscle mass with regards to marathon training, because I've heard varying opinions. Some say you need to build muscle for increased speed & higher fat metabolism rates, while others say too much holds you back in marathoning, as it takes more protein (for building muscle) & carbs (for glycogen stores) to feed the muscle. If anyone would like to sound off on this in the comments section of this post, please feel free.
In the meanwhile, I'm off to check out some marathoning sites, to see what useful knowledge I can glean on this topic.