Last night, because I’m so cool (and also sick), I was sitting on my couch watching the start of the Athletics at the Olympics.
Swimming is something that’s never really gripped me but Athletics, now that’s a different story.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact I used to run track in high school, or maybe it’s just because I marvel at the bodies of the athletes and the explosion of power that it takes to run 100m or throw a javelin in some medieval display of strength.
And the bodies! I don’t care if Usain Bolt gobbles down chicken nuggets like popplers, clearly it hasn’t affected his body composition one bit.
But, between watching the female heptathlon athletes and the male sprinters, I caught parts of the longer mens races: the 3000m, 1500m, and the marathon.
And that’s when it hit me again. All those people who sit on an exercise bike for 30 minutes, or insist on running at a constant pace on a treadmill for an hour in the pursuit of weight loss, what would they rather, the body of a sprinter or heptathlete or a marathon runner?
Marathon, and long distance runners, are not only tremendously fit but also mentally strong. Anybody that’s ever run greater than 5km’s knows that the hardest part can sometimes be persuading yourself to keep going.
They have a low body fat percentage but also a low muscle mass percentage, giving them an often emaciated look.
For marathon runners, having less weight (both in muscle and fat) is optimal, allowing them to run for longer periods of time.
Sprinters and Heptathletes:
For both female heptathletes and male (as well as female) sprinters, a low body fat percentage but high muscle mass is optimal if they are to propel themselves as fast as possible.
Which is kind of important whether your sprinting 100m or pole-vaulting 7m into the air.
Their bodies are efficient, metabolic fat burning machines thanks to the layers of muscle on them.
Show these pictures to anybody plodding along on a treadmill, sweat staining their old Nike polo top, and they’ll tell you they’d rather look like the sprinter/heptathlete in a second.
Tell them to start lifting heavy weights though, tell a woman to start deadlifting and squatting, and they’ll tell you they’d rather follow the Tracey Anderson method.
Maybe I’m wrong (I doubt it) for never doing long steady state cardio, but personally I’d prefer to look like Yohan Blake than Wilson Kipsang.