Also, the weather outside has been rainy, rainy, rainy!
So on to Week 4 instead. This was a very active week thanks to Thanksgiving and all of the hiking that I did with my dogs! Weight loss was minimal but my trend is still going down and I’m happy with the weeks results. I didn’t log any sleep with the FitBit this week.
Thanksgiving with the family is all about food and eating, so making healthy choices and all of the extra hiking really helped out this year!
Hope every one had a happy Turkey-Day!
It is commonly agreed that fitness students need to be empowered to construct and tailor workouts to meet their individual health-related fitness needs.
Each component of health-related fitness is important to teach even very young students. This approach will help combat today’s media, which emphasizes the need for outward appearance over health and wellness.
Overload and progression are two basic training principles.
Overload refers to the amount of load or resistance, providing a greater stress, or load, on the body than it is normally accustomed to in order to increase fitness. Progression is the way in which an individual should increase the load. It is a gradual increase either in frequency, intensity, or time or a combination of all three components.
The FITT Principle describes how to safely apply the principles of overload and progression: Frequency Intensity Time Type (specificity)
Frequency is how often a person performs the targeted health-related physical activity. For each component of health-related fitness, a safe frequency is three to five times a week.
Intensity is how hard a person exercises during a physical activity period. Intensity can be measured in different ways, depending on the related health-related component. For example, monitoring heart rate is one way to gauge intensity during aerobic endurance activities, but gives no indication of intensity during flexibility activities.
Time is the length of the physical activity. As with the other aspects of the FITT principle, time varies depending on the health-related fitness component targeted. For example, flexibility or stretching may take 10-30 seconds for each stretch, while the minimum time for performing aerobic activity is 20 minutes of continuous activity.
Type or specificity, refers to the specific physical activity chosen to improve a component of health-related fitness. For example, an individual wishing to increase arm strength must exercise the triceps and biceps, while an individual wishing to increase aerobic endurance needs to jog, run,
swim or perform some other aerobically challenging activity.
I was reviewing some of my older materials that I have saved over the years and came across this diagram.
The information presented is still very accurate and I wanted to talk about one part in particular: The Heart Rate Reserve
Heart rate reserve is simply the difference between your maximum heart rate and your resting heart rate.
There is a relationship between heart rate and oxygen consumption – particularly at intensities ranging from 50-90% VO2 max. So traditionally, exercise intensity has been prescribed as a percentage of maximum heart rate (calculated as 220 – age). For example, a 30-year old with a maximum heart rate of 190bpm might train at 75% maximum or 143bpm.
One of the problems with the 220-age equation is that it makes no allowances for individual differences in resting heart rate. By incorporating the heart rate reserve into the equation, in theory a more accurate training zone can be determined.
The Karvonen formula uses the heart rate reserve to calculate training zones based on both maximum AND resting heart rate. Here’s the actual formula:
Here’s an example for a 50 year old with a resting heart rate of 65bpm who wants to train at 70% maximum
Using the Karvonen formula this persons target heart rate works out as 139bpm. To create a zone you might want to subtract i.e. 129 to 139bpm
Using the traditional 220 – age formula this same person would have a target heart rate of 119bpm, which is considerably lower (220 – 50 x 0.7). Its worth noting that the Karvonen formula nearly always calculates a higher target heart rate than 220 – age.
Here is a rough guide to different heart rate zones and the adaptations they elicit:
Recovery Zone – 60% to 70%
Active recovery training should fall into this zone (ideally to the lower end). Its also useful for very early pre-season and closed season cross training when the body needs to recover and replenish.
Aerobic Zone – 70% to 80%
Exercising in this zone will help to develop your aerobic system and in particular your ability to transport and utilize oxygen. Continuous or long, slow distance endurance training should fall under in this heart rate zone.
Anaerobic Zone 80% to 90%
Training in this zone will help to improve your bodys ability to deal with lactic acid. It may also help to increase your lactate threshold.
It is important to remember that the heart rate reserve method of prescribing exercise intensity is by no means flawless. Firstly, estimating a person's maximal heart has been shown to have inaccuracies compared to laboratory testing - where exercise intensity is increased until a plateau in heart rate is found. Secondly, the heart rate reserve tells us nothing about a person's lactate or anaerobic threshold. By recording heart rate data along side the point at which lactate threshold is thought to occur, a far more effective training plan can be devised.
Hopefully, this info can help you pinpoint a better target heart rate!
This morning I had a discussion with a co-worker about eating eggs for breakfast. He complained that he isn’t getting enough daily protein.
My first suggestion to him was to eat some eggs for breakfast instead of his usual health bar. Not only is the bar he eats low in protein, but it’s really high in sugars and saturated fats. I indicated that eating two large eggs for breakfast either scrambled with no butter or hard-boiled would give him a better boost in protein and would actually be better for him overall.
His response was: ‘No way! Eggs are bad for you! They give you really high cholesterol levels!’
Now I had to take exception to this statement, because I’ve actually done a little research on this particular topic.
Here’s a sampling of one report that I read:
Cracking the Cholesterol Myth More than 40 Years of Research Supports the Role of Eggs in a Healthy Diet Many Americans have shied away from eggs – despite their taste, value, convenience and nutrition – for fear of dietary cholesterol. However, more than 40 years of research have shown that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease. And now, according to new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition data (1) , eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously recorded. The USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, a 14 percent decrease. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of Vitamin D, an increase of 64 percent. Studies demonstrate that healthy adults can enjoy an egg a day without increasing their risk for heart disease, particularly if individuals opt for low cholesterol foods throughout the day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend that individuals consume, on average, less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. A single large egg contains 185 mg cholesterol. Several international health promotion organizations – including Health Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Australian Heart Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation – promote eggs as part of a heart-healthy diet, recognizing that they make important nutritional contributions. (2) REFERENCES (1) In 2010, a random sample of regular large shell eggs was collected from locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs. The testing procedure was last completed with eggs in 2002, and while most nutrients remained similar to those values, cholesterol decreased by 12% and vitamin D increased by 56% from 2002 values. (2) Klein CJ. The scientific evidence and approach taken to establish guidelines for cholesterol intake in Australia, Canada, The United Kingdom, and The United States. LSRO. 2006 www.lsro.org. Accessed November 2006.
Here is another article that talks about specifically about cholesterol:
Cholesterol First, one has to understand that cholesterol is not necessarily bad. Humans need it to maintain cell walls, insulate nerve fibers and produced vitamin D, among other things. Second, there are two types of cholesterol: dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol . Both are important. Dietary cholesterol is found in certain foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. The second type (blood cholesterol, also called serum cholesterol) is produced in the liver and floats around in our bloodstream. Blood cholesterol is divided into two sub-categories: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered bad because it sticks to artery walls. What is bad, however, is the amount of LDL blood cholesterol in the body. Too much of it can cause heart problems, but scientists are now discovering that consuming food rich in dietary cholesterol does not increase blood cholesterol. Evidence showing that eating a lot of dietary cholesterol doesn't increase blood cholesterol was discovered during a statistical analysis conducted over 25 years by Dr. Wanda Howell and colleagues at the University of Arizona. The study revealed that people who consume two eggs each day with low-fat diets do not show signs of increased blood cholesterol levels. So what does raise blood cholesterol? One of the main theories is that saturated fat does. Of the three types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and LDL levels. It so happens that eggs contain mostly polyunsaturated fat, which can actually lower blood cholesterol if one replaces food containing saturated fat with eggs.
Bottom line: Eggs are a great source of protein and are much lower in dietary cholesterol that most people know. If you happen to have high cholesterol levels, be sure to talk to your doctor about eating eggs before you decide to remove them from your diet completely.
I’ve been trying out a lot of nice gadgets lately and one of them is a Fitbit Ultra. It’s a small unit about the size of a thumb drive and is used to monitor various activities. This chart shows my first weeks statistics with the Fitbit.
It keeps tracks of how many stairs you climb, you many steps you take, how well you sleep at night and even has an estimate of how many calories you have burned. It does just about everything, but it’s not a heart rate monitor. If you want to track your heart rate, you’ll still need a separate unit for that.
I like how compact it is and that you don’t have to plug it in to transfer the data. It comes with a USB stand that attaches to a computer and you just need to be within 15 feet or so of the stand and it will auto-transfer your stats. It even syncs with a Withings scale!
The website that works with the unit also lets you log additional exercises or activities and even has a food tracker.
It’s a pretty solid product and I’m really liking it so far!
I like the idea of this trainer but the execution isn’t the greatest. Here’s a summary of what I’ve found over the last few weeks:
First, the menu system is real sensitive and makes jumping through the menus quickly a difficult task. The only saving grace for the menus is the voice response. You can say ‘Trainer’ and have a menu pop up to pick one of the options. This takes a bit to navigate things, but it’s still quicker than the hand motion menu that’s used for everything else.
I’ve also had issues with saving my workouts. Not sure what the issue is here, but sometimes its saves the data and sometimes it doesn’t. Makes trying to follow a set schedule difficult, when it says that you missed a day but really did do it! I’ve heard that I’m not the only one to encounter this bug. Don’t know if there is a DLC patch for this yet or not, but I’ll check it out at some point.
The exercise selections are pretty good and the execution of them is relatively OK, but the trainers say darn near the same motivation expressions constantly. I almost have to turn the volume off just to get through the workout!
Overall, once you get things working correctly and as long as you don’t care about saving the workouts, it’s a decent enough trainer. I would recommend that anyone wanting to give it shot borrow or rent it before buying though.
If you happen to be overweight and want to lose some poundage, here are 20 tips that can help you on your journey:
1. Have a Plan:
There’s a saying: ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ Have a realistic goal and set specific targets. You should have at least two areas of your plan, Nutrition and Fitness. Determine how many calories you should consume daily and also come up with a fitness plan that works with your schedule.
2. Sleep More:
Sleep does more than help your body recover from a long day — it actually helps you fight fat. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago reported that sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours can increase your appetite (forcing you to overeat), slow your metabolism (causing you to burn fewer calories) and make the body retain more abdominal fat. Need another reason to sleep more? Lack of shut-eye is also associated with bad workouts. Do yourself a favor and get some rest. Your body will thank you.
3. Cut Out Snacks:
Yes, some people benefit from eating four to six meals per day and enjoying snacks. But researchers from Purdue University found that the snacking method could be sabotaging your efforts. That’s because the average snack has increased by 200 calories over the last 30 years to nearly 600 calories. If you have trouble with portion sizes, reduce the number of meals you eat.
4. Create and Use a Daily Food Log:
Part one of the energy equation is to simply restrict your fuel intake. But unfortunately, most people do very badly with this. Research has shown that most people grossly underestimate how much they are eating, sometimes by up to 50 percent! There are a number of ways you can track what you are eating, such as using LoseIt!, but whatever system you use the key is consistency and accuracy.
5. Get Active and Move:
This is, essentially, the second half of the equation – the calories-out side. Unfortunately, most people struggle with this process. In today’s society we are largely sedentary: We travel in cars, we work in front of computers all day and we relax in front of the television. Add incidental exercise (like talking the stairs or tapping your foot) in addition to formal activity (such as playing sports, lifting weights, running) to see the greatest benefits.
6. Remove Liquid Calories:
You want the truth: America has a love affair with drinks! There are different drinks for just about everything. 65 percent of Americans drink beverages that are heavy in calories. Not only are these drinks less likely to keep you full, thus leaving you hungry, they are oftentimes loaded with sugar.
7. Plan a Cheat Day:
Going on a diet is tough on you, both mentally and physically. That’s why a cheat day is a frequent part of many successful diet plans. This splurge can provide you with the break from your restrictive habits that will keep you satisfied while still losing weight.
8. Lift Heavy Weights:
Whether you’re a man or a woman, the fastest way to burn fat faster is by lifting heavy weights. Not only do heavier weights activate more muscle fibers, they also increase your resting metabolism. In other words, when you lift heavy weights, you continue to burn calories at a higher rate, even when you’re doing nothing!
9. Make Yourself Accountable:
Surround yourself with tools to help you with your journey. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Join an online community. Let people know your goals and ask for their support in helping you achieving them. The more supported you are, the better.
10. Add Workout Variety:
For a high-impact workout that will kick up your metabolism in a short amount of time, try alternating cardio and resistance training in a circuit. For example, start with 5 minutes of cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical) immediately followed by a dumbbell circuit of cleans, cleans and press, lunges, military presses and bent over rows, where each exercise is performed for eight repetitions. This entire circuit can be repeated two to three times.
11. Practice Carb Swapping:
Carb swapping is one of the easiest (and fastest) ways to jump-start weight loss. Replace foods like pasta, rice and bread with fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables have fewer calories and carbohydrates than their processed counterparts. That means you can eat more total food without adding weight.
12. Use Simple Tools:
You don't need to get on one of those fancy elliptical machines or treadmills. A $10 jump rope is highly effective as part of your warm-up, and as a way to get good-quality intensity into your workout. Stay light on your feet and control your breathing as you try to hit 50 jumps, 100 jumps or more without a mess up.
13. Rest Less During Exercise:
There are many essential variables that must be managed when structuring your workout, one of them being rest. The rest periods you take between exercises can be modified to elicit a fat burning effect. By shortening the time you take between exercises to as little as 10 to 30 seconds, you can increase your resting metabolism and the intensity of your workout.
14. Try Combination Exercises:
Linking two to three different exercises together into a chain of movements is a great way to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. This is the key to improving your workout efficiency and positively impacting your fat loss goals. Combos like linking a pushup and a burpee into a pull-up are an amazing example of this technique.
15. Eat More Fat:
Did you know that the Institute of Medicine recommends that a diet be made up of 25 to 35 percent fat? Turns out, high-fat foods like nuts, avocados and healthy oils can help you lose fat faster than other diet approaches. Just make sure you figure out how much fat you need in your diet to prevent yourself from overeating. And, as always, avoid the trans fats. They’re still not healthy.
16. Eat More Protein:
Protein helps you maintain lean body mass (muscle, not fat), and increase the thermic effect of your diet. That is, protein requires more energy for your body to process than carbohydrates or fat. This can subtly contribute to the calories-out side of the energy equation. As a bonus, eating protein keeps you fuller longer, and researchers have shown that it can reduce how much you eat per day by hundreds of calories.
17. Become a Heavy Drinker:
No I’m not talking about alcohol. While there’s nothing magical about water, the process of consuming lots of liquid can trick you into feeling less hungry. What’s more, when you’re dehydrated you burn 2 percent fewer calories per day, says University of Utah researchers. So if you struggle to control your appetite, drink up before your meal. Then drink some more. You’ll be more likely to fight off fat.
18. Drink Whey Protein:
Your diet should primarily consist of whole-food sources like meats, veggies, fruits and nuts. However, research published in the Journal of Nutrition found those who consume whey-protein shakes lost almost twice as much fat as those who didn’t have the shakes. Magic? Hardly. The protein in shakes isn’t any more effective than protein found in solid meals. However, most people don’t get enough protein in their diets, and the shakes are a convenient way to meet your body’s needs, suggest the researchers. This is especially true in my case, for try as I might, I can never seem to get enough protein. Adding a protein shake is a great way to boost your protein intake! Just be sure to account for the added calories that come with the shakes!
19. Be Patient and Give Yourself Time:
You didn’t gain weight overnight, so you will not take it off overnight either. Give yourself time and know that the weight will come off if you stick to your plan.
20. Weigh Yourself Daily and Use a Trending Average:
Be sure to weigh in daily and store your weight in a log, like The Hackers Diet. Also, be sure to focus on the trending data rather than the day-to-day weight fluctuations. This helps to minimize the frustration so many dieters feel when their daily weight goes up and down randomly. If this sounds confusing, stop over and give The Hackers Diet a read. It explains this approach in great detail!
This is a workout presented in Men’s Health magazine.
I like this one for its simplicity. It’s a 20 minute circuit workout with only 4 exercises and is perfect for someone with no exercise gear at home or someone who does a lot of traveling and doesn’t have a hotel gym available.
The first 9 refers to the number of reps you’ll perform of each exercise; the second 9 is how many rounds of the circuit you’ll do; and the third 9 is the number of minutes it should take you to finish the entire routine.
The circuit looks like this:
Body-Weight Squat: Do 9 reps
Pushup: Do 9 reps
Inverted Row: Do 9 reps
Jumping Jacks: Do 9 reps
That’s one round. Your pace is determined by your fitness: You can rest as needed between each exercise—simply go by “feel.” Do a total of 9 rounds. Try to complete the entire workout in 9 minutes or less.
Rest for 2 minutes, and repeat the workout. Your goal: Try to finish in the same time as you did the first routine.
Now, this particular workout looks super simple, but to finish the entire circuit in 9 minutes may be a little tough for most people. So there is a starter plan presented below to help you work up to the full 9-9-9 plan.
THE STARTER PLAN
Perform this routine every other day, resting one day between each workout. Workout 1: (Circuit One: 3-9-9, Circuit Two: 2-9-9) For each exercise, do 3 reps. After you've done 9 rounds, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then repeat, only do 2 reps of each exercise. Workout 2: (Circuit One: 4-9-9, Circuit Two: 2-9-9) For each exercise, do 4 reps. After you've done 9 rounds, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then repeat, only do 2 reps of each exercise. Workout 3: (Circuit One: 5-9-9, Circuit Two: 3-9-9) For each exercise, do 5 reps. After you've done 9 rounds, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then repeat, only do 3 reps of each exercise. Workout 4: (Circuit One: 6-9-9, Circuit Two: 3-9-9) For each exercise, do 6 reps. After you've done 9 rounds, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then repeat, only do 3 reps of each exercise. Workout 5: (Circuit One: 7-9-9, Circuit Two: 4-9-9) For each exercise, do 7 reps. After you've done 9 rounds, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then repeat, only do 4 reps of each exercise. Workout 6: (Circuit One: 8-9-9, Circuit Two: 4-9-9) For each exercise, do 8 reps. After you've done 9 rounds, rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then repeat, only do 4 reps of each exercise. Workout 7: (Circuit One: 9-9-9, Circuit Two: 5-9-9) By now you should be ready to try 9-9-9. So be sure to use a stop watch and time yourself.
Continue your every other day schedule, and focus on reducing your time each session.
http://fitnessgroan.wordpress.com/ presented another alternative to help determine your BMR value. Unfortunately he replied to a post that I was trying to update via Microsoft Word. The update failed miserably, so I was forced to delete the post and re-create it from scratch. In the process I lost his actual reply. But I have it recreated below.
Based on the formula outlined below my data would look like this: 227 pounds / 2.2 = 103 kilos of total weight My scale shows that I have roughly 28% body fat (Note that scales are not the most accurate measure of body fat percentages) 103 kilos * 0.28 = 28.8 kilos of body fat 103 - 28.8 = 74.2 kilos of lean body weight 74.2 * 30.2 = 2240 calories
This is a slightly different value than the one I got from the BMR calculator that just focuses on age, weight, sex and height. That value was 2082.
This shows a minor difference of 158 calories between the two methods. Either way, both values would be a good starting point for the Weight Control flowchart.
You can also easily determine your basal metabolic rate; calories necessary to maintain current weight using the following formula. It's extremely accurate if you have a method for determining your body fat percentage. The formula is: weight in kilograms - body fat =lean body weight X 30.2 = daily caloric intake for maintenance. Eat less than that and/or workout more to create a calorie deficit and lose weight. Eat more and lift heavy weights and gain muscle mass. For example: Jen is 150 lb. and wants to lose weight. She has 30% body fat. Divide her weight by 2.2 to get her weight in kilos=68 kilos with about 21 kilos of fat (30%). Take her lean weight 47 kilos and multiply it by 30.2 (calories/kilo base metabolic rate). She needs 1419 calories/day to maintain. Add more to gain or less to lose.
Description of Workout: This body-weight and dumbbell workout focuses on a set of basic exercises for the primary muscle groups to help kick-start an introduction to workouts. This circuit workout can be run for an extended period of time as a basic program, however after about 3 months you should consider switching to my Version 2 program. You will be working out 3 days per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
squats – 10 reps
stiff leg deadlift – 10 reps
calf rasies – 20 reps per leg
push ups – 10 reps
bentover rows – 10 reps
military press – 10 reps
bicep curls – 10 reps
tricep extensions – 10 reps
5 planks: plank for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds – do 5 total sets
Description of Workout:
The dumbbell only home or gym full body workout focuses on the use of heavy compound lifts, and allows you to maximize muscle gains with minimal equipment. This workout can be run for an extended period of time. As long as you are experiencing strength and muscle gains, stick with this routine! Here are some key elements to maximizing progress:
You will be working out 3 days per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Do not add additional exercises into this workout.
Cardio can be performed first thing in the morning, or post-resistance training. Also, I do 5 sets of Planks every day. (Hold the position for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. This is 1 set.)
Monday: Full Body
|Dumbbell Bench Press||3||6-12|
|One Arm Dumbbell Row||3||6-12|
|Standing Dumbbell Curl||3||6-12|
|Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension||3||6-12|
Wednesday: Full Body
|Dumbbell Step Up||3||6-12|
|Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift||3||6-12|
|Seated Dumbbell Press||3||6-12|
|Standing One Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise||3||10-20|
|Dumbbell Side Bends||3||10-15|
Friday: Full Body
|Dumbbell Floor Press||3||6-12|
|Wide Grip Pull Up||3||6-12|
|Standing Hammer Curl||3||6-12|
|Lying Dumbbell Extension||3||6-12|
|Lying Floor Leg Raise||3||10-25|
As long as I have iPhone apps and related website on the brain, I have to talk about another one called LoseIt!
This app/website is great tool for keeping track of your calories in v/s calories out. It helps do this by allowing you to keep tabs on all the foods and drinks you have throughout the day as well as logging any exercise sessions. There is also a great user community on the website forums, so anyone looking for a little support with your weight loss, nutrition and fitness needs would find a nice home there.
I have been using this app/website combo for just as long as I have been using the iMapMyFitness tools and have already lost about 30 pounds using them both.
I wont really do justice to LoseIt! by explaining everything here. Rather, if you are interested, you should go checkout the website and download the free app from the Apple Store yourself. If you are serious about changing your eating habits to last a lifetime, you cant go wrong with LoseIt!.
The website is: http://www.loseit.com/
Oh yeah, for you Apple haters out there, a Droid app is available as well! 😉
I’ve been using an iPhone app for the last few months called iMapMyFitness. This app and the website called http://www.mapmyfitness.com allow you to track different types of activities such as walking, hiking, cycling and running.
I use the iPhone app whenever I start a walk or run session. With the GPS enabled, it shows a fairly accurate route of your path along with specific details of how long the session lasted, how many miles you traveled, an estimate of your calories burned and an average pace. There are some nice extras as well, like a previous post of mine showing the Google Earth Flyby of you route.
In case you missed it, here it is again: http://www.mapmyfitness.com/routes/render_route_video?route_key=737132052524512572&site=mapmyfitness.com
There are also some social aspects to the app where you can share routes with friends and such, but I haven’t taken advantage of those features so far.
Also, there are several different apps by the same company: iMapMyFitness, iMapmyHikes, iMapMyWalks, iMapMyRuns, etc. I’m sure you see the pattern here. Basically, from what I can see, all of these are really the same app. They just have different labeling and marketing for each. Not a bad idea, I guess, but it does make it kind of confusing at first.
I never go anywhere without my iPhone, so having this app on my exercise sessions is a great benefit.
I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to keep statistics on your outdoor workout sessions.
Took both dogs on a nice 2.68 mile walk today with my son!
Check out this pretty neat Google Earth flyby of the route we took!
First, a little background… (BTW, this will probably end up being a pretty long post!)
I was in the military for 8 1/2 years. During that time, in addition to my normal training, I was able to participate in several special training programs. One of the key training classes that relate to this particular post was called Master Fitness. It was a 4 week-long class (160 hours) that covered what the military considered crucial for building and maintaining a proper fitness program for both large groups and individuals.
After completion of this class I was awarded the distinction of being called a Master Fitness Trainer.
The training covered a lot of ground, but I would like to focus on the following key areas:
Cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness, sometimes called CR endurance, aerobic fitness, or aerobic capacity, is one of the five basic components of physical fitness. CR fitness is a condition in which the body’s cardiovascular (circulatory) and respiratory systems function together, especially during exercise or work, to ensure that adequate oxygen is supplied to the working muscles to produce energy. CR fitness is needed for prolonged, rhythmic use of the body’s large muscle groups. A high level of CR fitness permits continuous physical activity without a decline in performance and allows for rapid recovery following fatiguing physical activity.
Activities such as running, road marching, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, rowing, stair climbing, and jumping rope place an extra demand on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. During exercise, these systems attempt to supply oxygen to the working muscles. Most of this oxygen is used to produce energy for muscular contraction. Any activity that continuously uses large muscle groups for 20 minutes or longer taxes these systems. Because of this, a wide variety of training methods is used to improve cardiorespiratory endurance.
Muscular fitness has two components: muscular strength and muscular endurance.
Muscular strength is the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort.
Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to do repeated contractions against a less-than-maximum resistance for a given time.
Although muscular endurance and strength are separate fitness components, they are closely related. Progressively working against resistance will produce gains in both of these components.
Flexibility is a component of physical fitness. Developing and maintaining it are important parts of a fitness program. Good flexibility can help a soldier accomplish such physical tasks as lifting, loading, climbing, parachuting, running, and rappelling with greater efficiency and less risk of injury.
Flexibility is the range of movement of a joint or series of joints and their associated muscles. It involves the ability to move a part of the body through the full range of motion allowed by normal, disease-free joints.
Body composition, which refers to the body’s relative amounts of fat and lean body mass (organs, bones, muscles), is one of the five components of physical fitness. Good body composition is best gained through proper diet and exercise. Examples of poor body composition are underdeveloped musculature or excessive body fat. Being overweight (that is, overly fat) is the more common problem.
Poor body composition, especially obesity, has a negative effect on appearance, self-esteem, and negatively influences attitude and morale.
Injuries are not an uncommon occurrence during intense physical training. It is, nonetheless, a primary responsibility of all MFT’s to minimize the risk of injury to soldiers. Safety is always a major concern.
Most injuries can be prevented by designing a well-balanced PT program that does not overstress any body parts, allows enough time for recovery, and includes a warm-up and cool-down. Using strengthening exercises and soft, level surfaces for stretching and running also helps prevent injuries. If, however, injuries do occur, they should be recognized and properly treated in a timely fashion.
Many common injuries are caused by overuse, that is, soldiers often exercise too much and too often and with too rapid an increase in the workload.
Most overuse injuries can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Following any required first aid, health-care personnel should evaluate the injured soldier.
In addition to exercise, nutrition plays a major role in attaining and maintaining total fitness. Good dietary habits greatly enhance the ability of soldiers to perform at their maximum potential. A good diet alone, however, will not make up for poor health and exercise habits. Soldiers must know and follow the basic nutrition principles if they hope to maintain weight control as well as achieve maximum physical fitness, good health, and mental alertness.
These are only a few of the training categories, but they are the primary ones that I feel are relevant to this blog post.
All of these training categories are an important part of overall fitness and need to be part of your life long plans. But what about weight loss? There is a common saying: “Fitness happens at the gym, weight loss happens in the kitchen”. Reading this you would think that your fitness plans would be separate from your weight loss plans. The reality is that they are both needed and both must work together.
Nutrition is the key that binds them together.
Strenuous exercise requires proper fuel and nutrition is what provides that fuel. Weight loss simply requires eating less fuel than you are burning. Successful weight loss is a tough balancing act between fitness and nutrition. Eat too much and your fitness efforts will be properly fueled, but you will still gain weight. Eat too little and you will lose weight, but your fitness levels will suffer.
In order to perform this balancing act between nutrition and fitness in order to facilitate weight loss, you really need to know your nutrition requirements.
Determining what your nutrition requirements are on a daily basis is no easy task. Sure there are formulas and estimates out there to help you find a good starting point, but know that every person is different, and every person’s nutrition requirements are likewise different.
How do you determine your nutrition requirements? Ahh, that will have to wait for another post.