Friday, May 28, 2010

Do you know your workout intensity?

Choosing what type of exercise, how long you do it, and when to change it up is important if you are going to get to a health goal.  I strongly advise working with an experienced doctor who deals with preventitive health (not many do) or a trained and certified personal trainer. Preferably one with a degree in exercise physiology not just a weight training certification.

To know if your workout intensity you need to do a couple simple calculations. The formula comes from our friends at Penn State University.

     220 - (your age) = your maximum safe heart rate.

The intensity is then based on a percent of the maximum.

High intensity (cardio) is 70-80% of your maximumMedium intensity (fat burning) is 60% of your max.  The only adjustment to this is based on resting heart rate since your age is already factored in.

So, if your goal is to lose weight your most effective workout is not turning up the treadmill to max and huffing and puffing.  Stay at 60% which is far less intense than most people think.  Try a simple walk after dinner. And remember to start easy- 5 or 10 minutes at first and gradually (weeks) build up to 30 to 45 minutes. 

If you want improved cardiovascular function and better heart rate- try a kickboxing or something that really gets your heart thumping.  Strength and endurance comes from resistance training (weights) and can be done at any intensity. 

Of course, combinations can be a great time-saver but if you have a specific goal then you should have a targeted plan. My clients get a custom made plan just by asking for it- at no charge- including follow up and adjusting that plan as needed. I want the healthiest clients in the world.  Wouldn't you like to reach your best? You can do it. I can help you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eat to Maximize Your Work Out Effectiveness

Are you a morning, lunchtime, or evening exerciser?  Time of day and how you fuel is important to maximize your workout effectiveness. 

Eating should be done to correlate to the body's needs for the workout.  One common misunderstanding is going to the gym to workout before breakfast.  The idea is that if there is no sugar (glucose) in the blood then the body will burn fat.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

When the body doesn't have enough blood sugar it will convert amino acids (proteins) into glucose (sugar). This is done by the liver and is called gluconeogenesis.  There are 2 available sources of proteins to use-immune cells (immunoglobulins) and muscle cells.  You don't want your body converting your immune system to sugar OR your muscles to break down for fuel every time you work out.

The best time to eat is before your workout. Not right before it- you definitely don't want to up-chuck on the gym's equipment- about an hour is good.  The best choice of foods are low-glycemic carbs, lean proteins, and don't be afraid of good quality fats. This can be accomplished with a high quality meal replacement shake if time is tight.  Otherwise, I can share with you some relatively fast and easy recipes.

And, if your workout is going to last more than about 45 minutes then you want to stop near the half-way point and take in a small amount of shake or a nutrition bar and a strong anti-oxidant/vitamin.

I prefer USANA Health Sciences Nutrimeal for my shakes and their Peanut Butter Crunch nutrition bar.  There are a few other but you have to be careful about the types of sugars- you don't want to spike your blood sugar either.   

One lady I know spends 2-3 hours per day at the gym and yet she just can't seem to lose the extra weight.  Popular thinking says "calorie in, calorie out" so she must be eating too much of the wrong stuff.  In fact, she eats very well but doesn't eat enough to sustain her during the workouts so she is not generating lean muscle mass.  It is lean muscle mass that is responsible for burning "calories" and weight loss, lowering triglycerides, cholesterol, and improving health.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Paradigm Change

A paradigm is a pre-set way of thinking about something.  It is how we view the world sub-consciously.  I like to say it is what we think about something before we think about it. We do this with our health all the time.

How many people do you know that reach for an aspirin when they get a headache? I'd like to think we all recognize that the aspirin doesn't cure the headache. It just shuts off the pain signal. So what paradigm are most people using?

The one the pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars a year making sure they do. Ever notice that about 1 in 3 commercials is for a pharmaceutical product? Go ask your doctor about...What happened to the doctors making the decisions about what would help you most? 

So next time someone asks or reaches for an aspirin- ask yourself, is this just a habit of an old paradigm? Is there something causing the headache that should be addressed?  If it is an aspirin deficiency then by all means stick with the daily dose of aspirin. If that seems as absurd to you as it does me maybe you should consider getting to the cause of the problem. Call me. I live for this stuff.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weekend Warrior Syndrome - 2 Types of Injuries

It never fails- Monday morning following the first really nice weekend there are scores of people suffering from Weekend Warrior Syndrome.  What is this about? 

There are really 2 varieties of injuries that happen over the weekend.
  1. Sudden onset
  2. Delayed onset (improper cool-down injury).
Sudden onset injuries happen "right now". A patient will come into see me and say, "I was doing... and all of a sudden felt...".  This type of injury happens when we participate in activities on the weekend that we have not done all week. This is one reason why consistent exercise is so important.

Delayed onset injury happens when the body is not allowed to cool down properly after an activity. This is not the same as delayed onset muscle soreness that happens after intense physical exercise.  According to Penn State University, many injuries happen between bursts of work or play. 

For example- you need to move dirt or beauty bark. Most people will go out and simply start bending, shoveling, lifting and pushing the wheelbarrow without warming up. Then after some time (usually without adequate water) the job is done and you get to go inside and "kick back" in the recliner. After all, you worked hard and deserve some rest.  Then an hour later you get up and feel stiff and ache all over. 
This is because when we exercise our ligaments become soft and pliable. Then when they cool down and become stiff they assume whatever shape they are put in. So, if we exercise (yard work, sports, playing, etc.) then plop into the recliner when we come inside and rest we can expect to have more soreness when we get up 15 minutes to 2 hours later because the ligaments have cooled down without the spine being in the correct position.

Prevent this type of injury by simply laying down on proper spinal supports for 10-15 minutes when you come inside and then you can kick back into the recliner and enjoy your hard earned rest. 

Good Morning Sunshine

When the weather gets nice there are 2 main concerns that come about:
  1. Dehydration
  2. "Weekend Warrior" syndrome.
Dehydration is easier to get to than most people think. Out in the yard playing or gardening in the warm sunshine it is easy to just enjoy and forget to stop for water. Some will accelerate the process by adding other fluids that actually cause more dehydration-like soda or alcohol.

Just remember to drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. It is really easy if you just follow these 4 steps:
  1. Drink a big glass 1st thing in the morning- at least 12 ounces.
  2. Drink a big glass 10 minutes before each meal- at least 12 ounces each time.
  3. Drink just 2 bottles of water throughout the day besides the "before-meal" glasses.
  4. Be sure to keep up your electrolytes by using RealSalt.  Pedialyte or gatorade may be used if necessary but they have lots of sugar in them making them less healthy.
Be careful not to drink a large amount just before bed or you may be up several times in the night and will be less liekly to wake up refreshed.