Find Time to Increase Your Physical Fitness Level!

 

Physical fitness has been defined in many ways. I believe that physical fitness can be defined as one’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities without physical exhaustion and injuries and to maintain high levels of energy to accomplish daily tasks. I know that by the end of my 11 to 12 hour work day and after training 10 to 12 clients I am extremely tired and my energy levels have diminished. However, at the end of the day, I still feel capable to play with my sons, read books with my youngest, and help Stacie tuck the boys into bed. As my clientele base has steadily grown and my business demands more hours than I’m humanly capable, I’ve found myself losing time to work-out and less inclined to keep myself in shape. Sometimes I think some of my clients are in better shape than me. These clients have regularly set time aside in their busy schedules to train witbih-joggingh me or on their own. That’s what it comes down to, time.

We must set aside the time to exercise or incorporate physical activities into our daily routine in order to improve our physical fitness levels and be healthy. I’ve found that even a little bit of time devoted to a light work-out or high intensity work-out helps to keep me healthy and at a high level of physical fitness. Setting aside 15 minutes in the morning to walk outside or on a treadmill is certainly a good way to increase your physical fitness levels. I recommend this to a long-time client of mine at least every other week. He routinely asks, “Is that enough?’ My response is always, “YES! Fifteen minutes is better than doing nothing at all.” Studies have shown that small bouts of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, can decrease blood pressure, reduce your risk of strokes and heart disease, and pro-long life (along with several other positive changes).

Our lives have become overwhelmed with work, school, family, social events, and sports for the kids. Finding the time to take care of my health is a major priority in my life. It should be for you as well. So, make time in your busy lives to exercise daily, even if it’s for just a little bit, 15 minutes, even 10 minutes. A little bit adds up to be a lot in the long run. That little bit of time spent getting your heart rate up will help to increase your energy levels, lift your mood, and, overtime, will increase your physical fitness level. Make your health a priority and get moving. Find the time!

3 Best Tips for Aerobic Exercise

 

Aerobic exercise, also called cardiorespiratory or cardiovascular fitness, is a good measure of the heart’s ability to pump oxygenated blood throughout the muscles. Oxygenated blood carries the nutrients the body needs to function effectively. A healthy heart can pump great volumes of oxygenated blood with each beat and will have a high level of cardiovascular fitness.

Jeff AngelHeart disease is directly associated with the cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular systems. One of the primary signs of heart and lung diseases include becoming winded with mild exertion. Individuals with heart or lung disease often become fatigued when performing day to day tasks that most of us take for granted. Aerobic exercise can help increase the body’s utilization of oxygenated blood pumping throughout the body, thus making our bodies stronger and more efficient performing everyday activities.

I’m often asked what are the most important tips I can give for aerobic conditioning. I find myself continuously telling clients and friends three very important factors that will help to improve one’s cardiovascular health. These factors include: know your target heart rate zone, know your intensity level, and be consistent.

1. Know your target heart rate zone.

Your target heart rate zone is the number of beats per minute (bpm) at which your heart should be beating during aerobic exercise in order to promote optimal fitness levels, improving cardiovascular conditioning, and reducing body fat percentages. For most healthy individuals, this range is 60-85% of the maximal heart rate.

Target Heart Rate Calculator

Measuring your heart rate while exercising can be done through two methods. Wearing a heart rate monitor is the easiest and most accurate method of checking your heart rate. A heart rate monitor can be purchased at any sporting goods supplier and ranges from $40 to $200. The least expensive are very accurate and will only display your heart rate. The moderately and highly priced monitors offer a stop watch, warning sounds if your heart rate is too high or too low, standard clock, and many other features.

The second method for monitoring your heart rate is by checking your pulse on your radial artery. The radial pulse can be found on the under side of your wrist using your index and middle fingers held together. Once located, count the number of beats for 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4. This will give you your beats per minute. To be more accurate, count the number of beats in 60 seconds. Both methods are acceptable for determining your heart rate.

2. Know your intensity level.

Once you have determined your beats per minute (within 5 minutes of aerobic exercise), you must ask yourself a few questions:

  • At this intensity, am I in my target heart rate zone? If not, make adjustments accordingly:
    • Above zone, decrease speed or rpms (or incline)
    • Below zone, increase speed or rpms (or incline)
  • How do I feel?
  • Can I maintain this pace for at least 30 minutes?
  • Can I push myself to the upper limits of my target heart rate zone?
  • If so, how long will I hold that upper limit?

Be aware of how your body feels and how you are breathing. If you cannot hold a conversation with someone without catching your breath, you may be going at too fast of a pace. This is what we call the “talk test”.

Intensity levels can vary from person to person and by goals wanting to be reached. Please click here to view the 5 types of training zones which represent low to high intensity levels for cardio conditioning. These training zones will give you an idea of where you should be training for your individual goals.

3. Be consistent.

Consistency is the key when trying to lose weight and body fat. You must stay on your training program and maintain healthy eating habits until you reach your goal weight. Cardiovascular exercise should be done at least 3 days per week for minimal positive aerobic enhancement and reduction of body fat stores. For maximum results, intermediate and advanced trainees should be doing 5-6 days of cardiovascular conditioning per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes and not more than 60 minutes. Exercise modes include any activity (walking, jogging, inline skating, swimming, biking, etc.) that will get your heart rate up into your target heart rate zone.

Know your zone, know your intensity, and be consistent. I believe these 3 tips are most important in improving your aerobic capacity and will help you to lose unwanted weight. Keeping your heart strong is most important in building and maintaining a healthy body.

5 Mistakes When Trying to Lose Weight

Weight loss

 

Over the years of training I’ve seen many people succeed and fail on their journey of losing weight. The success stories are of those that change their eating behaviors, are discipline and motivated, and exercise regularly. Those that fail tend to go on fad diets, starve themselves, and exercise too much or too little. Excessive exercisers usually burn out before their target weight loss has been reached or get injured in the process. Too little exercise will, of course, not burn enough calories to reduce body fat and weight. Losing weight is a very difficult challenge and needs to be accomplished with focus and consistency. Short cuts are not the answer when it comes to losing weight.

I’ve seen people make many mistakes when trying to lose weight. However, the following five mistakes are the biggest ones I’ve seen.

1. Doing ONLY cardio exercise to burn calories and reduce body fat.

Yes, cardio exercises such as walking, running, spinning, jumping rope, etc. is very important in the fight against fat. However, doing only cardio and not including strength training in your exercise program will certainly slow down your weight loss plans. Cardio exercise is great for burning calories and fat, but can also burn away muscle. Strength training must be done in order to maintain your lean body mass (muscle) which helps to keep your metabolism running high and keep you strong. Bottom line, you must do both – cardio and weights.

2. Eliminating all carbohydrates and fats.

Complex carbohydrates and certain fats are needed in your body for energy and several physiological functions. You need both for high energy in order to get through long, intense workouts. Do stay away from saturated fat and processed carbs. These will certainly keep energy levels low and keep that unwanted weight on.

3. Not being consistent with healthy eating.

This is the biggest problem I see with clients that want to lose weight. I find that people do great with low caloric intake and healthy foods Monday through Thursday. But look out on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All that heathy eating is thrown out the door on the weekends. Heavy dinners out at restaurants, desserts, over abundance of alcohol, fried foods. The list goes on and on. Listen, if you are on a mission to lose weight, you have to put forth 100% effort until your goal is reached. Once the goal is reached then splurge every now and then. You can’t eat whatever you want on weekends and expect to lose weight. Simple formula to remember – calories in/calories out. If you are taking in more calories than your body needs, then you will not lose weight!

4. Starving yourself.

Not eating will certainly help reduce your weight. However, how long can you go without food before you have a break down and pig-out on an entire pizza? Starving yourself does not work over a long period of time. Research shows that these people will gain the lost weight back, plus an extra 2-3 pounds or more. You must feed your body healthy foods in moderation in order to keep your metabolism running on high throughout the day.

5. Weighing yourself every day.

Do not do this! When that number on the scale doesn’t move for five days in a row, people get disappointed and frustrated which leads to lack of motivation and questioning all the effort put into healthy eating and exercise. Be patient! If you are sticking with the program and eating properly, the weight will come off. Weigh in once a week, preferably the same day and time and first thing in the morning (after a visit to the bathroom).

Losing weight takes time, consistency, and a lot of motivation and hard work. You must be discipline when it’s time to make the decision to eat dessert or not. Or deciding to have that third glass of wine. Or ordering steamed broccoli instead of french fries. When it comes down to it, it is YOU that has ultimate control over your weight loss. Be patient and consistent with your eating habits and exercise and you will surely see that number on the scale get lower and lower.

Are You Getting Enough Exercise?

 

The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember, however you will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 -15 minutes per day.

Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, such as climbing stairs or playing sports. Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility.

The simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.

The following chart represents an estimate of caloric expenditure during specific physical activity. Listed are 4 different weight categories. Caloric expenditure is influenced by intensity, mode of exercise, one’s level of conditioning, metabolism, and body weight. Try to do at least three of these activities during your training week. This might help to keep you from getting bored with your weekly schedule and will help to make you a more well-rounded fitness enthuseist. You might even find a new mode of exercise to enjoy. My top two exercises are jump rope and fast-paced calisthenics. My new favorite that’s been around for years… the rowing machine.

caloric-expenditure

Change Your Workout with Interval Training

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Is your training becoming boring doing the same old routine day after day? Not seeing any changes in your body or your fitness level? Then you are ready to make some changes in your work-out routine. Interval training is one of the best ways to add high intensity into the same old training routine. If it’s good enough for elite athletes worldwide, then it should be good enough for the average person just trying to stay healthy.

What is interval training?
Interval training is simply alternating bursts of moderate to high intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.

For example, walking can be changed into interval training. If you’re in good shape, you can incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. If you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

What can interval training do for me?
If you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced exerciser, interval training will help you change your regular exercise program and make you more fit. Here are some benefits of interval training:
  • More calories will be burned. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
  • Your aerobic capacity will improve. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer and with more intensity.
  • You won’t be bored. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
  • No special equipment is needed. You can simply modify your current routine.

Short on Time? Cardio or Weights?

 

Every week I hear from a client, “I don’t have enough time to get in my cardio and weight training this week, which one should I skip, which one is most important?” My response, “Don’t skip either, both are important and need to be done with consistency.”

If you are on a mission to lose weight, the cardio is going to help you burn off that stored energy, otherwise known as body fat. The strength training can’t be skipped either, your muscles need to be stimulated weekly in order to promote proper growth and development so your muscles become stronger and shapelier.

When you are short on time, the best way to get in your cardio and strength training is through what I call High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT). This type of circuit training involves high intensity cardio bouts mixed in with weight training. What makes this type of training great for people with little time, which is most of us, is that you combine your cardiovascular conditioning with resistance training. This will give you a total body workout. You’re not only burning calories and body fat, but you are also strengthening your heart and improving your muscular strength and endurance. High Intensity Circuit Training can be accomplished many ways with no equipment, minimal equipment, or with a fully loaded gym.

My favorite way to train clients is by incorporating basic calesthetics with strength training. You must first get your heart rate up high, at the upper end of your target heart rate zone, in a short period of time, usually 45-60 seconds. Once the heart rate is up, continue on to a 3 to 4 exercise strength training circuit. For example, do 60 seconds of jumping jacks, then, with no rest, move on to 15 push-ups, then on to 20 jump squats, then on to 15 ball push-ups, then do 20 lunges. Repeat the circuit 2 more times. Now this is just a very basic example of HICT, but nevertheless you are accomplishing your cardio and strength training in a short, very intense period of time. I have several of my advanced clients doing up to 16 different exercises in one circuit and burning over 700 calories in 60 minutes (I typically have clients do three sets for each circuit).

When choosing high intensity cardio bouts, you can’t go wrong with calesthetics such as jumping jacks, scissor jumps with jabs, squat thrusts, or mountain climbers. All of these will get your heart rate up very high in a very short period of time. The cardio bouts don’t have to be calesthetics. You can also incorporate cardio equipment such as the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. However, I find that a high intensity cardio bout on a piece of equipment takes a little more time to get the heart rate up. So you might want to increase the time to 2-3 minutes rather than 45-60 seconds. You must be going as fast and as hard as you can on the piece of equipment you choose at the time.

The weight training circuit following the cardio bout can be set up in a variety of ways. This is where you have to be creative and piece together a total body circuit, or just lower or upper body combinations or super sets. If you want to view some great examples of this, go to my YouTube Channel. There are currently 4 circuits posted that will guide you through a variety of High Intensity Circuit Training.

High Intensity Circuit Training may not be for everyone. This is an option for more intermediate to advanced trainees that are short on time. However, beginners can go slow and at a lower intensity to accomplish such training. Remember to always check with a doctor or fitness professional to be sure this type of training is right for you.

Your options are endless when it comes to High Intensity Circuit Training. The combinations of exercises for your entire body will continue to grow if you are thoughtful in setting up your circuits. So, don’t skip weights or cardio when you have a busy schedule. Take advantage of what little time you have to exercise and maximize every minute of your workout by doing High Intensity Circuit Training.