This year is the year I get in shape…….honest it will be!

Well I figured I would write my first article of the new year on my new website and make it about fitness, I know big surprise.  Every year for probably the last thousand years people have woken up on New Years day, declaring that this is the year that their going to lose the weight.  Most people sign up for a gym membership or actually go to the gym that they’re already a member of and some finally give in to the Chuck Norris infomercial and buy the “Total Gym”, for which I have one if your interested.

People have great intentions but eventually stop the process within weeks or a few months from starting.  Why?  Well, I have a few reasons that I would like to share.  First of all, people start to fast, they go from being a couch potato to running a couple of miles on the treadmill or spend thirty to forty-five minutes on the elliptical at mid to high resistance.  This type of consistent behavior leads to injuries.  Your doing to much and building up lactic acid and your heart can’t handle it, you’re not working out in the Aerobic zone (with oxygen) but the Anaerobic zone (without oxygen).

My second insight is somewhat similar to my first, I understand that your motivated but don’t go from never attending to being at the gym seven days a week.  I believe even God took the seventh day off.  Let’s start slow and go to the gym or start working out three days a week for two or three weeks then work up to four then five but you should have a day off giving your body a chance to recover.  You also should alternate days, aerobic workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and weight training Tuesday and Thursday.  These are just very basic suggestions to get started, once you get into a consistent groove please feel free to modify.  If you don’t know how or what to do next then ask a certified personal trainer, they would be more than happy to assist you in your workout goals.

My third insight revolves around having fun.  Some people hate going to gyms, the thought of having to walk or run on a treadmill or sit on a stationary bike and go nowhere seems dreadful.  They might join a gym but it becomes short lived because they don’t really want to be there.   So my suggestion to you, if you fall within this category, is what do you like to do?  Tennis? Walk outside? Play basketball?  Fill in the blank on what you like to do, because if you like something your most likely going to stick with it.  I realize its the winter and its cold outside but you must find something that appeals to you.

So your motivated to work out, and you don’t want to hurt yourself so where do you start.  Well, my suggestion is build your aerobic capacity and let your heart guide you.  What do I mean?  Well, take the advice from one of the world’s most sought after endurance coaches, Dr. Phil Maffetone.  Mark Allen, the six time Ironman winner, has used Dr. Maffetone’s methods which helped him win all those triathlons and continues to use them to this day to stay fit.  So what is the method that he uses?  Well, to sum it up very simply..180-your age.  Yup, that’s it.  Your going to need a heart rate monitor and once you get one all you have to do assess your current fitness level and apply the 180-your age rule.  Let me explain.

1. Subtract your age from 180

2. Modify this number by choosing one of the following:

a. If you have or are recovering from major illness or if you are on any medication, subtract an additional 10

b. If you have not exercised before or have been exercising but have been injured, sick, going “down hill” or have asthma or allergies, subtract an additional 5

c.  If you have been exercising for more than two years and making progress without any problems, add 5

d.  If you have been exercising for up to two years without any significant problems, then keep the results or 180-your age

Now that you have your Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate number, it is important that you exercise accordingly with a proper warm up and cool down.

  • Warm-Up for 10-15 minutes at a heart rate of 10-15 beats below your Max HR.
  • Exercise at an intensity 0-5 beats below your max heart rate, but not over
  • Cool-Down for 10-15 minutes at a HR similar to the warm-up, but now with decreasing intensity.

Well, that’s it pretty simple.  I hope this little bit of information helps, so now, get out there and have fun exercising, and please don’t try to compare yourself to someone else that never ends well.

Dr. Jeff

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