Relative Fitness Programming Sustains Active Lifestyles

23 02 2014
Get your aerobics in over the weekend on your bikes in new and exciting places.  Exploration on foot or bike is one of our families favorite activities.

Get your aerobics in over the weekend on your bikes in new and exciting places. Exploration on foot or bike is one of our families favorite activities.

I’m often asked, what’s the best way to get in shape and lose weight?  The first thing that comes to mind, you must find an exercise activity program that’s “relative for you.”  Through client consults it is not surprising to learn if you’re not passionate about “your” exercise activity, you’ll not stick with it, thereby compromising your health and overall lifestyle. 

    Fitness levels can be increased simply by identifying a duration activity that motivates you to move your body with purpose.  Most aerobic and anaerobic exercise routines center on a 3 to 5 day program, 30-60 minutes in duration.  Typical fitness goal requests from clients look to achieve weight loss, muscular endurance, tone, increased strength and increased range of motion. 

    Anaerobic activity is defined, where strength, power and high muscular intensity effort is applied during exercise.  Whereas aerobic activity is exercise of low-medium and high cardio intensities that rarely exceed 85% of our max heart rate for a majority of us.  Target Heart Rate (THR) is often used to monitor heart beat rate at the carotid (neck) or radial (wrist) artery.  Heart rate tells us when to increase or decrease exercise intensity to stay within the fat burning zone to achieve the best results. 

    Science shows us that aerobic exercise intensity at ~60-70% THR zone is the fat burning “sweet spot range” to burn fat and reduce body weight.  Look up “THR zone” within any search engine to calculate your THR relative to age and current fitness levels to burn more body fat. 

    How does one determine and build a relative fitness program?  Many individuals have learned through time to build a program that works for them.  However, many others need the services of a professional fitness trainer.

    What do I consider a professional fitness trainer?  An undergraduate [physical and health sciences] that is certified, experienced in fitness profiling and obtaining client profile data points including fitness assessments meeting specific protocol criteria and standards.  Then analyzing the data to build a customized fitness program relative to the client’s fitness and health needs. 

    The data points necessary to build a relative fitness program may include the following: medical history analysis, fitness objectives and activities goals analysis, nutritional analysis and fitness level assessments [strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardio endurance, postural analysis and body fat%], etc.  A customized fitness program designed around fitness objectives with subjective client criteria in mind has the best chance of optimizing fitness results.  And for many American’s the number one fitness goal is weight loss. 

    All too often relative fitness programming is disregarded where some jump on others band wagons in hopes of receiving the same results.  It is often thought if one follows another’s exercise routine, they’ll receive the same fitness benefits.  Sometimes this strategy works, but all too often it fails because it’s relative to another’s unique mind, body and spirit and environment(s) in which they live.   

    Whatever it is others are doing won’t necessarily work for you in the same way.  Why?  Maybe it’s not relative to your current state of mind or health, or conducive to the environments in which you live, work and play.  Also, what is your body type and state of health?  For example, what exercise activities would best optimize your current physical abilities relative to your current body shape, health and fitness levels? 

    I’ve seen people buy a year’s gym membership, purchase home equipment, work out with a buddy that pushes too hard, or buy non-certified professional 1:1 trainer serves, etc., then get too sore or hurt themselves.  Since this is a bad experience they drop out of the program because they weren’t profiled and programmed relative to their lifestyle, fitness and health needs. 

    Exercise intensity is important for increased fitness levels and performance.  But one must be eased into intensities if absent from exercise beyond a typical walk pace or daily routine for some time.  Once you become conditioned to increase movement and exercise activity daily there is an effort of intensity “sweet spot” relative to your fitness goals.  This effort of intensity is not too low and not too high, somewhere in the middle and just right for a majority of us to achieve our fitness goals. 

    Those involved in intermural or professional sports activities who condition themselves at higher intensity levels must be programmed at higher levels of exercise intensity to keep a competitive advantage.  If you are not trained or conditioned to exercise yourself above 70-85% THR, you’ll likely have a bad physical experience and you’re New Year’s resolution will go right out the window.  Professional athletes often train above 85% THR intensities conditioning themselves for a muscular endurance and/or strength event. 

    For the novice, it is recommended a 1:1 session and orientation to exercise programming.  I highly recommend purchasing professional and certified fitness trainer services that includes fitness profiling and assessments to develop a customized fitness program that’s relative for you.  Especially if you’ve failed previously in the gym environment, or have been out of the exercise circuit for a long period of time, or have not been able to stick with any other form of exercise no matter how hard you try.  The cost of these professional services is usually reasonable for the time spent in consultation, fitness programming and 1:1 exercise training. 

    A good trainer will balance a variety of aerobic and anaerobic exercise activities inside/outside of the gym environment to keep boredom at bay with environmental lifestyle in mind.   For example two or three days a week your focus could be strength training exercises and/or Circuit weight training where you use 8-12 stationary pieces of equipment providing aerobic and anaerobic benefits completed within 20-30minutes. 

     On the same days or alternate days you may also make a commitment to participate in a low-to-high impact aerobics activity dependent on activity interests.  Such as, instructor lead classes, or home exercises:  Spinning (stationary bike), Zumba [dance moves of salsa, reggaeton, mambo, flamenco, rumba and hip-hop], or boot camp exercise classes. 

    Or instead of organized fitness instruction classes, you may be more comfortable, or practical dependent on activity goals analysis to engage in self-pace exercise activity in the home or outdoor walking, jogging, biking, rowing, swimming, ballroom dance, or competitive intermural sports (indoor racquetball, basketball, squash, etc.).  

    There is also stationary aerobic exercise equipment that is found in most gyms, or can be purchased for home use:  stair-stepping, treadmill, or recombinant bike-steppers, cross trainer elliptical, Nortrac Ellipticals. 

    What is elliptical?  These are aerobic stationary exercise machines that simulate stair climbing, rowing, walking and running that also increase range of motion without causing extreme stress on weight bearing joints. Thereby reducing the likelihood of injuries and optimizing the fat burning benefits while toning core muscle groups. 

    People recovering from injury often rehabilitate themselves at a low intensity pace on these types of machines.  But don’t underestimate their usefulness.  Resistance can be set to provide an intense workout to lose more body fat while toning muscles and optimizing cardiovascular and muscular endurance performance. 

    For intermediate and advanced exercise enthusiasts if you’ve been working out for years and feel like you’re physical performance, or competitive advantage is stagnant you may need the services of a fitness trainer that specializes in competitive task specific/sports activity profiling.  A professional sports trainer can help design and develop a program that’s relative to achieving the desired competitive advantage and overall fitness sports goal.  These sports trainer specialists can design a relative task specific sports program to get you to the next competitive level. 

    Regardless of experience, fitness level or goals, once you become exercise and activities conditioned, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  Do increase intensities, duration and frequency of activities to modify your fitness program (mix it up) once your conditioned to do so.   

    Continuous improvement through variety using a relative plan that’s right for you is a sure fire method to ensure you achieve and sustain your fitness goal(s).  This will ensure your fitness results and performance don’t plateau and you stay excited about the next day’s work out.  If you want to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle for the long haul, professional fitness programming provides a relative road map to get you there and keep you on target.

Also Read, How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2014 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @:, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.
































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