Monitor Fitness Progress without Trainer Services

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results thereof.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve your fitness goals.  For example, when oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion].

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal ranges, it makes exercise and will power to start and continue more difficult, while health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals baseline at no cost to compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.  I can’t resist using the cuff to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above age standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical vitals comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.  Then check at a later point in time to see if diet and exercise activity improves past results.

If you’re too far outside a normal range health risk increases.  Or the test equipment is out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times. Then visited another pharmacy and vitals were fine.  If you get the same readings at 2 separate locations, seek medical advisement and testing.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high relative to sedentary and daily exercise activity; the metabolism, hormone and circulatory systems are experiencing cellular and functional stress.  For example, body fat may continue to store and add load to weight bearing joints causing pain and further health risk, while effecting the fat burning furnace.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and meal proportions and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.  You’ll also note in many cases, when body weight is up, so is blood pressure and heart rate.  But not always.

IMG_1168

Walking requires a break with trail mix fuel to re-energize and endure the long haul hike back onto the trail.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running exercise, to include biking and swimming that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and metabolic systems when optimum aerobic exercise activity occurs…  And no health condition exists at specific efforts of physical intensity.

This physiological fat burning fact is measureable and known as THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.  Which simply means, if you’re in the appropriate aerobic heart rate zone during exercise and performing at specific aerobic effort of intensity, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then follow the 40 year old client example to apply formula on self to burn more fat fuel.

   Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Plug in your intensity % to determine heart rate range and stay within the fat burning zone and lose more body fat weight.

Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid environment.

First determine your maximum heart rate by taking 220 – age.  For example, if your 40 years old, your heart beats per minute would be 180 (220 – 40 = 180 bpm).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

“These calculations provide only estimates of your heart rate maximum and cardiovascular work zone. To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/%5D

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I use both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring as quarterly practise to determine my level of fitness and overall health condition for my age group.

I make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if my numbers begin to fall outside an unfit range.  I also have blood draws taken every 6 months.  Blood lab results are great indicators of internal bodily functions and health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  do journal these results for later comparisons against adjusted diet and exercise programed changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more about how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live longer in good health.

Save money learning how to customize your own fitness and nutrition  programs.  But in no way do I advocate avoidance of medical advisement, examination and/or treatment.  It is wise to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights. reserved.www.mirrorathlete.com


 





Monitor Fitness and Health Like a Pro

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great low-impact aerobic exercise activity.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve fitness and health goals.  When oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion]; and sustain health and wellbeing.

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal range, it makes exercise more difficult to begin and sustain the effort and health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals at no cost and compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.

Free Self Check Vitals Services,

I can’t resist using the arm cuff station at the local pharmacy store to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts at the station, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above vitals standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical baseline comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.

If you’re significantly outside a normal vitals range for your age in comparison to previous results the station may be out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times.   To test this theory I’ve visited another pharmacy store the same day and vitals were normal for my age.  If you get “at risk” readings at 2 separate store locations, seek medical advisement.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high the body is experiencing circulatory and cardio functional stress.  These are warning signs that should not be ignored.  Typically but not always, when body fat weight is high so are vitals.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.

IMG_1168

Take a break, enjoy the day and fuel up to continue healthy activities.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running, biking and swimming, etc., exercise that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and cardio systems during low-impact aerobic exercise activity that burns more body fat.

During low-impact aerobic exercise fat burning occurs and is measureable when activity is within the THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.

Which simply means, if you’re in the aerobic heart rate fat burning zone during exercise, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR during activity and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then apply formula during exercise to lose more body fat weight.

To use Simple formula below, first determine aerobic effort you want to apply and stay within that fat burning zone during exercise.  Using the Simple formula plug in 50 – 70% to burn more fat:

For example, Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid and the metabolism burns less fat.

 Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Then determine your maximum heart rate take 220 – age.  If your 40 years old for example  (220 – 40 = 180).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

Take 90 or 126 and divide by 6.  Results:  15 and  21 BPM represent a 10 second pulse count you can take during exercise.  Simply monitor pulse at carotid (side of neck) or brachial (wrist) for a 10 second pulse count inbetween exercise.  If you fall within this heart rate range your burning body fat fuel.

“These calculations provide only estimates of your target heart rate,  cardiovascular work zone and fat burning efficiency during exercise.  To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/%5D

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I’ve used both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring to adjust exercise activity, improve health and determine level of fitness condition for my age.

Make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if vitals begin to fall outside an unfit range.  Also blood lab results are great indicators of internal health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  journal these results for future comparisons after adjusted diet and exercise program changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more on how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live life to the fullest.  And be sure to visit your doctor for frequent medical checkups.  And when you do, present your self monitoring data, nutrition and exercise habits and past vs. present blood test results for further medical advisement.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights. reserved.www.mirrorathlete.com


 





Will Power to Control Compensation Weight Gain Effect

24 11 2009
Walk and See all Around You.

Walk and See all Around You.

Your body’s health and appearance is dependent on many lifestyle habits and behaviors especially as you age.  With regard to diet and exercise, food intake and calorie burn through physical activity inevitably becomes a compensation-Will Power challenge.  Mind over body then becomes much more of a will power issue not to consume the “wrong types and quantities” of foods after an exercise, or activity event.  This issue will attempt to defeat your will power to stay on body weight target.  Compensation effect simply means if your body burns calories it will also want to replace them by telling the hunger center in the brain to eat more.  Your brain begins to beg you to stop the screaming fat cells from causing you agony and to satisfy them.  Scary little guys these fat cell monsters!

I’ve known for some time that exercise alone would not be the sole factor in body weight maintenance, or weight loss.  When I was working on my Exercise Science undergraduate degree, one thing I did learn is in order to maintain healthy body equilibrium especially as we age, requires a “customized” multidisciplinary healthy life program.  This program consists of exercise-activity, nutrition and healthy living lifestyle to meet body fitness requirements.  This multi-discipline approach is necessary for successful weight loss and body weight regulation at any age.  My take on exercise products sold on TV as I’ve stated in previous articles…  They won’t provide you a significant weight loss result, and especially without proper nutrition and healthy living habits.  If you’re serious about losing weight, don’t waste your money on exercise TV product gimmicks.  Instead, consider buying a gym membership and apply aerobic activity using various types of aerobic equipment to accomplish body weight goals. 

For those of you without much experience in a gym, look to purchase a few 1:1 fitness trainer sessions for weight loss programming and/or need motivation, etc.  Look for local fitness center promotion specials to run end of year and spring.  Also, learn to become a smart nutrition and healthy eating habit consumer by doing your own healthy weight management nutrition research.  For example, use the Internet and research under fit/healthy” weight loss tips and recommendations.  Also consider visiting your local book store/library, or take a community college nutrition/health fitness course, etc.  Consider purchasing fitness training books and videos geared around weight loss activities using aerobic bike, bike, walking, swimming, treadmill, etc., if the gym is not for you.  Or if dollars are tight, simply start a daily walking program.

When I mention TV exercise gimmicks they are exercise equipment that are non aerobic in nature and specifically work on body toning, not fat burning! For example, abs, hip-buttocks-chin specific exercise equipment.  Also I know you all know my favorite aerobic activity is walking and it always will be.  Walking in my opinion is the best cardiovascular, fat burning, low stress-fun, and low impact exercise available to all that can walk!  Healthy centurions have this one lifelong habit activity in common.  This is one of the least stressful aerobic fat burning activities and burns the greatest amount of fat per time spent on activity (swimming included).  It is my experience that walking causes the least amount of hunger pain if it is not done with high intensity (speed walking).  This is because the body will shift to greater fat burning as a fuel source preference during low intensity large muscle activity (legs).  The hunger center in the brain won’t know the difference when the body’s glucose-glycogen fuel source shifts more to a “stored-released” triglyceride fat burning process.

I walk almost every day, own some fitness equipment and have a fitness center membership.  I’ve found fitness activity variety keeps boredom abbey by breaking up my daily routines.  This helps immensely with my daily motivation to stay on healthy body weight target.  To walk, it doesn’t cost anything but time and good foot ware that should include excellent sole inserts.  See our chronic pain center and click on the posture, or foot image to get more information on “Posture Control Insoles.”  Gym memberships are nice because the sky is the limit on aerobic equipment choices.  If interested in fitness memberships look for one that has a swimming pool within the facility.   You can truly customize a fitness training weight loss program that’s right for any age at reasonable rates.

Always keep in mind the compensation effect.  If you exercise, regardless of activity you’ll always feel hungry approximately 1 hour after activity.  This is because most work done in the gym tends to become quick pace through daily conditioning.  Think about it.  You want to finish getting on to the home relaxation phase of your day, so you push your body to get out of the gym.  In essence you begin to exercise at a greater intensity rate which more closely resembles cardiovascular and anaerobic activity that will burn greater quantities of quick fuel sources; cretin phosphate, glucose-glycogen making you hungrier faster.  However, if your routine is mostly aerobic you’ll burn body fat and more of it at lower aerobic intensity rates.

In knowing that daily aerobic conditioning will naturally spur higher work training intensities, you can be prepared for hunger pains if you begin pushing yourself at this level.   In order to gage the best fat burning intensity and reduce severe hunger pains… Don’t train at intensities that make you out of breath, or make it hard to carry on a conversation.  Also if you’re THR (Target Heart Rate) zone peaks into a high intensity cardiovascular training zone for your age; understand you are not maximizing your body’s fat burning potential.  Ask your fitness trainer about THR, or simply research this term on the Internet to best understand and manage fat burning potential through aerobic activity.

I do have a solution to help you out in the hunger department as you will want to be adequately armed before the hunger pains hit regardless of your THR training intensity.  I’ve found, especially after the work out “the calorie burn compensation effect to replace the spent calories does impact us all at various levels of hunger pain.  The goal is to fool the brain with low calorie nutritious fillers that will curve appetite and strengthen will power to avoid pounding down fats and empty calories to satisfy the screaming fat cells. 

Whether the aerobic exercise is walking, biking, swimming, repetitive low resistance circuit training, etc., I know I’ll always be hungry after 90 minutes because my body is conditioned to work out more intensely during activity.  So if you can’t get your hands on fruit or vegetables, you can get water down your gullet.  Although water won’t fully satisfy the fat cell compensation screaming in your mind, a pint of water will stop this hunger feeling rather fast as the bloated stomach technique will temporarily fool the brain.  Besides, water is good for you… Let’s not forget this.  I know it’s boring.  I know you’d prefer an electrolyte drink.  Don’t do this often in the gym as electrolyte drinks have enough calories in them to compensate back to your body what you just burnt.  However, electrolyte drinks are great for high intensity aerobic-training endurance events where sodium and potassium levels in the blood can be reduced significantly and require replacement.  In these types of high intensity cardiovascular activities fat burning is not the fitness goal.

One thing I’m sure many of you may not know.  Many times when your brain tells you it’s hungry, it’s not, and your body is really thirsty.  So give the water gulping session serious consideration frequently while you work out.  This will help.  This water gut blot sensation will provide a feeling of fullness relieving hunger sensations while rehydrating the body.

However, beware; water is easily absorbed through the stomach and intestinal lining.  So this is a temporary fill to fool your mind’s hunger pains and rehydrate the body.  It’s not the cure all solution to defeat the calorie compensation effect that will ultimately result once the body is adequately worked and watered down.  Water in the stomach to fool your brain is like putting water in a strainer that’s lined with cheese cloth.  In other words, you don’t have much time before your brain tells you you’re hungry once the water quickly absorbs into the body.   You have approximately 10-15minutes max before your fat cells say “FEED ME, once the body is adequately hydrated!”  If you give in to the jelly donut, or pepperoni pizza, compensation effect wins over “will power and body weight discipline.”

Will you have the discipline and will power to fight off gorging yourself with the wrong foods, especially on a weekend?  Ah, here’s the question.  I highly recommend you find a nutritious food bar, or shake that’s high in protein and fiber to hold you over between meals.  This is like eating many mini-meals between the main meals.  You’ll find your body won’t be screaming from shear hunger, while reducing total daily calories and body weight.  There are many products to choose from… But you’ll want the fiber and protein because these low calorie high nutrient combinations will fool your brain for longer periods of time.  Good quality food bars, fruits and veggies work great after workouts and curving hunger in between meals.

I’ve also found that by taking a water bottle with me filled with a couple scoops of fiber source drink is a good emergency fix to satisfy a hunger attack when my compensation metabolism tells me I’m starving.  The beauty with this fix, you can carry the fiber powder around in the bottle forever until you add water.  When you have a hunger attack and you can’t wait to make that family dinner, fill the bottle with water, shake and chug that fiber drink.  Yummy!  “Well yummy is debatable, I did that for effect.”

Really, there are good fiber drinks out there in all flavors.  Look for fiber drinks that pack at least 3-5grams per serving.  Once you use your emergency compensation stomach fill solution to satisfy brain hunger, be sure to reload the bottle prior to the next fitness training session.  It is very frustrating to look in your gym bag, or back pack to find an empty fiber, or protein powder bottle.  I can’t tell you how many times I went for the quick food solution that was not there.  Instead I broke down and loaded up with a saturated fat attack, heart stopping gut buster.  My lack of will power won that day.  More the reason to stock an arsenal of various powder drinks in ready premix bottles and power bars at the ready.  I like to use old water bottles instead of tossing them after I drink the water.   I take 3-4 of them, load two with electrolyte and 2 with fiber-protein powders where they stay in dry storage (in the capped bottle)  until I need them.  I usually keep them in my car, or gym bag.  Just add water, shake and drink.

Also visit your libraries and read, or purchase books on how to improve will power while modifying behavioral habits towards food cravings.  To be aware of the mind over body compensation fact will help you recognize you’ll need to find other low calorie diet substitutes and behavioral strategies that will stave off hunger cravings during and after your aerobic training sessions.  Also drink more water in a day, eat more frequently throughout the day in smaller portions, get more fiber in your diet and don’t eat in front of the TV, “only at the dinner table!”  Finding what works for you and sticking to it is a big part of fitness and weight-diet management success. By applying the techniques in which I speak will allow you proper preplanning prior to aerobic fitness training and weight management success.  You’ll also better understand will power compensation effect while reducing body weight in a healthy habit approach.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.