Thursday, April 30, 2009
Because we are all some time focused, our cardiovascular exercise tends to be time-based. 20, 30, 45, or 60-minute time frames are all common. You may want to consider using either the mileage or calories burned measurements on your cardio machines for a change of pace. Rather than doing the bike for 30-minutes, cycle for 15 miles. Rather than doing the stairmaster for 20 minutes, climb 100 floors. Or, rather than doing the elliptical for 45 minutes, burn 500 calories (just remember the counters are notoriously inaccurate). Again, another way of making cardio sessions different. If none of those work for you--try doing your cardio for a certain number of songs on your normal play list--you've got the idea, try something other than time.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I made a few adjustments to my recovery time and it worked well - both HR for my intervals on the stairmaster and my running came down to management ranges. My plan is to keep both the intervals and the running twice a week (rather than 3 times) and do one or two longer, slower cardio sessions. I am also changing my glute workouts so that I work each phase for 2 weeks versus 1 week to allow for a gradual increase in workload. I wasn't capable of doing it without hurting myself in that amount of time. Another place for recover is sleep; I noticed since the weather is better and I am doing more physical work outside I am sleeping better. I may need to go to bed a little early to compensate for this additional output. My weight is back in its normal range after having some increase in salt and fat last week. I will work on maintenance for the next few weeks--not too many changes--to allow my body to get used to a new workout, increased sleep, and better nutrition. Then I can consider any further modifications.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Just by bringing along a friend, you can make your cardio workout that much more fun. There are many ways to incorporate family and friends into your workout routine. One popular option, especially if you have children, is using the Wii sports programs. Want to get outside? Why not a bike ride, inline skating, or hiking. Down at the beach? Try beach volleyball, sand frisbee, or body-surfing. Have a competitive streak? Squash, racquetball, or tennis can be great cardio workouts. Even if you are going for a run in the neighborhood having a friend along can eliminate boredom, provide distraction, and/or allow you to see a different perspective. Just think, you may even be helping someone reach a goal.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I decided I needed to monitor my heart rate this week to determine my interval workload. Well, I was pretty surprised to find out that I was working almost 100% of my HR. Depending on your goal, 100% or higher really isn't necessary. I didn't reach that until my fourth interval and I was up to 168 bpm. So I have decided to stay on this particular routine but to lower my recovery level so that by my fourth interval I am closer to 85-90% which is plenty. Once this routine reaches consistency--where I am at 85-90% during high interval and about 70-85% on recovery, I can either step it up a notch or move to a different interval program. One great thing about this tough interval is it makes my running much easier and my heart rate lower despite my decreasing mile time--I am now at a 9:20 pace. If you don't know much about using a heart rate monitor watch the video at the top of my blog.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This week I will start the attack from the "rear" strategy and work on my back side for the next few weeks. I am using a routine from Oxygen Magazine and will make necessary adjustments to suit my needs. Phase One is building muscle by using supersets. Today I did the following supersets: Hanging Leg Raises/Squat; Machine hamstring culr/Stiff-legged deadlift; stability ball hamstring curls/Leg press. All exercises are done with 3 sets of 8-10 reps with moderately heavy weight. Since it is the first time with this workout I will start with a warm-up set and then see how much I can manage with the next 2 sets of 8-10. I will do this workout again on Thursday and then a final session on Saturday or Sunday. Week 2 will be something completely somewhat different-I will move to "giant" sets. Additionally, I have dropped yoga class on Sundays (I didn't care for the instructor) and will now be doing yoga on my own Monday/Wednesday with a class on Friday. As you can see, I modify whenever I feel like it. This may not work for everyone, but it keeps me more interested and motivated.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Well, I have been doing my marine workout now for about 3 weeks and have reached a plateau -- I can't move up more (I am doing 6-8 reps after a warm-up set) with the exercises/weight I am doing now. This means I need to move on to another type of strength work-out. I collect work-outs from websites, magazines, and books so that when I need a new one I can just pick one out. I think I will try a workout that emphasizes my glutes and hamstrings as I have very stronger quads and my rear end is starting to sag as I age. I will preview that workout with you next week. My cardio workouts are going well and my running is progressing faster than I thought after changing the routine. So, I should be able to meet my goal of an 8:30 mile by the end of the year. The extension of my intervals and a different routine contributed to the ease of my running times. Next week my intervals will all be at the next highest level -- I will then evaluate to see if I need to rework this or stay the course -- I will use my heart monitor for both types of cardio workouts to make sure I am not over training. I have been remiss on my stretching and need to regain some focus there. Tomorrow's weekly review will go over how I managed with a slight injury this week and still kept my workout on target.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Spring is here! Time to do what you were doing in the gym outside. Time to bicycle along the river and get off the stationary or spin. Get a new pair of running shoes and jog the neighborhood. Start increasing your non-structured physical activity like gardening, house maintenance, and playing with the kids. The weather is just begging for you to go and play. From now until the start of winter my mood is much better and my motivation to be active is on high and I look forward to riding the waves at the beach, fishing at the local lake, or hiking the nearby mountains. Hope to see you out there this weekend!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Although I haven't been focusing on increasing my metabolism specifically, it seems just following general guidelines for a healthy lifestyle will do it. Basically, you need to eat right (less sugar & fats, more vegetables & fruit) and eat consistently well throughout the day, exercise (both cardio and strength) hard enough to increase your heart rate, and allow for enough recovery (at least 8 hours a night). We all know this is the best thing to do but have a hard time with the follow-through. I consider myself fairly disciplined and even I have times when it is a drag following what I know to be true about good health. Nothing happens overnight and making small moves now will eventually lead to change; start with some of the suggestions in my posts and then formulate your own that will work for you. You don't have to be perfect, so keep working toward those healthy goals despite your setbacks.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I decided to write this week's review because of time constraints. This week was very hectic with lots of meetings and schedule shifting. Of course, I didn't get in every workout I had planned to get in -- which can happen. Despite our best efforts, we don't get done what we plan to get done and life still goes on, imagine that! So, I will review my schedule for this week and work on getting all the workouts in as prescribed. On the other hand, I did get all my water requirements this week as well as decreased the chips and ice cream quota and need to look at bringing down the animal protein for next week. More about boosting your metabolism in the next week's posts. Have a great holiday!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Remember, it doesn't take much and you can start today!
Just a Little Exercise Can Boost Metabolism - Health Videos - redOrbit.flv
Posted by FitGal at 2:38 PM
Thursday, April 9, 2009
If you play a sport that keeps you constantly moving, you'll get a great workout. The best sports for cardio intensity include basketball, tennis, soccer or racquetball. If you are a beginner, start with sports that allow for some recovery after short bursts such as softball, kickball, or volleyball. Or choose a sport such as golf where you can walk 9-18 holes at a reasonable place with periods of focused skills (drives, chips, putts). These sports can be more easily tailored to your fitness level. It is important to choose a sport you enjoy and have adequate skill and can adjust to your specific needs. If you have never considered yourself athletic, participate in sports where you really are competing more with yourself than with others. With so many sports to consider, you are sure to find one you like--remember, have fun!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
My cardio seems to be improving -- my heart rate is well within my aerobic range and I continue to increase the level of intensity. So I think I am on the right track for now, making small improvements each week and seeing my heart rate become more efficient. Since I moved my running to 3 days a week I am more likely to reach my 8:30 goal prior to the end of the year and because I am running a little longer (20 versus 10 minutes) I am also getting some endurance work. The change in the interval program also extends my time slightly. My guess is I may have to manipulate my intervals from time to time (there are many, many ways to do interval work) and there are plenty of routines out there for me to chose from so I don't think will be a big issue over the next couple of months. My new circuit actually produced some mild soreness so I probably made the right decision to increase the weights on the 2nd and 3rd rounds after the 1st round warm-up. I have been able to maintain the water consumption and did manage to bypass "treats" yesterday so I think my nutritional goals are reasonable--we will see how the rest of the week progresses.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I found my new interval program in Prevention magazine and it is a 3-part metabolism-boosting plan. You start with a 5 minute warm-up at RPE 3 and work up to RPE 6 (based on a 1-10 scale, 1 being easy and 10 as hard). For the next 3 minutes you go to a brisk pace (somewhere between 7-8) then 2 minutes at a moderate pace (between 5-6) and then 2 minutes at a face pace (9). Then you do a 2-minute moderate/2-minute fast interval 3 more times. After the interval section you return to a moderate (5-6) pace for 2 minutes, back to brisk (7-8) for 2 minutes and finally a 2 minute cool-down (level 3) for the final 2 minutes. Since this is a new program, it will take me a few times to get the levels right for me, so it won't be in place for a few more days. This is pretty similar to what I was doing except there is an extended warm-up and cool-down. I really like all the Rodale publications for information and usually take and modify their routines frequently. The magazines are Prevention, Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Since I am in my 50s and each year my strategy to maintain or lose weight changes. My focus is on losing fat while building muscle, which will ultimately be the way to reverse my slowing metabolism. So, this week I am going to make some easy changes to my eating habits (increase water consumption, increase non-meat protein) and supercharge my cardio. I am still keeping my cardio goal for 2009 but will go about it differently -- my first change will be to move my running to 3x per week with a 5 minute warm-up, keep my heart rate in the aerobic zone for 12 minutes (each week increasing my speed) and then slow for a 3 minute cool down (total = 20 minutes). I will shorten my strength workout and move those back to 3x a week using a circuit routine. The first round will be an easy warm-up and the second and third rounds will be heavier weights. Keeping the number of exercises down to about 6 will allow me to get through the three rounds and hopefully recover. This will take some time to get right but I can keep varying the exercises or alternate exercises to keep my muscles guessing and maybe I won't need to lift as heavy. Either way this will be the start of another change cycle for my workout. My next post will cover my intervals and endurance sessions.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Actually, dinner isn't the hardest meal for me. Grilled meat, fish or poultry plus a vegetable and a salad are fairly standard. My issue is before and after dinner. I don't usually snack but when I do it is salty (pretzels or peanuts) with a drink (bourbon, please!). Most of the time, it is just the drink and no snack and I have a glass of ice tea alongside my drink to keep me from drinking it too quickly. After dinner, depending on what I ate earlier I may indulge in ice cream but usually not. Overall, I need to tweak my meals and include some healthier snacks so I don't feel the need to have too many sweets. My alcohol consumption is well within range so I don't want to eliminate all pleasures so I will keep this but work on removing the salty items. If I want to lose an additional 10 lbs, I may have to up my cardio and lean down the menus so I can maintain the muscle and lose the fat. If my weight loss doesn't happen, I will be looking at my body composition more closely to see if my weight is changing more to lean muscle and less fat--which is probably better than just losing the 5 lbs. Next week I will revamp my menus and tweak my workout once again so I can stay on track to reach my 2009 goals.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
I didn't find too much to complain about with breakfast but lunch is a different story. I usually start off well -- usually leftover grilled meat plus a large salad and fresh fruit. On occasion, if I make either tuna or possibly egg salad, I will add 1/2 a pita. Then there are the days I have chips -- I know, really bad stuff -- luckily, I like the reduced fat chips so no trans fat and the calorie count is reasonable if you maintain portion control (which most the time I can). One problem I have is after lunch I may have 2 small cookies or a small cup of ice cream. If I do this once or twice a week, I think you can off-set the splurge by being good the rest of the time. So, my goal is to keep my "treats" to a maximum of twice a week. I can increase treats if I don't include chips with my meal. Another item to look at decreasing is diet cola. I will trade out a couple of diet sodas per week with either ice tea or milk. Next up, dinner time!
Friday, April 3, 2009
There are benefits to tracking what you eat on a daily basis and I would encourage most people to do this to get objective data. Since I eat very similar foods each day, I am going to evaluate meal by meal to make the process more manageable. As I assess the meal, I can develop some small changes that may lead to healthier eating. In the morning I start off with 2 cups of coffee. This is the only coffee I have all day and I feel pretty comfortable about this intake. The bigger issue is what I put in the coffee--half-and-half and sugar. This is probably the largest intake of fat and sugar I have all day. I offset this with a glass of water before each cup. I usually have a piece of all-grain toast, with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a half of a banana, and 8 ounces of milk. This is a pretty good combination of simple carbs (banana/milk), protein (peanut butter/milk), and fiber/complete carbs (all-grain toast). Calorie-wise, it logs in under 300 calories but the coffee probably adds another 200 calories--a total of 500 calories. Not too bad, but it may help to vary my breakfast every so often to include other complex carbs (oatmeal/cream of wheat/bran cereal), protein (eggs/nuts/yogurt), and fruit (citrus, berries, etc.). Keeping it under 500 calories keeps my weight down but still allows me to get through my workout. So, for breakfast the goal would be to trim down on the half-and-half and sugar in my coffee (within reason!) and vary my breakfast but keep the samy fiber/protein elements.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
As I stated in my previous post, without changing much in my eating I lost 5 lbs. I believe it can be attributed to my changing my cardio workouts to include more intensity. That intensity came from adding intervals to my workout. With intervals you work very hard for a short period of time - that means you are uncomfortable - then you slow down for a period of time to recover. By adding intervals I increased my calorie-burning capacity as well as my endurance. There are any number of ways to do intervals but most fall under the following categories--either they have consistent or "measured" intervals or they have inconsistent or "varied" intervals. I tend to like measured intervals but I change those as I improve. For instance, I currently do a interval session on the stairmaster where I do a 5 minute warm-up (levels 5-9), then I do a 2 minute interval at level 10 followed by a 1 minute recovery at level 6 and I do this 3 times. As I improve, I add another interval until I have 5 total rounds, then I go back down to 3 rounds at the next level. Although I like structure, if I start to do my intervals and they are too taxing, I will increase the recovery time so I can continue to push hard. I know for me adding this element to my workouts has contributed to better cardiovascular fitness as well as "leaned" me out. Make sure to listen to your body when adding intervals, keep them short and allow for adequate recovery.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A couple of months ago I did some baseline measurements to use for my 2009 goals. At that time, I wanted to lose 5 lbs and increase my lean muscle versus my fat. Well, without doing anything structured I have lost the 5 lbs and need to rework my goal. I am already within a healthy weight range for my height and age, my body fat is also within a normal range. I am coming up to my annual physical and this will help determine other health numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.). My diet is fairly balanced with very small amounts of processed foods, bad fats with a good amount of fresh vegetables and fruits daily. My meat consumption is a little high and I need to find other appropriate options for my protein intake. My normal meals include grilled meat and salad with very little carbohydrates so I may need to pull in some more high-grade multi-grain products and continue to stay away from the starchy carbs such as pasta and rice. I anticipate increasing both eggs, beans, fish, and nuts to off-set the animal protein I have been eating. My big vice is dairy products--half and half in my morning coffee and an occasional cup of ice cream. I may need to do a more detailed analysis to find some specific items to modify or change. I am still working on the 6-8 glasses of water per day, so this can be an immediate goal for now. A back-up goal would be to maintain my current weight for 2009. Long-term goal would be to lose 5 lbs; short-term goal would be to decrease my animal protein and increase alternative protein options.