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  1. Posted By: Syndicated Content From: FurryFitness.Com Stretch for Fitness Success When you think of developing a strong, muscular physique what type of exercises do you think of doing? To improve and develop strength most individuals focus on lifting weights exercises such as bench press, push ups and flies that focus on powerful pushing and pulling movements. Cardiovascular activity usually takes the passenger seat, when it comes to developing strength - unless you’re involved in a sport that requires a lot of endurance training, or if you want to loose excess body fat on top of improving your strength. Stretching unfortunately isn’t even put in the strength development category, because most of us figure that since it’s a low intensity movement it’s purely for cooling down after our workouts. However stretching isn't merely a great way to cool down trust me it can actually help make you stronger. That’s why I feature a great stretching diagram on my website, FitnessGear101.com. The benefits of stretching have numerous effects on your weightlifting progress. Just remember when you stretch you should feel slight tension in your muscles, but no pain! Stretching is your key to the following fitness pluses: Increased Strength - Stretching actually helps to increase your muscular strength because it expands your range of motion, and range of motion literally applies to weightlifting. For example when you lift in a wider range of motion compared to a smaller range, you’re enlisting the help of more fibers, making your muscles stronger. Reduced Stress - We all know that stretching helps reduce the stress and tension in our exercised muscles, but did you know that a quick 20-mintue session of stretching can also release most of the tension that built up throughout an entire workday? Improved Posture - Flexible muscles are your key to good posture, because stretching promotes balanced muscle tone in all the major joints in the body. This affects your strength training because good posture reduces stress and soreness in the muscles and joints, letting you get back to the gym faster. Improved Speed & Reaction Time - If you’re an athlete you’re aware of how important agility is to top performance. Flexible muscles make you quicker on your feet. This allows for you to run faster in sports like soccer; react quicker by making saves in hockey and by maneuvering around opponents in football. Decreased Muscle Soreness - This means less time off from the gym and your game, and more time to devote to developing those muscles. Ease of Movement - If you’re not an athlete, never fear, stretching does more than improve sports performance. It makes simple daily tasks easier as well, by lessening the general stiffness in joints so you can bend down, reach up and lift things easily. Stretching will also affect the future of your joints by making you less likely to develop joint pain later in life. Reduces Chances of Injury - More flexible muscles translate to less chance of injuring tight muscles during exercise. Take for example your hamstrings, the muscles that run down the back of your upper legs. I like to compare the hamstrings to an elastic band the flexible hamstring has a lot of stretch; whereas the inflexible hamstring is that dried out elastic that breaks when it’s stretch too far. ---------- Article Source: Anna Fleet @ http://www.superfeature.com Anna Fleet is a certified personal trainer. When she is not working out or helping others achieve optimal health, she is the face and voice behind www.fitnessgear101.com – an excellent online resource for information about Fitness Gear Information, Aerobics Equipment, and Workout Routines.
  2. A day doesn’t go by without one of my clients professing that they simply don’t have time for exercise. Well, I’ve seen people who want to loose weight badly enough. They will restrict their diets, exercise rigorously for an hour a day and even swear off alcohol “gasp“ and chocolate double gasp! So, don’t give me that bull! People shy away from exercise because they think they’ll have to spend hours in a gym. To maintain good health all you need is a healthy diet and a daily walk that can be broken up into increments throughout the day. Still don’t believe me? I’ll show you how easy it is to fit brief walks into your day: Is Sex and the City a rerun again? It breaks my heart when that happens. Why not go for a 30-minute walk. If it’s a new episode that you simply can’t miss, jump rope during commercials or run on the spot. Does carting the kids to hockey or baseball cut into your exercise time? Take some inspiration from Jr. and stay on your feet during the game. You’ll get kudos for being the team’s best cheer leader, and your butt won’t expand to the size of the soccer field. Are you dying to get your hands on the next best-seller? Buy it as a book-on-tape and take it walking with you. It might have you extending your stroll to finish a chapter. Instead of a sumptuous brunch with the girls, try a brisk 30-minute walk with your BFF. Catching up on all the latest gossip can be just as delicious during a walk plus it won’t tempt you to cheat on your healthy eating plan. Remember when people used to run errands? Well many of us still take that term literally. The next time you need a quart of milk, walk to the local grocer. Use your lunch break as an exercise break. I go work out and then eat lunch at my desk. A brisk walk around the block will leave you more refueled for the afternoon than that third cup of coffee. Do you complain about how slow your apartment elevator is? Take the faster route the stairs. You’ll burn calories in the process. It’s always ironic that those who circle the parking lot looking for the closest spot are often the most overweight. Park farther away where there are plenty of spots. You’ll burn extra calories lugging your groceries back to the car. Have you ever heard the phrase hurry up and wait!? Well it’s not just a humorous observation it’s a great way to stay moving. The next time you’re waiting in a long lineup don’t take a chair, pace the floor or do a little stretching. If you have no time to exercise, chances are you don’t have time to clean the house either. Housework such as dusting, vacuuming, shoveling and raking is multitasking because it counts as exercise. ---------- Article Source: Anna Fleet @ http://www.superfeature.com Anna Fleet is a certified fitness instructor, and the face and voice behind www.fitnessgear101.com an awesome website with extensive information about workout routines, fitness tools, stupid fitness ideas and more.
  3. Posted By: Syndicated Content From: FurryFitness.Com Jogging - Health Benefits and How to Do it Performing regular jogging gives better physical condition and other health benefits. Jogging also gives physical and mental pleasure. THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF JOGGING Jogging on a regular basis give a distinct good effect upon the general health, provided it is not over-done. The effects are: Jogging makes the heart stronger. It increases the capacity of the blood circulation and of the respiratory system. It speeds up the digestive system and helps you get rid of digestive trouble. It counteracts depression. It increases the capacity to work and lead an active life. Jogging makes you burn fat and thereby helps against over-weight. If you suffer from poor appetite, jogging will improve your appetite. Jogging will strengthens the muscles of your legs, hips and back. However you will not get very big muscles from jogging. Jogging makes you sleep better. THE PLEASURE OF JOGGING Jogging gives you physical and mental joy, provided you do not exhaust yourself. When jogging is done correctly, you will actually feel less tired when you have finished a tour than before you began. You get nice feelings in your muscles during the jogging and afterwards. You will feel the wind blowing around your body. You will hear the birds singing, the music of running water in the streams, or the sound of waves dashing towards the seashore. During the jogging you will also get a euphoric mental feeling after some time. CLOTHES AND SHOES The type of clothes you were must be suited to the weather conditions. In warm weather, shorts and a t-shirt is enough. However, it may be useful to carry along an extra piece of clothe in a light back-pack if you run out on a long route, in case the weather aggravates. In colder weather you must add more layers of clothes. In either case, the requirements for the clothes are: You should use light and soft clothes without any sharp sutures, hard edges or massive folds. They should sit fairly close to your body, but not so close that you feel squeezed, trapped, or so that your movements are hindered. The clothes should give good ventilation for moisture and sweat and perspiration through the fabric. The fabric should ideally hold water totally out from the outside, but this requirement is difficult to achieve together with the requirement of good ventilation. You should use fairly soft shoes, but with a good shape fitting the anatomical shape of your feet. The soles should easily bend during the normal movements of your feet, but support well against the ground. The underside of the sole should give friction against any type of grounds, so that you do not slide during jogging. The soles should buffer well against each impact from the ground. JOGGING ROUTES AND SESSIONS Jogging may be performed in a lot of ways: Long distance jogging 6-20 km in a moderate speed on even roads or paths. Short distance jogging 3-6 km in a high speed. Jogging upwards in a steep terrain 3-4 km, in a speed adjusted to the steepness Jogging in a hilly terrain with paths going both up an down 4-8 km It is advisable to vary the type of jogging from day to day. Then the jogging gets funnier and you get a variable type of training. HOW TO PERFORM A JOGGING SESSION You should move slowly with little efforts the first few hundred meters to warm up your muscles. Then you gradually increase your muscular work and speed. When you have done half the route, you can take a speedy spurt using most of your capacity. If the route is long enough, you can take two or three spurts using nearly full capacity.The last hundred meters you gradually slow down again. STRETCHING YOUR BODY BEFORE AND AFTER EACH SESSION It is advisable to stretch out both before and after each jogging session, and not only the muscles in your feet, but your whole body 2 minutes before and 3-4 minutes after the session. When stretching out do the following movements: Bend forward and touch your toes. Kneel down on one of your feet, and stretch the other out backwards. Bend your body to both sides. Stretch out an arm, grab something, and turn your body round so that your arm is bent backwards. Shoot your abdomen foreword, so that your spinal column is stretched into a bow. Place your hands behind your neck and stretch your arms backwards. Then twist your body to left and right, also bend to each side. After the jogging it is sometimes best to wait for some minutes before you stretch out, so that the worst tiredness has gone away first. WHEN AND HOW OFTEN If jogging is the only sport activity done, a jogging session every second day is ideal. This is enough to give all the health benefits and increase your condition and endurance gradually, but without wearing yourself out. If you combine jogging by other types of sport activities, 2 times a week may be enough. You should not be too hungry before jogging, but it is not advisable to take a jogging session straight after a big meal. The time of the day does not matter, but your jogging should not be the first thing you do in the morning. HOW TO BEGIN If you are not accustomed to physical activity before you start jogging, it is advisable to consult a doctor before you start. You may have health issues that is not compatible with jogging activities, or that you must consider when doing your jogging. The first times, you should only jog on plain ground and only for 10 minutes. Then you can increase the time, distance and speed, and choose steeper and more difficult paths. ---------- Article Source: Knut Holt @ http://www.ArticleWorld.net Knut Holt is an internet consultant and marketer focusing on health items. TO FIND anti-aging supplements, medicines against acne, eczema, rosacea scars, wrinkles, other skin problems and natural medicines against heart disease, hypothyroidism, hemorrhoids, depression and other common health problems, PLEASE VISIT: http://www.abicana.com
  4. This article will walk you through the most important things to consider when picking a gym. Some are fairly obvious, but others may only become apparent after you have signed a 6/12 month contract (when, of course, it is far too late to change your mind). So listen up and learn how to pick the best gym for your own unique set of circumstances: Location, Location, Location! As in the housing market, location is a very important factor indeed! Enthusiasm and motivation can drive you to distant gyms for many weeks, but when they start to wane it may be extremely difficult to force yourself to make the trip, especially if you don't have a car. For this reason it is vital to choose a gym that is close to where you work and/or live. From personal experience I have always joined gyms which are on my way home - that way i'm forced to walk past them. Never underestimate the power of the guilty conscience when it comes to motivating yourself - if your gym is miles away it is much easier to justify being a slacker than if you don't have that excuse. As a added bonus, you'll also cut out unnecessary journeys and have more time to yourself. Remember that working out should improve your life, not totally take it over! Atmosphere Nobody wants to feel like they are the odd one out, and gyms are no exception. If you are new to the world of fitness you may find the 'cookie-cutter' garishness and impersonal stance of corporate-chains very appealing. Likewise, seasoned veterans who are used to lifting obscene weights whilst grunting and groaning like a pregnant horse giving birth may find screen after screen of TVs blaring out MTV most distracting. It all depends on what kind of person you are, and in what atmosphere you feel most comfortable. There are no easy answers in this regard - just remember to fully tour prospective gyms and pick what feels right. If you stick out like a sore thumb and feel awkward your motivation will take a nosedive and you'll not stick at your exercise regime long at all! Weightlifting Equipment Another crucial issue to consider is the equipment available to you during the time that you will be exercising. Regardless of your individual aims and objectives you *MUST* have a decent selection of both free weights and machines. As you will have determined from our exercises section machines have their place, but are absolutely no substitute for the traditional barbell/dumbbell approach. If your prospective gym has nothing but machines, simply walk out - it does not deserve your money! That said, be on the look out for the following equipment: Dumbells in a wide variety of sizes, varying by 2.5kg/5lb increments. There should be fixed-weight dumbbells up to 150lbs. You may not think you'll be needing weights that heavy soon, but you'll be surprised by how quickly you progress onto weights that large! Several barbell bars and the clips (or retaining mechanisms) present for each one. A barbell without them isn't just useless - its downright dangerous! At least two adjustable benches suitable for bench presses, with weight plates readily accessible nearby in copious quantities. At least one cable cross machine. At least one squat rack (preferably more, or at least a decent smith machine!). A peck deck machine. Some sort of mat to do sit-ups & crunches on (yes, its basic, but it can really hurt on the solid ground!). A set of dip bars. A leg press machine of some variety. A leg extension machine. A leg curl machine. A pull up bar. Plenty of adjustable benches suitable for dumbell presses, situps, crunches, etc. This is a pretty basic list of essential equipment. Remember that the old axim still holds true - more *IS* better! During busy hours, gyms that are small and poorly equipped can quickly run out of available weights/machines, and this can turn a 1hr workout into a 3hr workout before you realise it. As much as you may love working out, i'm sure that you want a life too!!! Cardiovascular Equipment In much the same manner as weightlifting equipment, the abundance of the various types of cardiovascular (CV) machines is important. Thankfully this is usually an area in which most gym's are relatively well stocked, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for cross-trainers, treadmills and exercise bikes, as these promote the best kinds of cardio. Stair machines and ellipticals are very good too, of course, so remember to consider them if you are aiming to give your prospective gym bonus points. Quality of Staff This is a highly emotive issue. If you are one of the types that goes to the gym, speaks to no-one, and walks out again, then you may not give a damn about the quality of staffing. If, however, you need more positive encouragement and/or extra services like personal training, then this may be much more important. At the end of the day I will give everybody the same advice - remember that you are paying them a portion of your hard earned cash. If they can't treat you courteously and with professionalism, then take your money elsewhere! Cleanliness & Maintenance As a final point, remember to keep your eyes peeled for signs of bad maintenance and cleanliness. If all the weights are coated in mildew, the machines are falling apart, and the showers are coated in slime, then you'll be putting yourself on a bad footing right away. Gyms are busy communal areas and, therefore, ideal vectors for disease & accidents relating to poor maintenance. You want to go to a gym to force your body to grow more muscle, not challenge it to fight as many bacteria and infections as possible! Extra Content From: User Ferretsage Things to also consider in a gym: Whether you want to put up with children or not. For me, children and teens allowed in the weight room are a no-go. A jet-powered hot tub is a must after a workout. Sex-segregated saunas/hot tubs (because you DON'T want funny business) AVOID CARPET ON THE LOCKER ROOM FLOOR LIKE THE PLAGUE. Carpet doesn't belong on a locker room floor unless you like buying Athlete's Foot creme for the entirety of your multi-year contract (unless the staff shampoo it NIGHTLY with fungicidal cleanser, which they don't). To that end of further avoiding Athlete's Foot, check that the locker room floors are clean enough to believe they are mopped every day. Ask if the gym has a hired janitor and how often he cleans. A few hundred feet touch the locker room floor each day. Insist that perpetual Athlete's Foot isn't a small deal. Non-skid surfaces in the shower rooms/sauna/hot tub/locker room areas, at least. Drinking fountains in good working order that don't weakly burble out the spigot so everyone shares germs. Select a gym away from seedy residential areas. Don't let the neighborhood turn you off entirely if it's close. I once found a classy professional gym a mile from residential between commercial and industrial districts. Look for a gym workers attend. A gym with mostly blue-collar patrons who are there to keep fit for the physical demands of their job is far preferable to a gym who's patrons are more interested in comparing themselves to others than working out. See if you can land a gym membership that allows a workout regimen on Tues., Thurs., and Sat. Avoid crowded gyms on Mon/Wed./Fri. when everyone goes to the gym. Make sure the gym has the hours best for you. If the gym has sex-segregated saunas and hot tubs, check the nudity policy anyway. Some demand patrons wear swim shorts in the hot tubs and saunas, regardless. My old gym had three locations. The location closest to my house was the only one that allowed nudity in the hot tubs and saunas. Incline and decline bench presses. If your gym doesn't own at least one type of them, walk away. You know you have a cheap-ass gym if they only offer the standard horizontal bench press. Equipment arranged by the recommended order of use (large muscle groups to small). Bad sign if the gym owners don't know this nor care. Look closely to see what sort of items the gym charges you in addition to your membership fee. If they charge you extra for towels, but don't allow you to bring your own, or the majority of the classes offered carry additional prices, walk away. If youthful and enrolled in college, check out student gym membership fees. Such fees may be minuscule compared to regular gym memberships. I got a student gym membership once for 9 months for $115. All days. All locations. All standard classes. Good gym too. Be aware that drastically reduced student membership fees are a calculated business survival strategy not based in charity, and are intended to bring in younger patrons in order to attract higher-paying older patrons. No, I don't approve of the discriminatory nature, but that's life. Avoid ridiculously overpopulated gyms. If there's always a queue to use the staircase *no joke, true story* and consistently takes you a few minutes to get though a crowded lobby, go somewhere else. Another thing to consider: a place that consistently doesn't have enough equipment for everyone to fairly share over a long period of time, will, without fail, have a well-established pecking order. Caveat Emptor: those bargain basement gym memberships at the YMCA carry unspoken additional prices.
  5. Zak

    Heart Matters

    Posted By: Syndicated Content From: FurryFitness.Com Heart Matters Your heart is between one to two times the size of your clenched fist. Contrary to popular belief, it is not located to one side of the body - it is located almost in the exact center of your chest. Due to the shape of the heart and chest cavity, the heart pounds against the chest wall on your left side, so the heart rate is stronger when felt there. Your heart is responsible for pumping about six quarts of blood throughout your body, with about the same amount of force that the average person applies when squeezing a tennis ball. The heart is not under voluntary control. A system known as the autonomic nervous system, which includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, is responsible for regulating your heart rate. There are many ways to measure how healthy a heart is. A healthy heart should beat with a fairly regular rhythm that will change based on levels of exertion and oxygen requirements. A healthy heart has a high stroke volume, which refers to the amount of blood that is pumped out with each beat. A healthy heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood, so the resting heart rate of a healthy heart will be lower than average. Blood pressure is another indicator of heart health and should be in the healthy range of around 120 over 80, as determined by the national average. Various types of training have different effects on the heart. Training that elevates the heart rate for even brief durations can increase the size of the heart. This will increase the stroke volume, and result in a lower resting heart rate. Training can also increase the rate at which the heart recovers from a bout of intense work. In other words, a trained individual will return to their resting heart rate faster than a sedentary individual. Exercise has been shown to lower blood pressure. In addition, regular cardiovascular exercise can increase the concentration of hemoglobin in blood, allowing the body to become more efficient at transporting oxygen to the cells that need it (as well as removing waste products such as carbon dioxide). The average resting heart rate for an adult is around 72 beats per minute or 75 for women and 70 for men. The lowest recorded heart rate is 28 beats per minute, attributed to a Spanish cyclist named Miguel Indurain. Many athletes have resting heart rates between the mid 30’s and mid 40’s. Bradycardia refers to a resting heart rate less than 60 beats per minute. It is simply a name for the condition of a slow heart and does not imply an unhealthy heart or disease. Tachycardia refers to a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute and is considered a very dangerous condition to have. The notion of maximum heart rate was designed to help people safely and effectively exercise. The maximum heart rate is theoretically the most times that your heart can safely beat in the span of one minute. The traditional formula for computing maximum heart rate is 220 - age. I am 29, so my maximum heart rate would be computed at 191 beats per minute. As you can see, maximum heart rate will decrease with age. It has been speculated that the generic equation for determining maximum heart rate is not very accurate. Individuals of the same age will have different sized hearts, stroke volume, blood pressure, resting heart rates, and other factors that would contribute to the maximum possible beats per minute. A few attempts have been made to ‘fine tune’ the formula, but even those efforts may fall short. One formula is known as the ‘adjusted heart rate’. It involves removing the resting heart rate from the maximum before applying a target formula. For example, if my target heart rate were 193% of my maximum would be 154 beats per minute. In other words, my target heart rate at 80% is 154 beats. Using the adjusted method, I would first subtract my resting heart rate, apply the percentage, then add it back in. So, in this example: 193 (maximum heart rate) - 39 (resting heart rate) = 154. 154 x 80% = 123. 123 + 39 (adding resting heart rate back) = 162. Therefore, instead of the traditional 154 beats per minute, my “adjusted target” at 80% would be 162 beats per minute. Another ‘tweak’ to the traditional formula is known as the Tanaka method. Based on a study of literally thousands of individuals, a new formula was devised which is believed to be more accurate. The formula is 208 - 0.7 x age. Using this formula, my maximum heart rate when I was 27 would have been 208 - 0.7 x 27 = 189, or about 3 beats per minute less than the traditional formula. So why even worry about your heart rate? Heart rate is a great indicator of training. In order to better understand heart rate, you must understand the various ‘systems’ of energy that your body uses when you train. There are three systems that are always in effect, but one system will dominate based on the type of training. These systems are ATP-CP and glycolytic (both are anaerobic, or systems that do not rely on oxygen as the primary energy source) and aerobic. The ATP-CP system is the system that bodybuilders are most familiar with. It is the system where your body is forced to perform work without the aid of oxygen. When you perform a repetition during a weight training exercise, your muscles contract and must generate force quickly to resist the weight. This action happens quickly, and your body is not able to use oxygen to fuel the contraction. Instead, your body will rely on stores of energy within the muscle cells, namely a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and creatine phosphate. ATP depletes rapidly and is replenished by CP. Sports that rely on this system include power lifting, shot put, and short distance sprints. Bouts of work lasting more than a few seconds will draw energy mainly from the glycolytic system. Once ATP and CP are depleted, the glycolytic system kicks in. This system takes carbohydrate stored in the muscle cell (glycogen) and breaks down the glycogen to replenish ATP. Sports that utilize the glycolytic system include mid-distance sprinting, basketball, volleyball, boxing, and football. These are all sports that involve prolonged periods of moderate activity mixed with short bouts of near maximal effort. Marathon runners and other distance runners use the aerobic system. The aerobic system utilizes oxygen for energy. The blood transports oxygen, so this system has the largest influence on the heart. Any type of activity that is prolonged (more than a few minutes) and does not involve repeated bouts of near maximal effort would use the aerobic system as the primary source of energy. Keep in mind that all systems are being used, but the aerobic system becomes the predominant system. The rate at which your heart is pumping can help indicate which energy system is dominant at any given period of time. This is where the maximum heart rate and target heart rates become useful. Traditionally, training ‘zones’ have been determined based on a percentage of the target heart rate. The common breakdown of these training zones is: 50% - 60% = low intensity 60% - 70% = fat-burning zone 70% - 80% = aerobic zone 80% - 90% = anaerobic zone 90% - 100% = maximal zone The low-intensity zone is ideal for burning calories without stressing your body. If you are recovering from a workout or an injury, on a reduced-calorie diet, or looking to burn additional calories with minimal impact on muscle gains, this a great zone to work out in. Brisk walking on an incline is an ideal way to reach this zone, and the main drawback is time. It takes the longest amount of time to burn a given number of calories when training in this zone. The fat-burning zone is what I consider the land of myth. This is the most misunderstood zone in training. When you are at 60 to 70 percent of your target heart rate, the majority of your calories burned will come from fat, during that training session. Over 65% of your burned calories can come from fat. Due to this trivial fact, many people believe that this is the necessary zone to burn fat. This is not necessarily true. Any time you create a caloric deficit, or expend more calories than you consume, you will lose weight in the form of fat and/or muscle mass. While other systems may burn less percentage of fat, they can burn more calories and, therefore, result in a greater fat loss! As an example, let’s talk about the aerobic zone. In this zone, intensity increases, so less of your calories are burned from fat. However, due to the increased intensity, you burn more calories per minute. Does this mean that you should avoid the aerobic zone if fat loss is your goal? Let’s break this down. It is estimated that 45% of calories in the aerobic zone are burned from fat. Let’s say you run 6mph to reach the fat-burning zone and you run 9mph to reach the aerobic zone. In one hour, you will run either 6 miles or 9 miles. According to research, a 175-pound person burns on average about 34 calories per mile. So, in one hour, you might burn: 6 x 34 = 204 calories, or 9 x 34 = 306 calories In the fat-burning zone, you burned 65% of your calories from fat. This is 204 x .65 = 133 calories from fat. In the aerobic zone, you burned 45% of your calories from fat. This is 306 x .45 = 138 calories. As you can see, getting comfortable and going into the fat burning zone actually burned fewer calories. You might say, what’s the big deal? It was only 5 calories difference. But when you take into account total calories, you burned over 100 more calories in the aerobic zone. Since total calories expended have the largest impact on the amount of fat you will lose, obviously the aerobic method will result in more fat loss (provided you also resistance train so that you are not losing muscle) than the fat-burning method. The fat-burning zone and below used the aerobic system. In the aerobic zone, you are still using the aerobic system of energetics, but may see a shift towards the glycolytic system. Once you reach 80%, you are venturing into the glycolytic and ATP-CP zones (over 90% is going to be predominantly ATP-CP). So heart rate relative to your maximum heart rate can help understand where your fuel is coming from and even how many calories you will burn. What is interesting to note is that the longer you sustain an elevated heart rate (i.e. aerobic zone or higher), the longer it takes for your body to recover by slowing down. This means you continue to have a faster metabolism and to burn more calories even after your training is done! I mentioned these traditional zones because I don’t like to follow tradition when it comes to monitoring heart rate. For one, I feel that perceived effort is just as valid an indicator. Why limit yourself based on a zone you must workout in, when you can simply push yourself to achieve your results! Another problem with the traditional method is that it does not take into account errors with the heart rate calculations - should I train in the same zone as someone whose resting heart rate is 75 beats per minute (my own resting heart rate is around 39 beats per minute)? I don’t think so - I think that the lower resting heart rate is an indicator of advanced fitness and means that I can train more intensely. What if your heart is maxing out at 170 beats per minute instead of 193? Should you still push the limit because the equation tells you to? I don’t think so. Heart rate can still be a useful tool for training, but you must learn to use your body as the tool, not the equation. For example, if you want to understand what your anaerobic zone is, instead of plugging away at a formula, why not perform anaerobic work? I can guarantee that you will be using your ATP-CP system (a completely anaerobic system) when you perform a one-rep max. So instead of taking 90% of 220 minus your age, just strap on a heart rate monitor the next time you perform a maximum lift. Then, instead of relying on statistics, your body will tell you what your “anaerobic” zone is. This may not be traditional, but do you think your heart will lie? Once you have this useful information, you can apply it to your training. If you are performing high-intensity interval training, and would rather have your heart dictate the intervals than your perception, let your body be the guide. Start by walking on an incline for several minutes. This is your low-intensity zone. Now go outside and perform an all-out sprint. This will be your high-intensity zone. Now you simply build intervals between those two heart rates for your training. Again, no equation that has no clue what the size of your heart is or what your blood chemistry is like - let your body be the tool. As a final note, heart rate can apply to resistance training as well. If you are looking to reduce body fat, calories are king. Should you rest 15 seconds? 1 minute? How about staying in the aerobic zone? Pick a target rate for your training. Your 75% effort (somewhere between your sprinting and incline walking) could be the bottom line. Simply rest until your heart rate drops to that level, and then perform the next set. This will ensure your heart rate is always elevated to a minimal level while allowing sufficient recovery to move on. When you are training for strength or heavy lifts, how long should you rest? 3 minutes? 10 minutes? Again, why not let your body decide. Rest until you fall to the fat-burning zone or even less, then start the next set. For you, this may only take 2 minutes while another person will recover after 10 minutes of rest. The key is that your body is telling you when sufficient recovery has taken place to perform the next set - not some rigid standard like “4 minutes that doesn’t take into account your specific, individual recovery ability. When you are training, don’t forget the most important muscle: your heart. Not only is it an indicator of health, it is a tool that can help to improve your health. Instead of relying on cookie-cutter formulas, you can use your heart as an interactive gauge to tailor your workouts to your own unique body. Learn that the heart matters and use the powerful information it provides to build your peak physique. ---------- Article Source: Jeremy Likness @ http://www.ArticleWorld.net Jeremy Likness is an International Health Coach and motivational speaker. After losing 65 pounds of fat, he discovered his true vision to coach thousands around the world to better health. A Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Jeremy is the author of the internationally-selling e-Book, Lose Fat, Not Faith and the companion 5-CD set. Jeremy has been published in major online publications including Tom Venuto's Fitness Renaissance and Bodybuilding.com. Jeremy's approach is unique because he focuses on fitness from the inside out. Visit Jeremy online at Natural Physiques.
  6. Overcoming Boredom The biggest obstacle to a home exercise routine is sticking with it. You don't have to drive to a gym, so your home fitness equipment is more convenient. The problem is that other distractions are just as convenient at home. The key is to make your routine fun. You want to look forward to your daily workout. You have to be realistic. Playing with the heart rate monitor or watching the calorie counter go up will only be fun the first couple of times you exercise. Treadmill vs. Boredom On a treadmill, you walk. Walking isn't that fun. You can walk at different speeds, but that isn't really much more fun. If you get a treadmill that offers an incline, that keeps it a bit more interesting. Walking uphill isn't exactly fun, but it's different. It presents a challenge. You can't really read on a treadmill because you are bouncing up and down. You can't keep your eyes on the same sentence, and you usually end up with a headache. Basically, the only thing fun to do on a treadmill is watch television or movies. If you are really into TV or movies and are able to put your treadmill in front of a television, you can probably keep your treadmill workout from becoming too boring. Problems consist of commercials, the noise coming from the machine, and again, the bouncing. Exercise Bikes vs. Boredom Exercise bikes are unique in that many of them come programmed with various biking routines. You simulate different courses that require you to sprint, pedal uphill, and perform at different levels within one workout without having to keep pressing buttons and changing everything. You can even select random programs so you don't know what's coming, which really keeps you on your toes. Some exercise bikes can even be plugged into televisions and video games to let you interactively pedal through visual courses. On upright exercise bikes, you run into some of the same problems as treadmills as far as reading is concerned. Recumbent bikes, however, allow your hands to be free to hold a book or magazine, video game controller, or phone. Multi-tasking during an exercise bike workout keeps it from becoming boring and allows your workout to more easily fit into a busy schedule. Defeating boredom to successfully keep up a long-term exercise routine is much easier with an exercise bike than a treadmill. The Calorie Factor In a study conducted by Nordic Track, young, healthy people used various exercise machines and did cardio workouts. Although they felt they used the same intensity on all machines, they burned the most calories on treadmills and ski machines. On average, most people burn about 750 calories per hour on a treadmill. The same people are likely to burn about 550 calories per hour on an exercise bike. So it's a no-brainer, right? You should get a treadmill because they burn more calories. Well, not exactly. You can't get so caught up in which machine burns the most calories. You have to take a lot of other factors into consideration. How likely are you to sustain a treadmill routine as opposed to an exercise bike routine? Because exercise bikes are usually more fun than treadmills, you are much more likely to stick with it long-term. This means that even though you can burn more calories on a treadmill, you are also more likely to stop using it altogether. You might also find it difficult to use it long enough per workout session to get the full benefits. Most people find it easier to workout for 20 minutes on an exercise bike than 20 minutes on a treadmill. You have to think about that. If you are likely to only do 10 minutes on a treadmill but can easily do 20 minutes on an exercise bike, you will burn more calories per session on an exercise bike. So just going strictly by the numbers, treadmills burn more calories. If you easily get bored or have tried and failed to stick with exercise routines in the past, you might want to consider burning less calories per hour in favor of a sustainable long-term exercise bike regimen. Your Safety The biggest difference between exercise bikes and treadmills is overall safety to your body. The first case of safety is the most basic. You can fall off of a treadmill. It's very difficult, however, to fall off of an exercise bike. In fact, you would probably have to try to fall when riding an exercise bike. While you might be thinking you'd have to be pretty clumsy to fall while walking, it happens more than you'd think. People get involved with watching television or the beat of music. One wrong step and you can seriously injure yourself. It's also possible to spill water or sweat on the treadmill track, causing a safety hazard you might not notice until after you've slipped. Another safety hazard is injury from the activity itself. A treadmill puts quite a bit of stress on your joints, especially your knees and ankles. Even if you invest in a treadmill with some degree of shock absorption, when you eventually get to a jogging or running point, you can put severe orthopedic stress on your body, even up to three times your body weight. People with existing conditions such as arthritis will find a treadmill painful at times due to this stress. Otherwise healthy individuals can sustain injury and possible long-term damage over time. Exercise bikes put much less stress on your joints. A properly positioned exercise bike supports your weight and still allows you to receive the benefits of a higher impact cardio workout. Upright bikes can sometimes stress your back in the way you have to bend to reach the handlebars. Recumbent exercise bikes, however, can actually improve existing back pain by forcing proper posture and giving support as you exercise. On any exercise bike properly used, your knees and ankles are not stressed as they are on a treadmill. The less you stress joints, the less likely you are to sustain an injury during your workout. You are also less likely to be sore afterwards. Most importantly, a non-workout injury doesn't always have to halt your exercise routine on an exercise bike. If you hurt your back or neck, you will find the support of a recumbent exercise bike will keep you from having to stop your exercise regimen altogether. Let's face it - if you have to stop, you are less likely to start again. An Exercise Bike is Better for Your Health than a Treadmill As you can see, both pieces of home fitness equipment have advantages. While the treadmill continues to be the most popular piece of home gym equipment, most people are more likely to faithfully use an exercise bike. This means you're more likely to have to dust a treadmill until it gets the garage sale sticker. ---------- Article Source: Michael Walker @ http://www.ArticleWorld.net Michael Walker is a freelance author providing useful information about exercise bikes, recumbent bike and home fitness equipment. His numerous articles offer comprehensive tips and solutions for the fitness enthusiast.
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