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Seeking the Perfect Workout: “Just Whack It”

Everyone of us is looking for the “perfect workout”.  It’s the workout that gets us in awesome shape while burning pounds of fat and makes our muscles get huge and it’s really fun and, oh yah, it doesn’t take too long because we’ve got a busy schedule.

How difficult can that be?

THAT’s the problem.  Our busy lives of instant downloads and Drive-thru meals has gotten many of us into the mindset that the perfect workout actually exists.  Too many individuals let their fitness and health suffer because of this “paralysis by analysis” process as they delay exercising searching for something that doesn’t exist.

Demolition Man

A few years my wife and I decided to have our master bathroom completely remodeled.  In an effort to save $2,000, I opted to do the demolition work by ripping out everything in the room.  My mission was simple: Remove everything in the room and leave only bare concrete on the floor and the support beams in the walls.

Besides the grunt work with a sledgehammer and jack hammer to remove tile and the shower, my biggest obstacle was the oversized jacuzzi bathtub.  I spent 3 days devised a detailed plan to remove the bathroom doors, support the big tub on 3 rolling dollies and strategically transport the 300 lbs tub through my master bedroom/living room/front door to the driveway.  It was a huge challenge but I had the perfect plan to conquer this engineering feat.

The day before I was planning on implementing my master plan, I was talking to a contractor friend of mine.  I told him about my plan and he laughed at me.  He simply said: “You’re over-thinking it, dude.  Just whack it with a sledgehammer!”

The Lesson

I went home that night, picked up my trusty sledgehammer and “just whacked it”.  The tub broke into about 10 pieces and I simply carried the pieces to the dumpster!

I had over thought the process so much that I failed to look for a simple solution.  It made me think: How many of us do the exact same thing by over-thinking our fitness plan and in the process, get nothing done?

The Plan

I often reflect back on my bath tub issue when I talk to people looking for that perfect workout or perfect diet or perfect body.  The best advice I give them is to stop stressing the process and to get started by doing SOMETHING.  Gaining momentum by creating a puddle of sweat under them and “breaking the seal” by getting their body moving is often the most difficult yet the most beneficial step to improve one’s health.

The truth is there is no perfect workout nor is there a perfect diet.  Your body is alway changing and you have a significant influence on that change with what you put into your body and what you force your body to do.

When you understand that and you get started by improving your level of exercise and eating better, your body will improve it’s health.  Health is a process not a destination.

Take Home Points

Unicorns Don’t Exist – Stop looking for the “perfect” workout or diet because they don’t exist.  The search only paralyzes your progress.

Trust in Reliable Resources – Find people who are doing what you want to do and ask them to educate you.  Avoid know-it-alls who want to give you advice that they themselves don’t utilize.  Learn from those who are presently where you want to be.

Just Whack It – Keep fitness simple by focussing on moving.  It doesn’t really matter the form of locomotion, be it walking, biking, dancing, swimming,…etc..  Start by just do something by moving for as long as you can every day.  It may sound too basic but we all know it’s a plan that works.

Tighten Up Your Diet – Less fat, more protein and less simple carbs (sweets) will always enhance your health.  It’s that simple.

Hydrate the Right Way – Drinking much less soda and juices while drinking more water is the goal.  Your body is made up of about 60% water and 0% soda.  Replace the sweat you’re losing with what your body needs not what your mind wants.

Consistently is Key – The more often you exercise and eat right the better the results.  Fad diets and sporadic workouts only discourage you.  Being consistent will result in a lifestyle change which will give you the body and mind you dream about.

Fat fitness 101

Burning Body Fat the Smart Way

I received an email from a follower with a simple and important question:  “How to I determine how hard to exercise when I want to burn more body fat?”

I loved the question and I want to share my answer.

If your main objective is to reduce body fat, your target heart rate (THR) zone should be between 70 – 75% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).  There are approximately 7 different methods to calculate one’s MHR.  To keep it simple and avoid the all-too-often “paralysis by analysis” found within the world of Wellness, I’ll make it easy:

Max HR = 220 minus your AGE

Your Fat Burning Target Heart Rate Zone  =  70 to 75% of MHR or MHR x .7 to MHR x .75

Examples:

  • 30 year old – MHR = 220 – 30 = 190 beats per minute (bpm)

Fat Burning Target Heart Rate Zone is 70 to 75% of MHR = MHR (190) x .7 to MHR x .75

190 x .7 = 133 bpm      190 x .75 = 142 bpm

The Fat Burning THR for a 30 year old is 133 to 142

  •  55-year-old – MHR = 220 – 55 = 165 bpm

Fat Burning Target Heart Rate Zone is 70 to 75% of MHR = MHR (165) x .7 to MHR x .75

165 x .7 = 115 bpm      165 x .75 = 124 bpm

The Fat Burning THR for a 55-year-old is 115 to 124

Biggest Obstacle

Boredom.  When working in this fat burning target heart rate zone, you’ll find it to be moderately intense but not overly fatigued.  Dust off the iPod because if you want to burn off the fat, avoid injuries and get ready for the beach, you’ll have to win the battle against a little boredom of the longer workouts.

Interestingly, that 70-75% of the MHR intensity for most runners is at a point where the runner can still carry on short conversations without being too winded.  In other words, at approximately 70% intensity, an average runner can say 5-10 words without catching their breath but not be so exhausted while running as to not be able to talk at all.  I’ve found this trick helpful when I don’t have my heart rate monitor on but I’m still interested in burning off that bowl of ice cream that I ate the night before.

Benefits of Working Out Within the Body Fat Burning Target HR Zone

  • You WILL burn the fat & drop the weight
  • You minimize the risk of injury compared to the traditional high intensity “huffing & puffing” workouts.
  • Your soft tissue (muscle & tendons) adapts to such workouts and tend to be more accepting to more work at any age.

Tips For Burning the Love Handles

  • Buy a heart rate monitor.  It will prove to be your MVP training partner.  It doesn’t have to be an expensive heart rate monitor with all the complicated components.  A simple heart rate monitor watch with beepers to warn you if your HR has gone too high or too low along with a timer to show your progress will do.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy doing and get busy doing it within your THR zone.  It doesn’t have to be running or lifting weights.  Whatever activity you can do to get your HR into the proper zone for an extended period of time will reduce your body fat.
  • Hydrate, hydrate & hydrate.  A well hydrated body burns 50% more fat than a dehydrated body.  A 50%/50% water to sports drink ratio is my rule for anyone exercising over 30 minutes.
  • Cardio exercise takes time.  The longer you exercise, within reason, the better.  45 minutes is better than 30 and 60 minutes is better than 45.  You get the drift.
  • Get excited about your fitness and reward yourself for both your effort and your results.  Having an upbeat and optimistic attitude will significantly enhance your results compared to the “I have to do this exercise and I’m not looking forward to it” mindset.  You have so many wonderful things to do in your life and reducing your body fat and controlling your pain WILL improve the quality of your life!
  • What you eat vs what you burn: It’s Simple Math. Decrease your fat consumption, avoid eating after 8 PM, create a habit of going for a walk after every meal, avoid all cream sauces on your foods, increase the amounts of fruits and veggies that you eat and master the art of “listening” to your body.  Your body is much smarter than we give it credit for.  Listening to your body will help you do what is needed to let your body do it’s job.  It sounds crazy but those that “get it” reap the rewards of a strong and healthy body.

It’s time for YOU to make the changes that gives YOU the body you deserve.