I just received a facebook message question about their “target heart rate”. I believe this is one of the most deceiving fitness principles so I’m going to attempt to explain exactly what the “target heart rate” is and the truth (more like a lie) behind the “fat burning zone”.
Learning Your Maximum Heart Rate
You may have heard the term, Maximum Heart Rate, but most people have no clue what that is. We see stickers on treadmills saying “65% of your maximum heat rate”, but that’s basically a foreign language to most people. Here’s the answer: your maximum heart rate is always 220 minus your age.
Your Maximum Heart Rate is:
220 – my age (_____) = ___________
My maximum heart rate is 178
The Fat-Burning Zone
The so-called magical “Fat Burning Zone” is 65-75% of your maximum heart rate. This is the zone where your body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat. This is where I start getting mad and here’s why. Stay with me. We need to work through this math so you can follow me here. Trust me – it will be worth it! Read the rest of this entry
Every where we go we are inundated with weight loss commercials, diets, exercise gimmicks, workout fads and commercials for healthy food. Just by all the commercials alone, it is clear everyone knows America has a weight issue.
149 million Americans are overweight or obese. We suffer $208 billion in lost productivity and $46 billion in direct medical costs as a result of our weight issue. One out of three youth are overweight, and one out of six is obese. And, if a parent is overweight, their child has a startling 70% chance of being overweight or obese too. So, it would only make since that anyone who wants to make money would jump on the weight loss bandwagon to sell us something to fix our problem.
So how do diet and fitness brands try to grab our attention? They don’t attempt to hook us by listing health risks or obesity facts. No, they capture our attention with six-pack abs and hot fit bodies. Why? Because our outer body is more tangible and real to us. It’s what we see. But what about what we cannot see?
Rolls of fat are bothersome, and tight jeans are frustrating. Our outer layer of fat speaks to us every day. It stares us in the face and screams at us constantly – but what if your organs, blood and bones could talk to you and explaim how your weight affects them?
This picture (posted above) is a look inside the body of a person who is overweight vs a person at a healthy weight. Look at how crowded the overweight person’s organs are. Look at how the body fat shifts their joints out of whack and changes their posture.
Let Me Hear Your Body Talk
If your body could talk, your heart may ask you for a much-needed break, and complain about how hard and fast it’s been beating. Your lungs may tell you how cramped they are and how badly they would like to expand more so you could perform better. Your bones may cry for relief from carrying such large loads day in and day out. Your blood might be too busy yelling at your artery walls to even have time to complain to you about your cholesterol issues. Each blood drop is probably yelling “pardon me, coming through, make a way” because of all the build up it has to dodge or squeeze through every second of the day.
We take life for granted. It’s not that we forget the fact we are alive, but we neglect to realize all the work it takes to keep us alive. We have such high expectations for our body. We expect our body to perform well even when we treat it like crap. We act surprised when we have health issues when, if our body could talk, it’s probably been struggling for years.
Sure, weight loss looks great, but we can’t forget about how much better weight loss looks on the inside too. Don’t you think your body deserves a break – and maybe even a little pampering? It’s been working so hard all these years. Let’s take good care of it, so it can continue taking good care of you.
Today’s Fitness Motivation:
Every Christmas Steve and I allow ourselves to go off our diet for a period of time and indulge in some of our favorite Holiday treats. And, every year, I wake up the day after Christmas surprised at my growing belly. Why I’m surprised, I have no clue. I ate enough to kill someone and deserve to look 4 months pregnant. Ha! But, now it’s time to get after it and get back to a healthy routine of working out more regularly and eating healthy SMALL portions again.
Here is a vlog I did the day after Christmas last year. All the feelings and tips are just as applicable today, so I thought I’d share them with you once again. :)
Let’s make 2013 the BEST YEAR YET!
As I sit here on the computer wearing some of my “bigger” jeans, I think about the reality of my expanding waistline. After taking a break from dieting, I have to admit I’ve enjoyed cheating and the extras – but that extra junk adds up to a lot of extra junk in the trunk.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and the last real excuse to indulge with family and loved ones. You have 2 choices. You can stop the eating frenzy the day after Christmas, or you can do like many people, and wait until after the New Year.
It’s easy to talk yourself out of exercise and eating healthy again when you think about the fact you probably still have parties to attend and New Year’s festivities to enjoy, but don’t be tempted to let those excuses get in the way of trying. If you’ve fallen off the wagon, don’t just lay there on the side of the road and watch your ride to success leave you behind. Get back on, and ride it as long as you can hold on. If you fall off again, at least you are doing better than you were if you didn’t do anything at all.
It’s easy to just quit dieting and working out during the Holiday – but don’t give in. What you do over the Holidays will soon be in the past. Now is the time to plan how you will get back on that wagon and start heading to your goal. Like I always say, it’s not how many times you fall, it’s how fast you get back up that really counts.
How fast will you jump back in your routine this Christmas?
Yesterday I was driving across the parking lot at our gym and I had to slam on the breaks to avoid an overweight man on a mobility scooter zipping across the parking lot. This was in an area that homeless guys tend to hang out, like the guy who uses a knee brace and crutches as props for his begging corner – but that guy can’t seem to remember which leg he keeps the brace on. Anywho! Back to the scooter guy. How many people do we see on scooters who can actually walk?
While I whole-heartedly believe there are people who need a mobility scooter, I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a handicapped person using one who actually was not able to walk. I know they exist, but I believe these aids are hurting people more than helping them.
Maybe they start off using them because of an injury, or to help them be a little more mobile. But, it encourages more laziness and dependance – which can lead to even more weight gain. I believe that’s why we end up seeing so many heavy young people on scooters. It just becomes easier to use the scooter – and the more they use it, the more muscle strength and stamina they lose.
Scooters are an electric crutch that someone can get stuck with if they aren’t purposefully working hard to get away from using them. Of course I’m not suggesting that it’s going to be easy for these people – it will take work, but in most cases it’s totally doable. Unfortunately, we live in a world full of conveniences that have taken away one of the best exercises known to man – walking.
It used to be, that if you had to go to your neighbors, you’d walk – not drive your golf cart 5 houses down. Our neighborhood is relatively small. Houses are built along a 1.4 mile road that circles a lake. It literally could take me 5-8 minutes to get to the opposite side of the neighborhood on foot. Yet, jumping in the car is the knee jerk response when I’m going to the tennis courts just a half a mile away.
We realized just how spoiled we are when Steve did Fat March, a walking show for weight loss reality TV on ABC. Even when they were off camera, we walked pretty much everywhere if we wanted to go out to eat or hit the mall. I remember looking for a gym while visiting and calling around to see what was close by. When I found a gym about 2 miles away, the reality that I had to walk there sunk in. Of course it’s not like I can’t walk 2 miles, but I already missed being able to jump in the car and get there quickly. Steve laughed because, by that time, he’d already walked several hundred miles – what was 2 more!?
Although increasing your activity shouldn’t replace a purposeful exercise routine, it sure as heck is an important part of maintaining a good quality of life. If you don’t want to be stuck in a scooter when you are 70, you need to stay on your feet as much as possible when you are 40.
Impatience Makes Us Fat
I think the major problem with Americans today is we are always in a hurry. We don’t want to spend 10 minutes walking somewhere when we can get their in 2 minutes if we drive. Our impatience makes us lazy and it reducing activity. If cars weren’t so darn easy to jump in and out of, it would be much different. Even in the horse and buggy days, it might have been just as much work, and take as much time, to saddle a horse than it was to walk. So even then, walking was probably a smart option. Now we’ve gotten so smart we are acting dumb. We aren’t as aware of how our convenient and fast lifestyle is affecting our health and activity.
This blog is NOT to dump on people who use scooters. It’s not to judge anyone for where they are in their life. It is to ENCOURAGE people to NEVER give up on doing everything you can to have the BEST quality of life possible. Whether you can walk, but can’t run – or you can only walk with a cane. I just never want anyone to give up on their dreams of staying mobile and healthy. Even if you are completely healthy, it’s my hope that I can make you more aware of ways to protect your health and mobility. Here are some tips. Pass it along if you think they may help others. :)
A Dozen Ways to Increase Activity Throughout the Day
2. If you are going out to a nearby place to eat – walk, don’t drive.
3. Walk to neighbors and save the golf cart for golf.
4. Take walking tours while traveling.
5. Avoid taking a cab when downtown in big cities.
6. Skip the elevator and take the stairs as often as you can.
7. Don’t take a grocery cart, just out of convenience. Use your muscles and carry a basket when you can.
8. Walk your dog instead of just letting out in the back yard.
9. Trade sitting and drinking coffee with a neighbor or friend for a nice walk. Walking is one of the best ways to get exercise and catch up with a friend.
10. Choose restaurants that are near fun places to walk, like the beach, parks, downtown shops and the mall, so you can take a walk after dinner with your date.
11. Don’t enable loved ones. Dealing with someone who is handicapped is touchy. Although you want to be sensitive, you also need to hold them accountable and encourage them to stay active.
12. Stay active when you get injured. One of the worst things you can do is allow an injury to get you down. A few months ago Steve tore his MCL, medial meniscus and IT band. Although he can’t walk without a limp, and he can’t run, do kickboxing or BCx Boot Camp, he can do the bike and elliptical. He even does legs – carefully. It’s scary, but you have to stay active to rehabilitate injuries.
ENCOURAGEMENT: A Man Who Didn’t Give Up
WALKING WORKS: Steve’s Memory Reel from ABC’s Fat March:
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What’s your take on obesity and scooters? Do you know someone who beat the odds and lost the cane, chair or scooter wheels?
Sometimes our decisions aren’t based on what we like, but what we dislike. I honestly can say I don’t love working out all the time, but my dislike for feeling unhealthy and flabby outweighs my dislike for exercise.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the feeling exercise gives me and am always happy I did it, but the fact of the matter is this: If I could look fit without working out I’d skip it – Duh! :) But I’m not that lucky so a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
Honestly, I’d have to say my hate for feeling fat is actually even greater for my love for feeling fit. Being fit and healthy should be the norm anyway. We all should be taking better care of our bodies – we only get one!
It’s not always about looks – it’s about how you FEEL. Whether feeling fat means actually “being fat” or not, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is how you feel.
So whether you feel fat when you are a size 4 or a size 24, it really doesn’t matter. What counts is what you do about it to make you feel better and feel healthier.
Heaviness, weakness, exhaustion, shortness of breath, tight clothes, sluggishness, etc can all drive you to do things you never thought you’d ever do – and do them well.
Let your HATRED for those things fuel your LOVE for working out.
Why do we dread eating healthy more than being stuck in tight jeans, complete with muffin top spilling over the sides. I have to admit, I ate enough Mexican food to KILL someone Sunday night – and all I could think about was how I couldn’t WAIT to quit feeling so uncomfortable.
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are about to bust out of your clothes. Between holding your stomach in and just feeling plain crappy, it’s very tempting to reach for a quick fix, like putting on a big baggy t-shirt. Sometimes, we even go as far as buy looser clothing – but if we don’t change our habits, we’ll fill those out too.
Next time you think about how restricting eating clean is, think about how restricting your favorite clothes get when you let your weight get out of control. Suddenly eating clean seems pretty darn freeing!!
So you have a belly. What type of belly do you have? Before you can figure out what you need to do about your belly, you need to figure out what your problem is.
1. POOCHY BELLY: You don’t have good posture. How many skinny girls have you seen walking around with their belly hanging out? People would look SO much thinner if they just stood up tall and held their stomach in tight. Lazy posture makes our stomach pooch out, making us look even heavier than we are. The more we practice good posture, the easier it gets to maintain it. To see if posture is affecting your physique, walk up to the mirror, turn sideways (without looking at the mirror) and maintain your normal posture. Then stand up straight and tighten your tummy. If you see a big difference in the way your stomach looks, then you probably need to work on strengthening your abdominal muscles.
2. POT BELLY: You eat too much. I’m not talking about calories here, I’m talking about portions. If you eat gynormous portions (which is basically the amount of food you get anywhere you go), that food has to go somewhere. If all those meals stay in your gut for three days (typical digestion time), then think about ALL the food you have eaten in 3 days -no wonder your stomach sticks out. Since your body only can use so much food at one time, reduce portion sizes to the size of your fist. You can eat more often, but try not to eat so much at one single sitting.
3. FAT BELLY: You eat too many calories. If you can “pinch and inch” or more, you are likely just eating too many calories. If you eat more calories than you burn, that food is stored where your body likes to store it. Unfortunately, we can’t choose this. Some people store fat on their hips and thighs, while others store it around their midsection (like me!). The only way to lose this fat is to reduce caloric intake and increase caloric expenditure. You certainly can do crunches, and other abdominal work, to improve core strength and posture, but doing abs will not get rid of the fat.
4. WEAK BELLY: Your abdominal muscles are weak. If you find it’s work to suck your tummy in or to do a crunch, most likely you need to strengthen those muscles. By strengthening your abs, you are able to support your core and hold your stomach in with ease. The stronger and tighter your stomach muscles are, the smaller and flatter your tummy will look. Think of strong stomach muscles as a brand new girdle. The stronger and tighter the “girdle” the smaller you will look all the way around!
Although one of the above issues may cause you more problems than another, working on all 4 of these issues can give you ultimate results.
Steve’s Killer Ab Workout
There are several reasons we can feel fat and disgusting – some of us feel fat because we truly have more body fat than we should, but then there are many times we feel fat because we’ve simply eaten too much.
Think of it this way, when you eat a huge meal, it has to go somewhere. We’d like to think we could burn it off, but after we absorb the nutrients from the meal, we still have plenty of waste to deal with. The colon can hold 5-10lbs of waste in every foot of large intestine. That’s a LOT of weight.
Not only is it a lot of additional weight, but if the diameter of the colon is about the size of our wrists, you can imagine how that would make your pants tighter too. So the more you eat, the heavier and thicker you will feel. Then your full tummy makes it nearly impossible to maintain a flat tummy no matter how hard you squeeze your abs tight.
If you have the habit of eating large meals all the time, eventually you stop even trying to hold your stomach in and you just begin let it hang out all the time. While your tummy pooches out from being full, you’re storing more body fat from the excess calories you are eating too. The double whammy leaves you feeling fatter AND getting fatter.
If you didn’t have enough motivation to eat smaller meals before, this information should give you the motivationyiu need to keep your portions down now. You’ll find it’s easier to hold your stomach nice and flat, and you’ll begin to lose all the Body fat you stored from overdoing it in the past.
Eating too much can:
1. Make you sleepy.
2. Cause weight gain.
3. Make it difficult to hold your stomach flat.
4. Stretch abdominal muscles loose.
5. Take so much energy to aid in digestion that you are not as alert or sharp.
This cartoon by Randy Glasbergen says it all! Why is it we convince ourselves that exercise is an option. Do we really have such a low of self-worth that we like being lazy and complacent over being dead?! Maybe the problem is we’ve gotten used to mediocrity and settled on having less than we want. Maybe not looking as good, not feeling as good or not being as healthy as we would like is OK. NO! IT’S NOT OK!
Maybe you just haven’t had your ‘wake-up call’ or maybe you aren’t quite uncomfortable enough and need to put on another 10lbs until you’re REALLY sick of yourself! I’VE been there!! I think, “exactly how crappy do I have to feel to get my butt in gear?! And when was not being happy with myself OK?” HOW RIDICULOUS AND STUPID OF ME!!
Obesity continues to climb the charts. Just this week our local headlines read “15 years ago Florida’s obesity rate was 49.1%. Now the state waddles in at a gut busting 62.6%”. Maybe the headline should have read “OBESITY KILLS: Only 37.4% of Floridians are safe from the epidemic”.
What is wrong with America? I think it’s pretty simple. We’ve taken this whole freedom and rights thing to an extreme. We’ve become greedy, self-indulging, rebelling and selfish beings who don’t want to practice self-control in any area of our lives. We want to have our cake and eat it too. Well, so do I – but in the end, I’m just left with is icing on my face and fat on my hips…and I don’t even remember what it tasted like! (meaning it’s not worth it!) Read the rest of this entry