The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

volume 2006 issue 2



Body Fat versus Body Weight

A recent survey of American adults revealed that 71% of women and 62% of men were trying to lose weight.  The problem is that most people think their weight, when in fact, fat content is better indication of health.  During a well-rounded diet and exercise regimen, weight may fluctuate while body fat will decline in a slow, steady rate.  Monitoring changes in both body fat and weight gives a more dependable picture of fitness and is more encouraging because it is a true indication of positive healthy change, compared to monitoring only weight or appearance.

Another problem is that when we recognize we have a problem, most of us aren't sure what exactly we can do to reduce and then control our weight.  Occasional weighing on a bathroom scale or looking in the mirror may not indicate a "fat" problem.  A person may have an acceptable figure, but if their body contains too much or too little body fat, their health could be at risk.  By comparison, someone who works out every day may weigh-in at the same weight, but their body is composed of dense, lean muscle and less fat.  Neither appearance nor weight alone can tell you your fat-to-muscle content.

Excess body fat can contribute to medical conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, digestive diseases and even some forms of cancer.   More then half of the American adult population is overweight or obese (too much body fat) and approximately 300,000 Americans die of health problems related to obesity each year-- second only to cigarettes as a leading preventable lifestyle-related cause of death.  Contrary to some common misconceptions, you can't turn your fat into muscle... but, you can build muscle and lose fat.  A healthy, permanent course of action is to lose (and keep off) excess body fat by leading a healthy lifestyle.  This can be attained by modifying eating patterns and committing to a regular, but reasonable, exercise program.  

3,500 calories = 1 lb of body fat.  Most moderate cardio exercises will burn 200-300 calories per 30 minutes while you are exercising.  Resistance training burns calories several hours after the training session.  A combination of resistance training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility is the most beneficial training balance that will contribute to accomplishing most peoples fitness goals.  For safety reasons, weight loss goals should average no more than 1-2 lbs per week by creating a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise (500-1000 calories per day).  For long term goals of maintaining your success once it is achieved, it is important to maintain exercise along with a sensible diet.  These lifestyle changes will go a long way to the success of your efforts. 


Training Heart Rate 

An important component of exercise for fat loss and health is aerobic (aka. cardiovascular or cardio respiratory) exercise.  This type of training is called "aerobic" because you use oxygen to burn fuel.  Your exercise routine should include aerobic training (ie. biking, walking, running, etc..) 3-4 days per week for optimum results.  Gauge how hard to push yourself by taking a percentage of your maximum heart rate.  To calculate this, subtract your age from 220.

Maximum Heart Rate:  220 - Age

To derive any benefits from aerobic exercise, you need to exercise in an elevated training zone which equates to a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

Training Zones
Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up) --- 50 - 60% of maximum heart rate: The easiest zone and probably the best zone for people just starting a fitness program. It can also be used as a warm up for more serious walkers. This zone has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low risk of injury. 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats!

Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) --- 60 - 70% of maximum heart rate: This zone provides the same benefits as the healthy heart zone, but is more intense and burns more total calories. The percent of fat calories is still 85%.

Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) --- 70 - 80% of maximum heart rate: The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.

Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) --- 80 - 90% of maximum heart rate: Benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardio respiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you'll be able to fight fatigue better. This is a high intensity zone burning more calories, 15 % from fat.

Red Line (Maximum Effort) --- 90 - 100% of maximum heart rate: Although this zone burns the highest number of calories, it is very intense. Most people can only stay in this zone for short periods. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so.

Measuring Your Heart Rate
Wearing a heart rate monitor is an easy, accurate method of checking your heart rate... but you don't have a monitor. Here is another easy way.

The easiest place to feel your own heart beat is the carotid artery. Place your index finger on the side of your neck between the middle of your collar bone and your jaw line. (You may also use the radial artery on the under side of your wrist.) You can count the beats for a full 60 seconds or count for 6 seconds and add a zero at the end. If you felt your heart beat 14 times in 6 seconds the number would be 140 for a full 60 seconds. Counting for only six seconds is a convenient method, of course it is more accurate to count for the full 60 seconds. You can use several varieties of this method (30 seconds x 2, 15 seconds x 4, etc.). The longer you count the more accurate your reading. Whatever you choose, be consistent in your method.


The Complete Fitness Workout

A complete fitness workout improves your shape, tone, flexibility, endurance and strength.  By using these exercise components at least 3 times a week you will attain a greater level of fitness and have a stronger, leaner, and more limber body. 


A good warm up to 5-10 minutes of stretching exercises or mild calisthenics helps prepare your muscles, tendons, and ligaments for your blood flow, enhances flexibility, while helping to reduce muscle stiffness, soreness, and injuries.



Weight training is a fast and effective way to improve your shape, tone, and strength.  Workout at least 2, preferably 3, times a week for 20-30 minutes lifting 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions [1-2 of 15-20 repetitions for beginners.]  Each workout should develop your major muscle groups consisting of the chest, shoulders, back, upper arm, stomach, buttocks, and thigh.



The most important component of your fitness program, especially if you are in your 30s or older, should be aerobic exercise.  Your workout should include at least 3 20-30 minute sessions of continuous, rhythmic exercise at your target heart rate.  Depending upon your fitness level, and what you enjoy, walking, jogging, climbing, cycling, rowing, swimming, and aerobic dance are all excellent activities.



At the end of your workout session, ease your heart rate and activity level to normal while you do 5-10 minutes of cool down stretching exercises, which can be the same as your warm up stretches, or slow walking.  Cooling down helps prevent dizziness and muscle soreness after your hard workout.


Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Triceps Blast

Primarily Upper Arms, with core emphasis for stability (triceps, deltoids & rectus abdominis)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Starting in the down position as shown, extend your arms while keeping your feet in place.  Starting position can be adjusted as you become more accustomed to the exercise.  The lower the starting position (ie. chair seat rather than chair back) the more difficult the exercise becomes.

It's Go Time!

So... you just gave your eyes some exercise reading the second issue of "The Day After Yesterday" eNewsletter.  I'm sure that's good for a couple of calories!  Now what?  Well if you're already in a regular exercise routine then congratulations and good luck working towards your next goal!  Remember:  "you only fail when you stop trying"!  If you haven't started yet then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Unless you are sick, have a medical condition or injury that will prevent you from exercising, then you must be either procrastinating or just decided that it is not that important to you.  The ball is in your court... you decide what to do with it!

I received a lot of positive feedback about the last issue and will continue to aim for making this a monthly publication.  You can review prior issues on my website at  Your input in regards to format, content, or anything relevant is always welcome.  Just shoot me an email with your suggestions or comments and I will take them into consideration.

If you would like to add someone to this distribution list, please send an email to and include their name and email address.  Likewise, if you would like to be removed from this distribution list, please state this in an email to the same address.

Thanx again for taking your time to read another issue... did I mention that you can print this out and read it while you are on the exercise bike or treadmill?

Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo

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