The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2007 issue 10




I like these little pieces of fitness trivia.  Knowledge is power and also helps you understand the how's, what's, and why's of health and fitness (you should already know the who and when).  Here are some choice bits of information that I thought would be good to review...

  • Fitness consists of four components:  your body's ability to use oxygen as a source of energy, which translates into cardiovascular fitness; muscular strength and endurance; flexibility; and body composition.

  • Nearly 2/3 of U.S. adults are overweight and half of them (31%) are obese.  About 25% of American adults are sedentary.

  • No matter how poor your current level of fitness, you can start an exercise routine and become fitter and healthier.  Even 90-year-old women who use walkers have been shown in studies to benefit from light weight training.

  • According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American adults aged 18-65 years should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week OR engage in 20-minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week.  a combination of vigorous and moderate-intensity physical activity is also acceptable. New research is showing that this does not necessarily have to be continuous, but must be at least 10 minutes in duration  (ie. 10min + 10min + 10min = 30 min).

  • Most moderate cardio exercises will burn 200-300 calories per 30 minutes while you are exercising.

  • Maximum heart rate can be estimated as 220-your age.  Target heart rate while training should be between 60% and 90% of your estimated maximum.

  • ACSM also recommends strength training at least twice weekly. Programs should consist of 8-10 exercises for at least 1 set of 8-12 repetitions each. 

  • It takes about 12 weeks after starting an exercise program to see measurable changes in your body.  However, before 12 weeks, you will notice an increase in strength and endurance.

  • 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).  3,500 calories roughly equates to 1 pound of body fat. 

  • Abdominal exercises might help to strengthen the muscles around your midsection and improve your posture, but being able to see your abdominal muscles has to do with your overall percentage of body fat.  If you don't lose the belly, you won't see the muscles.

  • More muscle mass means higher metabolism.  Higher metabolism means that you are burning more calories at rest.  Muscle tissue has been observed to burn roughly 7 to 10 calories per pound per day, compared to 2 to 3 calories per pound per day for fat.  The gradual loss of muscle tissue in non-training adults leads to a 5% reduction in metabolic rate every decade of life.

  • 1 gram of protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories, 1 gram of fat is 9 calories.  In other words, more fat means more calories per gram.

  • The American Dietetic Association recommends consuming approximately 2/3 of grams carbohydrates per pound of body weight for endurance athletes within 30 minutes after exercise and again every 2 hours for up to 6 hours after the workout.

  • People focusing on strength-training require a greater amount of protein, 15 to 20 grams, and less carbohydrates for proper recovery, the experts say.  High-quality protein from such sources as dairy, chicken, fish, whey or soy protein are most recommended with 0.68 grams to 0.91 grams per pound of body weight suggested by accepted sports nutrition guidelines.

  • A 5% drop in body water can reduce physical performance by as much as 30%.  A 10% drop will make you ill.  A 20% drop can kill you.  It is important to consume water approximately 20 minutes before exercise as well as drink moderate levels of water throughout the day (8-10 glasses).

  • 1 mile = 5280 feet --- An average stride length is usual 2-3 feet --- On average, it takes 1760-2640 steps to complete a mile (with the average being 2000 steps) --- The average fitness walking pace is close to a 15 minute mile. (roughly 2 miles in 30 minutes) --- A 140 pound person will burn roughly 228 calories by walking for 30 minutes.

  • Walking at a brisk pace (a 15-minute mile or 4 mph) burns almost as many calories as jogging for the same distance.

  • 60 percent of children do not meet average fitness standards.  Children today expend four times less energy than children 40 years ago.  Most third graders get less than 25 minutes of physical activity a week in school programs.

  • In Grade two, one out of four children cannot touch their toes.  76 percent of elementary school girls and 26 percent of boys cannot do one chin up.  Half of all teenage boys and three-quarters of all teenage girls cannot walk up and down stairs for longer than six minutes, without straining their cardiovascular system. 

  • Working out is not always fun and easy... if it were, they would call it something else!


I really liked the idea of this article below and for some people this type of mind set could be what you need to provide motivation to make time for your workouts.

MANAGING YOUR ATTITUDE IS A VERY PERSONAL THING. However, for me, one of the most important factors is exercise. My attitude and my energy levels are directly tied to exercise. I can be doing everything else right, but without regular exercise I can feel my attitude “heading south”.

I’ve got a friend who is 65 but looks like he’s 55. I saw him the other day and said, “Tony, you look great.” He said, “I feel great! I got a second job.” I said, “A second job?

I thought your import business was doing well.” He said, “It is. My second job is on the treadmill from 6-7 every morning. When I started looking at it as a second job, I showed up whether I wanted to or not!” He said, “The pay is lousy, but the benefits to my health and my attitude are priceless!

Exercise, more than anything, is a “stress buster”. And, don’t kid yourself, stress is a killer. In fact the World Health Organization estimates that 80% of all illnesses are directly or indirectly caused by stress. Therefore, if you’re not proactive in busting stress, it’s very likely to come back and bust you!


Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Towel or Rope Pull-Up


Now before I start getting emails from a bunch of people saying that this exercise is too tough, I just want to restate my intent to provide something for everyone.  No doubt, this is a challenging exercise!  I was talking to my brothers the other day (who are also wrestling coaches) and I mentioned that this would be my number one favorite upper body exercise for a wrestler.  You can use a long beach towel or 1 1/2 inch manilla rope and throw it over a set of monkey bars or a chinup bar.  Between the grip work required to hold onto the rope or towel, and the awesome pull that you get with your back and biceps, this exercise really brings it home. 


Target:  back, biceps, forearms (latisimus dorsi, biceps brachii, brachioradialis)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Whether you use towel or rope, begin with a high grip, arms extended in the down position.  Pull your body up so that your elbows come to your sides.  If you take a high enough grip you could still raise your chin above the bar.  Lower yourself down in control and repeat for the desired repetitions.

Specificity in Training

The concept of specificity, sport specific training, or functional training, is widely recognized in the field of resistance training and holds that training is most effective when resistance exercises are similar to the sport activity in which improvement is sought (the target activity).  Current scientific research supports the superiority of the specificity principle in; the type of muscle contraction, movement pattern, region of movement, velocity of movement, force of contraction, muscle fiber recruitment, metabolism, biochemical adaptation, flexibility, and fatigue.

One of the key skills required for strength and conditioning specialists is to analyze the movements that an athlete makes during the task that is being targeted for improvement.  If a catcher on a baseball team wants to improve his reaction time and speed of being able to throw a man out that is stealing second, every component of this motion must be analyzed and trained with the intent of improving power and ultimately reducing the time required to complete the task.  Everything from the popping of the hips during the upward squatting motion, to the twist of the torso and action of the shoulder, arm, and wrist while firing the ball must be looked at in order to make improvements wherever possible.  A lineman in football that is seeking to improve his run-blocking will focus more on leg strength and core stability as well as reaction and acceleration in order to burst off the line and drive the opponent out of the hole.  In addition to the simulation that is trained while using a blocking sled, components of the movement will also be trained with exercises such as the squat and dead-lift.

Specificity in training does not only have to pertain to athletic movement… instead it should be looked at as training for a specific function.  If the person or client is having difficulty getting out of a chair, then training for this particular movement should be centered around the components of the target goal (ie. half-sits, assisted squats, or repeatedly sitting down and getting up).  If climbing a flight of stairs is difficult, some target exercises might be low step-ups while progressing to walking multiple flights of stairs.

This is not to say that an entire workout program must contain only exercises that are specific to the activity.  On the contrary, everyone can benefit from, and should include, total body workouts in their weekly routines.  Functional training exercises can be included in a total body workout or they can be used to supplement the primary exercises in order to further improve the target activities.

It's Go Time!

My butt hurts!... I just completed my 10th year participating in the Bike to the Bay for Multiple Sclerosis yesterday.  75+ miles on that little bike seat can wear on you after a while... although I would be twice as sore if I did the ride back today!  This was my second year as a co-captain for Team Bank of America and we had a great team turnout this year with roughly 80 registered riders (of the 1,600+ total riders).  Thanks to all of you that sponsored me for the ride.. the funds will go to a worthy cause in support of finding a cure for this debilitating disease.

So that's it for September, the back to school month.  Physical education or gym class is just not what it used to be.  If your child is not participating in school athletics, it is recommended that they take part in other activities that help to keep their body moving.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advise a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day for all children.

So remember all of those promises that you made to yourself in the summer?  "Once the kids go back to school I'll have more time to workout" and "I'll be able to get back into some kind of schedule after the crazy summer is over".  Well... it's time to pay up!  Even though I still don't buy into the summer excuses, now's the time to keep your promise to yourself.  I really like the idea in the "Managing Your Attitude" article above regarding thinking of your workout as a second job.  Plan and schedule your workouts and take the appointment seriously!  Although you are ultimately your own boss in this job, you're body is the paycheck and one that will definitely be impacted by your performance!

For prior issues of this newsletter go to  

Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


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