I think one of the most frequent questions that I have been
asked recently come from people that are starting to become
educated in regards to cardiovascular fitness and the
importance of maintaining your heart rate in your "target
Personally, I don't agree with the standard naming for
the target heart rate zones. There are articles written
regarding the benefits of working out in the "fitness zone"
which is roughly 10 bpm higher than the "fat burning" zone.
If you think of the zone naming as an estimation of the
minimum intensity necessary for the effect, it makes
In other words, just because you are working out for
20-30 minutes in the
fitness zone, at a higher intensity than the fat-burning
zone, doesn't mean that your are burning less fat. In fact,
articles that I have read state that the higher intensity
will actually burn more fat than the fat-burning zone!
The anaerobic zone however will use a different energy
system, so staying below 90% during cardiovascular activity
is important to keep you away from the lactate threshold.
A good rule of thumb for estimating the lactate threshold is to utilize the "talk test".
The talk test basically means that you should be able to
still hold a conversation while getting in your cardio
workout. When you start to hyperventilate, that is an
indication that you are at your lactate threshold and the
Personally, I like to exercise just below this intensity
level. I still believe that a heart rate monitor is
one of the best pieces of exercise equipment that you can
invest in but the talk test will give you an idea where your
intensity limit is.
So for those of you that have stated that you don't feel
like you are working hard enough in the fat-burning zone...
kick it up a notch and get more benefits in the same amount
What's Your Max?
number of times an exercise can be performed (repetitions)
is inversely related to the load lifted; the heavier the
load, the fewer the number of repetitions that can be
performed. Load is commonly described as either a
certain percentage of a one-repetition maximum (1RM) - the
greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with proper
technique for only one repetition-or the most weight lifted
for a specific number of repetitions, a repetition maximum.|
below shows the relationship between a submaximal load
(calculated as a % of the 1RM) and the number of
repetitions that can be performed at that load.
% 1 RM
What this means is that it is
possible to estimate your "max" without the safety concern
or risk of injury associated with attempting a maximum lift
on some exercises. This can be done by simply dividing
the weight that you completed (with good form) for a number
of repetitions by the corresponding %. For example, if
a person can bench press 190 pounds for 8 repetitions, then
the estimated 1 RM would be 190 divided by .80 (or 80%)
which is 237.5 pounds.
Granted, this is an estimation and other factors such as
fatigue and muscle endurance can skew the numbers. But
it is an effective means of determining an appropriate load
without spending a lot of time trying to figure out what a
person is capable of lifting.
We often have trouble finding that one thing
that motivates us to go above and beyond, to push ourselves to exceed our
potential when we really don't want to. For many of us, motivation
can be found in the thrill of competition and the challenge and support of
sharing this competition with a friend, family member, or co-worker.|
There are support groups for everything from
dieting, to quitting smoking or drinking. These groups provide that
added support to get people through the tough times and keep them
motivated towards reaching their goals. More and more lately, I have
heard about some friendly "competitions" that have the same beneficial
outcomes for all parties involved.
It is not hard to find someone that shares
the same goals as you. I'm sure you've heard people complain just as
much as you about having to lose weight, quit smoking, lose inches, etc..
The next time you find yourselves complaining about it, you need to take
it to the next level! Make a bet with them for dinner, movie,
whatever, and set a goal that is a month or three out. Some good
goals would be:
- Lose the most weight by June 1st
- Go the longest without smoking
- Greatest reduction in body fat in 3
- Wear a pedometer! Compare the
number of steps you walk in a day...in a week. (Find ways to
increase your number of steps)
By having regular progress checks during
your "contest", you will continue to motivate each other (or the group) to
continue to make progress towards your goals.
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
The dip is a classic exercise that has been around longer than
most of us. I chose to highlight this exercise this
month to show how it can be performed just about anywhere with
a pair of chairs to be used in place of dip bars.
Although the dip can be a challenging exercise, beginners can
start in the up position and focus on lowering themselves
slowly (negatives) until they can build up enough strength to
perform the entire exercise.
Target: back of
arms (triceps brachii)
With two (comfortable) chairs with their backs facing you
about shoulder width apart, position your hands on the chair
backs with your palms facing in. Support your self using
your arms and bend your legs to bring your feet off the
ground. Lower your knees to the floor and press up to
the starting position.
Walk It Off!
1 mile = 5280 feet
average stride length
is usual 2-3 feet.
On average, it takes
1760-2640 steps to complete a mile (with the average being
- 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.
A good walking pace will vary depending on your fitness
level, walking technique, walking goals, and terrain.
For general fitness walking you should walk at a pace that
increases your heart rate, and you can maintain for 30 to 60
minutes. Use the talk test... if you can't speak
without gasping for air you are walking too fast. If
you are walking slow enough that you can carry a tune you
are probably walking too slow.
A pound of fat equals
about 3500 calories. To lose 1 pound a week you will need
to expend 3500 more calories than you eat that week,
whether through increased activity or decreased
eating or both. Losing 1-2 pounds of fat a week is a
sensible goal, and so you will want to use the
combination of increased activity and eating less
that will total 3500 calories for 7 days.
How You Burn Calories
Your weight x
distance = energy used walking. Time does not matter
as much as distance. If you speed up to walking a
mile in 13 minutes or less, you will be burning more
calories per mile. But for most beginning walkers,
it is best to increase the distance before working
on speed. A simple rule of thumb is 100 calories per
mile for a 160 pound person.
Estimated Calories burned per mile
Weight in Pounds
* Note About
the Calories Chart
You burn more calories per mile at very low speeds
because you are basically stopping and starting with
each step and your momentum isn't helping to carry
you along. Meanwhile, at very high walking speeds
you are using more muscle groups with arm motion and
with a racewalking stride. Those extra muscles burn
up extra calories with each step. Running may burn
more calories per mile as there is an up and down
motion lifting your weight off the ground as well as
moving it forward.
MS Walk @ U of D
May 20 @ 9:00 a.m. - Perkins
(registration at 8am)
In the interest of exercise,
social activities, and fundraising, we have decided to start
a team for the local MS walk at the University of Delaware.
We are looking for friends, family, neighbors, (anyone!) to
join "Bear Essentials" for this charity event!
Having participated in these
walks in the past, in addition to the Bike to the Bay, they
are very well organized, a great time, and help to raise
both awareness and funds for a very worthy cause. It is
requested that each adult participant raise a minimum of $25
to help fund the research to eliminate this disease.
For more information about MS and related fundraising events
visit the web site at
If you are interested in
participating in the MS Walk as part of our team, becoming a
volunteer, or offering a donation please contact
Pete Mazzeo at
or 302-547-7454 for more
information or go to the "Bear
Essentials" team page.
You Can Help… Join The Movement
TICK TICK TICK
TICK... Only 2 months until the summer months! What
kind of swim suit do you have picked out? With a safe
weight loss standard of 1 - 2 pounds per week, you still
have the potential of dropping roughly 8 - 16 pounds by
beach season! No messing around though... If you are
serious about it, make the commitment and start TODAY!
difficult to find an excuse not to workout. We are all
busy people and there is always something more important, or
a reason why NEXT week, NEXT month, or once school is out,
will be easier. Funny how these excuses pop up, yet
everybody seems to find time to watch LOST, Gray's Anatomy,
or the BIG GAME! Like I said before, even if you start
doing something during the commercials (preferably every
commercial)... something is better than nothing! Make
it a priority... you're worth it!
For prior issues of this
newsletter go to
"Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it."