Hello! The most common question I am asked about exercise is, “How do I get started?” There are lots of answers to this question! The right response for you is based on your goals and desires. Here’s a few things to consider: According to the American Heart Association… To improve overall cardiovascular health, we suggest at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.
And everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you've been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. If you don't think you'll make it for 30 or 40 minutes, set a reachable goal for today. You can work up toward your overall goal by increasing your time as you get stronger. Don't let all-or-nothing thinking rob you of doing what you can every day.
Many people are seeking other benefits from exercise, such as weight loss or aesthetic results. One especially important benefit from exercise would be to change your body composition by losing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass. In order to do that, the answer is to work up to exercising 5 hours a week! For weight loss and prevention of regain, you must log 250-300 minutes per week using a combination of cardiovascular exercise with strength and resistance training.
But I must mention here that getting in the gym and working out is essential but not the only component to reaching your fitness goals. Proper food intake is 75%-80% of your success when it comes to changing your body composition. Did you know that improper diet is the single greatest obstacle to achieving your ideal body? If your goal is to get fit and improve your appearance, exercise alone won't get the job done.
So now, let’s look at the two primary forms of exercise, cardiovascular or cardiorespiratory training and resistance or strength training:
CARDIO, which is any aerobic activity such as walking, running, biking or elliptical and other machines, is the fastest way to burn the most calories in the shortest time. It’s easy to start here and requires little or no equipment. But your body goes after muscle first, not fat. It’s easier to break down lean tissue for energy than body fat. So cardio is in effect depleting your muscle stores.
And as soon as you start doing more cardio, your body adapts, and eventually you plateau, so it is important to make adjustments or you get frustrated and quit. Never waste time by staying with the same routine. It’s important to maximize your results by challenging yourself to do a little more, a little better. This is called “Progressive Overload.” You can achieve that by using intervals and all the… F.I.T.T. Principles: Frequency = How often? Intensity = How hard? Time = How long? Type = What kind of exercise will give you the best results in the shortest time?
There is one important caveat with this type of exercise: According to Men’s Fitness Magazine… There are three ways that cardio typically cancels out muscle gains: doing it too often, doing it for too long, or doing it on an empty stomach. In general, daily cardio sessions simply burn too many cumulative calories to allow you the surplus you need for muscle mass, and the same can be said for sessions that last 45 minutes or more.
Work out in the morning before breakfast and you only compound the problem. When you wake up, your body is already in a catabolic (muscle-burning) state, since a night’s sleep—time spent without eating—empties your tank. Working out immediately just reinforces this condition and costs you intensity—whether on the treadmill or with the weights. The end result: You burn muscle as fuel in place of calories you should have consumed at breakfast.
RESISTANCE TRAINING is any type of strength training using body weight, machines, dumbbells, cables, etc. Resistance training preserves muscle and thereby boosts metabolism. It’s absolutely crucial to fat loss to build and preserve lean body mass and force the body to go after fat. Here are the facts: Resistance training increases the number of calories burned for 48-72 hours after you lift weights. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is that “afterburn.” While cardio may burn more calories than resistance training during your workout, lifting weights torches more fat overall. In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who skipped the weights. The more muscle owned, the more fat burned.
Finally, as we age, without intervention, we tend to lose muscle, a process called sarcopenia. The biological role of your muscles goes far beyond mobility. Your muscles are also responsible for keeping your metabolic system intact, and maintaining muscle mass helps protect you against metabolic and hormonal decline, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also enhances your cognitive function and slows down the aging process.
While muscle loss is a natural effect associated with aging, it’s not an inevitable fate. The treatment for sarcopenia is exercise, specifically resistance or strength training! It’s imperative to be proactive about your daily activity and not accept decline. Muscle tissue can be regenerated even at an advanced age with the appropriate diet and exercise. As we get older, it is then necessary to increase the amount of strength training time over time spent doing cardio. The American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommend engaging in muscle strengthening activities targeting all major muscle groups at least two days per week.
THE TAKEAWAY ON EXERCISE
To burn more fat, burn more calories at a comfortable but challenging intensity.
If you can’t increase your intensity, then increase frequency or duration.
Vary modes of training, particularly achieving a balance of cardio and strength training.
Plan time to recover.
Do what you like and you will do it!
PERSONAL TRAINING WITH JUDI As a fitness expert for more than 35 years, and a personal trainer for almost half that time, I would love to help you reach your fitness goals, whatever they are! Working together, we would develop a program design that fits your particular needs. Due to my time and experience in the fitness profession, I am able to customize a functional fitness plan based on where you are right now and where you want to go, regardless of age, gender, condition or limitations. I use a variety of techniques established by the National Academy Sports Medicine, incorporating elements of functional fitness, physical therapy-style corrective exercise, yoga and Pilates.
Here’s how it works:
We begin with a complementary conversation about your goals.
Every plan includes with an initial assessment and movement analysis.
You get to choose from several training packages to fit your schedule and budget.