Yesterday I blogged about running, and outlined a few tips for those of us who are approaching our running with a new vigor. It is fast becoming yet another one of my many passions. (VERY surprising for those of you who know me well.)
Even at 5:30, on a holiday week, there are a LOT of people out running around Lake Hollingsworth. (Today is Hill Running Day in our training for the Strategic Wellness Challenge Team 2010.)
Someone told me that a good portion of the business deals in Lakeland “go down” around that lake. I don't doubt it as I catch little snippets of conversation from the folks passing me (surprising I can pick anything up over my own labored breathing :)
My business is called Strategic Wellness
for a reason.
I am fully convinced that if we do not have goals in EVERY area of our life, we will sail through and end up in a place that looks completely different than we intended.
I hate wasting time.
My foray into running is no different.
If we’re using the tool of running to increase our fitness and lose fat, I think it’s essential to understand how to progressively train in those areas.
As I tell my Strategic Boot Camp Clients and soon to be Lean Out Lakeland Contestants,
“We’re not exercising, we’re training.”
There's a big difference.
So, the question remains,
“How can we approach our running to optimize greater cardiovascular fitness and greater fat loss?”
Once again, it's simple. I LOVE simple.
You just need an inexpensive Heart Rate Monitor and a *plan.
Two people could begin their running “career” at the same time, one just jumping out of bed and getting out there (commendable for sure) and another taking a few minutes to plan before getting out there, and the results will be COMPLETELY different.
Take a few minutes, work less and achieve more.
*Before beginning ANY exercise program, you need to ask your doctor’s advice.
First the Health benefits of Cardiovascular
-(CV) as opposed to Resistance Training-which I think may be MORE important than CV training in the long run if you approach it the way I train. (More on that later):
(And this is just scratching the surface)
Improvement in blood pressure
Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
Decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol
Decreased Insulin response
Improved heart and lung function and efficiency
Decreased anxiety, tension and depression
Decreased risk of at least 11 cancers
Decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases
Probably no surprises there.
Now let’s quickly outline the Fitness Benefits of CV exercise:
Improvement in Activities of Daily LIving (Ask your senior aged friends about this.) aka functional
Decreased risk of injury
Increased Positive Outlook on Life.
Finally, in terms of body composition:
CV exercise can yield dramatic improvements in the body’s ability to burn fat. However, in order to reap these benefits, the training level needs to be at the proper level of intensity. Walking, frankly, just won't cut it. (for long)
So, this begs the question, “How do we know what the proper level of intensity is?”
Most people have absolutely no idea how much intensity they are putting out when exercising.
To improve your health, fitness and body composition, it is ESSENTIAL to have a way of determining how hard you should be exercising. The easiest and most accurate way to measure your intensity is by using a Heart Rate Monitor. Here's a link to my personal favorite
because of the two timing intervals that can be set.
Heart Rate monitors used to be really expensive (in fact, you can still spend $300-$500 for one that has a GPS, altimeter and barometer.)
But today you can get one as accurate as a hospital’s EKG monitoring system for as little as $50.
Once you have the heart rate monitor, and you read your manual to learn how to set it (if you’re over 40, grab those readers), you need to do the calculations necessary to find out exactly what “zone” you need to be in to get the most benefit.
I’m assuming you’re not a current cardiac patient and that you’re trying to avoid becoming one. (If you have CV disease, TALK to your doctor about what exercise program he/she would like you on, it will probably be something similar to this with different “zones”.)
Do either of these quotes sound familiar?
“I hate cardio.”
This group is probably working WAY too hard which makes staying with it unlikely. Rich Wills, owner of Fit Niche says it this way, “If I see you running around the lake and not smiling and meaning it, you’re working way too hard.” Good visual. Once people learn to work in their target heart rate zone, they’ll find that their enjoyment level peaks.
Brian Calkins, running expert out of Coral Gables Florida states that, “the “I hate cardio” group was never taught is that when they exceed their appropriate training zone their bodies shift from burning fat into burning blood sugar (glucose). And when someone is burning mostly glucose, cardiovascular exercise tends to become very uncomfortable to sustain, both during a single exercise session and even more so with repeated bouts of too intense exercise.”
“I’m not seeing any results from my cardio.”
If this is you, you’re probably simply not working hard enough to get significant CV benefit.
Once again, I'm quoting Brian, “The perfect example of this is someone who reads in a magazine that the secret to losing weight and improving their health is through moderate walking. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that walking is bad. In some cases it’s extremely beneficial, for example, for very sedentary, obese or elderly individuals, walking is a tremendous start to improving fitness.
The challenge lies in the fact that our bodies adapt very quickly to the stimulus (exercise) we place upon them. Once your body adapts to a given stimulus, you have to then modify and add just a little bit more to it."
The best way to determine what your target heart rate should be is a method called the Karvonen method. Dr. Karvonen’s method takes your current fitness level (determined through your resting heart rate) and helps you figure out where you should be exercising.
This is essential because as a your CV status improves, the target for your heart and lungs increases. We need to always be working at a level that challenges us, yet doesn’t push us too hard.
Enough for now.
Your first task is to determine your Resting Heart Rate.
The most accurate way is to take your pulse for 1 minute every morning for 3 mornings BEFORE you get up out of bed.
Average the three of these, and this is your resting heart rate.
If you’re impatient, or ready to hit the streets right now, then just lie down for 10 minutes and grab a power nap,
Now take your pulse.
This will do for starters.
Determine to check your early morning pulse on at least a weekly basis to assess for changes. Changes happen QUICKLY!
Now that you have your Resting Heart Rate, plug this information and your age into this calculator and write down the information you receive.
The Karvonen Method
Be sure to save this information.
We’ll apply it in Part 2.