Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a pain-fatigue syndrome that affects up to 4% of the population aged 20-60 and 80% of those diagnosed with the syndrome are women (Smith & Barkin 2010). People affected by it are typically dealing with both physical and psychological pain. Feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, and guilt (why me?) are coupled with chronic pain, fatigue, headaches, and nerve dysfunction. Other Symptoms may include restless leg syndrome, morning stiffness, temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), impaired concentration, and sensitivity in various “tender points.”
As you would expect, these symptoms can take a severe toll in many ways. Those who are affected often find it difficult just carrying out their daily routines. Among, FMS patients who were surveyed:
- 35% reported having difficulty performing normal daily activities of daily living
- 55% had difficulty walking two blocks
- 62% had trouble climbing stairs
- Two-thirds or more had difficulty with the minor tasks of shopping (66%), light household chores (68%) and carrying 10 pounds (70%) (Bennett et al. 2007).
The underlying cause of fibromyalgia is still being figured out. Exploring the details of the history or current research regarding its cause is beyond the scope of this article. However, it is noteworthy that research not only has shown that exercise is beneficial to treating those with FMS, but should be a central component to treating it.
According to Rossy et al. (1999), 49 studies show that drug-free treatments are more effective that drug treatments for the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and assert that exercise is central to the treatment of fibromyalgia. And even more recently, “Research has repeatedly shown that regular exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia” (NIAMS 2011)
Then the question is, what modes of exercise are the best?
Research has shown significant benefits with the following activities*:
- Walking Daily at a moderate pace.
- Deep water running or water aerobic regimen 3-5 days/week for 45 minutes
- Cycling at 70-75% of age predicted maximum
- Resistance Training 2-3 days per week at intensities corresponding to 8-12 repetitions to fatigue.
- Mind-Body Approaches such as: yoga, pilates, breathing exercises, whole body vibration training
Now studies have shown that it is important to start slow and participate in mild workouts when first starting out. From there gradual progressions can be made. You will want to avoid intense, fatiguing exercises because it will enhance the build up and overproduction of metabolic byproducts like lactic acid which can actually make symptoms much worse. In fact, a 70% of surveyed patients have reported that strenuous physical activity is a prime aggravator for their symptoms (Bennett et al. 2007)
So when first starting out it is recommended to:
- Begin with one mode of exercise, walking is the most common.
- Exercise intensity should be self-determined
- Incorporate 1-2 days of rest in between workouts when needed
- Develop Good Sleep Habits and Eating Patterns
- As symptoms and endurance improves, slowly begin to introduce an additional activity.
- Try a variety of each of the activities listed to help you decide which ones are the most effective.
Every FMS case is different and should be treated on an individual basis. Work under the supervision of your health care professional to determine the best modes of activities to include and reap the medicinal benefits of exercise.
Assis et al. 2006
Cuesta-Vargas& Adams 2011
Hooten et al. 2012
Hurley, Hanson & Sheaff 2011
Busch et al. 2011
Is seems like only yesterday, a beautiful spring day is already on the horizon and with only 12 hours of daylight to enjoy it. Quickly I inhale my cereal before congregating outside with the rest of my friends for a marathon of outdoor activity. Anything and everything is on the agenda. Home run derby, a pickup game of hoops, WWE matches on the trampoline…all with our dirt bikes being the preferred mode of transportation. For most adults this should sound all too familiar. Activity was spontaneous and a natural part of our youth. Unfortunately this is not the case anymore. Today we live in a “virtual” world filled with reality television, texting, social media, and our activity now comes in the form of a video game. The cost? Our health! The facts don’t lie:
- More than 30 percent of American children are obese or overweight. This is triple the number than in 1980.
- Only 2 percent of school-age children consistently eat well.
- Only 8 percent of elementary school students and 6 percent of middle school and high school students have daily PE at school.
- 35% of school-age children watch an average of 5 or more hours of TV on a school day.
- As a nation, we spend $119 billion annually on obesity-related health care costs.
- Today’s generation is the first expected to live shorter lives than their parents.
As a fitness professional and parent this frightens me! More than ever we need to lead by example, get involved, and become the change. While we may face an uphill battle, I remain optimistic and confident that we can turn this ship around. And with spring officially here, I can’t think of a better time to turn over a new leaf. Here our some tips to help get our kids active again and foster permanent change.
1. Get the whole family involved: This is probably the most important factor for overall success. To elicit permanent change, it’s necessary that we as parents become the role model and go through the process with our kids. Being a cheerleader right along side them not only will benefit everyone’s health, but will also improve your kid’s self-confidence and foster a stronger relationship with you as their parent.
2. Unplug: It’s no news flash that we spend too much time in front of the television, computer, etc. Designated a specific time everyday where all electronic devices are turned off. Even if it’s only a half an hour, the point is to start somewhere. Use this time for physical activity like a family walk, a bike ride, a game of soccer, anything that gets everyone moving! Remember, energy begets energy. It won’t take long for before 30 minutes turns into an hour. Before you know it, your kids will be the one’s requesting to get out for some recreational play.
3. Make it fun: The more game-like the activity the better. Games like wheel barrel races and freeze tag not only are fun, but provide a killer workout! Also, many adults enjoy games as well. I’ve been doing outdoor games and drills with clients for almost eight years now and it’s amazing how kid like we all are! And the best part, it doesn’t feel like a work!
4. Variety: The more you can expose your kids to the better. Activities may include traditional team sports like basketball, or other popular activities like martial arts or skateboarding. Playing a variety of games and activities is great for overall motor skill development and a perfect way of finding what activities your kids enjoy most. Bottom line, if your kids enjoy it, the more likely that they will stick with it in the future!
What image do you think of when the subject of fitness is brought up? Do you envision going to the gym, hopping onto a cardio machine, and zoning out for the next hour. Or perhaps you’re more of a Monday is Chest/Shoulders Tuesday is Back/Biceps kind of person. While either approach is effective and may be satisfactory for some, others will count every painful minute until it’s over or worse, quit due to boredom or lack of results.
Now I’m not saying having a structured gym routine is wrong, it should be part of the process…just not the entire process! What I am suggesting is adding some unstructured, “play-like” workouts into the mix. Remember when you were young and played pickup games of basketball, rode your bike, played tag or participated in other fun games that had you running, jumping, and actually enjoying yourself? Play was great, and it also kept us in shape without realizing it. These same games were great for improving agility, increasing speed and reaction time and were mentally engaging. We can use this approach for our fitness routine as well. A great way of doing it is by incorporating a workout each week that centers around fitness games/drills. Not only are they fun, but they are very challenging fitness wise as well. And the best part? They give you something to look forward to, keep you consistent, and have you feeling like a kid again. So grab a workout partner and enjoy a blast from the past with these games and drills!
Crab Race: Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart. Begin in the crab position (See Photo). For one minute using your hands and legs, crab crawl down and back between the cones as many times as you can within the time limit. Switch partners and repeat. The person who accumulates the most distance wins the round. Or as a second option, make it a race and go simultaneously with your workout partner. Perform 1-3 rounds total.
Shadow Drill: Set up two cones approximately 5 yards apart with your partner standing at the mid-point between the cones facing each other. One will start off as leader while the other follows. Using a lateral shuffle, the leader’s goal is to outmaneuver (i.e. juke) the follower for 15-20 seconds. The follower tries to shadow and match the leaders every move. Rest for 20-60 seconds, switch rolls and repeat. Perform 1-3 sets total.
Pulling Drill: This drill requires either a rope or a rolled up towel. Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart and begin the drill at one end. Both partners will hold the ends of the rope with both hands. The person whose back is facing the cone at the opposite end begins by pulling and dragging their partner towards the other end. The person facing the cone at the opposite end is providing strong resistance, but allowing their partner to move. Switch rolls once you reach the other end and repeat to complete the first set. Perform 1-3 sets total.
Farmer Walk Race: Set up two cones approximately 10 yards apart. Each participant will need a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells. Weight selection depends on your level of strength/fitness. Generally 15-35 lbs. for females and 35-55 lbs. for males. More or less can be used, adjust accordingly. The drill begins with each participant holding their
For a video demonstration please click here.
My journey with fitness, body image, and nutrition has been a struggle to say the least. When I found Jason with Champion Fitness I was in a rut, okay more like a trench. I had fallen off the wagon—hard. I tend to be an all or nothing person and let’s just say when I called Jason, I was in a period of “nothing” with tight fitting jeans and an increasing appetite for junk food. I needed help getting back on track STAT!
Within a few minutes of speaking to Jason about Champion Fitness, I recognized this was different than any other group class or bootcamp I’ve ever done. From the beginning, it was apparent that Jason cares about his clients. He provides a level of expertise and care you wouldn’t normally receive in a group setting. He asked my goals, struggles, likes, dislikes, workout history, and took my measurements – things you don’t normally get with a group class. In addition, Jason holds you accountable (i.e. the dreaded, “where were to today?” text).
I quickly became addicted to the program and now it pains me to miss a class. Kettle bells, TRX, medicine balls, indoor cycles, and foam rollers are all just part of the everyday fun. However, it was when I saw noticeable changes in my body and increased strength that I was truly hooked on Champion Fitness. When I pushed through the initial soreness and exhaustion and allowed the exercise to take effect, the results were unstoppable. Now, I am leaner, firmer, stronger, and more confident than ever. There is something about tackling an intense workout that preps my mind for the rest of the day.
In addition to the results, I’ve come to know and enjoy the group of people that workout alongside me everyday. There is a certain amount of camaraderie built when you’ve conquered a tough workout together. It almost feels like a team—a team with one crazy, caring, intense, passionate leader that keeps us on our toes every single day.
Jason’s expertise and passion are evident in his work. The fitness industry is full of people (trainers and clients alike) solely focused on aesthetics and vanity, Jason breaks the mold. He’s not caught up in the industry hype of looking “perfect.” He cares about the overall health of his clients, mental and physical. Although my body fat has declined and I’m stronger than ever, Jason is continually encouraging me to seek happiness beyond body image. That is what sets him apart and makes Champion Fitness truly elite.
- Shannon Crozier
This is one of my favorite TRX exercises. Primarily for it’s challenges to the core and upper body. Before attempting this exercise there are obviously some things that you need to consider…
First is core stability. As a prerequisite you should be able to hold a plank with your feet suspended in the TRX at an absolute minimum of one minute. AND perform at least 10 suspended pushups with good form as well.
Second is safety. Should seem pretty obvious…but gym guys like me can get bogged down in the guts n glory of it all. Luckily I’ve wised up (a little) in my 30′s. I recommend using a spotter for your legs. If your lower body starts to drift off course even a little, you will immediately be switching to the TRX Helicopter spin…with a tuck exercise. So use a spotter to keep your legs on track until you are comfortable flying solo.
Next…begin small with the exercise. Start with 1- 2 paces in each direction for 5 reps. Next week…shoot for 2-3 at 4 reps, then 3-4 at 3 reps the following week, etc. Before you know it you’ll have no problem getting fully inverted and may even feel inclined (no pun intended) to add a push up in between steps.
That’s it. Watch the video to hear the key points of the exercise and happy training!
Clients, friends, family are always curious what exercises/activities give you the most bang for your buck. Here are 25 that burn at least 500 calories per hour. Also, research shows that the higher the intensity, the more calories that are burned post workout as well…it’s win win! So get out and get active!
1. Basketball 563 calories
2. Cycling (12-20+mph) 563-1126 calories
3. Boxing/Sparring 633 calories
4. Calisthenics (Vigorous) 563 calories
5. Canoeing (> 6 mph) 844 calories
6. Circuit Training 563 calories
7. Flag Football 563 calories
- Team 563 calories
- Individual 844 calories
9. Hockey (Field or Ice) 563 calories
10. Lacrosse 563 calories
11. Racquetball (Competitive) 704 calories
12. Rockclimbing 774 calories
13. Jump Rope
- Slow Pace 563 calories
- Fast Pace 708 calories
14. Rowing 563-844 calories
- 12 min/mile pace 563 calories
- 6 min/mile pace 1126 calories
16. Running Stairs 1056 calories
17. Cross Country Skiing 563-1100 calories
18. Snowshoeing 563 calories
19. Soccer (Competitive) 704 calories
20. Squash 844 calories
21. Swimming 563-750 calories
22. Tennis (Single Competitive) 563 calories
23. Beach Volleyball 563 calories
24. Walking Stairs 563 calories
25. Water Polo 704 calories
* Calories per hour based on 155 lb individual
Many think they don’t have time to exercise…well I’m here to say THINK AGAIN! With minimal resources there is always a way. Recently I did a “Fitness Fast” workshop featuring resistance tubing, TRX, and dumbbells. I love all three of these fitness tools for a few reason. One, they are convenient. Two, they are easy to use. And three, they are great for functional training.
Here is a brief overview of all three with a sample circuit with each. Perform any of the circuits for a quick 10-15 minute workout or perform all three for a longer, more challenging workout.
TRAINING TOOLS FOR FITNESS FAST
Resistance Tubing: is a simple and effective way to get a complete workout and comes with many benefits. It’s portable and can be taken anywhere, whether you’re traveling, looking for an alternative to the gym or just want to add another element to your training. In addition to the convenience, resistance tubing can also create some unique training challenges as well. Tubing adds a progressive increase in resistance, it can be used at different speeds, and provides a horizontal load similar to the cable cross over machines you see at the gym. Simply hook one to a solid anchor point and now you can perform rowing, pressing, rotations and leg movements. Great for training variety and preparing for recreational activities year round!
Sample Resistance Tubing Circuit: 1-3 sets x 1 minute each
- Squat Row
- Rotational Chest Press
- Resisted Lunge
- Torso Rotations
TRX Suspension Trainer: is a body weight training tool made from suspension straps. Attach the TRX to an overhead anchor point or door attachment and adjust the angle of your body to make exercises easier or more challenging. This training tool also creates more demand on the core muscles and helps increase joint stability because the straps need to be controlled by the body. You can easily perform hundreds of exercises using the TRX!
Sample TRX Circuit: 1-3 sets x 1 minute each
- Single Leg Lunge
- Pull ups
- Ice Skaters
Dumbbell Training: is one of the oldest yet most effective training tools around. Dumbbells allow for every movement essential for human function and can be used virtually anywhere. With a single pair of dumbbells, you can easily perform a total body circuit that will get your heart pumping and muscles burning. Dumbbells are a great accessory to add to your home gym.
Sample Dumbbell Circuit: 1-3 sets x 1 minute each
- Lunge to Bicep Curl & Press
- Plank/Dumbbell Row Combo
- Squat to Dumbbell Upper Cut
- Standing Dumbbell Paddle
People are always in search for the “secret” to weight loss and optimal health. I’ve been in the fitness industry for 18 years now and I’m here to tell you…there is no secret! While there are a lot of factors that will make or break one’s success for optimal health, I have found there are five keys to it all. By following and using these five keys not only will you have a greater chance of achieving your fitness and weight loss goals, but you are more likely to enjoy the process as well!
KEY #1: NUTRITION IS 90%
Two Studies with the Same Results
The University of Texas and University of Oklahoma recently conducted a 16-week weight loss study. Two different groups were measured, an exercise group and a control (non-exercise) group. Each week the exercise group performed three hours of strength exercise with an Olympic weightlifting coach and circuit training for two hours with a group exercise instructor. During the study, researchers collected data on body composition and a host of other measures. As expected, the exercise group did get better results…but not much:
- The control group gained 1 lb of lean mass, lost 0.5 lb of fat, and lost 0.5% body fat
- The exercise group gained 3 lb of lean mass, lost 2 lb of fat, and lost 1.5% body fat
WHY? No nutritional adjustments were made for either group!
Bottom line, for true health and successful weight/fat loss, you must eat a balanced and healthy diet.
What habits consist of a “balanced and healthy” diet?
Slow Down! Many of us eat way too fast. It takes about 20 minutes for our sensation of fullness to kick in. The pathway from our stomach, to our brain, and back is long. If you eat too quickly, you are more likely to overeat by the time your brain can communicate it’s time to stop. The long term goal should be taking 15-20 minutes to consume each meal. I know this may be too ambitious for a lot of us and that’s okay! Just by slowing down by 1-2 minutes can make a big difference. From there you can work towards the 15-20 minute goal.
Stop Eating at 80% Fullness: Rather than eating to the point of fullness, focus on eating until you are no longer hungry. In conjunction with slowing down, this again will allow plenty of time for your brain to communicate that it’s time to end the meal. Many benefits come of this, including better overall appetite cues, improved digestion, and increased performance with your workouts as well.
Eat every 2-4 hours: When you go prolonged periods without any food, your body goes into conservation mode simply because it doesn’t know when the next meal is coming. As a result, the body holds onto any excess fat storage which a lot of people would prefer do without. By eating smaller and more frequent meals this will keep your metabolism running at higher levels throughout the day and is more likely to let go of the extra stores.
Eat Fruits and/or Vegetables with Each Meal: There is a good reason why mothers harp on their children to eat their fruits and veggies! Nutrient dense and low in calories, fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and actually help buffer the body’s acidic response to protein and grains. One medium sized fruit, ½ cup of raw chopped fruit or vegetables, and 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables each equal one serving. Aim for 1-2 servings per meal.
Include Protein Dense Foods & Health Fats: Up to1 serving (20-30g) for women and 2 servings for men (40-60 g) should be included with each meal. A portion size of protein is visually about the size of the palm of your hand. Protein dense foods include lean meats such as ground beef, chicken, turkey, bison. Other great protein sources include salmon, tuna, eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, etc. Also, a mixture of fats should also be part of a balanced diet. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, are critical to optimal human function, and can only be absorbed by the body with adequate fat in our diet. Eating a variety of meats, cheeses, nuts, olive oil, and a fish oil supplement are all great ways to getting our daily dose of fat.
Eat “Quality” Carbohydrates: Cut back on the processed, sugary carbs like juice, white flour, muffins, etc and focus your efforts on eating more whole food and fiber rich carbs. This includes a mix of vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grain breads and pastas, quinoa, long grain rice, etc. Typically, vegetables, beans, legumes, and most fruit can be consumed often and at any time of the day. For breads, pasta, and rice, ideally these should be consumed after workouts or physical activity, especially if fat loss is a goal. Primarily this is because the body has its highest tolerance of carbohydrates post-workout than any other time. This will help refuel the body without any carbohydrate “spill over” into fat storage.
Great Nutritional Sources:
KEY #2: YOU NEED A STRONG SOCIAL SUPPORT GROUP
Social Support: “Network of individuals that provides feedback, constructive criticism, and encouragement for one’s lifestyle choices.
“You are the average of the five people closest to you.” How does your social support group look?
- Does your spouse/partner follow healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising regularly, watching what they eat, and taking nutritional supplements?
- At your workplace, do your coworkers regularly bring in treats like cookies, donuts, and other snacks?
- If you go out to eat more than once per week, do the people you dine with order healthy selections?
- Do you belong to any clubs, groups, or teams that meet at least twice per week and do some physical exercise (this does not include a gym membership)?
- Do the people you live or work with schedule activities for you that interfere with your pre-established exercise time?
If most of your answers made you raise an eyebrow…then you may need to align yourself with a stronger group. It’s not to say that you need to sever all ties in your existing relationships, but you do need to be aware if you have any “Crabs in your bucket.”
Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that members of a group will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, conspiracy, or competitive feelings.
Strategies to overcome the “Crab” obstacle
- Encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to join you in social events that compliment your goals (healthy dinners, physical challenges, group workouts).
- Join a network of individuals that work towards common goals. This can be a hiking/running group, a recreation sports league, or fitness club.
- Consider hiring a professional. IDEA, the international health and fitness organization found that 75% of individuals that workout aren’t getting the results they want. And of the 25% who were, 90% of them work with a personal trainer.
KEY #3: HAVE S.M.A.R.T GOALS
Saying “I want to lose weight” is not enough. Goals need to be focused, and realistic. A common acronym for goal setting is SMART, Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Reward Based & Realistic, and with a Timeframe. “I want to lose 20 pounds of body fat in 6 months and then I will get myself that new swimsuit.” This is a great example of a SMART goal. Not only does it cover each component, but it is realistic as well. Since the recommended range for permanent weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, a goal of losing 20 pounds in 5 months is honest and very achievable.
“A Goal without a plan is just a wish.” In other words, action needs to be taken! Include five steps with each corresponding goal for the coming year. Your steps should be conducive and relate directly to your goals.
Here’s how it looks using our same weight loss example:
SMART Goal: Lose 20 pounds of body fat in 6 months
Action Step #1 – Get a gym membership by the end of the week
Action Step #2 – Do 45-60 minutes of cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
Action Step #3 – Do strength training for 1 hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Action Step #4 – Eat 4 to 6 small healthy meals/snacks per day
Action Step #5 – Drink 10 to 12 cups of water every day
Notice how the action steps focus on behavior not the outcome. With a behavior focus, the goal becomes framed around activities that are under your control. With this approach we detach from the outcome, but ultimately our behaviors shape the outcome.
- I will commit to completing at least 90% of my scheduled workouts for the next eight weeks.
- I will commit to only one “free meal” per week for the next eight weeks.
- I will commit to eating breakfast everyday for the next eight weeks.
- I will commit to taking a multivitamin and an omega 3 supplement daily for the next eight weeks.
KEY #4: YOU MUST TRAIN WITH INTENSITY
Fat Burning Zone Myth
The discussion usually begins like this, “If you work too hard during cardio you’ll burn less fat!” Yes, the myth of the “fat burning zone” is alive and well! I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 15 years and it still amazes me that this topic still exists. But, with cardio equipment manufactures continuing to display low intensity training as “fat loss” on their monitors and a percentage of fitness consultants still prescribing low intensity cardio as the most effective method for weight loss, it’s no wonder that the confusion still exists! The question is why?
Specifically the “fat burning zone” is 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. Past research has shown that you burn a higher percentage of fat while training at this intensity. People were quick to conclude that this must lead to more fat loss. The problem with this theory is the most important factor is left out, the rate of calories being burned. Also, fat is still being used at higher workout intensities and ultimately will result in more fat calories expended overall. Take for example, the average exerciser burns approximately 8 calories/minute while training in the fat burning zone with approximately 50% coming from fat. Compare that with an exerciser working at 70-80% of max heart rate (“Cardiovascular Zone”) the rate increases to 11 calories/minute on average with approximately 40% of fat being used. The final result:
Fat Burning Zone (50-60% of max heart rate)
• Approximately 50% of calories come from fat
• Approximately 8 calories/minute are expended
• 60 minutes x 8 calories/minute = 480 calories
• 50% x 480 calories = 240 fat calories
Cardiovascular Zone (70-80% of max heart rate)
• Approximately 40% of calories come from fat
• Approximately 11 calories/minute are expended
• 60 minutes x 11 calories/minute = 640 calories
• 40% x 640 calories = 264 fat calories
The cardiovascular zone yields more for both total calories and fat calories burned! And as a bonus, your fitness levels will improve even more! This is key, because the body will begin to burn more fat during and after workouts. This happens because the body begins to spare carbohydrates, a process known as “glycogen sparing.” Since carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel, and since we have a limited supply, the body naturally begins to use a higher percentage of fat during workouts as our fitness improves.
Also, after intense exercise, the body has to work even harder to restore equilibrium to our body temperature, respiratory rate, and hormone levels. This requires high amounts of oxygen, a process known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). With this increased demand for oxygen, more fuel is required from our body during post workout recovery to achieve homeostasis. And guess what the primary fuel is during this process…FAT!
The take home message is that there is no magical “fat burning zone”. For best results, cardiovascular training should include a variety of intensities. While there are countless benefits to training at higher intensities, low intensity workouts are still important and should be included into your routine, especially if you are just beginning a program. And even an avid exercisers in need of some “active recovery” can benefit from lower intensities a couple times per week. Outlined below are some recommended training guidelines for overall cardiovascular fitness.
Cardiovascular Training Guidelines
Structure 2–3 long and easy intensity workouts each week. These sessions should be 45 minutes plus in duration with a target heart rate ranging between 50-70% of your maximum. These workouts should be feel comfortable, but have you still breaking a sweat. These workouts effectively target your aerobic energy system which will help develop fat burning enzymes, help maximize recovery, and should be your starting point if you’re just beginning a program.
Structure 1–2 moderate length and intensity aerobic workouts each week. These sessions should be 30–40 minutes in duration and target heart rate should range between 70-80% of your maximum. The level of effort in these workouts should be comfortable but challenging.
Structure 1–2 short and intense interval workouts into your program each week. These workouts should last between 20–30 minutes with your target heart rate ranging between 80-90% of your max during work intervals. During these workouts your breathing is heavier and will definitely be above your comfort zone
Strength Training Principles & Guidlines
Principle of Overload: A greater than normal stress or load on the body is required for training adaptation to occur. The body will always adapt to exercise over time and once this happens a different stimulus is required for additional strength gains. The process should be gradual and is usually accomplished by altering training intensity or increasing the amount of weight lifted. As a rule, when you can perform two or more repetitions over your repetition goal in the last set of two consecutive workouts, intensity should be increased. Weight increases should range between 2.5-5% for isolated exercises (e.g. tricep pressdowns) and 5-10% for exercises that utilize larger muscle groups (e.g. bench press).
Principle of Variation: Much like the principle of overload, except it involves altering one or a combination of training variables. Specifically, speed of movement, rest periods, training frequency, exercise order, or style of exercises. Take a dumbbell lunge for example. We could vary this exercise by switching to split jumps which would alter two variables, the speed of movement and the style of exercise.
Train for movement: Muscles work in synergy. The term “synergy” comes from the latin word meaning to “work together.” The nervous system innervates the musculoskeletal system to work as a complete unit. A baseball player throwing a ball with maximum velocity or simply the act of running best illustrates this point. The muscles work in harmony. Performing more compound exercises that involve multiple joints and allow the body to work as a whole unit has a higher carry over into day to day life. Also, training for movement will yield greater strength gains, improve coordination, and increase stability. Exercise Example: Squat Row
Train all planes: The human body works in three different planes of movement (sagittal, frontal, and transverse). Basically, the body is made to rotate, move forwards/backwards and side to side. Thus, it’s important to train for movement in all directions. This will help minimize muscle/movement imbalances, decrease risk of injury, and improve overall function. Exercise Example: Rotational Cable Chest Press
Train Balance & Stability: Strength is transferable from an unstable environment to a stable environment but not the other way around” (Orr 2009). In other words, training muscles strictly in a machine based settling will yield little or no improvement for your balance or stability. In order to improve balance & stability, you must train for it! Try performing traditional exercises on a BOSU, stability ball or in a single leg position. Not only with it improve balance and stability, but strength as well. Exercise Example: Single Leg Squat
Train Standing: In can’t be emphasized enough! We sit enough throughout the day between work and our daily commute. Try to perform the majority of your exercises in a standing/upright position for better overall functional strength and improved posture.
Using these principles, incorporate strength training into your routine at least 2-3 times per week. Focusing primarily on total body movements. Sets and reps are based on individual goals and needs. Here are the recommended ranges:
- 1-3 sets
- 50-70% max
- Rest 30-60 seconds between sets
- 3-5 sets
- 6-12 reps
- 75-85% max
- Rest 45-90 seconds between sets
- 4-6 sets
- 1-5 reps
- 85-100% max
- Rest 3-5 minutes between sets
KEY #5: TAKE YOUR TRAINING BEYOND THE SCALE
Maintaining focus year after year can be challenging, especially if we’re working out just for the sake of working out. Giving your workouts a greater purpose and training for activities outside of the gym can help you stay on track…permanently It’s easy to skip a workout if you lack a specific purpose, but if a ½ marathon is lurking around the corner, odds are you’ll stay consistent. Besides, most of us have recreational activities we enjoy like running, cycling, basketball or snowboarding. Focusing workouts towards improving your recreational skills can help keep you focused and consistent year in and year out.
You are always ready! Does this sound like you? “I need to get into better shape before I can do something that.” Quite the contrary! There’s always a wide range of participants, men, women, all with different fitness levels in a variety of events every year. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate. The only obstacle you have to overcome is making the decision to do it. But once you do an amazing thing happens. Your purpose training purpose changes automatically. Instead of worrying about mastering the scale, now your focus is on mastering your fitness.
Have Fun! Remember growing up in a world where there were no deadlines, meetings, errands, etc? We simply played. Whatever your motivation for getting in shape I encourage you find your fun! Life always comes with responsibility, but we can still take the time to reconnect with that “timeless” part of ourselves. Whether it’s the Dirty Dash, going on a scenic hike, or simply playing with your kids, take the time to do it every week. Follow this formula and you’ll achieve results greater than imagined and enjoy the journey along the way!