Take Pride

Pride

I read a quote the other day that was very straight forward, had some foul language and probably even insulted a few people; however, the mentality and meaning of the quote was the proper way to view the situation. The quote was slapped on a picture of someone who was in fantastic shape, I will not bore you with the details of whether it was a man or woman in the picture because it is irrelevant, so who cares, and the quote said Now the last part which I have underlined may be taking it over the top but regardless the first section of the quote rings true

“F**K YEAH I’LL SHOW OFF THE BODY I SLAVED FOR. You can cry all day about my so-called arrogance but if you worked as hard as I did for what I have you would be flaunting it too. Enjoy your Jealousy. I’ll enjoy looking good.” I read this quote the other day and originally thought it was a little too straight forward but after a bit more pondering I realized that the mentality and meaning of the quote was the proper way to view the situation. The quote was slapped on a picture of someone who was in fantastic shape, I will not bore you with the details of whether it was a man or woman in the picture because it is irrelevant. Regardless of who is in the picture or whether the language is too explicit the quote itself rings true. How often in our lives do we see someone out at the mall, gym or wherever wearing something that we would consider to be “showing off” their figure and physique only to turn up our noses at them and call them, arrogant, self-centered, full of themselves or an outright ass? It happens every single day, but what we fail to realize or what we forget is that person not only has worked but continues to work their butt off to be in shape and are proud of what they have accomplished. Are we not proud of our accomplishments that we work so hard for?   What differs from the accomplishments we attain to our figure to the exam you studied your butt off for to get an “A” or that promotion you got after putting in all those twelve hour days? The answer is simple…. NOTHING!

For anyone that is still having a difficult time seeing the light, let me put it this way. Would you expect a self-made business tycoon that worked extremely hard for their success and wealth to drive a second hand beat up car and live in a trailer just to hide their accomplishments to the rest of the world? No…. so why would you expect to see someone wearing an oversized coat or a two sizes too big sweater just to hide their physique? Being proud is not being self-centered and arrogant, being proud is just human nature. All in all the moral of the story is… go ahead, be proud and show off what you have earned because, well………. you earned it!

Water Intake

Water intake

 

Drinking water…. it is such a simple concept yet so many have such a hard time with this. Sometimes it blows my mind with how difficult it can be to get people to drink more water. It is everywhere we look, in our offices, at the grocery store, gas stations, our homes, the gym, literally everywhere and every day we hear how important it is and how much water we should drink yet very few of us ever meet the recommended amount. The recommended amount is roughly two to two and a half litres (1,2) for the typical adult; however, this can change quite a bit if you exercise regularly or are in any situation where you are sweating. They say that for every fifteen minutes of exercise or any activity causing you to sweat that you should consume another cup of water (1,2). Since water is literally everywhere you would think it would be easy to drink this much water but everyone has their reason. “I never think about it”, so set a timer on your phone (I know they are attached to 90% of the public’s hand at all times) or put your water bottle on your desk at work, not your lunch or your purse, your desk. “I’m never thirsty”, stop drinking other liquids such as sugary pop, coffee, juice or substitutes and I guarantee you will start to get thirsty. “I don’t like the taste of water” to this one I would like to say oh grow up, it’s water, most people don’t like to go to work every day either but for the most part it is essential to life and so we do it, but if you truly can’t handle water, find some way to stomach it. Put cucumber or lemon or something else (excluding artificial flavoring I will cover this in a later topic) if you have to but find a way to make it enjoyable.

Now here is why drinking water is important. Water is essential for pretty much everything. The majority of our body is comprised of water (1,2) about 70% roughly. It is in our muscle cells and the more water we hold in our muscle cells the better equipped they will be to function and grow (1,2,3). It is in all of our blood vessels and therefore passes through our organs, such as our heart, kidneys and liver. If our blood does not contain enough water it will become thicker and therefore our heart will have to pump harder to push blood around to the rest of our organs. This would be like pumping molasses instead of water through the plumbing of your house, obviously this is an exaggeration but you can see which would be harder on the pump. As for our kidneys and liver these are huge filtration systems which have to filter both good and bad things out and without the water passing through these organs solid particles can get caught which will place stress on them and can cause organ failure (4). (Think of it as a sand sifter, if you take a handful of mud and put it on a sand sifter it isn’t going to go anywhere and will get jammed up, but if you run enough water through that mud and sifter then it will pass through easily) Water also aids in our digestion and helps flush everything through our digestive tract the exact same as it helps solids pass through our kidneys and liver. There are a lot of other ways that water helps our body but this is a blog and not a book so these examples are all I am going to cover today.

 

1. Katch, F. I., Katch, V. L., McArdle, W. D. (2007). Exercise Physiology (Sixth Edition). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

2. Baechle, T. R. & Earle, R. W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Third Edition). Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

3. Blair, S. N., Bouchard, C., Haskell, W. L. (2007). Physical Activity and Health. Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

4. Ehrman, J. K., Gordon, P. M., Keteyian, S. J., Visich, P. S. (2008). Clinical Exercise Physiology (Second Edition). Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

Fat Burning Zone

The fat burning zone was proposed a long time ago as the optimal heart rate zone in which the body will use the highest percentage of fat as its fuel source. In other words, when exercising in this zone most of the energy the body is using is coming from fat storage. The allure to this theory is that it only requires people to keep their heart rate at approximately sixty-five percent of its maximum, meaning people no longer had to run or fully exert themselves to get the results they desired. As you can imagine, almost everyone adopted this theory and attacked cardio equipment the world over. I mean, who wouldn’t? Minimal effort with maximal results…. but just like most cases, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In truth, the time of day when we are consuming the bulk of our calories from fat is actually when we are sleeping. 1 Now I am not saying you should sleep all day to lose weight, I am just stating a fact. The best way to compare the fat burning zone to other exercise intensities is to look at the overall breakdown of energy expenditure.

For example: If we walk or jog lightly one might burn 350 calories per hour and anywhere from 60-80% of that energy expenditure might come from fat which would equate to 210-280 calories burned from fat. Meanwhile if we exercised at a much higher intensity we might burn 1000 calories per hour and anywhere from 25-45% may come from fat which would equate to 250-450 calories burned from fat. 1,2 Not to mention all those extra overall calories you burned, which came from our carbohydrate stores. (carbohydrate storage blog coming soon) As you can see this whole fat burning zone theory is a ridiculous way to go about losing body fat.

1. Katch, F. I., Katch, V. L., McArdle, W. D. (2007). Exercise Physiology (Sixth Edition). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

2. Blair, S. N., Bouchard, C., Haskell, W. L. (2007). Physical Activity and Health. Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

3. McNeely, E. (2012). The Role of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) in Weight Loss Programs. NSCA Education Online.

4. Gleeson, M., Hough, J. P., Papacosta, E., & Wraith, E. (2011). Plasma and Salivary Steroid Hormone Responses of Men to High-Intensity Cycling and Resistance Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25, 23-31.

5. Baechle, T. R. & Earle, R. W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Third Edition). Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

Steady State versus Intervals

Steady state versus intervals

 

It has come to my attention that in the fitness world today we have an epidemic. No I’m not talking about the rise in obesity; I’m talking about the rise in steady state cardio. Everyday millions of gym goers flood into their local fitness facilities to spend their next forty-five minutes spinning their wheels and have become entrenched in the rut known as weight-loss. This trend has been around for decades due to the emergence of the “fat burning zone”. (For more information on the fat burning zone see “The fat burning zone”)

Steady state cardio however, has not only been used for weight-loss but also for aerobic conditioning and overall health. These are three common goals which almost everyone who exercises wishes to achieve and therefore make steady state cardio a widely used approach. People fail to realize there is a much more efficient and safer way to achieve all of these results. For those of you that are now on the edge of your seat here’s the answer. INTERVALS! Intervals can not only provide us with similar or better results but they can do it in faster and safer way. Let’s break this down into a few different categories and see how both match up. (Time, Safety, Weight-loss, Health)

We’ll start first with time because it is the one thing that no one ever seems to have enough of. How often have you said, “I’ll exercise tomorrow, I just don’t have time today”? Well, with the help of intervals this statement will become a thing of the past. With intervals you no longer need one to two hours to do your cardio routine, but instead need only fifteen to twenty-five minutes. When done properly 15-25 minutes of intervals have been shown to yield the same results as one hour of cardio. 1,2

Now that we have taken care of the time barrier let’s talk about the actual effects of intervals. Intervals actually have a better effect on weight-loss than steady state cardio due to several factors. One of these factors is called EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which basically is the increase in one’s metabolism after exercising, an effect that lasts for several hours. EPOC has been shown to cause elevations in metabolism from four to forty-eight hours after exercise and has been shown to be significantly higher when performing intervals compared to its steady state counterpart. 2,3,5 The reason our body experiences a higher EPOC following intervals is because of increased demand for oxygen. During intervals our body literally cannot take in enough oxygen to keep up with the demand and therefore will cause an overcompensating effect afterwards. Think of it in similar terms of holding your breath or going underwater, when you stop holding your breath or resurface you immediately gasp for air and increase your breathing rate for several seconds afterwards. This is an overcompensation and safety mechanism our body does in reaction to many stresses and is produced on a much larger scale when doing intervals than going underwater. Due to the significantly higher EPOC and heart rate, intervals in the end actually burn more calories and therefore more fat. (For more on this see “Fat Burning Zone”) 1,2,3,4,5

Intervals can also produce the same increases in cardiovascular health and capacity 1,2,3 but relate more to everyday lifestyle. Throughout our daily routines it is a rarity for us to be consistently working at a 65% or higher heart rate capacity and instead our heart rate follows more of a rollercoaster fashion with short burst of increased activity followed be lengthy lows. Doing intervals are also far easier on the body, such as our joints, than steady state cardio. It has been said that for the average person running has the same impact on the foot as dropping a bowling ball from approximately twelve inches off the ground. During typical running you can take between 3000 to 6000 strides per leg! That is a lot of impact for each foot, without even considering that our knees, hips and lower back all take a beating as well.

 

1. Katch, F. I., Katch, V. L., McArdle, W. D. (2007). Exercise Physiology (Sixth Edition). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

2. Blair, S. N., Bouchard, C., Haskell, W. L. (2007). Physical Activity and Health. Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

3. McNeely, E. (2012). The Role of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) in Weight Loss Programs. NSCA Education Online.

4. Gleeson, M., Hough, J. P., Papacosta, E., & Wraith, E. (2011). Plasma and Salivary Steroid Hormone Responses of Men to High-Intensity Cycling and Resistance Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25, 23-31.

5. Baechle, T. R. & Earle, R. W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Third Edition). Illinois: Human Kinetics, Inc.

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