Archives for February 2013

A Half Marathon Training Tip That Might Work For You Too.

I’ve started training for my annual half marathon that takes place in April.  The real challenge this year is that due to peer pressure I’m signed up for two half’s in a row.  The week after the annual April half marathon event I’ve got 13 miles to run again in another city.  I’ve got my work cut out for me.

The biggest problem living in Illinois is that in the winter it’s hard to get in any distance runs except on a treadmill which I’ve never been a big fan of.  I’ve read, and even written, about strategies that will make treadmill running more bearable.  I’ve incorporated many of the tips into my workouts.  Recently, I’ve been doing my own version of extreme hills which is helping me stay motivated and challenged.

But, despite having a great playlist, mileage tracker and the hill challenge, I still have trouble staying on the treadmill for a distance that resembles a half marathon training run. The boredom and mental fatigue are winning!

I have a love/hate relationship with the yellow spin bike at the gym.

I have a love/hate relationship with the yellow spin bike at the gym.

Going For A Spin!

I have found the way to extend the cardio workout is to put a short cycling stint in immediately after the run.  In the gym where I work out we have spin bikes in the cardio section of the fitness center and no one is ever on them at the hour that I’m there so it’s easy for me to get off of the treadmill and right onto the bike.

It’s been several years since I’ve done any serious cycling.  I’m amazed at how much I love the way the spin bike makes my legs feel! Totally different than the running or other activities that I do.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if spending the time on the bike will have any impact on my half marathon training or if I’m just wasting my time.

[Read more…]

Short Video for Go Red For Women and Blog Your Heart Out Day.

February 22, 2013.  It’s Blog Your Heart Out Day. Who else is blogging about the number one killer of women — heart disease?

I created a two and a half minute video for the Blog Your Heart Out sweepstakes.  I hope you will share the video on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or where ever it is that you hang out socially so that your friends and family will see some of the statistics about women and cardiovascular disease.

There are ways to reduce your risk of heart disease as shown in the video.  The best news is, it’s never too late to start.  Begin making some some small, but significant changes in your diet and physical activity patterns today, and reap the rewards of those changes tomorrow and for years to come.

Be Social! Share!

Blog Your Heart Out Day: February 22, 2013

Blog Your Heart Out BadgeGo Red For Women!  Join the American Heart Association and Fitlosophy, Inc., on February 22, 2013 for the third annual Blog Your Heart Out Day!

Fitlosophy, Inc. and the AHA encourage bloggers around the globe to raise awareness about the number one killer of women — heart disease.

As a blogger here’s what you can do:

  • invite readers to join the Go Red For Women movement online at Goredforwomen.org.  Please use this link so Fitlosophy and the AHA can track their success: .
  • Download the Blog Your Heart out badge at the Fitlosophy web site and put it in your sidebar to draw even more attention to the Go Red For Women movement.  Once the badge is on your site, make sure you link the badge to: .
  • Educate your audience on ways they can recognize the symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks. Provide facts about what they can do each day in their own lives to prevent heart disease.
  • Blog about how your life or someone you know has been impacted by heart disease.

Then, on February 25th email BYHO@getfitbook.com the following:

  • the link to your Blog Your Heart Out Day blog post
  • the number of hits on your blog on February 22 or the number of average readers per day

[Read more…]

Do You Graze Or Fast? One might be better than the other.

I listened to a nutritionist on CNN this weekend talk about the myth that six small meals a day will help you lose weight.  She said that the six meal a day plan isn’t the way to weight loss. Just ask any endocrinologist and they will tell you that eating six meals a day will put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Her advice was to eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.  That’s it.

I found that interesting considering that, for several years, we have been hearing about the benefits of ‘grazing’ and the 3 hour diet that tells us that eating more often throughout the day will boost metabolism, keep our energy up, and prevent the risk of overeating.

The nutritionist on CNN isn’t the only person that thinks the six meal a day plan is unhealthy.  Dr. John Douillard, at his web site LifeSpa, also says that the 3 hour diet can increase the risk of diabetes.

Should humans be following the same eating patterns as cattle?

Should humans be following the same eating patterns as cattle?

The Six Meals A Day Plan 

In Dr. Douillard’s article Dangers of Frequent Eating, he says “The risk increases when insulin spikes after eating foods that have high glycemic values. If you eat only three meals a day, (even high-glycemic ones), your insulin levels have time to even out, [according to ] Victor Zammit, head of cell biochemistry at Hannah Research Institute in Ayr, Scotland. Conversely, if you eat high glycemic foods between meals, your insulin levels stay dangerously high.”  Translation: If you eat all day your glycemic values stay high all day.

Even if the six meals a day doesn’t contribute to an increased risk of diabetes – and no doubt it would not have that effect on everyone –  studies have not been able to prove any real connection between eating every three hours and increased metabolism, long-term weight loss, or more controlled eating patterns.

Intermittent Fasting

Now that the six meals a day plan is considered another weight loss myth, a strategy for more efficient calorie burning and a speedier metabolism is trending:  Intermittent Fasting (IF).  Quite the opposite of grazing where you never go more than three hours without eating, intermittent fasting supporters will tell you it’s okay to let yourself go hungry.

Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you have to go for long periods of time without food, although you can if you choose to.  IF means that you skip breakfast or dinner, or fast for a full day every week or so.  Fasting means to abstain from solid foods.  Water, tea, coffee and low-calories beverages are permitted.

The argument for the benefits of IF is based on our evolutionary history.  We have not always had a steady food supply at our fingertips.  We’ve had to go for long periods of time without food while we look for our next meal.

In an article by Dr. Andrew Weil, Intermittent Fasting: A Healthy Choice, he cites a review done by the University of California, Berkeley, where researchers concluded that alternate-day fasting may decrease cardiovascular disease, decrease cancer risk, lower diabetes risk, improve cognitive function, and protect against some effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Should You Stop Grazing And Start Fasting?  

There are a number of web sites and studies that support IF as a way to live longer and reduce the risk of chronic disease.  There are just as many that endorse the 3 hour diet approach.  But, a shift from grazing to fasting does seem to be taking place.

This doesn’t mean everyone should stop grazing and start fasting.  If eating six small meals a day works for you, you should continue to do that. But when something happens that you’re not able to eat one of your meals, or one of those meals is going to end up being a less than healthy choice, you would be better off putting intermittent fasting into play.

Allowing your body to go longer between meals or snacks and learning to recognize that the feeling of hunger isn’t necessarily bad may help you break through a weight-loss plateau.   Getting away from the idea that you must eat every three hours can give you the freedom to do what is most natural: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.

Plus when you focus on what you are going to eat three times a day instead of six you will have more time to focus on the quality of the meals that you’re eating.

Do You Graze or Fast or Both?

I’m both a grazer and a faster.  On days when I’m working on a project in my cubicle I’ll do plenty of grazing.  A banana.  An hour later a handful almonds.  Before lunch I’ll eat a Greek yogurt. Veggies and hummus as an afternoon snack get me through until dinner.

On Saturdays I’m busy enough that I don’t think about food until later in the afternoon. I drink coffee and water until I have time to stop for something to eat around 1 or 2 p.m.

I’m not convinced one method is superior to the other.

To date, we know two things for sure.  1.) to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume and 2.) the only thing that has consistently shown to increase Basal Metabolic Rate is exercise.

So, we’re back to square one.

Who’s to say that in three to five years researchers won’t learn that intermittent fasting is a weight-loss myth and have a new trick for us to try that’s been proven to work on rats.

Whatever you do, make sure that you load your plate with vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, whole fruits, drink plenty of water and get moderate amounts of exercise each day.  That’s the real secret sauce.

Do you graze or fast?  Be Social!  Share!  

Review: The Biggest Loser Power Ab Blast DVD

Dolvett Quince and Bob Harper team up to deliver Power Ab Blast with six contestants from the Biggest Loser television show.

The Ab Blast consists of four workouts: Standing Abs, Cardio Abs, All-Out Abs, and Yoga Abs.  The workouts are short in length. Three are 10  minute workouts and one, Cardio Abs, is 15 minutes. Power Ab Blast is a new release from Lionsgate.

Here’s a summary of what each workout contains:

Standing Abs – This workout has some of my favorite moves.  Dolvett has the contestants use a medicine ball for the squat chop move that is a great way to work obliques.  The bonus is you’re also working arms and legs.  Standing abs also has knee strikes with the medicine ball, and planks on the ball.  This isn’t Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer.  It’s a doable workout that is a good place to start if you’re looking for a 10 minute ab workout.

Biggest Loser Power Blast Standing Abs Workout

Biggest Loser Power Blast Standing Abs Workout

Cardio Abs – Bob Harper leads this segment.  It’s a quick cardio workout that’s based on the philosophy that you can have a six pack, but if you’re covering it up with fat no one will see it.  The moves are simple.  Bob has the group doing weighted jacks, wood \

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Consumer Advocacy Group Urges The FDA To Regulate The Sugar In Soda.

News this week suggests the U.S. could be moving towards more regulation in the food and drug industry. Do we desperately need it or is it enough already?

Sugary Soda

This week the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging them to require that beverage makers reduce the amount of high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners.

The average 20-ounce soda contains 16 teaspoons of sugars made from high fructose corn syrup. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar daily.  For women the limit is 6 teaspoons.

Research shows that some 14 million Americans of all ages get more than one-third of their calories from added sugar.  The average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar a year.

How about this for an outdoor ad?

How about this for an outdoor ad?

Outdoor Fast Food Ads

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have found that people that live in areas that have the greatest number of outdoor fast-food ads are more likely to be obese than people who live in areas without these signs.

The link between the ads and the levels of obesity is significant enough to confirm that “policy approaches may be important to reduce the amount of food advertising in urban areas.”

[Read more…]

Are Dr. Oz’s Weight Loss Tricks For You?

Is anyone else getting tired of Dr. Oz?  His unsolicited ads are now appearing in my Facebook feed daily and there’s always an ad for a weight loss supplement that he’s promoting in the side bar. What exactly is Dr. Oz peddling?

For a physician he seems to push quick fixes that consist of taking a non-FDA approved supplement that has been through little, if any, legitimate testing.  Most – if not all – of them turn out to be pricey gimmicks that people pay money for without any return on their investment.

Then there is this odd disclaimer on his web site that follows all of the articles promoting the miracle cures that says:  “The Dr. Oz Show will not and does not promote any particular brand. If you see any ads or receive any e-mails that claim Dr. Oz is promoting or recommending a specific brand, ignore it and let The Dr. Oz Show know about it.”

The red one is magic.

The red one is the magic weight loss pill.

So just what is he up to?

From raspberry ketone, to green coffee beans, capsicum, and calcium pyruvate, Dr. Oz promotes one unsubstantiated rapid weight loss fix after another. Here’s the low-down on some of the products found on Dr. Oz’s web site:

Raspberry Ketone – Dr. Oz says that it “can help in your weight-loss efforts, especially when paired with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet of healthy and whole foods.”  Really?  If you’re eating a well-balanced diet of healthy and whole foods and exercising, why do you need the raspberry ketone?

According to both the Mayo Clinic and Web MD, insufficient research has been done on humans to conclude that Raspberry Ketone assists in any way with weight loss.

Capsicum – Dr. Oz says that Capsicum stimulates metabolism by activating a chain of events in the body that helps to melt fat and break it down in the body. The article on his web site about Capsicum also says, “After taking the extract, focus on exercises that build lean muscle, which further burns fat, even while resting.”

Is there a pattern emerging here?  With the raspberry ketone if you eat right and exercise you’ll lose weight.  With the Capsicum if you focus on exercises that builds lean muscle mass you will be more efficient at burning fat.  That’s what strength training does!  It increases muscle mass and as a result your body burns more calories throughout the day.

Again, as with Raspberry Ketone, there has not been sufficient research done on Capsicum to support the claims that it is effective as a weight loss aid.

Calcium Pyruvate – Here’s Dr. Oz’s spin on Calcium Pyruvate: “Pyruvate seems to work by increasing your body’s use of fat as an energy source. Normally, your body first breaks down sugar, then protein, and fat is saved until the end. Pyruvate appears to divert fat to be broken down sooner. The result is that the resting metabolic rate is raised, meaning you could feasibly be melting fat while watching TV if you have ingested the right amount of pyruvate.”

Feasibly, I’ve always wanted to melt fat while I’m having a glass of wine watching re-runs of Two and A Half Men so go ahead and sign me up for this one.

Dr. Bill Sukala, Phd Exercise and Sports Science, wrote an excellent and very thorough article, Pyruvate Suppmenets: A Comprehensive Review Of Marketing Claims, on the research that has been done on Calcium Pyruvate.  Sukala says  “the most popular [pyruvate] weight loss claims are supported by limited evidence, and there are many more with no basis in fact whatsoever. Some are downright false and others are deceptive half-truths.”  You can read the full article here.

Saffron Extract – – Dr. Oz gets zuber-excited about saffron extract which he refers to as a ‘miracle appetite suppressant’.  Watch this video of him telling his audience about all of the science behind it.  At around  2.39 minutes into the video he says not once, but twice, that the people in the study were allowed to eat whatever they want and they still lost weight.  He is able to convince the audience that saffron extract is the miracle that everyone has been waiting for.

Green Coffee Beans – From Dr. Oz:  “Various studies have suggested that chlorogenic acid [found in coffee beans] slows absorption of fat from food intake and also activates metabolism of extra fat. Unfortunately, traditional brewed coffee doesn’t serve as a good source of chlorogenic acid. While roasting green coffee beans removes its naturally bitter taste, it also removes a significant portion of chlorogenic acid. Hence, green coffee beans remain one of the best natural sources for chlorogenic acid.

Research on green coffee beans and weight loss is relatively new.  The one study that has been done is considered to be preliminary and results were inconclusive.  Even the study Dr. Oz did himself is questionable.  He divided 100 women into two groups.  One group took the green coffee beans, the other took a placebo.  The women that took the coffee beans lost an average of two pounds.  The placebo group lost one pound.  This study raises so many questions I couldn’t possibly address them all in this article except to ask, why did the women on the placebo lose one pound?

Fact Or Fiction?

How does someone that wants to lose weight sort through all of these products that Dr. Oz is so enthusiastic about?

On his web site Dr. Oz refers to them as diet ‘tricks’ which is the first clue that what you’re going to hear or read about has sketchy – if any – research backing it up.

He also consistently uses phrases like:

  • melts fat
  • activates metabolism
  • increases body’s use of fat
  • burns fat while resting
  • lose weight without diet or exercise
  • miracle

If there were miracle products that would help people lose and keep weight off we would all know about, and have access to, them.  The truth is there is only one way to lose weight.  You have to burn more calories than you consume by eating less and moving more.  The best way to do this is to limit portions, select low-calorie/nutrient-dense foods, get 30 minutes of physical activity every day, and sleep seven to eight hours a night.

We all wish there were an easier way but until a real miracle comes along this is what we have to work with.  That’s why it is so irritating to see this constant dribble from Dr. Oz about one fat melting trick after another.

It’s also disheartening that all of the ‘diet trick’ posts have dozens of comments from people that say they are going to go out and buy the products that Dr. Oz is promoting (but not endorsing) and that haven’t been proven to work.

I’m thinking maybe a Green Coffee Bean Ketone Capsicum Saffron stacker would be a trick. Or, at the very least, tricky.

What’s your take on Dr. Oz’s diet tricks?  Be Social! Share!

American Heart Association Celebrates 10 Years Of Going Red For Women

This year the American Heart Association celebrates 10 years of going red for women. The annual Go Red For Women events raise awareness around heart disease – the number one cause of death in women.

10 Years Of Fighting Heart Disease In Women.

Did you know?

  • Heart disease is the number one killer of women.
  • More women die from heart disease than the next three causes of death combined.
  • Most women (64%) who die suddenly from heart disease had no symptoms.
  • Hispanic women are at greater risk for heart disease. In fact they develop the disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics.
  • African American women are at two times greater risk of developing heart disease than Caucasian.
    •     Source – American Heart Association

Making healthy choices – eating nutritious foods, cutting out saturated and trans fats, and getting plenty of physical activity – will help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Just A Little Heart Attack

Last year The American Heart Association created a video, Just A Little Heart Attack, with Emmy nominated actress Elizabeth Banks.  The video uses humor to tell the story of how one woman tried to ignore the symptoms while she was having a heart attack.  According to the American Heart Association, symptoms in women are:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

To watch Just A Little Heart Attack, click here.

Blog Your Heart Out BadgeBlog Your Heart Out Day:  February 22, 2013

Fitlosophy joins the American Heart Association on Friday, February 22, 2013 for the 3rd annual Blog Your Heart Out Day.  Fitlosophy asks bloggers to post an article about heart disease and encourage their readers to join the go red for women movement.

All participating bloggers will be entered into a drawing to win a fitbook and a red food scale to give away on their site.  Be sure and mention the Blog Your Heart Out initiative and add the BLHO button to your sidebar.  For more details about Blog Your Heart Out Day click check out the Fitlosophy web site.

To learn more about how you can get your co-workers, schools, and community involved in raising awareness for the number one killer of women www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.

How You Can Up Your Game With Plyometric Training

“If you’re doing Plyometrics, you can jump higher and run faster and your heart and lungs are going to kick the panties off of anybody else that tries to get out there without it.” – Tony Horton

At one time plyometric training was only for athletes, but over the past few years these high impact workouts have made a comeback and are a big part of the most popular exercise programs.

We know that Tony Horton loves plyometrics. He’s not the only one. From P90X to Insanity to CrossFit and Cathe’s X-Train, the plyometric intervals are what make these workouts both challenging and effective.

Improve your running speed and sand volleyball game with plyometric training.

Improve your running speed and sand volleyball game with plyometric training.

What Are Plyometrics?

The word plyometrics is derived from the Greek word pleythyein, meaning “to increase”. Plyometric refers to exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time possible. Plyometric training involves jumping, hopping, and bounding movements that utilize lower body muscle groups, and arm swings, pulley throws and weighted object tosses for upper body.

Plyometric exercises are an important part of sports training that require high levels of speed strength, starting, stopping, sprinting, jumping and throwing. We typically think of this type of training as being specific to competitive athletes competing in baseball, basketball, soccer, rugby, hockey, and football.

Plyo training has made its way into the exercise programs of everyday people because those of us who aren’t participating in the competitive sports arena can benefit from these higher intensity exercises as well. In fact, if you been to a fitness class or purchased a workout DVD to do at home recently, I’m betting the workout was peppered with plyometrics.

Benefits of Plyometrics:

Some of the benefits of plyometrics include:

  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased muscle power
  • Improvement in balance
  • Improvement in overall agility
  • Increased bone density
  • Increased heart rate and higher calorie expenditure

Incorporating plyometric drills into your regular workout in the gym or at home will carry over to other activities that you do either competitively or for fun.  The increases in muscle strength and power will improve your running, biking and swimming speed, and can make you more competitive at some of the things you do for fun like sand volleyball, three-on-three basketball and soccer.

Increased heart rate and higher calorie expenditure is the main reason plyometrics have become a mainstay in many of the popular fitness classes. Adding a few sets of lift-off moves can increase the intensity of your workout and up the number of calories burned just enough for you to get the results you’ve been looking for and you don’t have to spend as much time doing it.

Examples of Plyometric Exercises

Some examples of basic plyometric exercises are:

  • Squat jumps
  • Split squat jumps
  • Dougle leg tucks
  • Lateral jumps
  • Single leg hops
  • Single clap push-ups
  • Drop and catch push-ups
  • Medicine ball throws
  • Medicine ball sit-ups with throw

If you’re new to plyometrics, or have avoided these types of exercises in the past, you will benefit from starting out with just a few of the basic moves (listed above) and gradually increase to more difficult exercises. More challenging exercises like the box jumps (a two footed jump up to a box) and depth jumps (a two footed jump off of a box) are two moves very common in CrossFit.

A couple of sets twice a week is a good place to start unless you have an opportunity to work with a trainer or coach that can provide proper instruction and monitor your progress.

Purchasing a workout DVD that incorporates plyometric exercises is an excellent way to kick off your plyo experience.  You can do the exercises in your own home, work at your own level, and not the feel pressure of having an instructor pushing you to do ‘eight more’.

Many of the DVDs that contain plyometric exercises are labeled as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.  Some good ones are: Cathe Friedrich’s Crossfire, Kelly Coffey’s 30 Min. to Fitness: Plateau Buster, and Mike Donavanik’s Extreme Burn Metabolic.

Three Basic Plyometric Moves Demonstrated Here

This 5 minute workout video from Empower Your Body demonstrates some basic plyometric moves that you can do at home. I recommend starting out with a lower target for the jump-ups!

Keep in mind that there is an increased risk for injury whenever you perform a move where you lift off of the floor and have to land again. If you have problems with your ankles, knees or other joints be sure and ask your doctor before attempting plyometric drills.

And, as with most things, focusing on quality over quantity will assure better results and less chance for injury.  Avoid doing programs that contain plyometric exercises on consecutive days and limit this type of workout to one or two times as week; at least to start.

Over to you?  What’s your favorite plyometric workout?  Leave a comment in the box below and as always . . . . .  Thanks for being Social!  Share!

 

Beware of Fitness Instructors That Tell You You’re Torching 800 to 1,000 Calories.

They may not be telling  you the whole truth.

I received an e-mail today with an article attached and a question about calorie expenditure during exercise.  The article listed a variety of workouts and stated how many calories would be burned  per hour for each one.  Here’s what it said:

  • Kickboxing – 800
  • Spinning – 700
  • Zumba – 500
  • Jump Rope – 780
  • Step Aerobics – 600
  • Running – 650

Figuring out how many calories you burn during exercise is tricky because everyone is going to burn a different amount.  I couldn’t tell you which participant these estimates are based one, but I do know that I’ve never come close to burning 500 calories in Zumba.

Which one torched 1,000 calories in Spin class?

Which one torched 1,000 calories in Spin class?

Your Metabolic Fingerprint

The number of calories you burn in a normal day is determined by your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).  It is as individual as your fingerprint and is influenced by a number of factors including your body size, body composition, gender, and age.

Accurately determining your BMR can be done with a breath test.  There are also many on-line calculators that will give you an idea of what your BMR is, but remember, those are only estimates and if you’re trying to achieve an exact calorie-in-calorie-out balance you don’t want to rely on them.

How You Burn Calories When You Exercise

In a Spinning class with 25 people on 25 bikes each person will burn calories a little differently based on their BMR and the intensity that they are exercising.  The number of calories they burn in that hour is determined by how much oxygen they are using, in other words, their heart rate.

Your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is about 220 heartbeats per minute minus your age although, an older physically fit person can achieve a higher MHR than someone younger who is out-of-shape.

To improve cardiovascular endurance and burn the most calories, your target heart rate zone when exercising should be between 80 and 90% of maximum.  So, theoretically a 32 year old working at 80% MHR would be at 150 beats per minute.  But, let’s say everyone in the Spin class is 32 years of age.  Not everyone would be at 80% of their MHR if they counted their pulse and found their heart was beating at 150 BPM.

This is one reason why the Target Heart Rate Chart, that at one time was on the wall of every fitness class studio in the world, has been replaced by a chart that allows the participant to measure Perceived Exertion.  Perceived exertion asks you to determine, on a scale from one to ten, how hard are you working?  If you’re at 10 you may need to slow it down.  If you’re at two you need to pick up the pace if you plan on burning any calories to speak of.

Getting an estimate of your BMR, taking your heart rate during class or while you’re on the treadmill, and measuring perceived exertion are all worthwhile.  But it’s important to keep in mind that all of these are estimates.  To know exactly how many calories you burn during a 60 minute Turbo Kick class would require you to be hooked up to equipment that measures your VO2 max.  That doesn’t sound like much fun.

Less is More

The danger in over-estimating calorie expenditure – which is what I think some fitness instructors do to sell the class – is that you leave thinking you’ve created an 800 calorie deficit.  To some of us that means we have an 800 calorie hole that needs to be filled.  With food.  If, in fact, you’ve only burned 400 calories but eat 800, you’ve got a problem and a new question: “Why do I gain weight when I exercise?”

The old rules of exertion still apply.  Whatever it is you do, do it consistently and work hard enough at it that you can’t carry on a conversation with you neighbor, but not so hard that you’re completely exhausted when you’re done. Find that happy place where you leave the class thinking you had a good workout and are anxious to come back for more.

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