Archive for the ‘ACSM guidelines’ Category

8295214_XXLMorning, midday or midnight — when’s the best time to work out?

Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you.

“The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Your best time is based on a “constellation” of factors:

  • location,
  • time of day,
  • type of physical activity and
  • social setting, among others.

“It’s not just what time, but what activity, with whom and where,” said Pate, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “This mix of factors for people come together to result in being consistent.”

Everybody’s Different

“Different people will have different preferences and predispositions with regard to how they respond to exercise at different times of the day,” Pate said.

For example, if you’re much more likely to work out consistently with a partner, “then you’re better off to opt for a social part regardless of the time of day,” Pate said. “On the other hand, some people like the solitude, the chance to get away.”

You might have heard that the best time to work out is early in the morning — to get your metabolism revving or to avoid unexpected distractions during the day that could derail your regimen. “Are there differences in working out at different times of the day? Maybe. But those differences would be minor compared to the overall effect of doing it consistently,” Pate said.

“If you’re not a morning person, it does no good for you to try to get up at 5 in the morning to work out,” he said. “Try to stack as many cards on your side of the table as possible by doing what’s most likely to work for you. The converse is, don’t make it as hard as it doesn’t have to be.”

Fit in Fitness

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. But what if you’re tight on time? Then, be creative and break up your activity into daily bouts of 3-10-minute increments.

For example:

  • In the morning, park 10 minutes away from the job and walk briskly.
  • At lunch, walk 10 minutes in or around where you work.
  • In the afternoon/evening, walk briskly 10 minutes back to your vehicle.

And there you have a 30-minute workout!

“Accumulation across the day doesn’t have to be performed in one bout, but can be across the day,” Pate said. “More is better, but we’re absolutely certain even modest amounts are much better than being sedentary.” And remember, “exercise” is any kind of physical activity that gets your heart rate up for at least 10 minutes at a time.

So get moving — at the time that’s right for you!

Source: When is the best time of day to work out?


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6 Tips for Creating and Sticking to an Exercise ScheduleUsing a heart rate monitor can help get the most out of your workouts and the instant data feedback is a great motivational tool. All heart rate monitors work by measuring electrical signals from the heart and displaying them on the unit’s data center. Chest strap models, which strap to the chest and display data through a wristwatch attachment, are the most accurate. Their proximity to the heart allows for a better reading, and you don’t have to stop moving to check your reading. This data is intended to help ensure your training regimen is not too easy or too intense, but just right for maximum effectiveness.

1) Calculate MHR
MHR= 220-age

Example for a 33 year old
220-33=187 (MHR)

2) Calculate minimum THR
Lower limit = MHR X .60

187 X .60=112 (lower limit)

3) Calculate maximum THR
Upper limit = MHR X .85

187 X .85=159 (upper limit)

The first thing to consider when buying a heart rate monitor is what information you need during your workout. Basic models feature alarms notifying you when you’re out of the desired THR range and is all most people need. Many other features are available such as a stop watch, interval timers, wireless data transfer, training tests, and calorie counter – but they add to the cost. If you know you won’t take full advantage of these features, you can save a good amount of money by choosing a basic unit.

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Decades of research tell us that lifting heavy weights is the only effective way to build muscle strength and mass. Light weights with high repetitions don’t tax the body enough for sufficient gains in strength. In fact one of the strength training principles, called Progressive Overload, states:

“In order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase, or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.”

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a resistance of 60-70% of “one-repetition maximum” (the maximal amount of weight that can be lifted through the full range of motion, for one repetition, with proper form) for novices, and 80-100% for advanced for each exercise.

However recent research, including a study from McMaster University in Canada in 2010 and another in 2012, shows that maybe we can get the same strength and muscle gains when lifting lighter weights. In these studies, the researchers concluded that performing more repetitions using lighter weights is just as effective at building muscle as the heavy-weight protocol—as long as the subjects trained to momentary muscular failure (a.k.a. fatigue, or the inability to finish your last rep in a set with proper form).

While this may be the outcome, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend changing your weight training protocol. There are some aspects in the study that need consideration.

  1. Studies were short in duration (the 2012 study lasted only 10 weeks) and the subjects were inexperienced at weight training. Had the researchers used a longer protocol and veteran weight trainers, the results would likely be very different.
  2. Subjects consisted of only men in their early 20’s. Their gender, young age and hormone levels could easily account for such gains in strength and mass.
  3. Only one exercise was used to determine strength gains – leg extension. The quadriceps muscle was the only muscle used to determine the overall conclusion.
  4. You can’t strengthen bone and connective tissue without training heavily and for many, this is just as important as increasing muscle strength.

Even with these drawbacks, performing higher repetitions and lower weight has it purpose. It’s a great way to vary your workout and can be used as a workout for “light” days. Also, using lower weights and higher reps might be a great protocol for the older population, those new to strength training, the deconditioned, or anyone that has joint problems, high blood pressure or other health issues.


Mitchell, C. J. et al. (2012). Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 113, 1, 71–77.

Burd, N. A. et al. (2010). Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men. PLoS One. 5(8): e12033.

Copyright 2012 Tffiny Twardowsky, Energy in Motion LLC.

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High intensity interval training, or HIITis a specialized form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise separated by longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise. An example might sprinting for 30 seconds and then jogging or walking for 1 minute, repeating this workout routine numerous times. Because HIIT workouts are very intense, they generally last a shorter period of time, usually about 6-20 minutes. HIIT briefly pushes you beyond the upper end of your aerobic exercise zone as compared to traditional steady-state exercise (where you keep your heart rate within your aerobic zone). Therefore HIIT offers benefits that steady-state exercise doesn’t.

  1. HIIT is far superior when it comes to increasing your VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in during exercise. Over time your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient so you body doesn’t have to work as hard during exercise or rest making any activity easier to do.
  2. HIIT is time-efficient for those who don’t have a lot of time for exercise. It’s an ideal workout for a busy schedule, whether you want to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or to get in shape for a fast-approaching event.
  3. Equipment is not necessary for a HIIT workout. Although running, biking, and jumping rope are great, you don’t need equipment to get your heart rate up fast. You can incorporate exercises such as high knees, fast feet, jumping lunges, burpees, jump squats or anything plyometric.
  4. Following the HIIT protocol means you can workout anywhere. If the weather is beautiful, take your workout outside. If you don’t feel like driving to the gym or maybe you are traveling for work, workout at home or in the hotel room. And if you ever run out of ideas or need more variety, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions. The sky is the limit for putting together your HIIT exercise program so you will never get bored.
  5. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn. Even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time, according to the American College of Sports Medicinemore calories are burned in short, high intensity exercise. If you are counting calories burned, high intensity exercise such as intervals are better than long, slow endurance exercise.

With these benefits also come some challenges. HIIT is a very intense workout and should be modified for beginners. If you are starting out, find a personal trainer that can guide you slowly. Also, due to the high level of intensity and the amount of time necessary to appropriately recover from the exercise session, it is recommended to do no more than two days of HIIT per week, allowing at least one full day of recovery between training sessions.

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New research by exercise scientists confirms that a low-tech, easy-to-administer test is an effective tool for gauging exercise intensity, but that it does not correspond as neatly as previously assumed to other more objective tests. Researchers set out to learn how good the so-called “Talk Test” is and how it compared to two other laboratory-tested measures of intensity, the lactate threshold and the ventilatory threshold.

“If you can still talk comfortably, you’re exercising in a zone that’s appropriate for improving fitness in individuals beginning an exercise program,” Quinn says. “The Talk Test is a good tool, and it’s easy to use.” Continue

Source: ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2011)

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Personal trainer showing a client how to exerc...Image via Wikipedia

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a new workout program, an athlete wanting to enhance a performance skill, or a sports enthusiast looking to better your game; a personal trainer can give you the tools and know-how to help you achieve your goals. Personal trainers either work in health and fitness centers or they work privately, visiting their clients at home or the office. While there’s no shortage of personal trainers, finding and choosing a trainer that’s right for you can be difficult and even intimidating. So how do you find a trainer that’s right for you? What qualifications should you look for? Here are a few questions you should ask before hiring a personal trainer (PT).

Are They Certified?
There are literally hundreds of PT certifications. Some just require payment for a certificate, while others require a Bachelors Degree in the health/fitness field before you can even sit for their comprehensive and lengthy exam. With so many reputable (and not so reputable) certifications out there, there’s no wonder people are confused. The bottom line: All PT’s should hold a nationally recognized certification accredited by The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Some of the more popular PT certifying organizations include: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), just to name a few. When in doubt, find out the name of the organization your trainer is certified by and go to their website or the NCCA website. If they are accredited by NCCA, it will be listed on the website.

Are They Insured?
Most trainers working at a gym are insured through their employer. However, if they are working as an independent contractor they need to carry their own liability insurance. Trainers that come to your home or outside trainers going to your gym for the PT session are most likely contractors. If so, ask for a copy of their certificate of insurance and make sure it’s renewed when needed.

Do They Have a College Degree in the Health/Fitness Field?
Ask your potential trainer if they have a degree in the fitness field. This is not necessarily a requirement, and not all PT’s have a college degree, but those that do generally have a greater background in and understanding of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, etc. This level of education can come in handy for those with special needs such as, medical limitations, injury recovery, cardiac rehabilitation, or even athletes looking to enhance their sports performance.

What is Their Experience and Area of Expertise?
It goes without saying; experience brings knowledge. Perhaps you are looking to achieve a specific goal such as body building, reducing your blood pressure so you don’t have to take medication or lowering your risk of heart disease. Find a trainer with experience in that specific area. A trainer whose area of expertise is body building may not be a good choice if you are trying to focus on health issues.

Do They Follow the Code of Ethics?
Each certifying organization has their own written Code of Ethics that trainers must follow. The Code of Ethics is intended to establish and maintain high standards and professionalism for personal training professionals. It’s understood that the welfare of the client is central to all considerations in the trainer-client relationship. For example, a PT should never recommend a product, such as supplements, when the trainer receives a commission for its sale. This is often done in gyms and is a conflict of interest. PT’s can offer diet and nutrition education backed by national organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Food Guide Pyramid, etc., but unless the PT is a Registered Dietitian, they should not be giving clients meal plans. This is beyond the scope of their education and practice.

Do They Have a Compatible Personality?
You can have a well-educated and highly experienced PT with all the credentials listed above, but your personalities just don’t click. That doesn’t mean you haven’t found a great PT, but maybe just not the one that’s right for you. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person so you want to make sure you find a trainer that fits your style.

Do They Have References?
Ask the personal trainer for names, phone numbers and even testimonials of other clients he/she has worked with, particularly those who share similar traits and goals. Find out if the trainer was professional, punctual and prepared, and whether the client’s individual needs were addressed. Inquire if the trainer was a good listener, focused on client challenges and goals, and tracked progress.

What are the Rates?
Personal training rates vary by geographic location, trainer qualifications, and the type of training your looking for. Expect to pay more for a trainer that is well educated and/or comes to you, especially if they bring their own equipment. Whatever you choose, personal training is an investment in your health. A personal trainer gives you guidance on reaching your goals, education about strength training and cardiovascular exercises, and general nutrition. They also help keep you accountable, motivated, and track your progress.

Working out should be fun! Just be sure you choose the right personal trainer for YOU. If you do, you’ll be more likely to stick to those workouts that will produce amazing results.

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KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea— Airmen from the ...Image via Wikipedia

More then 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise does NOT slow down your metabolism. The number of calories burned during cardiovascular exercise is mostly based on body weight, exercise time and exercise intensity. The greater the body weight, time and intensity; the more calories burned. Research also shows that the body’s metabolism is elevated for a period of time after a cardiovascular exercise session.

Besides cardiovascular exercise, strength training also helps elevate metabolism. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. However, after age 30, metabolism slows by 5 percent each decade due to age related muscle mass loss. There is nothing you can do to prevent this, but you can slow down the loss of muscle with strength training. Not only will you burn calories while strength training, but as you gain muscle your metabolism will be elevated all day long.

Below are the American College of Sports Medicine and American Health Association exercise guidelines for healthy adults under age 65.

  • Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or
  • Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week, and
  • Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.

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