Serial Trainer

As we all know, the summer is fast approaching. It’s still a little chilly here and there but overall, the weather is warming up and layers of clothing are dwindling. It’s time for us to get into the mindset of [cue horror music] bathing suits!

Some of you are new to working out and so I’ve dedicated this post to you. Those of us that are more experienced might even find this a refreshing way to start a new season and add something new to our workouts. OR it’s a great way to re-assess your fitness level and make needed changes. Sometimes it’s good to start over. If you have access to a health club, most trainers will do a physical assessment on you for no charge. Knowing your posture deviations is important to enhancing and improving your overall health but it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve corrected those, you might develop new ones. I’s a never-ending gerbil ball, right? But that’s OK! It’s good to change things up and to continue improving. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

Alright so let’s get down to business.

The first thing you need to do is CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN.

Did I make that clear enough? Let me repeat it: The first thing you need to do is CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN.

I stress this for a few reasons. Many people have injured themselves and put themselves in major harm’s way because they had a condition they never knew they had. If you have diabetes or other heart related conditions you will not be able, nor advised to do the same exercise/intensity as the general populace. This is NOT a bad thing. If you push yourself beyond what you SHOULD be doing, you are also HINDERING your progress and health. NOT worth it, folks. Really, it’s not.

If your doctor gives you the all clear, the next thing you need to do is find out your resting heart rate. The best time to do this is in the morning when you first wake up, or after being sedentary for a long period of time and do not have any stimulants in your system (ie; caffeine). Find your pulse at your wrist or neck and count out the beats per minute for one full minute. If possible, do this more than once and take the average.

How to find your target heart rate:
220 – your age
subtract your resting heart rate (this is called your heart rate reserve)

Now give yourself a range, or a set of numbers, to keep your heart rate at so that you don’t go nuts trying to keep it at one number. For novices, start by multiplying that heart rate reserve number by 50-60%. This will give you about 10 numbers to work with. For intermediate you’d use about 70-80%.

You can play with those numbers a little (example: 55-65%) to find a comfortable zone for you.

Here’s a tip for you: To use primarily absolute fat, keep your intensity low. To burn more calories, keep your intensity higher.

You always want to add in some muscle building exercise to all your workouts. Losing weight and burning calories can result in a “saggy” look if you do not build that muscle underneath, PLUS, you definitely want to keep burning calories while you’re lying around doing nothing..right?  It’s like having a free fat-burning session — hello!? — who wouldn’t take that!? 😉


{July 31, 2008}   a spot o’tea

One of the most relaxing moments of my day, is the first thing when I wake up. I have one of those nifty Ozarka coolers and I snag my “happy” cup, a teabag filled with herbal tea and push that handy red lever so that I don’t have to sit, blurry eyed at my table and wait for a shrill whistle of a kettle.

I like to tell my clients to drink Herbal teas because of that same aesthetic quality but also because a lot of them say they don’t like water.

Now let me just break here to tell you that I do not endorse not drinking water. And for those of you that claim you don’t like water? What’s there to /not/ like?! It’s tasteless..well..bottled water is! If you’re sensitive like myself, you can taste the chlorine and other gunk in tap water.

For those clients that say, “I don’t like water” I offer another alternative. Squeeze a lemon in it.

But herbal tea is also a good alternative once you’ve gotten your daily water consumption down, or at least close to it. If the client (or you) are working your way up to 96 oz, this is a great way to make sure that you get there without realizing you’re getting there.

Green Tea is a great tea because it containsand is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). I won’t include the long list of benefits from EGCG but I’ll provide the link to wikipedia so you can start there and research it on your own.

Green tea has been used by the Chinese since ancients times. It’s cures knew no bounds and included things like; Depression, headaches, infections, and heart issues. It’s being researched in a long line of things to help alleviate, if not cure, certain ailments. Don’t misunderstand this post, however, and start using Green Tea as a medicine and excuse not to see your doctor. I know some crazy people out there will do it, so don’t.

Green Tea and other herbal teas have qualities that will help you relax. And it may be just the thing you need to help you in a stressful day or to go to sleep. Most importantly, it’s your little time out to pamper yourself.

It’s my opinion that herbal teas also have a cleansing effect on the body. You don’t need to (and I don’t recommend) buying teas that say “Cleansing Tea”.  The herbal teas already have those effects. There are too many to list in this post, so I’ll include a link to NutraSanus and Tea Infusion which includes a nice list of them.

The best thing about herbal teas is that you can drink them hot or cold. And they’re fun to experiment with. Mixing flavors and coming up with recipes has been one of the things I love to do. It’s also an inexpensive alternative to diet sodas, juices, and other drinks (except water of course!) that we are buying now. Not to mention, less calories and better for you!

So pull up a lawn chair, don your best wide brimmed hat, put your feet up and enjoy the last of the summer days with a nice cup of tea!

et cetera