Spring into Action
03/01/2017 06:25AM ● Published by Paul Hunter
Spring Break is here, and thoughts of removing the cozy, protective layers of clothes to reveal your bathing suit-covered body scares you. You enjoyed the holiday season so much despite last year’s promises that this year would be different. Summer is approaching and the kids will be out of school, begging to go to the beach. Now what! I would think that after 27 years of training, I would not be shocked when someone asks for the quick fix, whether focused on nutritional or exercise needs and goals. Guess what? I still am. I guess human nature does not change. Is there a plan for last-minute thinkers? Sure, and fortunately, it is not quite last minute.
Intake; Nutrition: Are you merely filling your empty stomach or fueling your body for the next adventure? Nutritionists remind us to eat lots of vegetables, fruits, lean meats and complex carbs that come from natural sources (i.e. fruits and vegetables). Don’t know that I have ever heard anyone with an educational background in nutrition tell someone to eat chips, candy bars and cookies to assist them with achieving great results. Why do you think that is? It’s all about putting the proper fuel into our bodies so we can do what needs to get done.
Intake; Water: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Typical recommended amount is eight 8oz glasses of water daily. I have found drinking a couple quart size containers is easier to measure (it takes two of these) and helps you reach your goals more easily. A quart before lunch and one after but before dinner. I feel my best when I drink a liter (just over a quart) immediately upon waking. As a matter of fact, it has become one of my daily disciplines for my personal health and wellness figuring that at worst, I had at least a liter of water that day. If you do have an exercise program you adhere to or spend a lot of time outside, then I suggest adding another quart to that amount. If this is all new to you then your body will be adapting and you get added exercise from not being able to sit still too long. This is normal just as holding a dry sponge under the water tap causes the water to initially run off, but eventually soak in. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
Output; Exercise: There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity! The bookstore, library and websites are great resources for exercises and how to do them. On the Coast magazine, About.com, HowTo.com, wellsphere.com and mayoclinic.com all provide some useful information. Part of the trick is to use large muscles, basic movements and do what you can do (and maybe a little more) as long as proper form is maintained. Don’t let your ego or the memory of you being a star athlete 20 years ago (“I used to be able to do more”) get the best of you. There is no more “used to,” there is only now.
The challenge I have been seeing is not “To squat or not to squat” or “To lunge or not to lunge.” The challenge has been regarding how many does one do today and how many should I be able to do. I’ll start with after 27 years of training other people I have found one of the best exercise tools to have with you is a watch with a repeating timer. That brand that “takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’” makes an easy one to use. Set the timer for 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 (are you getting it?) seconds and proceed with your exercise. Beginners should start with a work time of around 30 seconds, maybe a little less but probably not more. Rest time can be anywhere from 2x your work period to no rest at all (1:2 work:rest ratio). If you are just starting, please include some rest between bouts. Need more challenge? Reduce your rest time.
With the recent explosion of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), intervals such as these have become more mainstream, being used by many boot-camp instructors as they also allow someone to work with groups a lot easier while providing a strong workout. In 1996, Dr. Izumi Tabata presented us with what is now known as the Tabata Interval which in simple form is 8 rounds of 20-second work intervals with 10 seconds of rest between each. Think you’re in shape? This little gem initially came about using running as the movement modality. Since then I have applied it to just about any large muscle group, multi-joint movement where speed can be applied with little moment (to decrease the risk of injury). Think, squats, push-ups, pull-ups, rows, tubing exercises, mountain climbers, jumps, sprints, high knees, etc….
Output; Daily habits: Exercise is not your only means of burning calories. Your daily habits are what make you. Exercise is a component in addition to how far you park from the front door, what you do when you wake up, what you do during lunch, when you get home and on weekends. Our success is built upon what we do with these spare times when most people watch television or play video games. Get off your procrastinator and get moving. Make movement a lifestyle.
Spring and summer are not far off. If you figure an average loss of 1-2 pounds per week, then almost 10lbs per month loss of fat is reasonable and gets you closer to your dream weight. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. By the way, that burns approximately 79,500 calories (22.7 pounds) if you walk, 112,500 calories (32 pounds) if you run. Get moving and Make it a Great Day!