Thursday, November 17, 2011

Intensity of Intention

I joined our little local gym here back at the end of August. I have to say it is nice to have a place to GO to in order to work out. Let's face it, trying to do a cardio session in the bedroom isn't easy. For one thing it is like Grand Central Station. Everyone knows that when Mom is working out, to leave her be. But somehow there is always that "one quick question" that can't wait until I'm done, or at least in cool down, when I can actually talk again.

We have a decent area downstairs in what we call the Rec Area, but it is even worse than Grand Central Station, and in order for me to work out, I would have to move everyone from playing Wii, doing schoolwork, or whatever. Sometimes I do herd them out, but usually I opt to let them be occupied while I work out upstairs, which, as I have already stated, is met with limited success.

In a pinch, it will do. I like to do different things anyway, and spent the first 8 or 9 months of this healthier living style working out 45 to 65 minutes in my room, so I don't mind having something else to do in a different location.

When I joined the gym, I met with the trainer/owner, of course, and she set up a nice little strength training circuit, that I do two to three times a week, and I do all cardio on the other days.

Let me just say now that the trainer/owner (Barb) is a wonderfully qualified person, knows her stuff, and is very personable. I don't really "train" with her, but I meet with her when it is time to change up the strength training routine, and I get 4 meets per year with her to update my stats, so to speak. Of course if I ever have any questions or concerns, I can always call, email, or talk with her if she is there. It is a very small town gym, but I have to say, it suits me. There is a ladies' side, and a men's side. In the upstairs there is a large area and a T.V. with a DVD and a VCR player, and a some equipment, a punching bag, and a speed bag, and gloves of all sizes. I think they have done very well in the set up, and oh, it is always clean and maintained, which is a big plus in my book.

Anyway, back to my story here.

Barb was instructing me on the use of the Elliptical machine when I first joined. I love it, by the way! It is a wonderful workout, and gentle on the joints. I used that alot in the first several weeks. However, Barb was showing me a nice poster they have, and it talks about intensity level for working out. She said I want to be in the 75% zone for my weight and age, for most of the workout, except warm up and cool down.

I tried. I really did. But honestly, I don't work like that. Everything I have learned from the beginning was to workout with intention and intensity. That is courtesy of Jillian Michael's by the way. I am a Biggest Loser Fan. America is FAT people, and though it is a Hollywood production, I like the premise of making it a major factor in our culture now to lose weight and get healthy. That is what started me on this journey almost two years ago. I wanted to be healthy. I want to have energy. I want to play, run, wrestle, bike, play football, kickball, swim with my kids. I want to do that with my grand kids too, as far as that goes.

I can say I have met that goal, even if my weight isn't down all the way where I want it. I could easily lose another 30 to 40lbs. However, being on the healthy path I am now, I can't complain! It is indeed a life long journey.

I digress yet again... sorry about that. I haven't had enough coffee yet to organize my thoughts, and now I see what was intended to be a quick little post has turned into a soapbox. Maybe you better get some coffee too, eh?

So, Barb explained about the intensity thing and I didn't agree, but hey, she is the one with all the experience and degrees, so I gave it a try.

Well, pffffft. I didn't like that at all. You see, I am an "all or nothing" type of person. I think that is my first problem. I don't go to the gym to socialize or play, but to WORK and WORK HARD. There is limited amount of time to sweat and burn as many calories as possible, so why should I do 75%, when I can go all out or more? What is wrong with that? What if I want to do 7.0 on the treadmill instead of a 5.0, just to see what I am capable of now that I'm getting stronger? What if I want to hold it there as long as I can?

I wondered if I was a little loopy. But on The Biggest Loser the contestants are always being pushed, and pushed hard, and they have lost so much weight, and survived to tell about it. Bob Harper and Jillian Michael's are both at the top of their professions and they say to give it your all, all the time.

This morning I got this email from the Jillian Michaels free newsletter I signed up for. Everyday I get a little snippet of helpful info, or recipe, or inspiration. I like it. It is like 2 minutes with a pro. Some days she says to plan a day to pamper yourself and let your body recover. Yes, Jillian Michaels, folks! She doesn't like to admit it, but there is a soft side to her. Some days, like today, she says to kill it in the gym. Here is what I read, and what spurred this whole post.

The Rule of the Game: Intensity
If you're looking to shed stubborn pounds, the rule of the game is to increase the intensity of your workouts. I want you to be working out at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). However, you may have heard the "fat-burning zone" theory that encourages you to work out at just 70 to 75 percent of your MHR. The outdated assumption is that your body is drawing predominately on fat calories for energy — WRONG! It's completely misleading and it's time to lay the "fat-burning zone" myth to rest.

During physical training, your body has three possible sources of energy: carbs, fat, and protein. Protein is a last resort — of the three energy sources, your body is the most reluctant to draw on your protein stores.

Whether your body takes energy from glucose, which it gets from the breakdown of carbs, or fat depends on the intensity of your workout. Training at a high level of intensity forces your body to draw on carb calories for energy — they are a more efficient source of energy, and your body goes for its premium fuel when you're working hard. If you are training at a low level of intensity, your body doesn't need to be as efficient, so it will draw on a higher percentage of fat calories for fuel.

Sounds like low-intensity training would be more effective when it comes to losing fat, right? Wrong. These physiological facts are the ones that spawned the mistaken belief that low-intensity activity is better than high-intensity activity when it comes to burning fat and losing weight. These days we know that even though the ratio of fat-to-carb calories might be higher during low-intensity exercise, fewer calories are used up overall. High-intensity exercise burns the biggest number of calories.

Barb isn't exactly "MY" trainer. I can't afford to hire a trainer full time, though I would like to for about 6 months to really learn more. Barb is sweet, full of info, but I don't think I agree with her about the intensity guidelines. Now, it could be that because there are several older ladies that work out there, she keeps the intensity level a bit lower than I like. I don't know. But the above snippet just vindicates what I think is right for me, and I'm happy to know that my instincts were right on. Of course if you are injured or not feeling well, you should modify your routines, but if all is copacetic, then let her rip!

My favorite quote by Jillian Michaels is "You have three choices: Puke, pass out, or keep working out." and... "Beatings, beatings, beatings.... and more beatings."

She's my kind of gal.


1 comment:

Ginger said...

I miss going to the gym. We have a local one here that I want to call and check out the prices. I am praying that if it is the Lord's will for me to go there, then it will be affordable.