Tag Archives: overweight

Monitor Fitness and Weight loss Success Like a Pro


Updated: 26 May 2020, by Marc Woodard

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve fitness and health goals. When oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion]; and sustain health and wellbeing.

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand. If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition. Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal range, it makes exercise more difficult to begin and sustain the effort and health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.
Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals at no cost and compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.

Free Self Check Vitals Services,

I can’t resist using the arm cuff station at the local pharmacy store to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts at the station, then document your results. If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above vitals standards seek medical consultation. Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical baseline comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.

If you’re significantly outside a normal vitals range for your age in comparison to previous results the station may be out of calibration. I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times. To test this theory I’ve visited another pharmacy store the same day and vitals were normal for my age. If you get “at risk” readings at 2 separate store locations, seek medical advisement.

Ageless MirrorAthlete covers in detail among other things in detail, how to calculate and use Target Heart Rate, blood pressure and other vitals at home and during exercise… to live a healthier lifestyle, get more fit as you burn more body fat. Learn how to live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve now!

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health. When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high the body is experiencing circulatory and cardio functional stress. These are warning signs that should not be ignored. Typically but not always, when body fat weight is high so are vitals.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down. If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.

Take a break, enjoy the day and fuel up to continue healthy activities.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running, biking and swimming, etc., exercise that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and cardio systems during low-impact aerobic exercise activity that burns more body fat.

During low-impact aerobic exercise fat burning occurs and is measureable when activity is within the THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.

Which simply means, if you’re in the aerobic heart rate fat burning zone during exercise, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR during activity and stay within the Fat Burning zone. Then apply formula during exercise to lose more body fat weight.

To use Simple formula below, first determine aerobic effort you want to apply and stay within that fat burning zone during exercise. Using the Simple formula plug in 50 – 70% to burn more fat:

For example, Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages: 50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace. 71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid and the metabolism burns less fat.

Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Then determine your maximum heart rate: For example, if your 40 years, take your 40BPM determined from formulae above and plug it in (220 – 40 = 180).

Then multiply 180 by 50% effort for example… the physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range can be determined by 90bpm (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% intensity effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

Take 90 or 126bpm and divide by 6. Results: 15 to 21 BPM represent a 10 second pulse count that can be taken during exercise. Simply monitor pulse at carotid artery (side of neck) or wrist. Take a 10 second pulse count in-between exercise. If you fall within this heart rate range your burning body fat fuel during exercise.

“These calculations provide only estimates of your target heart rate, cardiovascular work zone and fat burning efficiency during exercise. To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab” (Richey 2013).

Reference: http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/]

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2015 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.


Sleep Apnea an Insidious Angel of Death


I definitely won’t fall asleep on this thing.

Updated:  15 April 2014

I first heard of sleep apnea about 10 years back, but never gave it a second thought until 2 years ago when an in-law and now a sibling had been diagnosed and treated for this condition.  I was also told within the last 6 months from a good friend of mine while on a walk a childhood buddy of ours had died in his sleep from this condition.  It is my understanding his early and unnecessary death occurred for lack of following medical treatment protocols.

I refer to this disorder as an insidious angel of death, why?    Because this is a serious health condition and if ignored can kill without warning!  Our childhood friend was around 47 years of age and left his loved ones before his time.  Since this disorder has such a high risk potential for fatality and emotional pain to family and friends, I felt it was high time to write on this topic.

First let’s understand the definition of apnea.  It is the temporary suspension of respiration, or without breathing.  Sleep apnea when diagnosed is commonly referred to as OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), or complex apnea.  OSA is the anatomical obstruction blockage and/or central nervous system problem that causes the airway to become obstructed.  Regardless of sleep apnea cause, it increases the risk of heart failure by way of coronary heart disease for lack of oxygen when breathing is interrupted.  As oxygen levels decrease in the blood, carbon dioxide levels increase.

This condition creates a jumpy nervous system and blood pressure spikes that stresses the heart walls and disturbs heart rhythm.  Over time, this reoccurring condition puts you at risk of a heart attack.  This is not only bad for your heart, but nearly every organ and tissues of the human body creating high risk for many other types of illness and disease.

Okay, let’s break this down a little bit more so we can really understand the mechanics of how obstruction occurs.  As the soft palate at the back of the throat collapses during sleep those that suffer from sleep apnea begin to snore and apparently struggle to breath. The obstructive collapse for instance in the neck area while relaxed and during sleep is not able to keep a clear airway passage.  Obstructive soft tissue problems typically occur at the base of the tongue, tonsils and nasal cavity areas.

There is also sleep apnea caused by the central nervous system where the brain is not registering the lungs to breath with regular consistency.  When diagnosed with sleep apnea where obstruction is not the cause, it is understood the problem stems from the central nervous system.  The central system cause of sleep apnea is “not” well understood by researchers why the brain begins to inconsistently regulate breathing during sleep.

Regardless of whether sleep apnea is caused from an obstructive or neurological problem, lack of oxygen during sleep causes internal disease in the following ways.  When one is awakened abruptly from sleep to catch their breath, adrenaline increases blood pressure which is also believed to contribute to vascular problems.  And with blood pressure surges, one than can also become more at risk for blood clots, stroke, arrhythmias, diabetes hypertension and memory loss.

Sleep apnea may also trigger seizures in the absence of epilepsy, or trigger seizures that were treated well in the past by medications.  In the long run the primary damage caused by this sleep disorder is due to unstable blood pressure regulation and adequate oxygen to the heart and brain.  Sleep apnea has the same risk factors on health as risks associated with heavy smoking.

Sleep Study Tests Show the Following Results:  While asleep, those with sleep apnea unknowingly experience episodes where they stop breathing.  This can occur 5-50 times per hour and up to 300 times during regular sleep.  But if the “non breathing” episodes only last seconds or less, this does not appear to have a significant health risk to the body.  But if one is sleeping and averages 30 “non breathing” episodes per hourly average where breathing stops up to 10 second intervals minimum between breaths, this is where serious health risk increases and incremental/accumulative damage to the heart occurs.  While loved one(s) and friends assume you simply have a bad, loud obnoxious snore, this could in fact be an indicator of something far worse than irritating those around you.  And also be aware, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea.  Only a sleep study test can prove this for sure.

High Risk Indicators:  Those that are obese tend to have a lot of fatty tissue and low muscle tone around neck area.  Obesity creates the anatomical characteristics of obstruction potential for impingement, pressing down, or blockage of the airway while lying down.  Also males between 40-70 years of age and diagnosed with sleep apnea have a 68% higher risk of “coronary heart disease” than those without it.  And men that have been diagnosed with OSA have a 58 percent greater risk of “cardiac failure” than those without.  Women don’t appear to suffer from this condition, but science agrees more studies on women are recommended.   The common times of sudden death appear to occur mostly between the hours of midnight to 6am.

What to look for:  Listen for loud snoring and/or those that fall into the obese category. If both breathing and snoring stops while the chest and body attempt to breath, this is classic of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.  When breathing starts you’ll note a gasp for air and snoring begins again.

Other Recommendations and Medical Treatment

  1. Diagnostic tests: Oximetry or polysomnography – If you have insomnia consider asking your doctor to be referred to a Level 3 sleep study where your breathing, oxygen flow, heart rate and chest/abdomen expansion are monitored overnight.
  2.  CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) This is mask worn while sleeping that injects air into the respiratory system without interruption of obstructing air flow to the body.  How it works: The device blows positive pressure into the nose to keep the airway from collapsing.
  3. Sleep at 30 degree elevated level helps to keep gravity pulling down on weakened tissues around the neck area from obstructing airway.
  4. Decrease weight, stop smoking, chewing tobacco.
  5. If you are diabetic your odds of OSA increase 3-fold. Seek treatment and follow your doctor’s advice for diabetes.
  6. Avoid alcohol, muscle relaxants, chronic opiate use.  The presence of sleep apnea without an obstructive component appears to be a common symptom for those that abuse opiates.
  7. For those with OSA and are candidates for surgery to alter the airway may be your solution to getting away from CPAP dependency.  I.e., Throat, base of tongue and facial skeleton surgery can correct the anatomical obstruction cause.
  8. Check on medications and other treatment for complex sleep apnea that include unknown central nervous system cause, e.g., Acetazolamide to lower blood pressure and encourage respiration.


  1. http://www.medindia.net/news/Risk-of-Heart-Disease-Increases-With-Obstructive-Sleep-Apnea-71310-1.htm
  2. http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Treating+sleep+deprivation+begins+with+proper+diagnosis/3295105/story.html
  3.   http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/news/20050323/sleep-apnea-makes-wee-hours-sudden-death-time
  4.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_apnea

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.