I’m often asked, what’s the best way to get in shape and lose weight in the era of Covid19? The first thing that comes to mind, you must find an exercise activity program that’s relevant for you. After many client consults throughout the years, it’s not surprising to learn – If you don’t connect with an indoor/outdoor aerobic exercise acivity passion, it will be more challenging to achieve a set fitness goal(s) that can be sustained to live the lifestyle and build the ageless body you need, want and deserve now… regardless of the current environment!
To optimally increase energy and become more active to lose weight and strengthen the body, one should start by increasing aerobic exercise daily. To be successful at daily aerobic exercise, you’ll need to find an aerobic activity of interest that motivates you to move more and stick with it. Once you do this, the will power to stay the course WILL happen in a short period of time.
Most aerobic and anaerobic exercise routines/programs center on a 3 to 5 day per week frequency at 30-60 minutes in duration. Personal fitness goals on average look to achieve weight loss, muscular endurance and body tone and increased range of motion and mobility.
Increased muscle bulk and strength gains are typically secondary to weight loss programming requests for a majority of people interested in bodybuilding and sports.
Anaerobic activity is defined, where strength, power and high muscular intensity effort and THR is within 80-90% cardio-muscular endurance effort. Whereas aerobic exercise intesity of cardio-muscular effort can be correlated to: low-medium [50-70% THR effort). THR is often used to monitor heart beat rate/min at the carotid (neck) or radial (wrist) artery at rest, or new technolgies can monitor THR on the fly.
Find a THR monitor that’s right for your active lifestyle:
Target Heart Rate (THR) tells us when to increase or decrease exercise intensity to stay within the fat burning zone “to burn more body fat weight” and achieve the best weight loss or other fitness goal results, stay within the fat burning THR to achieve the objective.
Science shows us that aerobic exercise intensity of effort at ~50-60% THR zone is the fat burning “sweet spot” to burn more fat and reduce body weight (see THR Zone chart above).
How does one determine and build an individual fitness program that will work long term? Many individuals have self-learned through time how to build a program that works for them and have developed a daily fitness habit. However, those who’ve not had success at this approach for lack of resources, or whatever may require the services of a professional fitness trainer to help customize a personalized fitness program that becomes a daily habit.
Who do I consider a professional fitness trainer? An undergraduate [exercise and health sciences] that is certified and experienced in fitness profiling, which should also include: habits and behavioral change strategies, diet and current lifestyle analysis and fitness goal orientation, general health and medical history analysis and postural and body type analysis, etc. Thereafter, capable of analyzing the data to build a fit healthy habits and lifestyle change program that includes a customized fitness program. This will provide the healthy lifestyle change program direction to set and achieve the desired fitness results relevant for the individual.
For many Americans the number one fitness goal is weight loss.
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All too often, confirmed by past clients… those who jump on other fitness and diet program band wagons hope to receive the same weight loss and body building results. It is often thought if one follows anothers program, they’ll receive the same fitness results. Sometimes this strategy works – but all too often it fails because it’s not right for every body type, fitness level, medical condition, lifestyle, environmental situation, will power, motivation, etc.
What ever training method or process programs others use to achieve a fitness goal – It won’t work for everyone in the same way all the time. Why? Plain and simple, we’re all wired differently. For example, what exercise activities would best compliment your ability to stay the fitness goal course? Is it the same as your next door neighbor? Likely not.
I’ve seen people buy a gym membership, purchase home exercise equipment they rarely use and/or work out with a buddy that pushes them too hard… , then get too sore, or hurt themselves. Since it was a bad experience they drop out of the program because they began their fitness training program without analysis of current lifestyle habits and environment and fitness levels and goals, etc.
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Increasing exercise intensity is important if the fitness goal is to increased fitness levels and performance above and beyond the norm. But one must ease into muscular endurance and stength intensity effort if it’s been awhile since one has exercised. If you’ve been sendentary for a while, start your exercise with a daily walk to get the muscle memory and circulatory systems and balance conditioned for a faster walk pace. Once you become conditioned to increase exercise activity… there is an intensity of effort, or sustainable “sweet spot” relevant to your fitness goal.
Those involved in intermural or professional sports activities who condition themselves at higher intensity levels can sustain those levels at a competitive levels outside of a gym by using a weighted workout vest. Professional athletes often train above 85% THR intensities conditioning themselves for a muscular endurance and/or strength event. Outside of gyms athletes often train by adding more weight to their bodies to increase intensity of exercise effort to increase performance results.
If you are not conditioned to exercise above 70-85% THR, you”ll likely have a bad experience and/or you’re New Year’s resolution may go right out the window. If you are beginning an exercise program, or it’s been awhile since you trained, stick to a basic aerobic and anerobic exercise program. Then work your way up from there.
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For the novice, it is recommended a 1:1 session and orientation to exercise programming by a certified fitness trainer. I highly recommend purchasing a seasoned and certified fitness trainer that includes fitness and dietary profiling and physical assessments to build the BEST customized fitness and healthy lifestyle program that’s right for you. Especially if you’ve failed previously at a fitness goal, or have been out of the exercise circuit for a long period of time, or have not been able to stick with any other form of exercise or weight loss program. The cost of these professional services is usually reasonable for the time spent and information gained in programming and follow up consultations.
A good trainer will balance a variety of aerobic and anaerobic exercise activities inside/outside of the gym environment to help you maintain motivation and will power to stay on target.
On the same, or alternate days you may also make a commitment to participate in a low-to-high impact aerobics activity independent of anaerobic exercises… . Such as participating in instructor lead classes, i.e., Spinning (stationary bike), Zumba [dance moves of salsa, reggaeton, mambo, flamenco, rumba and hip-hop], Yoga, or boot camp exercise classes. Or sign up for a swimming, ballroom dance, or competitive intermural sports (indoor racquetball, basketball, squash, etc.).
Or instead of organized fitness instructor led classes – typical with gym membership, you may be more comfortable, or interested in engaging within a self-paced DVD instructed exercise activity at home; and mix up outdoors on alternate days with other types of aerobic exercise: walking, jogging, biking, etc.
There is also stationary aerobic exercise equipment found in most gyms with membership. Its becoming more convenient during the era of Covid19 – to invest in home equipment at a reasonable cost… Learn more about the variety of exercise equipment for home use and how it can help you achieve your fitness goal. E.g., stair-stepper, treadmill, recombinant bike-steppers, cross trainer elliptical, etc.
What is elliptical? These are aerobic stationary exercise machines that simulate stair climbing, rowing, walking and running and increase range of motion without causing extreme stress on weight bearing joints. Thereby reducing the likelihood of injuries and optimizing the fat burning benefits within the THR – while toning core muscle groups.
People recovering from injury often rehabilitate themselves at a low intensity pace on these types of machines. But don’t underestimate their usefulness. Resistance can be set to provide an intense workout to lose more body fat while toning muscles and optimizing cardiovascular and muscular endurance performance and results.
For intermediate and advanced exercise enthusiasts, if you’ve been working out for years and feel like you’re physical performance, or competitive advantage, or fitness goal is stagnant – you may need the services of a fitness trainer that specializes in competitive task specific/or sports profiling and assessment. A professional sports trainer can help design and develop a program that’s relevant to achieving the desired competitive advantage and overall sports goal. Sports trainer specialists can design a task specific exercise program to get you to the next competitive level.
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Regardless of experience, fitness level or lifestyle change goals, once you become exercise and activities conditioned, don’t be afraid to take your intensity of exercise effort to the next level. Weekly – Try increasing intensity of effort through increased duration and frequency of weekly exercise. You will then burn more body fat weight as you sustain 60-70% THR – get stronger and leaner and look and feel better. Continuous body toning and shaping improvements WILL occur through a sustainable customized fit healthy lifestyle plan and program that’s right for you.
If you want to sustain a fit healthy and active lifestyle for the long haul, professional customized fitness programming provides the road map that’s right for you and will keep you on target. Learn how to live an active lifestyle and build the body you need, want and deserve! Click Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” and learn how to build a program in the privacy of your home Now.
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2014-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.