November 14, 2003
Refer to the Intentional Exercise chapter in Dr. Phil’s book, and Cardiovascular Conditioning as well as the following information. Cardio should be done on the days that you are not strength training as well.
As far as cardio, or what I like to call “auxiliary” workouts (any sport or activity of choice), recent research tauts the overall benefits of high intensity shorter duration work. We call this “short burst” work and can be incorporated in a variety of ways. Just as strength training raises your BMR (basil metabolic rate/the rate at which your body utilizes energy and burns calories) so can the higher intensity work. Simply, the higher intensity at which you can work, the more calories you will burn for hours after the workout. EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) means that your body is burning calories at a higher rate than before you initiated the exercise. As a result of this higher intensity work, your body now uses increased amounts of oxygen to replenish energy supplies, lower body tissue temperature and return the body to a resting state. Your payoff: again, you maximize the amount of calories you burn post exercise throughout your day. EPOC plays a metabolic role in your strength training as well.
As Dr. Phil says in the book, find activities that you enjoy that have reinforcing value for you. I highly recommend auxiliary or sport activities that you enjoy and can include into your Key #6 mastery. Again, SAFETY is of your paramount concern. Enjoyment for what you do will greatly enhance your experience and maximize your results. Have fun with all of this work.
Excessive cardiovascular work (exceeding the duration recommendations in the Intentional Exercise chapter on page 224) will not bring you to your weight loss goals more quickly. Excessive cardio raises stress hormones, breaks you down and will tap into your precious lean muscle stores for energy. There is no benefit to breaking muscles down by overtraining. You want to keep, maintain and continually build muscle to optimally enable your body’s ability to perpetually burn fat.
Train hard when you train but do not over train. Follow the recommendations in the Intentional Exercise chapter, the guidelines and information put forth here, as well as my other columns. You will not only conquer your short and long term goals but move beyond them. The goal is lifelong control over your weight. Having said this, I will recommend an additional stretching, light pilates or relaxing, calming type workout on the days when you want to kick it up a notch and put more time into your exercise plan. This type of workout works extremely well later in the day to relax you and enhance vital sleep/rest time.
On that note, sleep deprivation is well known now to be a contributing factor to weight gain. Organize your life so that you can get your 8 hours of quality rest per night!
I recommend the Mio Heart Rate Monitor as a tool to measure individual intensity levels (heart rate) for all exercise and physical activity. Your own level of "perceived exertion" is also a very reliable way of gauging the intensity level of a given workout. Think of a scale from zero to 10, where zero is nothing at all, five is your "moderate intensity" and 10 is your highest possible maximum effort. This scale is relative to the abilities of every individual. In other words, your level may not at this point be as high as someone you know that has been exercising for many years. (Just as my level is not as high as Michael Jordon's.) However, as your fitness level increases, which it will with your commitment, the relative level on this scale increases right along with you. These two methods of measurement work hand in hand.
I want you to think in terms of not only the calories that you burn during the one hour workout, but the metabolic BONUS you receive throughout the day, throughout the week, from the work you put forth. Again here, the fireplaces, the great investment and the ever reliable fleet of fat-burning employees that you hire, are put to work in your system.
You can incorporate your "short burst" work by doing sprint intervals within your cardio workouts. This is called interval training. The following are examples of interval timing sequences:
These are just some samples of variation you can incorporate into your cardio workouts to capitalize on the additional metabolic benefits of interval training, giving you yet even more quality results for your efforts and time. Studies have also indicated the metabolic benefits of one minute "bursts" of activity throughout your day. This is where taking the stairs instead of the elevator, finding the furthest instead of the closest parking spot or any other form of daily activity that your lifestyle can include, come into play. It all adds up!
As I mentioned in the beginning, all of this information is useless unless you make the commitment to yourself to master Key #6; Intentional Exercise. Become one with this key, and follow Dr. Phil's lead. If you do this; you will conquer all of your realistic goals and move beyond what you could ever expect.
Stay strong, be your best and enjoy your success!!
Disclaimer: All information and answers are given for educational purposes only. Your individual needs may vary. Always consult with your physician before starting or changing any exercise fitness programs and activities.