* Metabolism is a complex process that can be complicated by any number of mitigating factors. FitBURN notes the complexity. While the suggestions are drawn from evidence-based science, please consult with your health care professional to answer any questions and to make sure you are healthy enough for vigorous physical activity.
Dastardly ‘Certain Age’! Sneaky and subtle at first, you notice a few things here and there but nothing a little belt loosening can’t take care of. Until, BAM, suddenly body parts take on their own life zigging where they used to zag, water pools wherever gravity settles it, clothes feel wrong, anything you eat seems to permanently park in your belly, and of course, hair grows everywhere…but your head.
Yawn. Blah, blah, blah. What’s that? Tell you something you don’t already know?
OK. DON’T just stand by while your physiology gets lulled to sleep. Push back with FitBURN, an action plan to combat ‘Certain Age’ from choking your energy burn and subjecting you to weight gain and body composition erosion.
Now are you with me? Realize the push back isn’t going to be easy, and you may need to make adjustments to your physical activity routine, but if you provide the ‘I wanna’, FitBURN will provide the ‘here’s howa’.
‘Certain Age’ is formidable…but fallible. Stubborn, strong willed, used to playing uncontested offense, and feeding on negative emotion, FitBURN counters by matching offense with offense—fighting fire with fire—to exploit ‘Certain Age’s’ unfamiliarity with having to defend. Its lack of experience and intelligence will cause uncertainty that results in paralyzing self-doubt – HAH! back at ‘ya ‘Certain Age’.
Why personify with a name and profile? At street level, it gives our activity psyche a tangible target, an icky thing to focus its huffing, puffing, and sweating on. Digging deeper, making the fight personal is empowering. Rather than accepting the standardized prediction of this aspect of ageing, we front it to navigate our own path. This isn’t to say we enter into denial. No doubt our metabolism adjusts, but no doubt we can counter to best sustain our well being. Mother Nature will be the first to smile along with us for pushing the bounds of ‘just-accept-it.’ Delighting in ‘Certain Age’s’ paralyzing self-doubt is creative icing on the cake.
Purposefully aggressive to support playing offense, FitBURN’s building blocks are intensity, vigor, and variety. No more retreating into a shell that just causes further backward slide. Nope, we are going to steadfastly, rationally fight the good fight.
FitBURN: Intensity – Vigor – Variety:
1. Starve ‘Certain Age’ by cutting off its primary food source – avoid acknowledging it with lament.
This emotional hot spot triggers demoralizing resignation. Nourish your activity psyche by countering with FitBURN steadfastly and rationally.
2. Do 30-40 minutes of vigorous cardio as many days of the week as possible (interspersed with interval training [2-3 times a week] if you are able to do so safely).
Consult with a fitness professional to determine your ‘vigorous’ target heart rate, then exercise at that intensity the duration of your cardio session. Any activity is better than no activity, but vigorous activity compared to casual activity catalyzes a greater energy draw (that can continue its burn after your session is over).
Interval training involves adding short duration bursts of more intense output to your cardio exercise. For example, 30 seconds of sprinting after each 5 minutes of jogging or spin cycling. The bursts draw energy differently than your routine cardio work so stimulate an additional energy burn. The exertion of interval training requires strict attention to safety. The intensity can stress your joints more than your routine cardio work (sprinting compared to jogging) and elevate your heart rate beyond its safe ‘maximum’. Determine your safe maximum heart rate then monitor it during interval training. Reduce your intensity if your heart rate exceeds its safe maximum.
3. Weight train to build bigger and stronger muscles (NOT ‘tone’, ‘sculpt’ or ‘tighten’)
- Bigger muscles burn more energy than smaller muscles
- Stronger muscles burn more energy than weaker muscles
- Muscle is living tissue that burns fuel; fat tissue is dead
- Each muscle is its own fuel burning ‘Bunsen burner’ – the bigger and stronger the more it eats
- The more demand placed upon a muscle, the more it eats
- Size and strength can be gained at any age
- Muscles adapt to demand so over time use progressively heavier weights to continue to stimulate strength and size gains and optimum energy burn
The healthier our body composition – ratio of muscle to fat – the stronger our energy burn (and in general, the stronger our energy burn the healthier our body composition). Slowing metabolism can erode body composition because unused calories get stored as fat. As well as sustaining muscle function, weight training to optimize muscle size and strength can contribute to healthy body composition by catalyzing (strengthening) energy burn.
To build size and strength, think less repetitions of heavier weight, rather than more repetitions of lighter weight. Aim for 6-8 repetitions (6 for strength, 8 for size) using enough weight so the muscle is fatigued by the last repetition (not able to complete another repetition). For example, if the 6th repetition of a bicep curl using 15lbs is easy to complete you need to use more weight!
The number one weight-training mistake women make is not using sufficient weight to optimize muscle development. Ladies, size and strength are critical to our well-being for reasons beyond catalyzing energy, mainly; appropriately vigorous weight training fosters bone health by triggering the physiological process that stimulates density! The benefits are far too important to underachieve in this aspect of your fitness routine. Without augmentation (e.g., steroids) you will not develop the same musculature as men, but gladly welcome all the size and strength you can gain.
4. Be unpredictable – confuse your muscles by ‘layering’ activity, varying your routine, practicing motor skills, and regularly trialing FitBESTS and adding FitBUBBLES
Think of how multi-tasking draws your attention differently than focusing on one task—you are in a comparatively heightened, ‘all-systems-go’ state—the same principle applies to physiology. The more we ask it to respond to multiple, and unpredictable demands, the greater the energy output. For example, playing on playground equipment is an ultimate ‘layered’ activity—climbing, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, often in combination or all at once—and routine variety – no two days using the equipment is of the same sequence. Other ways to layer activity and vary your routine are:
- Weight train using ‘super-sets’: one type of exercise for a body part directly followed by a different type of exercise for the same body part (e.g., lat pulldowns followed by lat rows).
- Walk on the treadmill carrying weights.
- One day do cardio first, the next do weight training first.
- Add motor skill practice to your routine
- Regularly trial FitBESTS and add FitBUBBLES to your Iron Footprint
5. Be an active gym member (or home exerciser) but live an active lifestyle – It’s about the gym… AND the other 23 hours!
Move whenever and however you can. Completing your X-minute gym or home exercise routine is terrific! but our physiology craves all the attention it can get. Needy, yes, but a good need to meet considering its impact on our energy output and quality of life.
Eat the highest quality (most nutritious) food possible. Check labels to determine which of a same item is higher quality. In general, the item with fewer ingredients is more nutritious than the same item with more ingredients.
Sufficiently hydrate with water to effectively ‘mechanize’ physiological function and flush toxins.
Check in regularly with your health care professional to track your wellness markers (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) and any other warranted health conditions.
Track your healthfulness related to metabolism/energy balance using BMI – Body Mass Index, and Body Composition – ratio (percent) of lean (muscle) to fat (adipose) tissue assessments. Consult with a fitness professional to help with these assessments.