Welcome to AA Fitness! This is a Health and Fitness Blog for
ALL ages. Enjoy all the material I have to share with you. My
philosopy and expertise is in Kinesiology, and comes with a
decade of education and experience. I am an educator, trainer,
coach, student, athlete, and client to fitness!!! Join the journey
and let's have some fun! -Andrew Ames

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fat Burning Zone

With each of my blogs, I will try to sum up my main article at the beginning of each blog since most of my blogs might involve “jibberish” to most.   Note: My next blog will go over some basic terminology of fitness
To sum it up: Fat Burning involves a LONGER duration, at a LOW intensity while REDUCING and/or MAINTAINING your total dietary consumption.  “Fat Burning Zone” = aerobic activity that does not produce significant amounts of lactic acid.   Read below and learn about fat oxidation, and understand that a calorie is NOT just a calorie.  
How can you optimize Fat loss with aerobic exercise?  
Theory A: Perform aerobic exercise at a lower intensity to augment fat-oxidation and fat loss.   Intensity varies from each individual but should be between 55-70% of the Individual’s Maximum Heart Rate (MHR).   Use the Karvonen Formula, from my previous blog post, for a more detailed number designed for you!
Theory B: Exercise burns calories and the more calories you burn the more fat you lose.   It won’t matter if you run 20, 30, or 40 minutes. You can use the Absolute (total calories burned) approach vs.  the Relative (proportional-fat calories burned) approach.  
1)    For those car fans:    A Mustang GT vs. a Honda S2000
The Mustang GT has -4.6 litre engine and 300 horsepower.
The Honda S2000 has 2.2 litre engine and 237 horsepower.
Yes, technically, the Mustang GT may be “more powerful,” but the Honda S2000 gets more PER litre (107 hp/L vs. 375hp/L).   The mustang needs large superchargers to accomplish what a Honda does with valve timing.  
2)    In terms of a sprinter vs. a ballet dancer:  The sprinter may have speed, and reach the finish line quickly, but the dancer has the grace, stamina and longevity.   You can dance for hours but only sprint for seconds.   Bring back memories of the Tortoise and the Hare?
Science has proven that when an individual exercises closer to 100% of aerobic capacity, the body’s immediate calories are derived from carbohydrates, not fat.   When the individual recovers, the body will slowly return to a mixed source (Fat, Carbohydrate, and Protein) of energy.  The assertions with Theory B are made without accounting for Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER).   Basically, Carbon dioxide used over oxygen used.   This is the ratio of biochemical reflection of what substrate (fat, carb, protein) is being oxidized (METABOLIZED OR BURNED) during exercise or rest.   The foundation of the “Fat Burning Zone” lies in the individual’s metabolic rates that dictate the source of energy (fat, carb, protein).   Fat Burning involves a LONGER duration, at a LOW intensity while REDUCING and/or MAINTAINING your total dietary consumption.  
Higher intensity involves more soreness and fatigue.   I like to be around 65% of my MHR.   That is when my body burns fat the best.   What about your body?   Test it and find out!   Give yourself 3 weeks with each intensity.   Mark your results.   Start with the low intensity (50-65%), then for the next 3 weeks shoot for a medium intensity (65-75%), and for the last three weeks go for the higher intensity (75-85%).   That right there is a 9-week program with an aerobic exercise, 2-3x a week, for a duration of 20 minutes minimum.   Be sure to maintain a well-balanced diet throughout the process.

Fat Oxidation
            When the exercise intensity increases, the relative proportions of fat oxidation decreases while that of carbohydrate increases.   Is the individual’s interest: Absolute: How much fat is oxidized? or Relative: The percentage of energy from fat during exercise?
In a relative sense, the lower the exercise intensity, the greater the reliance on fat as a substrate for energy.  In an absolute sense, during more intense exercises, Total Caloric Expenditure is much higher.   For the most part, the body can interconvert one macronutrient (and there are 7) to another with the exception of fat-carbohydrate conversion, hence the “fat-buring zone” debate.   “A calorie is a calorie regardless of the source” is a typical answer.  
A calorie is NOT just a calorie       

            If a calorie is just a calorie, then three diets at the same calorie level, the first composed of 100% protein, the second 100% carbohydrates and the third 100% fats, would all have the same effect on body composition. A diet of 100% tuna fish (lean protein) will not have the same effect as a diet of 100% potato chips (fat and carbohydrate). Nothing should be 100% of one thing too!  You need balance.
J   Calorie balance is the most important issue in fat loss but there's more to it than that. Other variables include the thermic effect of food, the effect of each food on hormones and blood sugar levels and the macronutrient ratios of each meal, etc.  But a Nutritionist can lay you down with all that hefty information.
            A misconception about fat loss is the scientific approach that "a calorie is just a calorie" and the only thing that matters is calories in vs.  calories out.   If fat loss were that simple, then you could eat anything you wanted and you would still lose fat as long as your calories were below maintenance. For example, you could eat nothing but chocolate candy bars and drinks nothing but soda and if you were 100 calories under maintenance, you'd lose weight.    I hope your common sense told you this isn't true.

There are two ways to stop or slow the fat burning system.
1)    Consumption of high carbohydrates (note: Simple Carbs tend to move insulin production and move fat storage. So BALANCE!).
2)    Production of Lactic Acid.   Produced during high intense anaerobic exercises.   Lactic Acid interferes with the fat mobilizing hormones and the fat burning enzymes of the body.  
“Fat Burning Zone” = aerobic activity that does not produce significant amounts of lactic acid.   As the individual becomes more physically fit, Lactate Threshold (appearance of Lactic Acid in the blood) will increase.   Lactate Threshold allows more fat to be burned over a wide variety of exercise intensities.  
So, engage in all forms!   Utilize a well-balanced regime incorporating all aspects of cardiovascular exercises.   Optimal Health and Homeostasis!   Get the miles covered, not just the time.  
The journey continues….   Let’s learn the language of fitness a little bit!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Karvonen Formula (Target Heart Rate)

Created by Finnish professor Dr. Karvonen, this formula is the most customized for YOU.   With submaximal intensity, the value of your heart rate (HR) correlates directly with the intensity of the load (work).   The Karvonen formula calculates the minimum and maximum HR for an effective aerobic training workout.   The Target Training Range should be between 70% and 85% of your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR).
How to find your Target Heart Rate (THR)
1st: Find your Resting Heart Rate (RHR): Have a watch by your bed, ready to go.   After you wake up in the morning, before getting out of bed, check your pulse for one minute.   You can take this RHR over the course of 3 mornings, if you want an even more accurate RHR number.   An individual’s RHR varies. A healthy resting heart rate lies between 60 and 90 BPM (beats per minute). If your resting heart rate is above 90 beats per minute for all three mornings, you should consult your physician. You may have a heart condition called tachycardia.  Similarly, a dangerously low heart rate (below 60 if you are inactive and below 40 if you are an athlete in training) accompanied by weakness, lethargy and fainting can be a symptom of bradycardia, which requires immediate medical attention.   A consistently irregular heart beat that skips beats or speeds up periodically is also cause for concern. While the occasional fluctuation is no serious matter, if you take your pulse for a full minute and notice irregularities, you should bring this to the attention of your physician.

How can I check for my pulse?
Your pulse can be felt at any point on your body where your veins and arteries run close to the surface of your skin. The most popular pulse point can be found on the carotid artery, which runs along the left side of your neck. You can find the carotid artery just below the leftmost point of your jaw bone, next to the tendon in your neck.
*BE SURE to use the correct fingers:  You should not use your thumb to measure your heart rate because your thumb has its own strong pulse that can interfere with the pulse you are trying to measure. Instead, use your index and middle finger to press on the artery. It doesn’t matter if you use your left or right hand.
Karvonen Formula: Put your math skills to the test!!!
1) MHR (Maximum Heart Rate) =220 -subtract- Age.
2) HRR (Heart Rate Reserve) = MHR  -subtract- RHR (Resting Heart Rate)
3) THR (minimum) = HRR *multiply* TI%(min. Training Intensity) +add+ RHR
4) THR (maximum)= HRR   *multiply* TI% (max.) +add+ RHR

This will give you your Target Heart Rate (THR) minimum and maximum.   You should try to stay in between these numbers, depending on your goal {(fat burning (lower range) or cardiovascular training (higher range)}.   My next blog will give you SCIENTIFIC information about the Fat Burning Zone.  It is called that for a reason. J

 4 Training Intensities (TI%)


1) Objective: Weight loss & special populations    
Population:Sedentary, Obese, Overweight,Cardio Development, Hypertensive, Diabetic, Cardiac

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­2) Objective: Weight loss, Cardio Capacity                  
Percentage: 50-75%                                                           
Population: Active

3) Objective:Cardio Capacity                                          
Population: Trained Individual

4) Objective: With Trained Professional                         
Percentage: 90-100%                                                   
Population: Athlete

Here is an example for an individual who is 35 years old:

* RHR over 3 mornings
Morning 1) 69 bpm(beats per minute)
Morning 2) 71 bpm
Morning 3) 70 bpm
Average: (69+71+70) /divided by/ 3 = 70 bpm

1) MHR = 220 – 35 = 185bpm
2) HRR = 185 – 75 = 115bpm
3) THR (minimum) = (0,7 x 115) + 70  = 150 bpm
4) THR (maximum) = (0,85 x 115) + 70 = 167 bpm

RHR= 70bpm
THR(min)= 150bpm

*A non-scientific approach that is sometimes used, and if you do not have the ability to check your heart rate, although I STRONGLY recommend you do, the TALK TEST, is another method to help find what zone you are in.   I like to use the A-B-C’s.  In one breath, I find out how many letters I can say, with at normal pace.  If I reach up to Q-R-S, I’m usually in a lower zone. :)

Added Definitions
*Intensity of the load (work being done)- This is defined as intensity as the percentage of maximum load that is being used.(ex. a 75% load would be, if you can use 100 lbs maximum,  lifting 75 pounds)
*Submaximal intensity- This means not at maximum intensity
*Tachycardia- Heart rate is controlled by electrical signals sent across heart tissues. Tachycardia occurs when an abnormality in the heart produces rapid electrical signals.
*Bradycardia- Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. For some people, however, bradycardia doesn't cause symptoms or complications.

Next Topic:   The Fat Burning Zone…

Monday, November 01, 2010

4 Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire

   One of the very first things a person should do before beginning an exercise routine, is take the PAR-Q.   This is a Questionnaire that examines your readiness to perform physical activity.   Before you take you car for a long long road trip, you take it into the shop to make sure ALL is ready to go, right?   We need to know where you are at, and if you are able to begin a program.   Below are different types of PAR-Q links.  Click on the first link #1 and see if you answer YES to any of the questions, if so you should see a doctor and let the doctor use PAR-Q (PARmed-X) #2 BEFORE you begin an exercise program.

1) The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology created the original PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire), for ages 15-69, was developed by the British Columbia Ministry of Health.   It has been revised by an Expert Advisory Committee of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology chaired by Dr. N. Gledhill (2002).  Link to PAR-Q:   http://uwfitness.uwaterloo.ca/PDF/par-q.pdf

2) The PAR-Q (PARmed-X) is to be used by doctors with people who answer YES to one or more questions on the PAR-Q above.
Link to (PARmed-X) PAR-Q: http://www.csep.ca/cmfiles/publications/parq/parmed-x.pdf

3) The PAR-Q (PARmed-X for Pregnancy) is to be used by doctors with pregnant patients who wish to become more active.
Link to (PARmed-X for Pregnancy) PAR-Q: http://www.csep.ca/cmfiles/publications/parq/parmed-xpreg.pdf

4) The Children's Hospital Institute of Sports Medicine (CHISM) created a PAR-Q for children.   The document will be found on page 21 after you have gone to the link.
Link to PAR-Q for children: http://www.chw.edu.au/chism/childcare_guidelines_for_gyms.pdf (page 21)