Fitness & Exercise / December 6, 2012

Diet Detective’s Fitness Starter Plan

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Diet Detective’s Starter Plan

Plan 1
Who gets it?
Do you have to lose 70 or more pounds? If so, this is the plan for you.

What do you do?

–       Walk every day: five times per week for 120 minutes per day, and the other two days for 90 minutes.  You can substitute 60 minutes on the Stairmaster or elliptical trainer or bicycling for 60 minutes of the walking time (but you still need to do some walking).

–       You should be walking in your target heart rate zone, which is the minimum and maximum number of times your heart should beat during one minute of . You can find your target heart rate by going to the American Heart Association’s website at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp.  It’s recommended that you exercise within 60 percent (even lower for beginners) to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

–       Core and strength training three times per week for approximately 45 minutes.

Plan 2

Who gets it?
Do you have to lose 40 to 69 pounds, or did you start on Plan 1 and now have less than 40  pounds to lose? If so, this is the plan for you.

What do you do?

–       Walk every day: five times per week for 90 minutes per day and 60 minutes on the other two days.  Thirty minutes of elliptical training, bicycling or time on the Stairmaster can be substituted for 30 minutes of walking.

–       Walking should be in your target heart rate zone, which is the minimum and maximum number of times your heart should beat during one minute of exercise. To find your target heart rate, see Plan 1. It’s recommended that you exercise within 60 percent (or lower for beginners) to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

–       Core and strength training three times per week for approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Plan 3

Who gets it?
Do you have to lose 20 to 39 pounds, or have you been on Plan 2 but now have less than 20 pounds to lose? If so, this is the plan for you.

What do you do?

–       Walk seven times per week, 60 minutes per day.  Thirty minutes of elliptical training can be substituted for 30 minutes of the walking, but you would still need to walk at least 30 minutes per day.

–       You should be walking in your target heart rate zone, which represents the minimum and maximum number of times your heart should beat during one minute of exercise. To find your target heart rate, see Plan 1. It’s recommended that you exercise within 60 percent (or lower for beginners) to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

–       Core and strength training three times per week for approximately 45 minutes.

Plan 4

Who gets it?
Do you have less than 20 pounds to lose? If so, this is the plan for you.

What do you do?

–       Walk every day: five times per week for 60 minutes per day, the other two day for 45 minutes. Thirty minutes of elliptical training, bicycling or using the Stairmaster can be substituted for 30 minutes of walking.

–       You should be walking in your target heart rate zone, which represents the minimum and maximum number of times your heart should beat during one minute of exercise.  To find your target heart rate, see Plan 1. It’s recommended that you exercise within 60 percent (or lower for beginners) to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

–       Core and strength training three times per week for approximately 45 minutes.

An Easy Way to Determine Your Target Heart Rate

For years, the rule of thumb has been to subtract your age in years from the number 220 to determine your maximum heart rate. However, using this age-based method can defeat the purpose of actually using the heart rate monitor to determine exercise intensity, so some caution against it. You can always use the “talk test,” outlined below.

Try reciting something you know really well, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, while exercising. If you can speak comfortably and say it clearly, without any problems, you’re doing just fine and are probably in the 50 percent to 80 percent range. If you waffle a bit, you are probably working at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you can’t talk at all, you’re above 90 percent.

Strength-Training Basics
In addition to walking every day, you need to strength-train three times a week as part of your . Your routine should include upper body, lower body and core-strengthening exercises  meaning those that focus on your abdominal and back muscles. The good news is, you don’t have to belong to a health club to do them. And, don’t worry, this level of strength training (also known as resistance training) won’t turn you into a big, hulking beast.

Also, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pushing yourself beyond your physical limitations can lead to any number of injuries, so ease into your training. Always start with less weight than you think you can lift; do the exercises at a comfortable pace; listen to your body; and don’t forget to breathe and keep an eye on your form.

Keep it slow and steady. Lift weights in slow, controlled movements. If you find that you’re jerking the weights up and down, decrease the weight. You’ll get better results from using proper form than from lifting too much weight, so don’t feel you have to lift more than you can manage.

Don’t lock your joints. Extending your arms and legs completely while you’re doing strength-training moves won’t help develop your muscles and will put you at risk for injuries to your elbows and knees. Keep a slight bend in your joints.

Work opposing muscle groups. If you work your chest, be sure to work your back muscles just as much. Neglecting the opposing muscle group can cause muscular imbalances, which can lead to problems with your posture and, ultimately, undermine the strength you’re trying so hard to build.

Stand tall. In any standing exercise, such as a biceps curl, you should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, to take the pressure off your lower back. Press your chest out, contract your abdominals, and hold your head up, looking directly in front of you.

The Benefits
Strength training can keep your weight in check because it helps your body burn calories, even after your workout is done. Every pound of muscle burns up to 50 calories a day  so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. Strength-training exercises can also improve your bone density. You might think resistance training would tire you out, but it actually has the opposite effect. Using weights (or your body’s own weight) during a workout increases your energy level, which may help you overcome any low-motivation days. Weight training can also boost confidence. With your newly toned muscles, you might find that you’re checking yourself out in the mirror more often (hey, that’s OK!) and receiving compliments galore on your new physique.

Always Check with Your Doctor
The first thing you should do is see your doctor, even if you just start walking. Past injuries or current medical conditions may also affect what you should and shouldn’t do with weights. Fortunately, few doctors will caution against strength training altogether.


Tags:  Exercise fitness fitness plan




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