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Fitness Program

Get Fit Now - Ask Me How
A Very Basic Fitness Plan For Everyone
By Bill Whedon, CPFT, and Kent Dobbins, MS

Almost everyone who writes to us at World Fitness, wants a workout plan of some sort.  This article proposes a simplified plan, sort of a "one size fits all", which you and your Certified Personal Trainer will be able to modify to suit you, specifically.  Many people will be able to take this plan as is, and get good results.  However, bear in mind that everyone is different, so some modifications may be in order.  If you find that you can't do it, or it isn't working for you after some reasonable period (6 to 8 weeks), then you should see a local Certified Personal Trainer about those modifications.  There will be more on this subject further along.

Before we begin, I must make it clear that this plan should only be done by persons in good health, with no medical conditions which would prevent them from following it safely.  If you have any reason to believe that you do not fit this profile, you should first consult with your physician and obtain his/her approval before beginning.  And with that caution in mind, let's get going!

Components of Fitness
There are four basic components of fitness:

  • Aerobic
    • Your level of aerobic fitness is the over-all condition of your cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) system.  How well you function in this department, for example, whether or not walking up a flight of stairs is a problem, is the main area of interest.  If you are aerobically fit, your heart is strong, your lungs are in good condition, and common everyday activities are performed with little effort.  If you find yourself huffing and puffing when you walk up a little hill, it's probably time to get interested in your body's aerobic component.
  • Nutrition
    • How do you eat?  Are you a "junk-food junkie"?  Do you try every fad diet in the book -- no carbs, all carbs, all fish, dairy diets, all veg, etc.?  Or maybe you eat pretty normally, but still can't seem to get into the shape you desire?  Establishing, and staying with, a "human-normal" diet, and a "hominid-normal" pattern of eating, is probably the best way to handle diet.  Throw out the diet books, the supplements, and the pills.  Quit watching the "infomercials", and quit believing the hype.  It's time for common sense, and a way of eating that will help you to become and remain fit and healthy.
  • Strength
    • You're alone in your car, driving across the South Dakota badlands.  It's 1 AM, and there has been nobody on the road with you for over an hour.  Nobody and nothing around for miles.  It's cold out, and you only have a light jacket.  You feel a slight bump, and the left rear tire is suddenly flopping.  A blowout.  You stop on the side of the road, and whip out your cel phone.  It's battery is dead, and you don't have your car adaptor.  In the trunk, you find a good spare tire, a jack with a handle, and a lug wrench.  The car is an SUV - a heavy one, with big, heavy tires.  It's getting colder, and you don't have enough gas to run your car all night.  You know how to change a tire, because you've done it before, but that was on a Geo Metro, with little Life-Saver sized tires.  Can you change the tire on your Land Cruiser?  Maybe now, while you're sitting at your computer reading this, would be a good time to start thinking about improving your strength!
  • Measurement
    • "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?"  A very pertinent question, indeed!  Not only that, it's very useful to know where you're coming from, and to look at the mileposts along the way.  If you're presently living in an athletic body, chances are, you already know about total bodyfat measurement.  If, however, like most of us, that athletic body is a goal rather than a reality, a tape measure will do just fine!  What?  No scale?  Well, if you really need to watch your weight, that is, if you know you're obese and want to bring it down, there's nothing wrong with using a scale.  Just don't obsess on your attraction to the center of the earth.  It isn't all there is by way of measurement!  In fact, weighing yourself more than once a week is a waste of time!  Saturday morning, buck naked, right after your first elimination and a shower.  That's when you do it.  No other time.  Write it on a piece of paper, and forget it until next week, same time, same conditions.
Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercise is fun, both to plan and to do!  When we think of it, however, we almost inevitably picture jumping around in a high-impact aerobic-dance class, or doing step, or some kickboxing form.  Not everyone likes that stuff.  Maybe you don't, but you want to get aerobically fit, anyhow.

First, some ground rules, no matter what you do:

  • You have to do aerobic exercise on a regular basis.  That means at least 3 times per week, preferably 4.
  • You have to maintain a fairly intense "zone" for at least 30 minutes, preferably 40.  More on this later.
  • The exercise you do must be enjoyable to you.  If it isn't, you'll find "reasons" to skip it, and finally abandon it.
  • There is such a thing as overdoing it.  Don't go overboard - you'll set yourself up for injuries and burnout!
Exercising regularly "pumps up" your metabolism in a good way (unlike the "metabolism enhancers", aka drugs, from the Diet & Supplement Contingent).  within reason, the more frequently you exercise, the more active your metabolism will become.

You can easily tell whether you are doing aerobic exercise at an appropriate rate for you.  Here's how:

  1. You are breathing heavily, but can carry on a conversation, saying 4 or 5 words between breaths.
  2. You are not gasping for breath for each word you say.
  3. You could not sing a song, if asked to do so.
Finding an enjoyable exercise form, might be the most difficult task of all.  We're all very busy these days, so whatever we do, we want it to be fun and profitable.  I suggest that you try many different things.  Get outside and walk.  If the weather or climate doesn't permit that, do it in a mall or large shopping center.  Some gyms are big enough to have walking/running tracks.  If you'd rather, ride a bicycle.  Or get a pair of inline or rink skates, and try that out, outside, or at a rink, wherever is suitable.

Swim
Run
Jog
Take an aerobics class (any kind)

The primary thing is, get out there and move!

You don't have to start in all at once.  You don't have to commit to anything until you know that you like it.  You do have to look yourself in the face, though, and make that decision to do it.  3 or 4 times a week.  At intensity.  For duration.  You have the plan now, and that's all of it.  It's really simple, and you can do it.  But you have to start.  Now.

How to Eat (Nutrition)
You don't have to starve to become fit.  In fact, not eating enough will have exactly the opposite of the desired effect!  When you eat too little, your body knows it, and it reacts.  It reacts by storing everything you eat as fat, and consuming it's muscle tissue for the "fuel".  People who are starving, often have very high bodyfat percentages.  It's the body's way of protecting itself against famine.  So you need to eat enough to overcome that reaction.  Which translates to eating enough to remain healthy, to provide the "fuel" for those muscles to burn off the fat!

Up above, I used the words, "human", and "hominid".  Although all humans are hominids, all hominids aren't human.  Forget the battle between Creation and Evolution for a moment, and consider this:  We're very similar to the apes on this planet.  Not identical, but we have the same sorts of teeth, same sorts of digestive systems, and similar other items.  Another similarity is in our metabolisms.  I want you to pay close attention to this:

Outside of zoos, there are no un-fit, fat monkeys.

So, if we're so similar, then, why do we get un-fit and fat and they don't?

Outside of zoos, monkeys move around a lot, and eat small amounts, almost continuously!

When you eat small amounts, frequently, some Very Good Things happen.  Your blood sugar stays pretty level, which means that you're not producing tons of insulin when you gobble down a big, high-carb meal, nor are you requiring your brain (which runs best on sugars), to put up with running on ketones, which you do on those abominable "high-protein" "ketogenic" diets.  (Aside:  I'd love to see some institute of higher learning administer an IQ test to people just before, and about 4 weeks into, a high-protein/no carb diet!)  Since you eat all the time, you're never really all that hungry at any one moment.  No "pigging-out" needed.  No requirement to change your diet to eat All Protein, or All Carbs, or All Veggies, or All Fish!  You eat what you like, in small quantities, pretty much all the time!

You do still have to pay attention to proper nutrition.  You still can't eat burgers and fries for every meal, and expect to get trim.  But you can eat some burgers, some fries, some pizza -- just not every day, and not as your primary food source.   It's a common sense approach, and that's the best way!

How To Get Enough (But Not Too Much) Food:
In other words, how do you know you're eating enough, but not so much that you'll increase your bodyfat?  The answer is an item called the Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR.  That is calculated for each individual, using a formula which has been developed by lengthy testing in real-world situations.  There are a number of fitness calculators for this on the Internet. 

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