Saturday, May 21, 2011

Five Personal Trainer Secrets!

Hello there! Are you having a wonderful "dooms day" mean SATURDAY? I'm rockin' out to this jam today:

haha--scare-mongering "rapture" aside....

By no means do I classify myself as a "fitness expert." I have a boat-load of fitness-related knowledge, but I feel like "expert" is  a pretentious title reserved for people with years of health-related schooling and/or training and/or research. I prefer "fitness guru" :)

I'm always picking up tips and information to add to my mental library and the three-day personal training workshop was no exception. Today I'm gonna share five fabulous, little known secrets I learned in the personal training workshop (shhhhh)...

1. Wii Fit doesn't know what it's talking about.

To anyone who's played Wii Fit and been shamed as "obese" in the Wii's brutal initial assessment, fear not! The Wii Fit is measuring BMI, which is not the most accurate measure of a person's health or fitness. For a majority of AVERAGE adults, BMI is a good informative tool (e.g. for your height, you are okay, too skinny, obese, etc.). BMI is more of an illustrator--a wake up call for clients. HA! Take that, Wii Fit!

Lol from JoyofTech

However, BMI does not take into account bone structure, muscle mass or build. Some people genetically have more or less muscle, a larger or smaller bone structure or frame. For example, an athlete that has a larger frame and genetically more muscle mass will always measure out of their designated "healthy" BMI range, even though they are in top physical shape and have a healthy body fat percentage.

For a total gauge of health, one should take into consideration all factors--fat percentage, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility, in addition to BMI. Just because a 100 pound, 2 pack a day smoker with 35% body fat, falls into their "healthy" BMI range, does NOT actually make them healthy!

2. The best thing you can do for yourself (or help your loved ones with) is to quit smoking.

During the workshop, we spent a good hour and a half talking about health-related illness and diseases. A huge proportion of them are caused by smoking. Here's a CDC fact sheet describing a few. We also talked about the effects of cigarettes on the lungs and body (the heart and tissues of the body are affected too!).

Here's the short version: our lungs have little air sacs called alveoli. The alveoli process the oxygen. If you take the surface area of all of those air sacs and stretch it out, it would equal roughly the size of a tennis court.

So, really, we born with more alveoli than we possibly need. But, smoking, age and inhalation of other hazardous materials slowly disables them. We've all seen the biology class pictures of "smoker's lungs" compared to healthy lungs (so I won't post them here). Irreparable damage and tar demolished those sacs. The heart has to beat harder and becomes enlarged. The good news is that quitting prevents further damage to those little alveoli and immediately stop all those diseases.

We want our organs to look as happy as these "Plush Guts!" :)

3. To ramp up the fat burn, ramp up the intensity.

Let's say you're walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes working at a low to moderate 50% of your max heart rate. At this rate, you're burning 50% fat, 50% carbs. Let's suppose you burn 170 calories.

Now, you add sprints or intervals to your 30 minutes of walking. Because you're now working at 50-70% of your max heart rate sporadically, your body is now using more carbs than fat (70% carbs, 30% fat), but your OVERALL calorie burn is higher--250 calories burned in 30 minutes.

So even though you're proportionally burning more carbs, you are STILL burning more calories overall doing the high intensity workout--and subsequently more calories from fat.

Awwww. Cuteness.

Speaking of heart rate...

4. Use heart rate, and NOT sweat, as a sign of a "good workout."

I knew this one, but it was nice to have it confirmed in the PT workshop. I hear so many people in group fitness classes gauge how well of a class it was based on how much they sweat. A lot of factors affect how much you sweat--room temperature, body temperature, humidity, hydration, etc. Sweat is just thermo-regulation, but not necessarily a sign of a good workout.

The real question is at what percentage of your heart rate were you working? Were you in a moderate-high intensity range (60-80% of your max HR)? To find your heart range, read this step-by-step article and invest in a heart rate watch. I REALLY WANT a pink ONE like this!!!

5. A few sessions with a personal trainer is TOTALLY worth the cost!

There's a reason that personal training costs are additional to a gym membership--because it's worth it! A few sessions with a PT can make all the difference in your workout. They can show you proper form and technique, help you with a workout plan to meet your fitness goals, or just help you over a workout slump.

Let me clarify, however, and say that a "GOOD" personal trainer is worth the $$$. A lazy personal trainer is not worth two cents. Ask around for recommendations and make sure that you are getting the best training for your money. I've been in this business long enough to know that not all PTs are good ones. A good personal trainer is not only friendly and experienced, but also gives you exactly what you want from your sessions--and they don't waste your time.
I'd SO work for cupcakes!!! Cute mug from Zazzle.

Okay, so maybe these aren't secrets, but hopefully they are as informative for you as they were for me! Have a great day everyone!

Q.O.D. (question of the day): Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? Was it helpful for you or a waste of time? Leave a comment!

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