Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Am I fit?

Occasionally I get people asking me how they will know if they are fit. Although we generally use our physical appearance as an indicator, that isn't always accurate. It is possible to be carrying 15 extra pounds and be fit. Actually, it is better for your cardiovascular system to be a little (and I stress a little) heavy and fit than it is to be thin and out of shape. I remember, during high school wrestling season, why it was that every match was so darn hard when I could do pushups, crunches, and mat drills until the cows came home. I could run and run (although I didn't like running then any more than I do now) but after 6 minutes on the mat I thought I was going to die. My coach said that being fit is not about not feeling tired but being able to push through the fatigue. How right he was. I remember the first time I did Body Step. I hated it. I hurt. But I kept at it and as my fitness improved, I found that it wasn't quite so bad. I actually began to enjoy the feelings associated with a good workout. Not so much the lactate build up that comes with anaerobic exercise (think how you feel during song #9 of any Body Attack class) but the post workout rush is fantastic.

One of the things I battle with as an instructor is class members who do just enough to get through. Not that just getting through isn't a worthy goal but after they know they can make it, some of them continue to just barely get through. My goal is for everybody to be pushing themselves every class as far as their body will allow and then pushing just a little bit more. Let me give you an example. The other night I went to my first spin class in quite awhile. I don't particularly like spin very much because you're not moving. The instructor (Kris Mowatt, at Performance Health and Fitness) had a climbing drill that about killed me. It was a 12 minute climb that started easy and got really mean. The last 6 minutes was entirely standing. After 11 minutes I wanted to cry. The room was hot (the ceiling fans are not in yet), I was dripping with sweat, and my quads were on fire. At 11.5 minutes I almost dialed the resistance back and sat down but I realized that this is what I was battling against. How can I expect my classes to push themselves to the limit if I am not willing to do the same thing? I stayed out of the saddle and finished the drill. The feeling of accomplishment was enough to make me want to go back for more. Each time I push myself a little harder, I am getting fitter.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Healthy or not?

Some people think thatyour BMI number rules and determines if you are healthy or not, and that if you have a high BMI number then you must not be healthy. Well all BMI stands for is Body Mass Index and it isn't the best way to measure one's health. For instance you could have a high number BMI, but be a very muscular person and super healthy. Remember muscle weights more than fat.

A better way to measure health is by how you feel. Are you on tons of medication for things that could be controlled by some weight loss? Do you have diseases that are curable with weight loss?

For instance. When I weighed between 215-220 I had asthma. I was on an asthma medication and had an inhaler for sudden symptoms. I also had severe back problems and usually took pain medications for those on a regular basis.

Since loosing 80 pounds I have been able to go off all my asthma medication, in fact I was declared to not have asthma anymore and not even need a perscription for the inhaler. I also don't need back medication anymore. All this due to weight loss, or so the doctor's say.

Now am I healthy? That's a good question that I've asked myself many times.
A couple days ago I was with a friend of mine in her office and she has one of those special scales that measure Body Fat. She is a personal trainer and we talked about weight and body fat, etc.

I stepped on her scale to see what it said for my body. According to the scale, I currently weigh 138.4 and my % of fat was .258, which means my percentage of lean weight is .742 or in simpler terms my pounds of fat are 35.70 and my lean pounds were 102.70

The healthy range for % of fat is 21-33% and since I'm a 25.8% of fat I fall in the healthy range. That was so comforting to know.

If I wanted to be at the bottom of the healthy range at a 21%, but still be healthy then I only need to loose 8.4 pounds. And that would make my weight 130

So all those charts on the internet that say I should be 120 are full of crap. For my height I should be 130 at the lowest. So glad I found this out. 8.4 pounds will be a lot easier to take off then 18.4 pounds and I'll feel tons better about it.