Evaluating Your Heart Rate

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. As you increase your physical activity, your heart will be working a bit harder, just like your other muscles. That’s why monitoring your heart rate is so important.

If you have a heart rate monitor: Just strap it on and read the results! If you’re measuring your heart rate by hand: Sit down in a quiet space and measure your heart rate by counting your pulse for one minute (alternatively, count your pulse for ten seconds and multiply by six, though this measurement may be slightly less accurate). To take your pulse, place your index finger and third finger on your radial artery (located on the inside of the wrist below your thumb).

Three Important Heart Rate Measures

  1. Resting Heart Rate (RHR). The number of times your heart contracts per minute, measured when you’re at rest.

  2. Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). The highest number of times your heart can contract per minute during maximum physical exertion. MHR is most accurately determined with a cardiac stress test, but for our purposes we’ll use the following formula: MHR = 220 – your age

    For example, the MHR of someone fifty years old is 170 beats per minute (220–50).

  3. Target Heart Rate (THR). Between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate. As we increase your movement using non-planned exercise activities, we’ll check your THR to make sure we’re not raising your heart rate too quickly. Once you’re on pace and adding activity to your day, we’ll also use your target heart rate to maximize your cardiovascular fitness level.

How many calories are you burning?

Your Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) is determined by adding three figures: 1) Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), 2) Your physical activity level (PAL), and 3) The thermic effect of the food you eat (TEF)

Together, these show us how quickly your body is burning the fuel you’re taking in, day in and day out. Let’s begin by looking separately at those three components.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy you use for your basic bodily needs. Even when your body’s at rest, it’s using fuel to breathe, grow, circulate your blood, adjust your hormone levels, repair cells, and perform other functions. Typically, BMR is the largest portion of the TEE energy equation. Because the energy required by these basic functions remains fairly consistent, this number doesn’t tend to change much.

Physical Activity Level (PAL) is the energy you use when you move—playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog. You have control of this number, and can change it quite a bit depending on the frequency, duration, and intensity of your activities.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is the energy your body uses to process your food. Digesting, absorbing, transporting, and storing food all take energy— about 10 percent of the calories you use each day. For the most part, this number stays steady.

BMR is the largest energy user, accounting for 60–75 percent of your daily expenditure. PAL ranges from 25–30 percent, and TEF takes up 10–15 percent. To find out your TEE using the easy method, use the following formula: Your current weight (in pounds) × 11 calories = TEE (daily caloric need)

This formula is based on a sedentary individual, so you’ll need to adjust it as you step up your exercising, as follows:

Multiply your TEE by:

  • 1.2 (for light exercise daily)

  • 1.5 (for moderate exercise daily)

  • 1.7 (for heavy exercise daily)

For example: 162 lbs × 11 kcal/lb = 1,782 kcal × 1.2 = 2,138 kcal/day (TEE)


Active Family Fun

Have you thought about how great it would be to include your family in your pursuit to exercise more regularly? Family exercise will improve the health of your loved ones, make exercise more fun, and at the same time develop stronger connections between all of you. With a little creativity, you can find a way to make it work for everyone. Here are a few outdoor ideas to get your family focused on fitness:

Visit your local park. Ever wonder why it's called the Department of Parks and Recreation? It provides places for people to have fun outdoors. You can’t help but be active and play while in a place of recreation, and the great outdoors is full of these opportunities. The more you mix up your activities, the more fun you’re going to have while getting fit. These outdoor activity options have something for the whole family:

• Hiking, walking, jogging, backpacking, walking the dog, climbing

• Swimming, canoeing, waterskiing, rafting

• Biking, mountain biking, rollerblading  

People spend thousands of dollars and several days traveling to do some of these same activities. You could be doing them every day for free or next to nothing. Sharing these activities with your family multiplies the fun and can actually boost your results!


Gym Stereotypes Video

Are you someone who likes exercising at a gym? I think you'll enjoy this comical video (see below) on the different stereotypical people who occupy the gym/fitness center. Regardless of whether you like to go to the gym, do your "thang" at home or other creative exercise strategy, cardiovascular exercise and strength training are a habit of health and if you don't have a plan to do them, you're likely to fail in achieving/maintaing your goal weight and/or optimal health.

Connect with your health coach today and refine your healthy action plan to increase your activity level and incorporate more cardiovasular/strength training training exercises to achieve optimal health.

SMART Goal Setting for 2014

GoalsA lot of people take time off over the holidays. If you do, secure at least a few of those precious days off to devote to yourself and your well-being. A few moments spent assessing where you are—and where you want to be—can make a big difference when the new year arrives.
It helps to remember the “SMART” rule for setting the bar for things you can achieve in the year ahead. Your goals should be…

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Attainable
R: Realistic
T: Time sensitive 
Say, for instance, you want better fitness for yourself—the kind that comes from regular exercise. Perhaps you’ve never been active before, but you want to make this essential habit of health part of your life. So you start SMART! Here are some examples
S: Specific
Instead of “I’m going to get in shape,” maybe you could say, “I am going to be able to walk a mile in 15 minutes by February 1, 2014.”
M: Measurable
Instead of “I’m going to walk regularly,” try something like “I am going to walk for 20 minutes, at least three days a week.”
A: Attainable 
Can you really smoke 500 calories on the stair machine your first day in the gym? Maybe, but if you tire out (or worse—hurt yourself) it’s all too easy to decide exercising is too hard. Start with baby steps, and build on them. (Example: I am going to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes, 3 days a week.)
R: Realistic
You can tell yourself, “I’m not going to miss a workout. Ever.” But get real: Kids gets sick, bosses call emergency meetings, and tires go flat. Instead, make yourself a promise you can keep, like: “Beginning January 2, 2013, I will go on the elliptical for 30 minutes, 5 days or more per week at my local gym. I will allow up to 2 days of rest per week.”
T: Time sensitive
“Someday” is not a word for health goals. Set a date, and write it on your calendar. Schedule those workouts, and honor your commitment to your body. (Example: On January 2, 2014, I will sign up to join my local neighborhood fitness center)
Why shouldn’t 2014 be the year that you start seriously transforming your health, your attitude, and your financial security? Your new life starts when YOU say it does. Picture in your mind what your ideal life would look like. Jot down some visions for yourself in a new diary : How would you spend a typical day when your life is truly your own? Collect pictures from magazines that represent what you want for yourself, your family, and your future.
These exercises are more than just wishful thinking. They bring you joy and purpose, motivate your hard work, and help you make your dreams into plans.

Fall Back To Health and Fitness

IfNotNowWhenAbout this time every year, you probably start gearing up for your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and start a regular exercise routine. Then, just before tacking the new calendar to the kitchen wall, you empty your home and office of all those unhealthy snacks and goodies.

Sometimes you give them to friends and coworkers; other times, you muster up a great deal of strength and toss them in the trash. But far too often you polish off every crumb yourself—and start the new year about ten pounds heavier, your body full of leftover holiday pies and cookies.

What if you could get through the holidays and reach January 1st with a loss, instead? If you limit splurges to the holiday meal, like Thanksgiving dinner, you can keep your weight in check and reach your health goals even faster.  They call them "holidays" not "holiweeks" right?

So what about Thanksgiving? We know what the traditional turkey-day table looks like: buttery mashed potatoes, syrupy sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans with potato sticks, and a big, juicy bird. Don’t even look at the dessert table! You know what’s there: pumpkin and pecan pies, carrot cake, cookies.


MountainbikerAre you waiting until after the big holidays to start a fitness regimen or get your eating back on track. There’s something so logical about starting fresh each new year; that’s why everyone does it, right? It’s like getting a clean slate to do it right once and for all. Besides, who starts a fitness plan in November?

You, if you’re smart!

With New Year’s Day looming, it’s often a race to the finish—finish off the chocolates, polish off the cakes and pies, devour all the snacks. And many find themselves with even more weight to lose. Here are a few compelling reasons to begin now.

You’ll be cool.
The heat of summer months can sometimes make us sluggish. And a 95-degree day is not necessarily the best time to walk a few miles, as it poses some additional dangers, especially for previously inactive people. Likewise, the cold winter months make us feel insular; the air is a little too fresh. We are often pressed for time and energy when the days are so short, especially after a full day of work. But fall—with its clear mornings and evenings, its invigorating fresh air, and its gorgeous colors—is the perfect time to make a commitment to rigorous movement.

You’ll be consistent.
It takes some time to turn actions into habits. Though information varies, a recent study showed that the average time it takes for a new practice to become habit is about 66 days (1). So it makes sense to build up that momentum now. When January 1 rolls around, you’ll already be so dedicated to your routine—and to its positive effects—that you won’t even have to think about whether you’re in the mood to work out on a cold January morning. You’ll already have a couple months of daily exercise under your belt—and off your stomach!

You’ll be creative.
Working out isn’t only about speed and mileage and reps. Sometimes it’s simply about working—out! Sweep, rake, bag leaves. Do some cool-weather gardening. Prepare beds for spring. Chop firewood. Of course, traditional workouts like biking and hiking are even better when the air is cool and the leaves are colorful! So get out there and fall for fitness. Establishing regular, healthy practices now can make sticking to them in January a breeze.

1. Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.674/abstract;jsessionid=96C09908C95A8D1B4B624FBCF4DE9867.d03t01

4 Failures + 1 Success = History and Legacy

Looking dazed and sunburned, U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad walked on to the Key West shore Monday, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage. The most interesting parts of her story are the following...

1. She was 62 yrs old (age is just a number when it comes to living your dreams if you're "living well")

2. She failed 4 times previously but did not give up. The conditions improved to allow her to succeed. (sometimes the "storms of life" cause us to fail but if we don't give up the season will change in our favor)

3. She trained relentlessly in pursuit of her dream/goal and hit the Florida shore exhausted (it take all we got to be successful)

4. She had a dynamic support team who encouraged her and prepared her to make history

Click here to read full story and watch video interview