Yesterday I did what they call a Fit Test at my new gym. Just some measurements and stuff they do along with talking to you about your fitness goals so that when you meet with a personal trainer they will know where you are starting at. It basically involved doing pushups for one minute, walking at a regular pace on the treadmill for several minutes, sitting on the floor and (trying, in my case) to touch my toes, and height/weight, and a cool machine that registers fat content throughout your body. That measurement wasn't really accurate because I refused to follow their instructions of not working out (especially strenuously) before the test. [So I guess if I ever do the test again, I should work out again beforehand, so that comparatively speaking I can see if there is any improvement in my body fat percentage...comparing apples to apples so to speak]. Before the test I did 15 minutes of core and an hour of The Mixx which is high impact kickboxing stuff. But there was no way I was going to miss my class to do this test and it just wasn't possible to come before my class because I had to take the kiddos to school. So oh well, I knew going in that one wouldn't be accurate, but everything else was helpful and I had a good discussion with the trainer about HOW I am training and HOW I can improve it to start seeing results.
We've all heard about fat burning zones and glucose burning zones before, and I've even heard some sources say that 'well yes u burn more fat at lower intesity, but u are burning more calories at the higher intensity', so in essence u would want to work at those higher levels for the higher calories (which is the belief I always sort of bought into, because even when I 'tried' to just walk on the treadmill instead of run, I felt like I was taking the 'easy' way out and it just wasn't worth spending the time if I wasn't going to be running.) Well, after a very long, in depth discussion with my trainer yesterday, I am willing to try something new, and NOT try to push myself to the limit at every workout (especially high intensity ones) and instead try to stay in my heart rate zone 3 (I will explain more on that in a minute). I even sort of argued with her but I finally had to give in and decide to give it a try, because quite honestly, my hard-core tactic hasn't really paid off (it only worked 5 years ago and that's because I had also completely overhauled my eating , and truthfully I think it was the eating that contributed to most of the results). Anyway, I've decided to TRY, really hard (and believe me it will be hard, because mentally I have to get bought into the fact that I DON'T have to be the one kicking the highest, punching the hardest, jumping the highest, or holding the plank the longest) to acheive results. If I push myself to my limits (working in heart rate zones 4/5....have u figured out this is all about heart rates by now) then I am burning up glucose and not fat. Its the fat I need to lose. If I burn up all my glucose, then I am exhausted after working out, feel a bit like crap for a while, and eventually want to eat carbs (to refill all the carbs I just burned off) and this all equals ....no weightloss or success. I am just refilling on a craving for what my body just used up and not reaping the rewards of the workout. However, if I focus on keeping my heart rate below my Anaerobic Threshold (A.T.) then I will be burning a higher percentage of fat, I will feel GREAT after a workout (not exhausted, can't even climb up the stairs to leave the gym feeling), and I won't crave the carb replenishment because I didn't burn off just carbs/glucose.
This is how she explained it to me at one point... she said... "you know those women who do all those classes [p.s. a real problem here is the class takers like me because so many of the classes are high intesity, but that's what I like so that's the kind of workout I do] the women who come to every class, work out super hard, sweat a bucket, and their bodies are NOT changing?" and I was like "uh, yea, that's ME!" She continued, "well, they are doing exactly what we are talking about what u don't want to do. They are working out so much in zones 4 and 5 that they aren't reaping the benefits of zones 2 and 3, the fat burning/body changing zones"
I mean seriously, she was describing me to a tee! I sweat 5 buckets of water in each class (I mean I even change my shirts between classes because I am so darn drenched that its uncomfortable to be that damp and wet that long, so I put on a clean dry shirt and sports bra after every class!) How much more direct can you get? It was me. So I decided to give it a try and change my 'mental attitude' about what I thought I needed to do to workout well. Today was my first day really paying attention to my heart rate monitor and CHANGING my activity if it was going past my A.T. It really wasn't so bad, I thought if I didn't do everything at the same level or even try to do it higher, that I would look like a lazy butt. But all I had to do was lower my arms a bit, or if we were jumping high I would jump a little lower, and I didn't have to do it the WHOLE class, it would just be for like 30 seconds at a time every once in a while to bring my heart rate back down into zone 3, so I really was still working out and getting a great workout, and you know what? She was right! I felt GREAT after the workout instead of exhausted and depleted like I normally do after a really hard workout. Wow, what do u know, the teacher was right! That's actually awesome. So there u have it, I am focusing on what's best for me in my workouts and not going to try to be the 'best one in class'. Maybe this mentality came about from the friendly competition I had with my buddies Jen and Angela (to name a few)over the years, and the fact that our 'regulars' would always make comments about 'keeping up' with us in class. Sure it felt good to be looked upon as a fit person, but if results aren't happening then maybe that type of working out isn't best for the results I am looking for, which is decreasing my body fat percentage and therefore changing the shape of my body. Hmmmmm, its a new avenue, but I'm taking it! :)
Oh, by the way, the results of that test were...based on the push up test, I have the muscular strength&endurance of an 18year old! Based on the treadmill test, I have the cardiovascular fitness of a 29 year old! Based on the crazy cool machine that runs currents through your body I have the body composition of a 39 year old (ok I only gained 2 yrs there, but I'll take it)! and drum roll please.... The flexibility of a 68 year old!!!!!! LOL LOL so true! I am totally NOT flexible! guess I really should take those yoga classes lol This is super true because if you have ever seen me try to do these split things that Dianna (at my old gym) would have us do, it was sadly hysterical ;0 Anyway, I am going to use the info I learned about the A.T. and apply it and see if it makes a difference.
Oh, and by the way... the scale at the gym is the only scale I've ever been on that measures the same as the one in my house (whenever I go to the doctor's office I am like "yea , whatever, that's NOT what I weigh lol"). So, I have started weighing myself there this week, and since its digital to the tenth degree, instead of the needle one I have that sort of rocks around a bit, I can see EXACTLY what my weight is. I am happy to say that each day I was there this week it went down about a pound, so I am about 3 pounds lighter already, just from taking these new classes (haven't changed my eating since the gym opened). Now I am interested in seeing what happens when I focus on working in zone 2 and 3 (fat burning zones) instead of in zone 4 or 5 (glucose burning zones).... we'll see...hopefully good news ;)
oh, and u know how they do those "how old your body is" on the Biggest Loser? well my metabolic age is 38! so I'm saving 3 years there ;)
Oh, I guess I was so excited about talking about how I was going to change my workout that I didn't fully explain the zone training. There are 5 zones. Zone 1 is warm up, zone 2 and 3 burn more fat than glucose. At the top of zone 3 you are at your anaerobic threshold, this is the beats per minute of your heartrate at which your body changes from burning more fat than glucose, to burning LESS fat than glucose with each calorie. Zone 4 is very hard, but burns more glucose, which is ok to be in for a little bit, because you do want to increase your fitness level, but you don't want to be in that zone ALL the time. Zone 5 is only for super fit people and again, they shouldn't be in it very long. There are three ways to find out your A.T. (and it will change as your fitness level changes), one is the age and activity estimate, which is what I did so far. Next, and a little more accurate is the 'feeling' measurement by which you do a test on the treadmill or other cardiovascular equipment for 10 minutes and note at which level you breathing changes. I am going to do this test soon to see if it is similar to the first test (because my A.T sure seems too low, but that's what everyone usually says). The feeling test is a bit more accurate so I will try it. I would love to do the super accurate Metabolic exercise test, but you have to pay about $145 for it and I don't think I really want to shell out the money to wear a mask on the treadmill and do that :) who knows, maybe someday I will. We'll see what I can accomplish with the first two tests and my conscious effort to stay near my A.T. during most of the workout. Fun fun times. :)