Leaving Yoga

January 20, 2010

I have something to admit. I’ve tried Yoga. Took classes for a few months. It just never really took. I’m not knocking it. Lance Armstrong does Yoga and who’s going to call his manhood into question. Exactly. I’m just saying it wasn’t for me. At the end of the day it just felt like a bunch of stretching.

Fast forward… I’ve moved on (my wife and I both) and now take Pilates. We’ve been going two nights a week for about a year. For the uninitiated, Pilates comes in different forms. Ever seen those “machines” that look like medieval torture devices? That’s one form. The kind we do actually more resembles Yoga. However, this stuff is more about core training.

So, what’s my point? During the holidays the place we do our twice weekly workouts took a few weeks off. Last night was the first class back since the break. While we’ve been active over the break, I realized how much I missed these sessions specifically, and how important these two forty five minute workouts have become to me. Pilates fills in gaps left by my other training and allows me to train harder and longer in my other pursuits and still stay injury free. It’s played a important role in helping me get stronger and faster in the pool, on the bike, and on the run.

If you’re considering adding something new to your exercise routine this year, and you don’t think Yoga would be your thing, consider Pilates. Think core. Think hardcore.

Fat for Fuel

November 1, 2009

I learned a lot about making my workouts more efficient last weekend. This new wisdom came courtesy of a Metabolic test done at Lifetime Fitness in Tempe, Arizona. What is a Metabolic test? It’s measures how your body (uniquely) responds to exercise. Evidently, your metabolism is uniquely yours. Want to burn more fat during your workouts? The key is finding your metabolic base.

My test began with facilitator Amy hooking me up with a heart rate monitor, strapping a VO2 mask on my face, and putting me on a treadmill. With heart rate monitor and VO2 mask hooked up to a laptop running software created by New Leaf, the test began.I started with a walking warm-up. The speed increased to a good jogging pace. At that point the software began to crunch the numbers; the input being presented via the VO2 mask and the heart rate monitor.

Then the fun began. Once my comfortable speed was reached, the incline was increased by 2%. This repeated again and again until my incline reached 10%. At the end of the test I was running for my life up a steep hill and sucking wind. Turns out that’s the point. Simple as that. The data captured showed me my personal metabolic zones and the distribution of fat to carbs I burn in each zone.

I will use this information during my workouts, monitoring my heart rate to keep my body operating in the zone at which it burns the most calories while still using fat for fuel.

In conclusion, I was happy with my results. Turns out my baseline is 163 BPM. That’s a bit higher than I usually work out at so I have some room to make my workouts more intense. Also, and I’ll admit up front that I’m bragging a little, I learned my estimated maximum heart beats per minute is 200. The average is 180. Bottom line, I can’t wait to see the results during the next twelve weeks armed with this intel.