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Friday, July 5, 2013

Your Chances of Winning the Lotto are Better than Finding Someone in Shape (Well, Almost…)

Only 1 in 5 people comply with government fitness guidelines 
Are you hustling to hit free weights or make that new burst training class at your gym? Congratulations: you’re among the 20% who stay on top of your fitness game.

You read that right. Only 1 in 5 people comply with governmental fitness regulations. That’s what a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (thankfully abbreviated JAMA) concluded about people meeting federal recommendations for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.

Are you familiar with these physical activity guidelines?
Don’t worry, neither was I. If you need a refresher, they argue American adults should:

·       Complete at least 2-1/2 hours of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or an equivalent combination of both each week
·       This exercise should be in increments lasting at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week
·       Get at least 2 sessions a week of muscle strengthening exercise that works the body's major muscle groups in the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms.

Got all that? Okay, let’s break it down. Walking would constitute moderate intensity exercise, so you’re looking at maybe a 20-minute stroll a day. (More on walking in a minute.) Likewise, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise breaks down to about 15 minutes, 5 times a week.

In other words: nothing to work up a sweat about (pun fully intended!).

What these guidelines neglect are specifics. Like, say, set amount of time per exertion, or telling people to push to exhaustion. Why bother with specifics when you can provide useless, broad-based guidelines?

I’ll be frank: these nebulous suggestions are akin to those trainers who use those pink wimpy weights for females. They fail to see your fitness potential and challenge your capabilities.

Why is the government straddling the fence and better yet, did they actually consult an exercise specialist for these guidelines? (Note to government: I’m available if you want to hire me for future guidelines.)

Even though 20% is pretty infinitesimal, if you look at how many people engage in rigorous, consistent, correct exercise, that number would be even smaller. Most of my readers exercise, but I hear from far too many wasting hours on elliptical machines and Tuesday night social hour, I mean, aerobics class.

The best exercise doesn’t demand hours: you can get an intense workout burst training or lifting weights in about 30 minutes. I can hear you now: “But Jini, I can’t even carve 30 minutes into my day to exercise.”

Listen folks: I have A-list clients who work crazy jobs, have kids, juggle families with their social lives, and still find time for grueling workouts. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. These guys (and gals) know exercise is a priority. Everything they do, they do better because they exercise.

You, too, should make time for exercise. Schedule it. Trust me: a solid workout will strengthen every aspect of your day.

You wouldn’t forget to eat breakfast or take your kids to soccer practice. So why does exercise get such short shift? Schedule your workout and make it a priority.

I know you’ve got a crazy schedule. Maybe you don’t have an hour to carve in your day, or maybe a gym membership isn’t in your budget.

I’ve heard every excuse, and instead of responding with a dozen reasons to exercise, I’ll meet you halfway and tell you how to work out more efficiently.

I’m a huge fan of the gym. Nothing inspires me to work harder than seeing super-fit, dedicated – and okay, and some times very attractive – folks making exercise a huge priority. Heck, I even work at a gym: you’ll find me some days at the world-famous Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach.

That said, you don’t need a gym to work out for hours to meet your fitness goals. If time isn’t on your side and you’d rather have a root canal than do Romanian deadlifts, here are 5 strategies to get lean and toned in less time than it takes to find a parking spot at the gym.

1.     Utilize down time at home. Maybe you flip on TV after a brutal day at work. You can keep your shows, but instead of half-heartedly watching commercials while stroking your cat, do some push-ups or squats. Your partner might look at you funny, but you’ll get the last laugh with toned arms and tight quads.
2.     Burst to blast fat. Burst training involves up to 1 minute of high-intensity activity followed by 1 – 2 minutes rest. Let’s be clear: high intensity means breathless, all-out exercise. If you can do it over a minute at a time, you’re not doing it hard enough. You don’t need special equipment for burst training. Hotel and mall stairs or a park hill can give you a harder, more results-driven workout than the gym.
3.     Double up your coffee date with exercise. A few weeks ago I was supposed to meet my bestie at Starbuck’s. I realized amidst the day’s chaos, I just couldn’t fit in both my coffee hour and a good workout, so I asked her (she just lives down the street) to come over for an intense Pilates session. We had a great visit, and the on-screen eye candy didn’t hurt either.
4.     Walk whenever you can. In LA traffic, I often lament I could walk faster than I drive. Lately, I’ve been walking whenever I can. Here’s the deal. I take long walks 3 or more times a week to lower stress, but I don’t walk fast.  The rhythmic nature of the walking motion contributes a calming effect that reduces fat-storing stress hormones. Walking can help you burn fat and a million other things. Just don’t consider it serious exercise.
5.     Purchase some equipment. I’m not talking about a $3,000 Nautilus machine. (Where on earth would you put it in your apartment?) Some basics like resistance bands, a stability ball, dumbbells, and a small bench mean you can get an efficient, effective workout without stepping foot outside your door.

On that note, it’s probably a beautiful summer day, so after you read this, get out and do something physical! Until next time…

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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1 comment:

  1. I liked the "Double up your coffee date with exercise". I actually went for a hike with a fiend and we were catching up as we walked in nature. The weather cooled down towards the evening, so it was a great hour. We even didn't go for a coffee afterwards, the desire was for cold pure water ;-)