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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Planning a Balanced Workout

* Please picture a dictionary here for the moment. (Getting really tired of the image poster not working on here...two days in a row already!)

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well!

Today is going to be about learning the meaning behind some common words heard often in the fitness world. Let me start off by saying that I read a lot of fitness articles (and by a lot, I mean around 10-20 or more per day). It's an obsession.  After reading all these articles, the fitness "lingo" has become familiar to me and I no longer have to look words up every five seconds...okay two.

I began thinking of writing this post after having a brief conversation with one of my friends, who had to stop me every couple of seconds to ask me what something I had said meant. I guess I could feel super smart and allow myself the ego boost off of it, but I'd rather allow myself to feel the need to share my knowledge so that all of you could understand the fitness world (and your own workouts) better. :) After all, how can you get the full benefits of an exercise if you don't understand how your body is reacting to it or how to take care of yourself prior to, during, or after performing it?

The two words that we will be discussing today are: aerobic and anaerobic. I'm sure you have heard one (or both) of these words at some point if you have been involved in any kind of exercise program, but let's take some time now to really break them down and understand them.

According to the website, the term aerobic was created by Kenneth Cooper in the 60's. The word can be broken down into its original Latin form: aero-bic, literally meaning air-life (Click here for the source of this info.). In layman's terms, aerobic (in the fitness world) means to perform an exercise which causes one's body to move oxygen at a steady pace throughout the blood stream - preventing fatigue. In other words, (to make it even easier to understand) if your breathing pattern does not increase during your exercise routine, the exercise you have chosen is likely low-intensity and considered aerobic. This includes exercises such as casual walking, casual swimming, light yoga, and/or stretching. Low-intensity workouts are beneficial for everyone, as calories are still being burned at a notable rate for every 20-25 minutes of exercise; however, they are most beneficial for those with joint pain, recent surgery and/or trauma, or pregnancy. Furthermore, all workouts should begin with a warm-up and cool-down phase, which would fall into the low-intensity (aerobic) range. Keep in mind, only the beginning of the warm-up phase falls into the low-intensity range, as the point of a warm-up is to speed up the heart rate to meet or rise above the aerobic threshold.

The second term we are going to discuss is anaerobic. As with most words in the English language beginning with an-, un-, in-, or non-, the use of "an-" tells the reader that the word (in this case anaerobic) is used to describe the opposite of the definition for the main word it precedes (in this case aerobic). Therefore, the word anaerobic (in the fitness world) can be broken down simply as any exercise which causes one to push the body past its ability to move oxygen quickly enough throughout the bloodstream to prevent fatigue. When the body cannot move oxygen fast enough throughout the bloodstream, the person's metabolism changes. Since oxygen is used by the body to remove cell waste (released by the cells during exercise), a lack of oxygen causes the waste to build up around the muscles being used (i.e. fatigue). High-intensity (and some moderate intensity) workouts fall into this category, to include: weight lifting, crossfit, powercut, zumba, biking, running, etc. Basically, if you are breathing heavily during your workout, you have crossed into the anaerobic phase. This is not a bad thing in general, as hundreds of calories are burned during this phase; however, like everything else - it's best used in moderation. Anaerobic exercise is not advised for those with breathing problems, joint pain, etc. Click here to learn more about aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise. Consult with your physician before starting any moderate or high-intensity workout program.

Within the last fifteen years, the fitness industry has been pushing interval training (workouts that combine low, moderate, and high intensity exercises all into one program). Interval training has been linked to improving the amount of time that aerobic activity can be performed (a.k.a. endurance level improved), increased weight loss (as the constant increase and decrease of the heart rate burns more calories in shorter time frames than only aerobic or anaerobic exercise alone), increased HGH production, increased metabolism, decrease in fat while increasing muscle, etc. Click here to learn more about interval training.

Hopefully you now understand aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise better than you did before you started reading this post! :) If you have questions, feel free to ask AND make sure you come back tomorrow to learn more about taking care of your body before, during, and after a workout! :)

Have a great day!

*Disclaimer: All of the information provided here is the opinion of the author after thorough research of medical surveys, medical reports, and medical/government web site information. It has not been reviewed by a medical professional and results cannot be guaranteed by the author. Consult with your doctor before planning any diet or fitness changes.

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