Anyone stuck at a desk job knows that achy feeling at quitting time from a long day of immobility. I wrote this article back when I was the Fitness Director at Southern Methodist University, and much of my work days were spent sitting in meetings. Should your current job have your caboose parked in a seat for most of the day, this one’s for you! This article teaches you simple stretches that can be done in 3-minutes or less. Everybody has three minutes! By wedging in a little 3-minute stretch break once in the morning and once in the afternoon every day at the office, your comfortability as well as your productivity may be improved.
Fitness, Strength, & Conditioning
Are you aspiring to learn the perfect snatch? I have put together a quick little visual with written instructions to help you master the snatch.
12kg Snatch Test 100 reps
Maximal fitness tests are a great way to gauge your physical fitness improvements over time. Bring on the fitness tests!
Max fitness tests are not to be administered weekly or even monthly. It is recommended to perform a cardiorespiratory fitness test and muscular endurance test once every 8-12 weeks. The suggested proctocals are ACSM testing procedures that are simple enough that you can perform them with limited resources. The down side to the cardiorespiratory test suggested is that it may not be suitable for sedentary populations. This maximal test is not recommended for individuals at increased risk for cardiovascular or musculoskeletal complications. There are plenty of other ways to measure VO2 max, and another procedure may be more appropriate for sedentary individuals or for individuals with predesposition to the risks listed above. Neither your heart rate nor blood pressure will be monitored, so please check with your physician before performing a max VO2 (cardiorespiratory) test.
VO2 Max Test
Simply put, VO2 max tests measure the condition of your heart and lungs. It is the milileters of oxygen uptaken per kilogram of body weight (2.2 pounds in 1 kg) per minute. The simple spreadsheet attached does the math for you to find your VO2 from a 1.5 mile maximal run. The formula used to find this VO2 max from that 1.5 mile run is 3.5 + 483/time in minutes. The good news is that you do not have to do the math. The simple spreadsheet attached allows you to enter your time (in minutes and seconds), then it will reveal your VO2 Max as well as the percentile that ranks you in. (For instance, if you are in the 90th percentile, your performance ranks you higher than 90% of people your age).
Use a stopwatch and find precisely a 1.5 mile distance to run (a track is recommended). As soon as you begin, run at your all out fastest pace, and maintain that for the entire distance. Stop the watch when you complete 1.5 miles and keep a record of that time. Enter that time in the attached spreadsheet for your normative VO2 max value!
A push-up test measures the muscular endurance of your upper body muscles. The attached spreadsheet will reveal your results as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Needs Improvement.
Male subjects should begin in the standard push-up position (hands and toes grounded, knees lifted). Female subjects should begin in the modified push-up position (hands and knees grounded, lower leg in contact with the mat, back straight in a “modified plank”). Both genders should place hands slightly wider than the shoulders, and begin the test in the DOWN position (where you will push up when the test begins).
For both men and women, your back must be straight and the arms must be straight at the top of the push-up.
The MAXIMAL NUMBER of push-ups performed consecuatively without rest is the score.
When you strain forcibly or are not able to maintain proper technique within two repetitions, the test is stopped.
Fitness Categories for push-ups & curl-ups
A curl-up test measures the muscular endurance of your abdominal muscles. The attached spreadsheet will reveal your results as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Needs Improvement.
To perform a curl-up, you should crunch from lying on the ground to curling up 10 cm forward. A close approximation to that distance would be to take a standard 8.5×11 sheet of paper (basic computer paper), and fold it in half (landscape orientation). Tape that folded paper down to a mat. Lie down on the mat and line your middle finger up with the top of the paper. You will be crunching to the bottom of that paper.
A metronome is needed for this test, because the rhythm needs to be exactly 50 beats per minute. If you do not have a metronome, you can listen for a song that has a beat of 50 beats per minute (if you are rhythmically inclined), and you would crunch with the beat of that song. Each time you hear a tick on the metronome, you will crunch up then when it ticks again, lower down. The test is performed for 1-minute (60-seconds). If the metronome was set correctly and counting is correct, 25 crunches should be the highest possible score. For the entire minute, you must stay on beat with the metronome, without pausing. A pause would mean that your score has been met and the test should be stopped.
Fitness Categories for push-ups & curl-ups
See enclosed results spreadsheets to measure your fitness scores from these maximal tests. Again, be sure to allow at least 8-weeks to pass before performing these tests again.
Have fun and enjoy the journey. The tests described above will give objective data to measure your progress. Relish the unmeasurable things, too: improvements in your happiness, energy, and positivity. I hope you look back many months down the line and are filled with pride and joy for the fitness adventure you undertook, and the improvements you tracked every 8-12 weeks along the way in your max fitness tests.
As anyone knows who has ever exercised to one of my kettlebell videos, my routines thus far have been choreographed on the musical phrase and the workouts have been comprised of continuous, uninterrupted cardio kettlebell. These workouts are fantastic for raising the heart rate, keeping it elevated, and, at the same time, providing muscular endurance (your muscles endure it, alright… then you have a sore hiney as a party favor). The aerobic benefit and caloric expenditure from these workouts is extraordinary.
But, are there other ways to train with kettlebells? Absolutely! Would exercising with a considerably heavier bell and performing short sets with breaks change the results? Without a doubt! Short bouts with heavy bells will seriously change a person’s strength and power. 1RM strength tests (the maximum amount of weight they can lift in one repetition) should significantly increase by subscribing to this type of training. Power, speed, and agility should also seriously spike with this type of conditioning.
Both types of workouts will shock the body, but one is not a substitute for the other. They are two completely different modes of kettlebell conditioning. People who exclusively train in the later may berate the former as being “fluffy,” and people who exclusively train in the former may berate the later as being “savage.” I challenge both sides to raise the white flag and try stepping over to the other side.
Nobody likes to leave their comfort zone, but that’s what it takes to get in the best physical condition possible. Kettlebell training is such an incredible way to transform the body, so why limit your results by rigidly sticking to one side and digging your feet into the ground? I, for one, am hurdling over that fence and giving the heavier hitters my best shot. For the next five and a half months, I will be taping up hands, chalking up, swinging and snatching a bell that weighs 1/4 of my body weight, studying books by the great Pavel Tsatsouline, and exchanging my red wine for protein shakes as I prepare for the rigorous RKC certification test. I am very excited about delving into this different type of training, and should any readers decide you’re ready to take that challenge, too, boy would I love for you to join me in Chicago Sept. 9-11 for RKC Kettlebell Certification. www.dragondoor.com
Only got 20-minutes to wkout? Try this*: power walk on treadmill at 3.5MPH, 15% incline to Eminence Front by The Who (5:39); very fast treadmill run at yr subjective MPH, 0% incline to My Body by Young the Giant (4:04); walking lunges to Losing my Religion by Glee cast (3:34); Push-ups to Troublemaker by Akon (4:00); stretch to Up Late Again by Tyler Hilton (2:07). Enjoy! Post your post-workout comments!!
*Before the heavy incline power walk (Eminence Front), it’s a good idea to warm-up and prepare your body for exercise. I suggest picking a 4-5 minute song that motivates the pants off of you, and rock out as you warm up with any activity you’d like… perhaps elliptical, maybe stationary bike, or possibly a fast walk (4-4.2 MPH for most people) on a zero grade on the treadmill.
Get at least 5-minutes in today of hard cardio (fast run, bleachers, bike ride, etc), 5-minutes of strength (push-ups, crunches), and 5-minutes of flexibility (stretching/yoga, etc). Music is an awesome motivator! Here’s a great song for each component:
CARDIO: No Hands (Electro Remix) by Hoodfellas
STRENGTH: Teenage Dirtbag by Wheetus
FLEXIBILITY: One Day by Sharon Van Etten
Now get jamming and get moving!
After getting the sweetest email from a friend, crediting the virtual workouts at cardiopump.com/virtual-workouts for enabling her to lose 8-pounds without changing anything in her diet, and noting that one of her yoga students testified to losing 14-pounds with those workouts alone, I decided I’ll have what they’re having! Workout of the day for me: Trekking 3 followed by Virtual Abs.
WOW! I had forgotten just how much I love those workouts. They are so challenging, but feel amazing when they’re done. If you have taken a little hiatus from high intense workouts, revisit the free virtual workouts, available at www.cardiopump.com/virtual-workouts and shock your body into serious shape! (If you have an iPhone, you can play the workouts straight from the website into your earbuds. Otherwise, you’ll need to save to your computer, drag into iTunes, then sync your iPod).
Lets raise our glasses of Evian to More Cardio and less LARDIO in 2011!
To now figure your total energy expenditure (TEE), simply take the number you derrived from #68 on our countdown (for your resting energy expenditure) and multiply that number by your physical activity level, as found from your fit in the table on #67 on our countdown. Energy expended through physical activity (EEPA) is your physical activity level (PAL).
TEE= REE x EEPA
(or, said differently, TEE= REE x PAL)
If your goal is to lose weight, aim to create a 500 calories-per-day deficit from the value you just discoverd to be your TEE, and that adjusted caloric intake should translate to an approximate weight loss of one pound per week.
In #68 on our countdown, you learned your estimated resting energy expenditure. However, in order to figure out the total number of calories your body regularly burns each day, we will need to multiply that REE value by your physical activity level (PAL). The values provided below are based on doubly labeled water studies, a highly accurate measure of energy expenditure.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVEL VALUES*:
A. Chair-bound or bed-bound= 1.2 PAL
B. Seated work with no option of moving around and little or no strenuous leisure activity= 1.4-1.5 PAL
C. Seated work with discretion and requirement to move around but little or no strenuous leisure activity= 1.6-1.7 PAL
D. Standing work (housework, etc)= 1.8-1.9 PAL
E. Significant amounts of sport or strenuous leisure activity (30-60 minutes four or seven times per week)= + 0.3 per increment
F. Strenuous work or highly active leisure= 2.0-2.4
Generally, a physical activity level of 1.5 for women and 1.6 for men is selected for those engaged in light activity.
*Source: Johnson RK, Energy. In L. Kathleen Mahan & Sylvia Escott-Stump (Eds.), Krause’s Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy (pp. 10-30). Philadelphia: Saunders, 2000; adapted from Shetty PS, et al. Energy requirements of adult: An update on basal metabloic rate (BMRs) and physical activity levels (PALs). Eur J Clin Nutr. 50(suppl 1):S11, 1996.
How do you know how much fuel to put in your truck if you don’t know the size of your tank? What I’m staying is that it is important that you know how many calories your body needs to consume each day in order to maintain your current weight so that you know your set point. Once you know your total energy expenditure (TEE), you will be able to track your calories daily to be sure you consume less than that, if weight loss is your goal. This particular blog will instruct you on how to calculate your resting energy expenditure (REE), but be sure that you then progress to #67 on our countdown next to figure out your energy expended in physical activity (EEPA). Eventually, you will be multiplying your REE by EEPA in order to calculate your TEE.
So, resting energy expenditure is the amount of calories you burn, just by living. Your body has several functions that it does without any conscious effort on your part. Think about it: breathing, blinking, swallowing saliva, pumping and circulating blood, etc. There are several standard formulas that can be used to estimate REE, all providing about the same end values. The Harris-Benedict equations are commonly used in the United States; however, some authorities report that they can overestimate REE, particularly for obese individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) equations provide an alternative method. Both Harris-Benedict and WHO equations will be given below. I recommend that overweight or obese individuals follow the WHO equation.
Formulas you will need to know: 1 centimeter= 0.3937 inches, and 1 inch= 2.54 centimeters; 1 kilogram= 2.2 pounds, and 1 pound= 0.4536 kilograms
The REE values are represented in kilocalories. Kilocalories are the same the same things as what Americans simply call “calories.”
HARRIS-BENEDICT Resting Energy Expenditure EQUATIONS:
Women: REE= 655 + 9.56(weight in kilograms) + 1.85(height in centimeters) – 4.68(age)
Men: REE= 66.5 + 13.75(weight in kilograms) + 5.0(height in centimeters) – 6.78(age)
Please note that every time there is a parenthesis immediately after a number, it indicates that you are to multiply the preceding number by that value.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) Resting Energy Expenditure EQUATIONS:
Women (18-30 years): REE= (14.7 x weight in kilograms) + 496
Women (30-60 years): REE= (8.7 x weight in kilograms) + 829
Men (18-30 years): REE= (15.3 x weight in kilograms) + 679
Men (30-60 years): REE= (11.6 x weight in kilograms) + 879
So, there you have your estimated resting energy expenditure (REE). Please progress to #67 on the “101 Legitimate Ways to Lose Weight” countdown to figure out your estimated energy expended in physical activity (EEPA).