Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Precision Fitness Analysis: Coming To A Gym Near You

We all know that exercise is an important part of daily life. Especially if you are trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss. And while many see it as a necessary evil to achieve weight loss goals, they fail to see the health benefits of a regular exercise routine.

For instance, a good cardiovascular workout keeps the heart healthy and revs up your metabolism. It can be tough at first if you aren't used to moving your body. But start slowly and give yourself time. You'll be amazed at how quickly you adapt and how your stamina will increase.

Anaerobic exercise (weight training) builds muscle tissue, which in turn allows you to burn more calories... even when you sleep! Yes, you read that right. One pound of muscle burns 50 calories at rest. So it just makes sense that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn!

Regular exercise also helps control mood swings and appetite. The next time you want to eat, but know you aren't really hungry, take a walk. When you are feeling down, get out and get moving. It's amazing how quick your "hunger" will subside or your mood will be improved.

Let's face it- exercise is just plain good for you. You feel better after a good workout, providing you haven't pushed yourself to injury, and it works wonders for your overall outlook. There is a lot going on under the surface that you just can't see!

Now, for those of you, who are still yawning over all this, let me share the most obvious, but motivating reason to exercise... YOU'LL LOOK FANTASTIC! See? I knew that would wake you up. Who wants to be all jiggly? I don’t. I’m done being the Jell-O lady.

Yes, there are days when I just don't feel like exercising. On those days I make myself get up and move a little, say 10 minutes, and then if I still don't feel up to it, I allow myself to stop. But rarely do I stop there. Once I get started, I get my second wind and give it all I've got!

If you are like me, you don't want exercise to be complicated. I love a simple workout that I know is burning calories, melting fat away, and building muscle. That's it. I don't need to know more. I figure I can go the rest of my life without ever learning anything else about making myself sweat and be perfectly happy. I’ll be honest. If it's too complicated, then it's too much like work, and I probably won't stick with it.

But if you are among those who want to know all the details of how exercise works and what is best for YOUR body, then you may be very interested in the latest thing to hit the gym - Precision Fitness Analysis.

This article, found in The Morning News, gives you an idea of how PFA might be of use to many who are struggling with their weight loss efforts. Take Giusy Mele-Brown as an example. The following quote tells of the experience she's had using PFA.

What got the 40-year-old real estate agent from Pasadena, Calif., back on track, she says, was a fitness test previously available only to elite and professional athletes: a noninvasive analysis that determines when she's in her aerobic, fat-burning heart rate zone and when she's in her anaerobic, carb-burning zone.

Sounds great doesn't it? So, did it work for Mele-Brown?

Mele-Brown lost 22 pounds in two months, even as she kicked her workouts down several notches, doing cardio at about 140 beats a minute instead of her usual 180.

Wow! She was able to exercise a bit lighter and got better results! And we all just thought exercise was exercise, right? Just as no one diet is best for everyone; I'll venture to say the same rule applies to exercise. While everyone can do similar workouts, not everyone benefits from them in the same way. This test can help anyone find their ideal workout and save them time and frustration in the process.

But, as with all great things, there is a price to pay.

Not long ago, these tests, which require equipment costing thousands of dollars, were available only at human performance labs, elite sports-training facilities and some hospitals. Today, they're increasingly being offered at private training facilities, larger gym chains and even some corporate fitness facilities, the result of a demand from trainers plus savvy marketing by equipment manufacturers. The costs are about $100 for the test alone to several hundred dollars for bells and whistles, such as individualized exercise prescriptions, with or without a trainer.

Not cheap, but probably worth it to those who are struggling, as Mele-Brown was. Seriously, look at the amount of money that many of us, myself included, have spent in the past to find the "magic bullet" that will whisk those pounds away. I personally have spent a lot more than $100 on fads, gimmicks, and prepared foods. And while I'm still not overly concerned about the nitty-gritty of exercise, I might even go for a test like this, should one be available in my neck of the woods.

Some people feel this is going too far and is unnecessary, such as Mitchell Whaley, a professor of exercise science:

"You don't need an anaerobic threshold test in order to exercise safely and effectively, regardless of what your goals are," says Mitchell Whaley, a professor of exercise science who also works with the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University in Indiana. The old, low-tech methods are close enough, he says. If someone wasn't working out in their optimal fat-burning zone, for instance, exercising for just a few more minutes would make up any deficit."

I have to admit, that for most, the old system seems to work fine. So maybe it isn't necessary but in certain circumstances. Either way, I think it's great that more people will have the option. I'm all for anything that will help people take better care of themselves.

Have you had one of these Precision Fitness Analysis tests? Or do you plan on having one as soon as it's available? If so, I'd love to hear whether you felt it was a help in your weight loss efforts, or a waste of money. You can write me at amy@healthylowcarbliving.com and voice your opinion, or just leave a comment here.

So for now, the verdict is still out. But who knows… maybe one of you will convince me that I need to learn more of the specifics of exercise after all.

1 comment:

TESS said...

This sounds interesting, I might pay a hundred for the evaluation but not anymore. I would be more interested in finding a place that does the water test for true body fat.