Posted by: 4pack | October 2, 2009

“Ideal Fitness For Men”: Consistency And Intensity In Exercise Should Be The Goal Of Men Over 40

older men fitness


Hard-core fitness fanatics love to keep stats on all aspects of their training program. They tally how hard, how long and how often they work out, as well as how much weight they lift, how much sweat they expend and how they feel while doing it. And while there are benefits associated with keeping a log of your progress, there are some stats that say more about you than about your fitness habits.

With that in mind, here are six stats that aren’t worth keeping. Not only do they have little impact on your exercise goals, they can actually lead you off track and away from what really counts, the stats you post at your annual physical.

1. Number of calories burned on your favourite cardio machine The caloric expenditure displayed on the console of cardio machines is based on a series of estimates that can be off by as much as 10%. And if you don’t bother to enter your weight into the machine when you start it up, the estimate of calories burned can be off by considerably more.

Take note, also, that manufacturers of exercise machines have been known to over-estimate the potential caloric burn of their product (several companies have been fined in the last decade because of inflated claims). So, think twice before banking on the stats pumped out by an exercise machine.

2. Amount of weight you can bench press Loading up the plates on the barbell and grunting home the big numbers might impress the guys in the weight room, but unless your sport or job requires you to push large amounts of weight off your chest while lying face up on a bench, this number carries little significance.

A truer indication of your strength and power is being able to push large amounts of weight in real world situations — like pushing a car out of a snowbank or moving a 300-pound offensive lineman away from the quarterback.

3. Your chip time Unless you’re trying out for a spot on the Olympic team or vying for prize money in a local race, the length of time it takes you to swim, bike or run a given distance means very little. Sure, you can brag that you run a sub 40-minute 10K or that you can swim 100 metres in under a minute, but, frankly, you’re no healthier and no more fit than the guy who is thrilled with a 60 minute 10K or a swimmer who finally breaks 1:10 for 100 metres.

Consistency is more important than speed, and intensity more important than time when it comes to improved fitness and health. That being said, improving speed is a worthy goal, but it qualifies as a performance, not health related benefit.

4. Your heart rateUsing your heart rate to calculate exercise intensity is fraught with problems. First, the calculation used to link heart rate and energy expenditure loses accuracy as exercisers age. Second, anyone taking medication to moderate heart rate (beta blockers) won’t experience the normal spike in heart rate as exercise intensity increases. Finally, counting errors are common and will skew the results.

A better gauge of exercise intensity is the talk test, which has proven to be remarkably accurate. All it requires is reciting something simple like a nursery rhyme from start to finish. If you struggle getting the words out, you’re working too hard. If you can talk comfortably you’re in the right training zone. The ability to sing and exercise at the same time, however, means you need to bump it up a bit.

5. The number of sit-ups you can doThe days of equating an impressive tally of sit-ups with core strength are long gone. We now know that core strengthmeans improving the strength and endurance of all the muscles of the mid-section, not just the rectus abdominus, the long muscle that runs down the front of your trunk.

We also know that trunk stabilization exercises (like the plank) are more important than sit-ups or curls-ups when it comes to improving the daily function and health of the core. If you must keep stats, tallying the number of seconds you can hold an extended plank position is more important than how many consecutive sit-ups you can perform without rest.

6. The other guy’s numbers Using somebody else’s numbers as your benchmark rarely results in satisfaction. What it does result in is frustration, failure and, more often than not, injury — especially if you force your body to do something it is ill equipped to do. So don’t worry if you have to drop the pin down a few pegs when taking over from the guy before you. That’s life. Improvement comes from bettering your own numbers, not adopting someone else’s.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: