Posted by: Tori | 2008-11-25

pls help

hi doc

i have an eating plan and now i need your help - how do i get the maximum benefits out of my one hour at gym. this is all i have per day and i' m confused by the heart rate, and calories in and calories burnt. i am 1.64 and weigh 97. i already feel good after a month of gym - i step for 10 minutes, walk for 20, cycle for 10, row for 5, then alternate days and do weights. i have high blood pressure so i was told to take it easy - i feel i' m not doing enough.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

HI Tori

Good start, with the diet. The exercise is the next important part and I'm sure you can make progress on that front too. The most important thing I can tell you is that your focus needs to be on Fitness, not on numbers. All this confusion sown by machines and companies about calories and heart rate and that sort of thing only makes life more difficult. So ignore those messages and focus instead on your fitness. It sounds as though you're already getting most of that out of your training, and you're already feeling good. That's an excellent sign.

What I think you need to prioritize is the routine. And that means that over the next few weeks, you need to consolidate the activities you're doing into what you enjoy most. The variety you currently have is great, you're doing four or five different activities and getting a wide range of training stimuli. But I think that eventually, it will help to split that in two, and maybe do stepping and cycling one day, then rowing and walking the next, then weights on the third, and run that pattern twice a week, if you know what I mean. The reason this is important is because at some stage, as you get fitter, you will benefit from trying to increase the intensity of the training. And if you're only doing 10 minutes, then it becomes difficult. You rather want to do 20 minutes, so that you can do a 5 minute warmup, then 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes slow, for the next 12 minutes, followed by a three minute cool down, for example.

So my advice is to split the training, and increase the duration PER exercise machine. The weight training is fine as is, assuming you're doing them with the right technique and weights. But my advice is to aim to get fitter and faster on each machine, by focusing on that exercise for a bit. So maybe next week becomes your cycling week, where you increase cycling duration to 20 minutes and really try to make your goal to get stronger on the bike. Week after that, do it for walking/running, and so forth.

But don't tinker too much with what is working. Just give it time, consolidate and enjoy.

Good luck

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