Thursday, March 30, 2006

Exercises During Pregnancy

It is still important to exercise during pregnancy for cardiovascular health, endurance and strength. A pregnant woman should avoid lying on her stomach for over five minutes. Strenuous exercises or overheating should be avoided.

Optimal exercises for pregnancy include mild aerobics or swimming. Cardiovascular equipment with steady motions is also recommended. Running on an incline on a treadmill or very fast stair climbing are contraindicated.

Lifting weights is fine as long as they are not very heavy and it is not strenuous. During the second and third trimester, weights should be lifted only while sitting.

Abdominal exercises are out. Abdominal muscles are used as secondary muscles while walking so walking is a good exercise for them.

These symptoms indicate that you should stop. If they persist, call a physician: dizziness, shortness of breath, faintness, vaginal bleeding, blurred vision, difficulty walking, or contractions.

Some of the information for this blog was obtained from and .

Gluteus Maximus Three-Month Exercise Program II

Day One:

Squats (See other blog.)

Day Two:

Cable Adductor and Abductor Exercises (See other blog.)

Day Three:

Use a mat. Get on your hands and knees, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Keep your back straight. With your knees bent at a ninety degree angle, lift your right leg slowly up to your waist level and slowly release it back down. Do five sets of ten repetitions. Repeat with the left leg.

Do not try to do it with both legs at the same time! (joke)

Log It!

There is nothing like writing it down on paper! For years I have written what I do at the gym on my calendar. According to the period, I have it that I must work out a certain amount of days per month, doing certain body parts or exercises a certain amount of time. Writing it down makes it real and helps me to keep track.

Other tricks you may want to try is writing down what you eat each day, morning to night, if you are on a diet. You can keep track of vitamins, nutrients, and calories.

It is also smart to write down your periodic exercise programs. You can do something like this:

Day: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Muscle Group:

Abdominal muscles:

rectus abdominus
transverse obliques

and so on

Then you can check which day of the week you worked on what muscle.

Alternatively, you can write the days of the week vertically down the right of the page, and in the squares fill out the exercise or machine, and sets and repetitions for each muscle group and day.


Individual and group sports are great. They can be a wonderful way to work out and a way to get off a plateau. I used to think that sports and watching sports were silly until I was about 22 years old and I started to go to a gym regularly! I also at one point thought that eating most vegetables was yucky or that acting was for idiots that were not smart. I turned around some time in my early twenties. That shows you to never say never.

It can be magic and miraculous to see accomplished athletes alone or in teams playing sports. These people are clear, focused powerhouses. Besides being entertainment, it is something inspiring to strive for and is a metaphor for health, relationships and business.

Some individual sports are hiking, dancing, handball, skiing and roller blading. Some team sports are baseball, volleyball, football and tennis. Some sports can be done alone or in groups - skating, racket sports against a wall or in teams, hiking and more.

The more in shape you are, the better and longer you can engage in sports. It is a wonderful experience to feel muscles that you never felt before and to see that you can do something that you could not do the past year. Individual and group sports will increase your confidence, intellect, instincts, endurance, flexibility, coordination and strength. Team sports will give you distinctions in love, partnership and appreciation for yourself and other people.

While engaging in sports, as when you work out, you will connect your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical parts. You will be your word in what goals you set for yourself, learn to fail and succeed, commit, and have fun! You can meet people too!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Body Fat Percentage

What should your body fat percentage be? Well, that depends on your gender and age, for one. Usually, women have a higher body fat percentage than men. It may be acceptable for older people to have a slightly higher fat percentage/. Pregnant women definitely for a period of time may have a higher body fat percentage than what is recommended.

This is the body fat percentage chart from the American Council on Exercise:

Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)

Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%

Athletes 14-20% 6-13%

Fitness 21-24% 14-17%

Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%

Obese 32% plus 25% plus

Accessed on March 28, 2006

People often weigh themselves every day. This may help keep you up-to-date on the results of your exercise regimen. However, it may not give you much of a clue. First of all, weight can vary day to day and may be due to things such as a heavy, mostly undigested dinner from the night before, water retention, or the time of the month for women. Perhaps more importantly, after working out for some weeks, you will notice that your muscle mass increases. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you can actually gain weight while you lose a clothing size! Keep these facts in mind when you weigh yourself. It is best to weigh yourself once a week, in the morning after going to the bathroom.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Target Heart Rate, Aerobics and Cardiovascular Exercise

You may think that having your heart rate climb to levels when you can feel your heart about to jump out of your chest, or where you are seating profusely means that you are burning fat. That is not necessarily the case. According to the American Council on Exercise, body fat is burned when you exercise at your 60% to 80% heart rate maximum. When you go over this percentage, you are burning glycogen. Aerobics usually has you work at 60% to 80% of your heart rate maximum. That is why aerobics classes, slow jogs and other such exercising can be ideal to burn fat.

At the same time, as was covered before, interval training is key to jolt your body and get you off the plateau. During the fast parts of interval training, you will probably use over 80% of your heart rate maximum. Together with the slow pars, this is a good method to burn fat.

What is your target heart rate? According to the American Heart Association, it is 220 minus your age. For a chart on this, see

Balance and getting to know your body are again key. You will see if you lose more weight by doing more aerobic classes, jogging or weight training at any particular time period. Use time period of three week, three months, six months and a year to vary workouts. Of course, if you see that something is not working, you can get off a plateau in between those times.

Weight training is always key because it increases strength and endurance. It also strengthens bones. The increased muscle mass will burn more calories, even when you sit or sleep.

Aerobic training with weight training is key because it is a variation of exercise that will have you use your muscle, endurance and flexibility altogether. Moving around, especially across the floor, is something that incorporates balance and will “shock” the body that has been working out in a stationary fashion with cardiovascular and weight equipment. Interval training may in the end burn more calories because of the “shock” factor in your body. Everyone is different to a degree. You will feel it once you do it and see results in you.

If you use weights four times a week, which is recommended, doing a half-hour aerobics program or jogging from once to four times a week is also recommended. The more times per week that you do this and the higher the intensity, the more of an advanced exerciser you need to be. It is a good idea to consult a personal trainer when first beginning to work. You and the personal trainer can monitor your progress and what works best for you. There are people and resources out there that will find you a good aerobics program. Abide by the principals of this book of getting to know your body, loving where you are at, and seeing what works for you.

Just as in weight training, it is good to try variety. For instance, try step classes, belly dancing, ballet dancing and different instructors’ aerobics programs to see what works best for you. You may want to do two or more different programs in a week. It is best to work out at least 30 minutes in aerobic or cardiovascular activity per day. For the first 20 minutes, your body burns sugar that is readily available in the blood.

The more fit you are, the more intensity and time you can put into your aerobic and cardiovascular workouts. If you have been actively enrolled in an aerobics class for six months, you may find that you need to go to a tougher level class or take two classes to get a challenge. You may find yourself sleeping through the class while doing what the instructor does. This is an indication that you are on a plateau- get off quickly! Try a tougher class or at the very least take two classes at this intensity. The first option saves time and gets the same results.

The great thing about cardiovascular machines is that you can vary the intensity. For instance on a treadmill you can incorporate a slope and on a stair master you can increase resistance. This works your muscles. So you can do an aerobic and muscle strengthening program all in one. This is similar to using heavier weights in parts of an aerobics class where you use free weights or bars.

Once you increase your fitness, your heart will be more efficient. Your stroke volume will increase. That is, your heart muscle will pump out more blood per beat and your heart rate will not increase so easily. You will be able to do more intense exercise while keeping your heart rate at a level where it will burn fat.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of medical advice or diagnosis.

Some of the information from this blog came from
Accessed on March 27, 2006

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

You must have heard about cholesterol, and how having a high count of this in your blog is not good. A high count of the "bad" cholesterol is hypercholesterolemia and can lead to clogged arteries and heart attack. What is bad cholesterol?
Let’s start by a review of what cholesterol is. You can find this information in books and the Internet readily. But this is your quick guide to fitness, so here is a review.

Cholesterol is need by your body to manufacture some hormones and parts of some cell membranes. Your body makes some cholesterol and ingests other cholesterol from animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Plant food does not have cholesterol. Trans fats and saturated fat causes your body to make more cholesterol.

Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is the "bad" cholesterol. LDL can accumulate on artery walls and then lead to atherosclerosis. Too much of it can clog your arteries. The “good” cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. It actually carries cholesterol away from your arteries to your liver where it is eliminated from the body. Some experts believe that HDL removes LDL from artery walls. Some studies suggest that high levels of HDL cholesterol reduce your risk of coronary disease. HDL levels of 35 - 40 mg/DL are considered normal.

The aim for LDL level should be less than 130 mg/dL for most people. A high LDL level is more than 160 mg/dL, or 130 mg/dL or above if the person has two cardiovascular disease risk factors.

High levels of t triglyceride, a form of fat, are not healthy. Triglycerides like cholesterol, are made in the body or ingested. Often people with high levels of LDL have high levels of triglycerides. Triglyceride levels of less than 150 mg/dL are normal. Levels from 150–199 are borderline high. Levels of 200–499 mg/dL are high and may indicate the need for treatment in some people.

Ways to increase HDL level and lower LDL level are: eat more monounsaturated and less saturated fat, cut out trans fat, stop smoking, exercise, eat more fiber. Some physicians recommended drinking one or two alcoholic drinks a day top increase HDL blood level. That seems excessive. But one or two drinks of red wine a week may increase HDL.

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis.

Some information from this blog was obtained from
Accessed on March 25, 2006.