Beginner's info...Part2

by Lyle McDonald

Hi! Lyle here again with more information to help you reach your goals
(for only three easy payments of $19.95 + $49.95 s/h…err sorry,
I've been watching too many informercials of late). Actually, I've
thought of designing my own exercise machine and calling it the
SoloBunFlexMaster3000 Gold Edition. Better than Soloflex. Better
than Nordic Gold. Better than ThighMaster. Well, nothing is better
than Thighmaster, just ask Suzanne Somers. In any case, this is the
first part of a multi-part series of an introduction to exercise, both
aerobic and weight training.
I will be starting at a very basic level for the first few posts in
order to define some key terms involved. In this post, I will adress
certain basic principles involved in all types of exercise (no, not the
damn Weider principles). So, let's go.

Aerobic exercise: Literally any exercise where oxygen is not
the limiting factor like long distance low intensity cycling or
running. Generally aerobic exercise is associated with greater
fat burning but I will adress this issue later.

Anaerobic execise: Any exercise where oxygen is the limiting
factor like sprinting or weight training which are of high
intensity but low duration. Generally anaerobic exercise is
associated with greater carbohydrate usage. Again, I will
adress this later.

Overload: Quite simply, you must do more work than you are accustomed
to in order to cause improvements. For example, if you were to curl a
soup can 20 times, you probablly would not be doing more than your
biceps is accustomed to. However, if you curled a 30 pound dumbbell
the same number of times, you might be. Overload causes the stimulus
for adaptation, the next term.

Adaptation: When stressed, the body will adapt to the stress. Let's say
you are curling the afformentioned 30 pound dumbbell for 20 reps. At first,
this may be too much weight and you cannot do all 20 reps. Well, after
a period of time, the muscle will adapt by growing stronger so that
30 lbs is no longer an overload. This fact of adaptation brings us to
the next concept.

Progression: In order to realize consistent gains, there must be a progression
in the overload. Using the same example, having adapted to 30 lbs for
20 reps, you are no longer overloading the muscle. If you wanted to
get stronger, you would have to use a heavier weight to cause another
overload. However, if you merely wanted to maintain, you could stay
with the 20 lb dumbbell and not progress.

Specificity: Only the system stressed will be improved. That is, if you
wanted to run a marathon, you would not begin a weight lifting program.
Similarly, if you wanted to increase upper body strength/size, you
would probably not becaome a long-distance cyclist. Your goals will
determine what specific exercise type (or modality) which you should
use. There are some crossover effects (i.e. crosstraining) but they
tend to be rather small. For example, running may improve your
cycling somewhat but not nearly as much as cycling would improve
your cycling.

Frequency: The number of times per week an exercise modality is
performed. There a lot of different theories regarding the optimal
times per week to exercise. Some elite athletes train 7 days per
week twice a day or more. Instead of giving my opinions on optimal
frequency, I will quote the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
guidelines for minimal adaptation. Aerobic exercise can be performed
a minimum number of twice per week to see aerobic benifits. For
body composition changes, three times is the bare minimum. For
weight training, twice per week is the bare minimum.

Intensity: How hard an exercise is performed. It is normally used
for aerobic exercise and is frequently expressed as a percentage
of Maximum heart rate or VO2 Max ( I will go into more detail on
this a little later). Intensity is directly related to the next concept.
It can also describe how hard a given weight workout is. ACSM
reccomendation for aerobic exercise are 60-80% of Heart Rate Reserve
(again I will describe this later) which corresponds roughly to 60-80%
VO2 Max.

Duration: How long an exercise is performed on any given day. Duration
is generally inversely proportional to intensity. The harder you go, the
less time you can go and vice versa. ACSM recs for aerobic exercise
are 20-60 minutes of exercise within the target heart range.

That's it for now.

Lyle

source: misc.fitness newsgroup, 24 Nov 93.
< Part 1
beginning weight training.part1

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License