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I am a living example of this. Being a personal trainer, I spend most of my time training other people. I realized that throughout years of instructing others, my participation in these training sessions had gradually been decreasing. And because of my very busy schedule my personal workout periods have been decreasing as well.
When I went to my doctor for my last annual physical, results were a little scary. Both my blood cholesterol and blood pressure had risen to above normal levels. I thought, “How ironic is this? This can’t be happening to me.” My job is to help people lose weight, to become fit, and also to improve their cholesterol and blood pressure levels through exercise and nutrition.
This time, I was one who needed help. Yes, I had to admit to myself that I was human too, and not immune to any of these conditions, regardless of how much of an authority, in this field, I thought I was. When I took inventory of situation, I noticed that although my eating habits were good, I needed to exercise more. That was bottom line.
What I did was simple. Every evening (or at least 5 times per week), after dinner, I went for a brisk walk that lasted about half hour. I also made a point of going to gym 3 times a week for a one hour session.
I began with a cardiovascular workout that consisted of cycling or step climbing or a combination of both for 25 minutes. The level of intensity was fairly vigorous or comfortably vigorous. In other words, it was effective enough to burn 180-200 calories – according to cardiovascular machines.
In case you’re not familiar with these, most gyms have step-climbing machines, treadmills (for walking or jogging), rowing and skiing machines, etc. Most of modern ones keep track of your heart rate.
This is how it works. The machines have handle bars that are equipped with sensors which record pulse from your fingers and palms of your hands. This is converted into your heart rate and is shown on machine’s display. They also keep track of total calories burned, distance you would have traveled if you weren’t stationary, etc.
I followed that with a 30 minute strength training session. I usually concentrated on two body parts with two exercises for each. Each exercise consisted of 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions for each set.
For those new to weight training, let me explain something. If you don’t know how much weight or resistance to use, follow this method. Choose a weight that will tire your muscle completely by completing 10 to 12 repetitions. Ideally, you should do 3-4 exercises per body part if you have time - this would be more effective.
Weight training, resistance training or strength training (they are all same) is a crucial part of a good weight maintenance program. It’s a known fact that muscle increases body’s metabolism. Muscle mass burns calories. In other words, more muscle you have, higher your metabolism would be and more calories you would burn. This is why it’s so important to complement your cardio session with strength training.
The cardiovascular workout helps to burn fat and to keep heart, blood vessels, and lungs healthy. Weight training keeps musculoskeletal system strong and prepares body to take on any unexpected physically stressful situations that may arise, which may help prevent injury. It also helps to increase lean body mass, which in turn fuels body’s metabolism.
After 3 months of following this simple training method, I returned to doctor for follow-up blood tests. The results were very gratifying. Both my cholesterol and blood pressure had returned to normal levels.
The doctor congratulated me. And I was relieved to find out that prescribed medication was not necessary. I had gotten caught up in typical North American lifestyle – working hard but not getting enough exercise.
1 Marmot MG, Syme SL, Kagan A, Kato H, Cohen JB, Belsky J., “Epidemiologic studies of coronary heart disease and stroke in Japanese men living in Japan, Hawaii and California: prevalence of coronary and hypertensive heart disease and associated risk factors”, retrieved 22 Nov. 2003 from
2 hypercholesterolemia-clinical-trials.com, “Dietary Research and Cholesterol Levels: Fine-Tuning Eating Habits”, retrieved 22 Nov. 2003 from
John Tiniakos is the author of NL Natural Weight Loss Program which can be found at http://www.nulife-weightloss.com/natural.htm. He also writes a free monthly newsletter with valuable news, tips and advice on diet, health and weight loss. For a free subscription go to http://www.nulife-weightloss.com/natural.htm.