Archive for the 'The way we move' Category

Apr 23 2012

How to maximize your cardio workouts

The talk test is an acceptable method for cardiovascular intensity!

You put your time and efforts in to a walk a run or bike ride. The goals are to get fit, get your heart strong and burn as many calories as possible.

How will you do it all and maximize your results during that time? How to improve in of those goals during one workout? How to create the best workout for you?

There is a simple no-cost tool that can help you do just that.

It’s an old method that lately has been proved again to work in the lab: The talking test. One example:

A report published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2011; 25 [3], 590–96) says that the widely used “Talk Test” is an easy-to-implement method for setting exercise intensity.

Without getting into too much science, first you need some understanding of how your body works for the goals you want to achieve. The key element here is your heart Rate (HR).

To create a strong heart you need to put it under some extra work – extra stress, Your heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle in the body, it needs to work harder to be able to get stronger.

To efficiently burn calories during a workout, you need to spend some of your workout time in high intensity.

The great news is that to achieve both goals you actually need to do the same thing: according to your fitness level, you’ll need to spend some of the time during your workout at a high intensity.

Here comes the easy to use tool that will help you know how hard you and your heart are working: The Talking test.

First you’ll find your Maximum heart rate for your age:

(Although there is new research that shows this method is not the most accurate, it still gives us a good idea about measuring heart rate. There is still no consensus between professionals of what is the most accurate formula, so we’ll use what is acceptable in this field during the last many decades and proved to have good results).

You’ll calculate your Maximum Heart Rate:

220 – Your age = MHR (Maximum Heart Rate)

Your HR will be divided into 3 main zones:

  • Zone one – Low intensity – 65-75% of your maximum HR
  • Zone two – Medium intensity – 80-85% of your maximum HR
  • Zone three – High intensity – 86-90% of your maximum HR

To use the Talking Test you’ll need to talk during your workout, your walk or your run. This is how you evaluate the results:

  • You’re in zone one if you can carry on a conversation pretty easily.
  • You’re in zone two if you can say a sentence or two but don’t feel like talking much.
  • You’re in zone three if you’re able to say a word but really prefer to breath and not talk at all.

That’s it – it is that simple! It is proven to be accurate enough to help you improve your fitness, get your heart stronger and lose weight.

Now some tips on how to use it to improve the goals above:

As we said in the beginning, you’ll need to spend part of your workout in the high intensity.

To burn more calories and get your heart fit you’ll need to get in and out of the different intensities, the different zones.

For example:

Start with a warm-up which will be in the low intensity zone for about 5 minutes. Then you’ll play with getting in and out of the medium and high intensity: 4 minutes in medium and 2 minutes in high – alternate this a few times, or if it’s hard for you to stay in the high intensity do only one minute at a time in high intensity. You can go 3-1-3-1-4-2… between the medium and high intensity. Make it your own and start improving as you will be able to stay in high intensity more as you go.

The fun part is that it’s all in your hands and you can decide how to play with it according to how you feel that day. Some days you have more energy and can push harder and some days you want an easier workout.

So, go out, be active, use variety and be creative about how much to push yourself. There is no right and wrong here. Just make sure to connect with yourself and feel what your body needs each and every day.

No Comments »

Jan 30 2012

Knowledge Is Power! Know Your Numbers and Lose Weight

Resting Metabolic Rate calculationsMost of the calories your body burns every day are burned without you needing to do anything at all. Your body is burning calories to keep your heart pumping; to maintain respiration, digestion, and tissue repair; and to keep all other organs functioning. The total of all those calories your body uses just to keep you alive is called your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. It’s the number of calories your body needs for basic functions.

The BMR is also called RMR, Resting Metabolic Rate, which is how many calories your body needs when it’s in a total rest position, with no physical activity at all.

You can call the RMR your “couch-potato” calories, which amount to 60 to 75 percent of the total calories you use daily.

Your BMR is influenced by a number of factors, including age, weight, height, gender, environmental temperature, and diet and exercise habits.

With so many factors, it’s hard to find the exact number for your BMR. There are a few formulas in the market for finding your BMR; here is one of the easiest to calculate with. Give it a try; put your personal numbers in.

Find your BMR

For men:
66 + (6.3 × body weight in pounds) + (12.9 × height in inches) – (6.8 × age in years) =

For women:
655 + (4.3 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) – (4.7 × age in years) =

This calculation will give you your BMR, the calories you burn without any physical activity.

To figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight, add your physical activity (in the chart below) to your BMR (you just found it out).

Check the list below, and multiply your BMR by your level of activity:

  • If you rarely exercise, multiply your BMR by 1.2
  • If you exercise 1 to 3 days per week, doing light activity, multiply your BMR by 1.375
  • If you exercise 3 to 5 days per week, doing moderate activity, multiply your BMR by 1.55
  • If you exercise 6 to 7 days per week, doing vigorous activity, multiply your BMR by 1.725
  • If you exercise every day and have a physical job or if you often exercise twice a day, multiply your BMR by 1.9

This calculation gives you the number of calories you burn in one day at your current level of activity; in other words, this is the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.

Knowing your BMR gives you the power to create a more effective strategy for weight loss, allowing you to better keep your calorie count on track and better understand the effect exercise will have on your waistline.

Applying Your BMR Calculation to Weight Loss

Now that you know how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight, you can effectively improve your strategy to lose weight by lowering your daily calorie intake and changing your physical activity.

Set your daily calorie limit. To lose weight, you’ll need to reduce how many calories you consume in a day. Knowing how many calories you need in a day (you found it through the formula), you can now reduce 500 calories from that number and you’ll lose a pound per week (3,500 calories are in a pound).

Adjust your exercise output. As you’ve noticed from the formula, our physical activity influences our BMR. You can boost your body to burn more calories during and after exercises.

  • Aerobic exercise provides a temporary boost to your BMR, and it will last from 15 minutes to 48 hours after you finished your activity, depending on the intensity. After-exercise calorie expenditure is also known as post-exercise oxygen consumption, which refers to the extra calories you’ll burn to return your body, down to the cell level, to its regular temperature.
  • Strength training provides a more lasting boost to your BMR by changing muscles. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue at rest. Having more muscles means you’ll burn calories at a higher rate even when you sit in front of the TV.
  • To create the most efficient weight-loss program, you’ll need to incorporate both cutting calories and increasing your physical activity. When you only cut your food intake, you also lose muscle mass. As we already mentioned, muscles burn more calories than fat. That means your BMR will decrease, and it will be harder to lose weight.

The bottom line is that knowledge is power. When you know your numbers, you can use them to manage your weight more successfully.

My assignment to you

  1. Use the formula above and calculate how many calories you need to maintain the weight you are now.
  2. Take some quiet time and be honest with yourself: At about what weight would you feel healthy and energized?
  3. Set a realistic goal for losing weight, knowing that cutting 250 calories a day from your food intake and spending 250 calories doing physical activity will result in losing one pound a week (3,500 calories a week).
  4. Make a plan to make it happen: plan your meals, set aside time to work out, and be mindful of the results of the everyday little choices you make.

I know you can do it! You can have the health and energy you want, and soon enough it will show in every aspect of your life.

No Comments »

Dec 05 2011

Learn how to burn more fat when you exercise!

I’m angry and frustrated. I’m painfully aware of all the mixed information about physical activity, diet, wellness, weight loss and more that takes advantage of the pain, struggle and hard times people are going through.  A few days ago I got a newsletter from someone in the business of helping people lose weight. I read the information and, although I can’t say they are lying, I can say they give only part of the information which twists the truth and make it sounds like science is supporting their method. Most people don’t know the whole true science behind the stories they hear or read – and they will fall victim to what they are hearing about a program and will believe it’s THE answer to weight loss. That answer, of course, looks easy and fast, which takes advantage of desperate people that want a quick and easy fix to their struggle and pain.

Fat burning zone – truth or myth?… Or – how much and how hard do I need to exercise?

Have you ever wondered if you really have to exercise in a specific heart rate zone to lose fat? And what happens if you venture out of that zone?

It is a popular myth that there is a specific range of heart rates in which you must exercise to burn fat. Even many cardio machines display a “fat-burning zone” on their panels, encouraging people to exercise in a specific heart rate range. This fat burning zone is perhaps the most popular myth about exercise.

Let’s take a closer look: (I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.)

What fuel does your body use during exercise?

Your body use carbohydrates and fats for energy during exercise, in different percentage rates on a sliding scale. At low intensity the body uses more fat as fuel and as the intensity goes up the body starts to use more carbohydrates and less fat as fuel. (When it reaches the “Lactate Threshold” it uses only carbohydrates).

Since more fat is used in low intensity exercise, people assume that low intensity is the best for burning fat –this though gave birth to the idea of “fat burning zone”.

How do you lose weight?

To lose weight you need to spend more calories than you consume. When you exercise at high intensity you use many more calories than if you exercise at low intensity, so the total fat you burn is also higher. For the purpose of weight loss, it matters little whether the calories you’ve burned come from carbohydrate or fat.

You don’t need to use fat to lose fat!

You don’t need to use fat during exercise to lose fat from your waistline. Yes, you’ll burn more fat on low intensity workouts, however, while only a small amount of fat is used when exercising at high intensity (just below the Lactic threshold), the rate of caloric expenditure and the total number of calories expended are much greater than they are when exercising at a lower intensity, so the total of fat used is also greater.

The bottom line:

For weight and fat loss what matters most is the difference between the calories you consume and the calories you expend. Weight loss is about making the effort to expend more calories than you consume.

My assignment for you:

If you’re serious about losing weight and want to see results faster and you’re willing to do the work, try these two ways to promote your body efficiency in losing fat and weight.

2 ways to promote fat loss:

1 – Go hard – with interval exercises

Interval exercises are more effective then continuous exercise for burning lots of calories during and after exercise. Interval workouts contain high and low intensity exercises, alternating between them, keeping high heart rate exercise for a few minutes and then switching to moderate exercise for a few minutes (to catch your breath). The idea is to keep your workout and your heart rate on the higher side but not for the whole workout.

This will allow you to be able to perform many high intensity exercises and will increase your fitness levels faster.

For weight loss, it’s important to burn lots of calories. But when you perform high intensity exercises you also maximize your after workout calorie expenditure, or you can say that your metabolic rate is higher post high intensity workout which means you burn more calories even 12 and 24 hours after you are one with the workout (sitting on the couch).

So, forget about the “fat burning zone” there is no such thing!

Remember that high-intensity exercise will burn more calories, both during and after your workout, and will also increase the muscles’ ability to use fat.

To lose weight, keep your calorie intake lower than your calorie output and, for the reasons above and for keeping your heart healthy – go and sweat, it will only do you good!

2 – Go very long (more than an hour and a half)

Fast walks, running and biking (about 65%-70% of your maximum heart rate) will stimulate mitochondrial synthesis and promote the depletion of glycogen in the muscles. This will threaten the muscle’s survival, since carbohydrates are the muscles’ preferred fuel.  In respond to that threat, muscles will “learn” how to use fat more effectively and, over time, become a better fat-burning machine.

If you have more questions about this subject (or any other)…

Knowledge is power – feel free to contact me via e-mail or phone and I’ll be happy to help you in any way I can.

1 Comment »

Nov 07 2011

I Decided to Start Moving – Now What?

You decided to start moving moredoing more physical activity, and getting fit, healthy and energized, (and not wait for January 1st). Let me congratulate you on your decision, on the fact that you’re taking responsibility for your life.

Now what? I hear this often from so many people: What should I do now? How many times a week? How much each time? What kind of exercises? What do I do with the injury I have? How can I be active and not hurt myself?

First and most importantly, is that you start moving. Take the moderate approach and the details and info will come later to enhance your workouts and help you reach your goals; BUT don’t wait! Don’t wait for the answers, they will come, just start moving now. Be active; any moderate activity is better than continuing to sit on the couch!

Now we can go into more detail; with the abundance of mixed messages you hear all the time in the media, moving and becoming fitter becomes a confusing subject; let me fix that!

First thing to recognize: What does fitness include?

*Cardiovascular *Flexibility *Strength *Balance *Core

All those components are important for our health AND they are all equally important and are all connected. Unfortunately if we don’t use and practice them all, we’ll lose our abilities with age; it’s a fact!

What is your personal goal?

Now, when you understand that fitness is not just about lifting weights and cardio machines, the most important question to ask yourself is “what is my personal main goal?”

As we said before, it will be important to challenge all components of fitness, but the focus will be according to your own goal.

When you know your goal you can make a plan, which will include:

  • How much time and how often you’ll work out a week.
  • What activity you’ll do the most to achieve your goal.
  • How to keep motivated so you’ll reach your goal.
  • The intensity of your workouts/activities.
  • Where and with whom you’ll workout.

Make sure to have these in your workout regardless of your goal:

  • 5 to 10 minute warm-up; that means a moderate intensity cardio with active stretching.
  • 5 to 10 minute cool-down; moderate activity and some static stretching.

Be honest with yourself:

Get into the details and be honest with yourself; answer these questions: How much time, realistically, will you devote to physical activity per week? Why do you really want to be more active? How important is it to you to get fit and have the energy and health to have a great life? What is your motivation?

Now I’ll be honest with you:

To try to put all of the components of fitness into 2 hours a week won’t give you the results you want – the feeling of really moving forward and achieving the change you’re looking for and wishing for. The bottom line is that your goal and your physical activity regimen need to match. If not, you’ll be disappointed and you’ll quit.

However, with guidance and advice from a professional who will put together the best plan for your life style – you’ll have a much better chance to get to where you want and reach your goal. Don’t forget: you’ll still need to put the time and effort in, but if you do then there is no doubt you’ll reach your goals.

Important information for creating success in a fitness routine:

  1. Take the time to think and make sure you know what your goal is and why it’s important to you before you start.
  2. Have the mind-set that you’ll be active from now on, for the rest of your life, and that it’s not for a specific time frame.
  3. Find what you like to do; more likely you’ll stick to it.
  4. Make sure to warm-up before any activity and cool-down after.
  5. Being fit includes many aspects of the body’s functions; make sure that your activity plan has an answer to all of it.
  6. If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure to change your routine every few weeks to avoid a plateau.
  7. When you’re making an effort to get fit and healthy, make sure that the food you put in your body supports that goal as well.

My assignment to you:

Take responsibility and if you know that you’re not moving enough, change it!

Start small and increase it as you go; add a walk, a stretch, a class – whatever talks to you, just do it. No excuses, no telling yourself all those stories you have in your mind when you try to move more, just do it!

You’ll start feeling better and you’ll have more energy to do more, then you can go deeper and put a whole plan in place, BUT just start moving!

No Comments »

Oct 24 2011

Massage and Tendonitis

by Eeris Kallil, Cert. CMT

Many people have adopted massage and bodywork to their health maintenance and preventative care routines because they recognize the ample benefits of regular bodywork. By calming the nervous system massage leaves you relaxed and rejuvenated and thus helps you cope with mental and emotional stress. Regular massage increases flexibility and range of motion, enhances immune system function and removal of metabolic waste. In cases involving injuries or surgeries massage can relieve pain and speed the recovery by increasing the circulation to the injured area and breaking down scar tissue.

One of the more common injuries I see in my massage practice is Tendonitis or Tendinosis, the later being more common and often mistakenly diagnosed as Tendonitis. The word “itis” means inflammation. In this case; inflammation of the tendon (the part that connects a muscle to the bone). Recent research of tendon dysfunction found that it is not the inflammation that causes the pain and discomfort but the break down in the collagen. Therefore it is more accurate to call this condition Tendinosis.

Tendinosis is a painful condition that can restrict movement and function of the joints.

It is most often caused by repetitive overuse in an occupation, during training or playing sports. It tends to heal slowly due to the slow process of rebuilding collagen.

Traditional tendonitis treatments concentrate on reducing inflammation with medications or steroid injections. Surgery may be used for extreme injuries. But since inflammation is not always present, surgery may not resolve the problem and it can continue or return shortly after the treatment.

Massage therapy is a very useful alternative method to medication and injections and an excellent method to use as a Preventative measure especially if your favorite activities or occupation take a toll on your body.

There are numerous massage techniques that are helpful in increasing circulation and stimulating the fibroblast proliferation in the tendon which helps with the repair of the damaged collagen including deep tissue, mayofacial release (soft tissue manipulation), trigger point therapy, cross fiber friction, Shiatsu and acupressure.

Massage to surrounding areas can release chronic patterns of tension in the muscles thus decreases the tensile force on the tendon.

Most clients experience relief after one session but a few consecutive sessions are usually needed.

The client is also encouraged to use the PRICE method as self help:

Self Help: (P.R.I.C.E)

Protection – Protect the area to prevent further injury and allow it to heal using slings, splints, crutches, or elastic wrap.

Rest – Avoid the activities that may have caused the injury (Beware of immobilization- immobilization can cause scar tissue build up and can slow the healing process. Keep moving with care!)

Ice – Helps with reducing pain, muscle spasms and inflammation. Ice can accelerate metabolic response after the massage treatment. Apply ice for 20 min. three times a day.

Compression – Compress the area of injury until the swelling has decreased. (using a wrap) Swelling puts more pressure on nerve ending and can cause more pain and loss of range of motion.

Elevation – If possible elevate the injured area above your heart. This can reduce swelling and will make the pain diminish or go away completely.

Eeris Kallil is an established massage therapist, healing-arts practitioner and instructor celebrating over 20 years in practice. Eeris practices her own unique intuitive style of bodywork based on Shiatsu, Deep Tissue massage and other modalities. As a breast cancer survivor she is also dedicated to working with women living with breast cancer.

For more information and availability go to

Email: Or call 303 775-8005

Mention this article for $15 off your first session! (New clients).



(source:, Orthopedic Assessment in Massage Therapy by Whitney Lowe)

No Comments »

Oct 10 2011

Strength Training is a “Magic Pill” for Your Fitness and Health

Strength training sounds intimidating to many women, BUT if you understand all the benefits of strength training I have no doubt that you will want to start as soon as possible. From the benefits to your heart, improving your balance, strengthening your bones, to helping you lose weight, and making you feel and look better, strength training is an extremely healthy activity option.

Studies prove that it can do all of that and more. It’s not just for bodybuilders; it’s actually one of the most recommended activities to most people who have Arthritis, heart conditions, and more.

Benefits of Weight or Resistance TrainingLet’s take a closer look at the benefits of strength training:

Strength training will give men and women alike definition and toned bodies, which is the more obvious and focused in recent years in the media and in our youth obsessed society but it’s so much more than that.

Working out with weights will create all of the following benefits:

1. Strength training translates into more calories burned:

You’ll burn calories during your work out and your body will continue to burn calories long after you’re done with it. More calories are used to maintain and create muscle tissue than fat tissue, and if you have more muscle you’ll burn more calories throughout the day regardless of what you do at that time. In fact, it can actually boost your metabolism by 15%, which can really make a difference in your weight loss journey.

2. Strength training protects bone and muscle mass:

You begin to lose about 1% of bone density and muscle mass per year after puberty. One of the best ways to prevent, stop and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your life. Using weights is very important in this process.

3. Strength training will tone and strengthen your muscles:

When you use your muscles against resistance, and you contract them against resisting forces, you’ll make them stronger and more toned.

There are two types of resistance training

Isotonic resistance training: contracting your muscles against resistance throughout their range of motion, like with weightlifting.
Isometric resistance: contracting your muscles against static (non-moving) resistance.

Both will make you stronger and in better shape. Don’t forget that with strength training your muscles need time to recover, so work out smart and take a day off in between. Warm-up and cool down are very important and will prevent injuries.

4. In addition to the obvious benefit of toning your muscles, weight training will improve your balance and coordination as well as your posture. Another very important result is that it can reduce your chance of falling up to 40%, and that is not to be taken lightly as you age.

5. The wellness benefit of strength training is well documented. For Arthritis it can be as effective as the medication you take. For post-menopausal women it will increase bone density and prevent bone fractures. And for the many Americans with type 2 diabetes, strength training, along with other healthy lifestyle choices, can help improve glucose control.

6. Strength training will boost your energy and improve your mood.

Endorphin levels (natural opiates produced by the brain) are elevated by strength training. Many studies also show that strength training functions like antidepressants in the body, and if that is not enough, it also helps you sleep better and improves your overall quality of life.

Getting started:
There are many ways to achieve strength training so please don’t limit your thinking only to the gym and big weight machines. Squats, push-ups, lunges and mountain climbing are all great examples of strength training, and there are many more. So, get a couple of hand weights and start moving, even in your own living room.

If you have any health problems – don’t use it as an excuse – consult with your doctor and get a fitness professional to help you create a program that fits your condition and is safe and beneficial for you.

Don’t you want to look better, feel better, and live a longer, healthy life? It’s time to start moving more and create a fitness plan for yourself that includes strength training.

1 Comment »