Get more out of a workout

June 24, 2008 6:46:17 AM PDT
It's estimated that about 42 million Americans belong to a fitness club or gym. But most don't regularly use that membership. Part of the problem could be that many people don't always get the results they want.

Fixing that could be as simple as knowing how to burn the right calories and get the most out of your gym time.

You walk, climb, cycle and sweat but just can't get the result you want. Maybe your workout simply isn't working.

"When people come to work out they don't work out hard enough or they workout too slow. I see people reading magazines on the treadmill, talking on the phone, talking to their friend," said Erica Tuttolomondo, athletic director, Rush-Copley Healthplex.

Tuttolomondo says a lot of people sabotage their workout by not focusing nor taking it seriously. Ditch the cell phone and magazine. If you're reading or talking on the phone, that can translate into fewer calories burned.

Don't lean on the machines, such as the stair stepper or treadmill. One study shows it can reduce calorie burn by up to 60 percent.

As far as actually burning calories, you might be surprised to know the readouts from the machines displaying calories burned are less than accurate.

"Most people are a figment of their imaginations, thinking how well or how much they burn in terms of calories," said Bob Esquerre, fitness trainer.

Esquerre says you may feel like you've burned 900 calories in that hour-long spin class but think again.

"I may look like a wet rag, but in reality, my actual output of qualitative calories may be 510, plus or minus," he said.

He says people can over-estimate calorie burn by 50 percent.

"I like to enter the weight and everything on the machine and find out how many calories I am burning," said Sheri Fioresi.

At the Rush Copley Healthplex in Aurora, Fioresi likes to get some idea of what she's accomplished on the machines. She knows the calorie counts are not right on. And trainers say that's the only way to view them - as guess-timations.

"It's OK to look at, but it's not an accurate count of what's personally going on in your body," said Fioresi.

Metabolic testing is the newest buzz in clubs. Some exercise physiologists say it's the best way to determine what your body needs to burn the most calories.

The test measures aerobic base -- your optimum heart rate for efficiently burning fat. But critics say it's involved and can be expensive. There are still many fitness experts who believe simply monitoring your heart rate is the best gauge. Also, mix it up. Change machines and vary the intensity of your workouts so your body continues to burn the most calories.

"Your body, once it gets use to something, is not going to gain benefits as easy as you would if you were doing something that you were changing up," said Tuttolomondo.

One last tip - drink a lot of water. Keeping the body hydrated helps burn fuel more efficiently.

Fitness experts also warn about the calories found in sports drinks and protein bars. They say water is all that's needed after a standard workout. Finally, there is no secret solution. It takes a true commitment and hard work to get the maximum results. There is no easy way out.

Rush-Copley -Healthplex

1900 Ogden Ave.

Aurora, Il.

630-499-2401

rushcopley.com


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