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DoctorTammy6798

Intensity and APs

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After reading various threads and information, I'm in a quandry about the whole matter of intensity and APs. There are some that seem to indicate that the only people who do intense workouts are those who are like professional athletes--i.e. competitive biking, decathalon, long distance runners, etc. Which means that anything those of us doing WW could do is light to moderate. My understanding has been that intensity varies from person to person depending on their individual fitness level and exertion during the workout. Is this correct? I am about 12 pounds over my goal weight and have been working out for every day for about a decade. For a while I was training with a professional body builder. When I work out, I typically do some type of aerobic activity at such a level that 30-45 minutes is absolutely maximum that my body can take. Today I did over 30 minutes of challenging step aerobics with two steps while carrying 6 pounds of hand weights. I've read the "if you can carry on a conversation" criteria for estimating exertion. What exactly does that mean? I am breathing really rapidly and hard, but I could get out words between breaths I think, so I could communicate with someone if I needed to, but I would rather not while I'm working out at that level. I typically count these workouts as high intensity. Yesterday, I did a cardio FIRM video for over 40 minutes, but did added step moves on the fanny lifter and such while they were doing stretches and then used much heavier (sometimes double) the amount of weights they were using. After 40+ minutes, a few of my muscle groups simply gave out and I had to stop because my limbs were rubbery. Is this an intense workout? I don't want to give myself too many points, yet I don't want to count too few as I seldom eat even half my FP per week. I usually eat just AP and a few FP. Thanks for your help!

Tammy

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Hi Tammy—

 

 

I’ve read tons of books on the subject of exercise, seeking information beyond the simple slider. Remember that WW is intended for those who have no experience with exercise , so they keep it really simple. For someone like you, who has worked out for years, it takes a little more information to figure out what you're earning.

 

 

Yes, intensity varies from person to person, depending on their level of fitness. Intensity is not a constant, like gravity, against which everyone is measured. Intensity is “your” intensity. Walking at 3 mph may be high intensity for someone who’s just starting out—for you it’s probably low intensity.

 

 

The “conversation” thing: there’s a huge difference between being able to chat at length (complete sentences at a time) and being able to gasp out “Help!”;) When I’m running at a slower than normal pace, I am able to carrying on a conversation with my partner, but I’d never try it during my regular runs or wind sprints. Your workouts definitely sound like high intensity to me. If parts of your body feel like they are going to fall off, that’s high intensity.

 

 

Have you tried checking your heart rate during your workouts? I use a heart rate monitor to make sure I’m working in my target range. If I’m going for a high intensity workout, I try to keep it at 75-85% of my maximum heart rate. It’s an excellent way of comparing my perceived exertion again what my heart is really experiencing. Sometimes I’m surprised, and I adjust my workout accordingly. I run, bicycle, take classes such as spinning and bootcamp, and use an elliptical. They're all different, sometimes from day to day.

 

 

Then there’s the matter of FPs and APs. I think you’re cheating yourself if you don’t eat all your FPs. They’re built into the program—use them. Especially since you exercise regularly. As for APs, eat all of them too. While food is roughly 50 calories per point, WW calculates APs at about 100 calories per point, just in case you overestimate the intensity of your exercise. Count them all, eat them all.

 

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 


189.4/152.2/151

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Thanks Ruth! That answers some of my questions. I, too, vary my workouts day by day. Yes, I have a good heart monitor and I use it occasionally. It's one of those things that also made me search out a bit of information. I know the max heart rate table is based on 220-your age. Covert Bailey takes a slightly different approach with it and so do some others I've read. He says that most people aren't "average" and that chart is based on the assumption that you have an average resting heart rate (being around 80). I'm not average. Mine tends to be very low (60 or low 60s). He says you sort of have to gauge accordingly because the "chart version" of your max heart rate may be more than what your body will actually do. I think that may be true, as the mid 140s is about all my body has ever been able to take without me feeling really badly physically afterward. That is only about 75% heart rate (according to the chart) for me. Around the 130s I tend to have a really good workout where I feel really tired yet energized later, but it doesn't affect me in a negative way. I was so incredibly sore this morning that I should NOT have done the workout I did. I wasn't wearing my monitor today (but I typically have a good idea of heart rate) and I was pushing for a high rate because I was concerned about working out at high intensity. I barely made it through the workout and I've felt really physically unwell all day to the point that I've done very little since this morning. I'm curious if anyone else has any input about heart rates and judging the best and most effective for each person???

RUTH---Have you seen good weight loss eating all your FP and AP?? Since I haven't, I was concerned that as one WW member put it, I might have to "reset my metabolism and see a small weight gain for a bit" in order to be able to eat that much since I haven't been eating them from the start. Any ideas?? I would LOVE to eat them all, but now that I'm not too far from goal my loss has slowed down a bit in the past month or so and heaven knows, I don't want to gain weight. (GASP!) Suggestions, anyone??

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I would DEFINITELY count your workouts as high-intensity, and I completely agree that you should eat ALL your points - you earn them! If you haven't, you should do it and see what happens. As for determining your intensity, I also agree that, for those who are in shape (which you are), it is more accurate to go by "perceived exertion" than by your heart rate. Yes, you should be able to "talk" in a panting way, but if you can actually SING, then you're not in that 65%+ zone ;-)

 

Keep in mind that the heart rate formula (220-age, multiplied by desired percentage of HRmax) was developed years ago by a couple of doctors who basically fit a line to some data they got on a small sample group of adult males. (I'm not kidding - I learned this from the book, "Ultimate Fitness," which I recently read). The docs NEVER meant for this formula to become doctrine. They just found that using it seemed to help BEGINNER exercisers to get into the desired intensity range. The truth is, maximum heart rate can vary a great deal, and the only way to know for sure what yours is, is to measure your oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output it in a lab.

 

Remember that the WW program is designed for a population, not an individual. Some people can lose on 24 points per day. Others (like me) only maintain at that level. If you're weight loss is slowing, you need to change SOMETHING. If you're already varying your workouts, maybe try changing your eating plan. Change your carb/protein mix (See the WW pie charts for higher-carb or higher-protein point plans). Try drinking more water. Try exercising 3 days a week instead of 5. Go light one day, high-intensity the next. Really shake up your body and make it pay attention. It's amazing how our bodies adapt to what we are doing and refuse to budge. Keep a REALLY accurate journal of EVERYTHING you do for the week and see what things look like a "rut." (I know I'm guilty of eating the same thing for breakfast, day-in and day-out).

 

I know it's hard to try something (eating all your FPs and APs) when you're afraid it might result in a gain on the scale. But you have to take the long view. Over time, the WW approach WILL work. And, as we go through life (this IS a lifelong journey), there WILL be ups and downs. For me, it helps to view my weight-loss journey as a grand experiment - writing everything down, observing the results (e.g. scale), and then making adjustments for the next week. Once you GET to goal, you will be doing the same thing in order to determine your target MAINTENANCE points.

 

I think it boils down to this: When you get this close to goal, and then maintenance, you'll have to really fine-tune the WW plan to fit your individual needs. If you have a good leader, he or she can help you, too.

 

Good luck,

Jen


ACE-certified Personal Trainer

& WW Lifetime Member

 

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Thanks for that awesome info, Jennifer! The facts about the target heart zone actually doesn't surprise me since I've read so many other sources that take issue with it. I may indeed begin eating a bit more. I drink TONS of water (12-16 glasses per day) and my doc recently told me to perhaps stay at no more than 10-12 because of issues with flushing out a little too much potassium and such. I do eat the same thing for breakfast each day (bran flakes) because I need to stay on a really high fiber diet due to another health issue. I also eat pretty high protein. I know this sounds impossible, but I honestly don't allow myself "junk" food. My biggest indulgence has been having a 3 point lowfat ice cream. Everything else I eat is either whole grain, veg/fruit, protein and small amounts of milk. I journal every bite I eat, every glass I drink and every day's AP earned and used and each FP. I've been checking over it and don't see a particular pattern to the weeks when I've lost more (or less) in regard to food intake or exercise. I think my body will sort of stabilize for a week or two (sometimes longer) where there is very little loss and then suddenly there will be more loss, and then I stabilize again. It's like a cycle that keeps repeating. Although as I understand it, this is not atypical? I vary points eaten each day. I work out 7 days a week, so do you think I would gain weight if I skipped a day every? Taking off one day each week appeals to me. Oh, I don't have a leader, I do WW at home because of my schedule and such. That's why I come here for advice and info. :) Thanks!

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Tammy....I think you might be overexercising....and I'm guilty of that too. Im at the gym pretty much every day of the week. However, I eat all of my Flex points and AP's each week. I just recommitted this past week, and even though it was TOM, I still lost. I think 1-2 days off per week might be a good thing. I've only been to the gym 3 times this week and still managed to loose. Try it and see what happens. If you are staying within your points, you should be fine.

I've also noticed lately that if I give myself a couple of days off I tend to loose a little bit more than when I go everyday. Our bodies need rest so try it and see what happens. Let me know how things go for you!!

 

Andrea


Recommitted:6/17/04

173.8/168/164

WW Goal: 164 (4 lbs to go!)

10% Goal: 156.8 (9.8 lbs to go)

PG: 150 (18 lbs to go)

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You might consider taking some rest days. Here's a bit of info that might help you decide. Your body will thank you by feeling stronger after a recovery day or two. :)

 

http://www.ivillage.co.uk/dietandfitness/experts/realrunner/articles/0,,572726_583110,00.html

 

http://leisurefitness.fitdv.com/new/articles/article.html?artid=183

 

http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/7165/8908/36168.html?d=dmtContent

 

Karvonen formula for heart rate:

http://exercise.about.com/cs/fitnesstools/g/karvonen.htm

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Thanks for those links! Very informative and compelling enough for me to consider that I need to take today off since I am still REALLY sore and tired. I'm curious about the formula for heart rate though. The example is for a 23 year old with a RHR of 65. According to the formula, their target zone is 150-177 (which is supposedly 65-85%) but when I do simple math and subtract their age from 220, those numbers turn out to be 70-90% which sounds too high. The other info I've read seems to indicate that low RHR needs to adjust the upper end of the MHR slightly lower. Did I misunderstand this?

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Yes, you DEFINITELY need at least one rest day. I do five intense workouts a week - 3 days on, rest 1, 2 days on, rest 1. I find I come off of my rest days REALLY strong. Plus I get to use that time to do something else I enjoy. Now, you could do something LOW intensity (like walking) on your "rest" days, if you need the consistency of doing something every day. But don't get carried away. You do need rest. Sometimes I do a nice long stretching session on my rest days, as I know I don't stretch enough on my other days.

 

And, truly, don't get hung up on your heart rate. If you're in the zone, you know it by how you're breathing and sweating.

 

And yes, you're pattern of losing for a week, holding steady a few weeks, then losing again, is pretty typical. Some of us plateau for a lot longer. That's why I say we have to keep the long view in mind.

 

Sounds like your on the right track. Just be patient :-)


ACE-certified Personal Trainer

& WW Lifetime Member

 

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There is a web site that will give you the calories burned for many different activities, based on your age, gender, weight, length of exercise. Divide the calories by 100, and that will give you the AP's you earned.

 

Here's the web site link, hope it helps! http://www.caloriesperhour.com/index_burn.html


~~I am not my past. I am free. For I am this instant how I choose to be.~~

~~Hugh Prather ~~

Judy "B"

 

SW 294.4 CW 286.4 GW 160

 

http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wSAUiHm/exercise.png

 

http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wE1lj7W/weight.png

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