How Much Exercise Do You Need?

How much and how often you should exercise depends on your goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to get stronger? Are you training for endurance, like a marathon (if you are, you so crazy)? All of the previous goals require different routines, intensity levels, and frequency.

I have read and heard various theories on the amount of exercise one needs to maintain a decent level of fitness. I was recently asked by a client if taking 10,000 steps a day is a good goal? I couldn’t answer because I had no idea how far 10,000 steps is for the average person. So I Googled “10,000 steps”, and I was shocked.

10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles! That is f-a-a-r. At a 3 mile per hour pace, you would have to walk for one hour and forty minutes straight, without a break, to walk 5 miles. If you accumulated 10,000 steps a day, six days a week, you would be walking 30 miles per week, and approximately 120 miles a month. 120 multiplied by 125 calories per mile burned would be 15,000 calories a month used as fuel from walking. That’s almost 5 pounds of fat burned, in one month!!! Ok, did you feel that free-fall descent back to earth? Wheeeeee!! That was the realization that very few people walk 5 miles per day, erry-day.

Oktoberfest11_8008

I used to tell people that they needed to accumulate 5 hours of exercise/movement per week. Boy, I tell you, I was being kind. Because if 10,000 steps a day is the going rate to stay fit, I was undershooting with my advice, big time. If you are one of those rare folks, rare like a flawless diamond and not like a steak, who walks 5 miles a day, you are a beast!!!!! Being called a beast in the exercise world is a good thing. So I guess you can call my wife and I “Beauty and The Beast”. (I had to write that one).

Now to be fair about calling myself a beast, I doubt that I walk 5 miles a day. I am sure that on days I exercise (cardio+weights) and work, I might get in 10,000 steps, but that’s a stretch.

stretching

Let me share with you what I can do: I can dead-lift 315 lbs about 3 times. I can do anywhere from 12 to 15 full range of motion pullups without kipping. I can do about 5 to 8 pullups with 20 lbs attached to my body. I can overhead press (barbell) 105 lbs about 3 times without my legs helping (so it’s not a push-press). I don’t bench press anymore.  I can do a boxing class without having a heart attack. I can run pretty fast, and jump decently high. That’s me touching a 10 ft high basketball rim, but that was like a year and a half ago. I might have to try that again.

photo

Peep the Vans I’m wearing.

Please keep in mind that I am 42 years old, 5’11”, weigh 185 lbs, and do not use steroids. I was much stronger in my 20’s, without steroids of course. (I have nothing against roids, it’s just not my thing.)

The previous braggadocious paragraph does serve a purpose other than narcissism. It is to show you that I practice what I preach, because no one should hire an out of shape trainer, and that I maintain those fitness/strength levels with about 5 hours per week of not so easy exercise. I lift weights 3 times per week for an hour per session, and do a one hour boxing class twice per week (most of the time). That’s it!! The rest is diet. FYI, six-pack abs are created in the kitchen, and not in the gym. Sorry.

More on food.

Nutrition is the foundation of how you perform when you workout. The crappier your food, the crappier your workout. Your nutrition is also the main factor that will determine how you look, known as body composition, and how much of your hard work in the gym will show on the outside. The cleaner your diet, and the more you eat according to your desired weight, the more “tone” your body will reveal. Tone=reduced body fat levels. We often say “he or she has good muscle tone”, but what we are really saying is that he or she has body fat levels low enough to show muscle definition. Here’s the ultimate heart breaker. You can workout all you want, do millions of situps, lift weights, and walk everywhere, but if you have a crappy diet, you know what I’m talking about, pizza, burgers, fries, and beer, three to four days per week, chances are you won’t have much muscle tone. Trust me, I see these types at the gym I workout at, everyday. And please don’t forget your New Year’s Resolution, it’s only February. By the way, am I the only one that finds it kind of odd that the day many of us get plastered is the day we swear we’re going to make a positive change? It reminds me of a Hemingway quote: “Always do sober what you say you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut”.

Ok, gotta go. I will keep you posted on my attempt at touching a 10ft high basketball rim later in the spring. The older I get, the higher the rim appears, and the heavier weights feel.