Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When: Saturday April 9th / 10:15am is Workout demonstration

Who: All clients of Action Conditioning can participate & coaches

Two Levels: Intermediate and Novice

3 workouts: A90 Special / 500 / Ladder to the Top (these are posted in the gym)

Prizes: for Top 3 males and females in both categories
After Party....oh yeah! Everyone is invited, kids and significant others....bring an appitiser. Location is on the board at AC.

For all those who are just finihing there Action 90 programs this will be your peaking phase, the perfect time to test how far your fitness has come.

Sign up at Action Conditioning

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Measuring cardio machine workouts:

Heart Rate Zones & RPE VS Caloric burn?

Are cardio machines giving us valued information when our workout is completed? When we are finished our treadmill or bike workouts we get a wide array of calculations like, heart rate average, estimated 1mile time, but the most widely used informative tool everyone uses to track how hard they worked is calories burned.

The question is how should you be judging your workouts? Should you base them on calories burnt? Or should you base them on intensity via Heart Rate Zones and or RPE “Rate of Perceived Exertion”?

Using calories burnt is not the most optimal measurement when assessing your workout productivity at the gym, as this it is not very accurate. The cardio machine you are using bases your calorie burn on; weight, age and gender. Yes this simple mathematical equation programmed into the machine will give a more dialled in caloric estimate, that being said an individual might be burning more calories (or less) than what the machine is actually showing, as the machine really has no idea how hard you are working to measure energy expenditure accurately.


Two males are on the treadmill, they are the same age and the same weight and both run at the same level number, one male is average fitness, medium height, has lost some fat and has put on some muscle in the past 8 months of training. The other male has been training for 1 month, tall, narrow shoulders, low fitness level, large prominent abdomen....who will burn more calories calculated by the cardio machine? They will burn the same amount! The machine does not account that they have different body compositions (muscle mass & fat mass), endocrine types and fitness levels. So one of these males would burn more calories in the real world, but on the machine it would not show and they would burn the same, thus showing the missing links cardio machines do not factor in.

Is this really the way to train? Yes watching the calories go by does have some merit, but to me watching the numbers go by is like watching an episode of Desperate Housewives; boring! Plus most people are so overwhelmed with what they eat and it’s caloric content, that cardio has now turned into mathematics, because you’re now subtracting the Coco puffs and Mini Chocolates you at earlier that day instead of focusing on increasing your health and fitness through proper conditioning.

One of the best ways to replace calories burned as your workout critic is to focus on Intensity via Heart Rate Zones and RPE “Rate of Perceived Exertion”. Not only will you have a great workout, you will start to increase the knowledge on how well your body is reacting to its new conditioning. Most importantly you will have some new numbers based on your most valued machine; your heart!

Zones and RPE are another two fantastic ways to replace calories burned and they both go hand in hand as you will see in the example below. These levels will have to be adjusted as your fitness levels rise and your heart becomes a more efficient machine. Remember everyone will have different Zones and RPE values based on individual fitness levels. Intensity and getting “comfortable with uncomfortable” (my coach’s favorite saying) will be one of the key elements you will use in attaining increased fitness.


Heart Rate ZONES
220-age = __________Max Heart Rate
MHR x 65% =_________bpm Low Zone 1
MHR x 74% =_________bpm High Zone 1
MHR x 75% =_________bpm Low Zone 2
MHR x 84% =_________bpm High Zone 2
MHR x 85% =_________bpm Low Zone 3
MHR x 90% =_________bpm High Zone 3
MHR x 91% =_________bpm Low Zone 4
MHR x 96% =_________bpm High Zone 4

What are the Zones supposed to feel like?
RPE = Rate of Perceived Exertion (Using Levels 5 – 10)

Zone 1 = RPE 5-6 you are able to hold a conversation (warm-up & meditative cardio)
Zone 2 = RPE 6-7 holding a conversation is not easy but can get out some short burst words (this is usually when the trainer gets called a nasty name)
Zone 3 = RPE 7-8 difficult to talk because you’re focused on working HARD
Zone 4 = RPE 9-10 not talking, difficult to speak clearly because you’re sprinting from a bear!

How do you use the Zones & RPE?
You could wear a Heart Rate Monitor or base your workout on an RPE scale of intensity. I like to do both and keep notes on heart rate zones and staying in a zone for an entire workout.

A.) Run 30min @ Zone 1(RPE 5-6)

OR try an interval workout

B.) Run 20minutes using the 5min intervals
2min @ Zone 2 (RPE 6-7)
1min @ Zone 3 (RPE 7-8)
Recover 2min @ Zone 1 (RPE 5-6)
Stuck on calories burnt; try this:
If you are stuck on calories burnt, try using this method I use when I program my clientele. I integrate calories burnt by choosing a specific caloric target marker to attain in a run, bike or row.


A.) Row 18 calories AFAP “as fast as possible” x 5 sets; Rest 45sec b/t rowing sets. (Now calories are a target and not focused food burning)

Here is another way to use calories burnt

B.) Complete 3 Rounds for time
Run 15 calories
15 Ring Dips
9 Power Cleans
30 Double Unders

In the above examples I am using the calories burned as a target in the workout instead of an estimation of how much food calories you have burnt off.

Remember calories burnt are an option, but not the best option. Start to focus your conditioning on improving your body in all aspects. You will see a greater fitness level achieved and the reward will be a more vitalized healthier body!

Programming is available through http://www.actionconditioning.ca/

Saturday, March 05, 2011

TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING: Exercise of the month

You want a total body move you can do at home to help gain strength, power, increase balance and improve flexibility! Try this out!
Lateral Pressed Lunges: with balanced finish & flexibility

Stand tall, abdominals cued, db's set in press position

Lateral Lunge to the side maintaining your upright posture.
Remember to keep your weight on your lunge foot to the heel, hitting the major muscles, keeping as upright as you can, abdominals tight.
Play around with the foot angle on the lunge side for your optimal landing and pushing position.
Once your set firm in the lunge, Press the Db's up and over head, making sure to elevate (think shoulders to ears) shoulders up and set.
Your other leg will stay straight to help stretch out the muscles: Adductors, Sartorius and Gracilus.

Finish by exploding off your lateral lunge foot back to standing position balancing on one foot, while keeping the Db's locked overhead. You will start the lunge push off from the heel, finishing with a toe push.
Once in the standing position, slowly lower Db's to Start position, keeping your lunge leg up in the air. Now start the next rep with lunge leg still in air.
Perform 12 reps/ leg
Keep the lowering "negative" motion of the exercise slower than the lifting "positive" pressing/pushing motion.

*Need a home workout or want to spice up your old program. Contact me at info@actionconditioning.ca