Much has been said about weight loss and how to go about achieving it. I can only say that weight loss takes effort, endurance and perseverance. Have you ever exercised regularly and still not shed those pounds?
My exercise routine started after a chat with my friend Peter Chong who told me exercise is not exercise if you are not training at the right levels. How so, I asked? Well, he told me about heart zone training i.e. bringing the heart rate up to an acceptable level. I will not go into details but the essence is this - exercising at the right heart rate level will increase the effectiveness of your weight loss regime.
Early on when I started, I discovered Sally Edwards Heartzones and it has helped me understand and achieve my targets. Critical in this journey is a heart rate monitor - that is a must and non negotiable. I started off with a Timex set but now use this as I find it much better. The Polar Personal Training Computer RCX5 kit.
The RCX5 measures the heart rate and also maps my exercising route. The heart rate monitor ensures you are exercising at the right heart rate levels. I am attaching a simplified chart I took from the website of Project Daisy Duke. Basically, to lose weight, one has to exercise within the grey/blue zone which is between 50-70% of your max heart rate. For me, that translates into 100-130 beats per minute (bpm). This means that if my goal is to lose weight, I need my heart rate to be within that zone as much as possible.
What I like about the Polar Personal Trainer is the webpage. When downloaded, it shows you your exercise routine and how well you have been keeping to the recommended heart rate levels. In this instance, I am spending 73% of my exercise routine within the 120-136 bpm zone which is optimal for improving my aerobic fitness. If I wanted to lose more weight, I need to do a lot more within the 103-119 bpm range.
The RCX5 comes with a GPS unit, a heart strap with a heart rate monitor and the watch. The watch can be customized to display all the necessary information in the order you like. On the first screen mine shows the heart rate, distance travelled, current speed and the time elapsed. I set it to the green zone and every time I am below or above that range, the watch beeps.
I started my regime in September last year, and within 4 months, lost about 5 kilograms. My routine revolves around a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per session, at least three times per week. After the second week, my fitness level was up, I could do more distance for the same time and by the second month, I was going from three km walks to four and a half km within the same time frame. What made it more bearable is the fact I prefer nature so I exercise around the Lower & Upper Peirce Reservoir area and extending to Bishan Park.
As with every exercise routine, you need to get the advice from the doctors before you begin. Mine has been a success story - at least by my standard. To-date, I have lost more than 6 kg and dropped one size. Exercise makes you feel good and losing weight and achieving that goal makes you feel even better. I have not felt so good in a long while and I am determined to lose more. The Sally Edwards regime works for me. Check out her webpage at www.heartzones.com. Her book helped me a lot. She makes exercising fun and she even has a heart rate monitor specially designed. Remember this - it is not about the intensity or how hard you exercise. It is about frequency, regularity and duration. At least 30 minutes continuous exercising.
Since I started my regime, my wife has also started on her own. She is also convinced that her fitness has improved. For her, weight loss is not the primary goal. Improving fitness and feeling good is. So go ahead, try exercising and staying on that routine. It works!