Daniel Tysinger

The "Fat Burning" Zone

People looking to lose weight often think that long sessions of cardiovascular exercise are the best way to spur weight loss and jumpstart their way to health. Treadmills and ellipticals adorned with charts that display the mythical ‘fat burning zone’ that dictate how hard the user should be exercising serve as a guideline for many gym-goers. However, things are not always as they seem to be.   During exercise, your body has two primary sources of fuel: carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) and fat. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two. Glucose is the preferred energy substrate for a few reasons. First, it is readily available. Glucose is stored in the muscle, liver and blood, meaning it can be accessed at a moments notice. Also, glucose can be used either aerobically (in the presence of oxygen), or anaerobically (without oxygen).   To use fat as a source of energy, several things must happen first. The person exercising must achieve a steady state of exercise where oxygen is readily available. Basically, you must be exercising at a pace that allows you produce a sustained effort over long period of time. Also, oxygen can only be used in an aerobic state. This is why many people mistakenly think that cardiovascular exercise is the best way to shed fat.   The truth is, whenever you’re exercising, you are...

Read More

Get Real & Heel

On a Sunday afternoon last September, I was bartending at Linda’s Bar & Grill when a couple walked in. The woman was clad in a Susan G Komen shirt and hat, she and her friend had stopped by to grab some food and watch the Panthers game. The bar wasn’t too busy so I chatted them up for a while and soon found out that she had just come from the hospital where she had gotten her latest chemotherapy treatment for her breast cancer.  I immediately told her to check out the Get Real & Heel program for breast cancer patients, thinking that she would be an ideal candidate. I described the program to her and thought she could benefit, so she said she would check it out. Fast forward 11 months: I was at the Get Real & Heel clinic preparing to train some participants when a women came bounding through the door and greeted me with a smile saying, “Aren’t you Daniel from the bar?” I replied that I was, and when she asked if I remembered her, I couldn’t place her, but she soon told me that she was the woman from the bar that day to whom I had recommended the program. I was stunned (in a positive way).  The difference between when I had seen her at the bar and when I saw her...

Read More

Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation: More Than Just Exercise

Today I’m writing on a subject I know extremely well. As someone who has worked as an exercise physiologist in cardiac and pulmonary rehab at both UNC and Durham Regional Hospital, I have a lot of first-hand experience.  Chances are, over the course of your life, you will know someone –it might even be you– who will have heart or lung disease and be offered the opportunity for rehab. My advice to them (or you) is to sign up as fast as possible. Rehab services, as they are today, are relatively new. The old school of thought was that people with heart or lung disease should avoid exercise since it would further damage an already sick person. However, over the years, clinical research has shown that to be completely false. This led to the creation of the modern rehab program, which usually consists of a cardiologist/pulmonologist, a program director, cardiac nurses and an exercise physiologist. Programs today are based on a comprehensive approach to help patients not only with the physical aspect of getting better, but also providing mental health, nutrition and health education services. Upon being referred to a program, you’ll meet with a member of the staff who will explain to you how the program works. Programs are usually twelve weeks in length, and meet 3 days per week for approximately and hour and a half at...

Read More

Don’t Blame Lactic Acid For Your Sore Muscles

I’m willing to bet that anyone reading this article has experienced muscle soreness in his or her life. Any time your muscles are placed under a new stress that they have not been prepared for, the result will be soreness. For many years, the popular thought was that lactic acid was the cause of muscle soreness. We now know that this is not completely accurate. It is true that lactic acid does accumulate within the muscle when working at a high intensity. Too much will cause you to fatigue and prevent you from continuing to work at high intensities. However, after exercise is over, the lactic acid will be removed from the muscle tissue long before the actual soreness begins. So what is the explanation for that sore feeling you get the next couple of day? DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) DOMS is the main reason you’re slow to get out of bed the next day. Theodore Hough first described this phenomenon in 1902, stating that DOMS is “fundamentally the result of ruptures within the muscle.” Don’t fret; it’s not as bad as it sounds. However, his statement still rings mostly true to this day. Research has found that eccentric muscle contractions cause tiny tears to the connective tissue and units of muscle known as myofilaments, which collectively make up a muscle fiber. It is this structural damage to...

Read More

Tabata Training

In previous articles, I have touched briefly on the Tabata Protocol and how you can incorporate it into your routine. Today, I will go into more detail and explain the benefits of this relatively new method of training. In 1996, professor Izumi Tabata conducted a research study in concert with the Japanese speed skating team. The coach of the team wanted Tabata to analyze the effectiveness of his training method that consisted of short and intense bouts of work followed by short periods of rest. The protocol for his study consisted of subjects performing 4 minutes of work at a time, consisting of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 8 cycles. Each cycle consisted of the same type of exercises being repeated. For example, if you do a Tabata protocol with push-ups, each 20 second work interval will consist only of push-ups. Four minutes might not sound like a long time, but it’s much longer than you think when you’re working at a high intensity, as is the case here. Take our above example of push-ups, by the time you’re in the last few cycles, you’re arms are shaking and just getting your chest off the ground feels like an accomplishment. However, the work is worth the suffering. Tabata found that unlike traditional cardiovascular training, the Tabata protocol improves both aerobic...

Read More

Body Composition

At its most basic level, body composition refers to the amount of fat, muscle and bone mass that make up your total body weight. Measuring body composition can range from the very simple, like the standard Body Mass Index (BMI) chart, to very complex, like using Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) imaging. Below, I’ll explain a few methods along with the pros and cons of each. Body Mass Index BMI is easily the most convenient and widely used method to measure body composition. To calculate your BMI and learn more about it, visit this website. Although BMI does not directly measure your composition, it does provide you with a score, based on the ratio of your height to weight, to assess your health. A score under 18.5 is considered underweight, between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, while anything above 30 is considered obese. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. For example, I stand at 5’11” and weigh 190 lbs, which puts me at a 26.5, the overweight category. As an avid exerciser and weight lifter, I certainly don’t consider myself overweight. This is an area in which the BMI is limited, since it doesn’t take into account the ratio of fat and lean mass in its measurement. Even though I’m considered overweight, much of that weight is made up of lean...

Read More

Understanding Blood Pressure

Blood pressure (BP) is defined as the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries, and is measured via two numbers. The top number, also called the systolic, refers to the pressure when the heart is contracting, while the bottom number (or diastolic number) refers to the pressure exerted when the heart is relaxed, between beats. The chart below breaks down blood pressure into different stages based on what your numbers are. For example, if your BP is measured at 128/84, you will be in the prehypertension stage. Systolic Diastolic Category 120 or below 80 or below Normal 120-139 80-89 Prehypertension 140-159 90-99 Stage 1 Hypertension 160 or above 100 or above Stage 2 Hypertension   Bear in mind that just one BP reading is not an accurate representation. BP is very dynamic; it can vary greatly over the span of just a few minutes, and is subject to the influence of your environment. The foods you eat, the time of day and your emotional state all contribute to your blood pressure at any given moment. The best gauge of your BP is to consistently measure it over time. A good time to measure is as soon as you wake up in the morning, as this reading will provide as close to a true resting rate as you can get. If you do begin to regularly monitor...

Read More

No Gym? No Problem!

One of the top reasons why people don’t exercise is that they don’t have enough time to go to the gym. Between driving there, working out, showering and driving home, it can be a time-consuming process. However, just because you can’t go to the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t get a great workout. Listed below are several exercises, some of which you may not be familiar with by name. A great resource to find out what these movements are and how to properly do them can be found at www.exrx.net. Strength Exercises Bodyweight exercises are simplest way to get started. Most require little space and minimal equipment. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges and planks should be staples in your home exercise plan. Incorporating weights into your routine will increase the intensity of your workout as well as allow you broaden the range of exercises you can perform, adding variety to your routine. Used free weights and kettlebells are excellent accessories and will last a lifetime, all for a small investment. Play It Again Sports and Craigslist are great places to find used free weights. Below are some exercises for upper and lower body. Upper Body Free Weight Exercises • Chest Press • Chest Fly • Upright Rows • Bent Over Rows • Shoulder Press • Biceps Curl • Triceps Extension • Lateral and Front Raises Lower Body Free Weight Exercises...

Read More

Stretching 101

Although an important part of healthy lifestyle, stretching is often one of the more neglected part of a person’s fitness routine. Stretching, when done properly, can increase flexibility, range of motion, improve athletic performance, and help alleviate muscle soreness. Static Stretching This is the most common type of stretching that people are aware of. Static stretching consists of holding the stretch at a position where you feel that your muscle is being pulled, but not to the point of pain. NOTE: Static stretching should be done after you have completed your workout, and not before. Recent research has found that static stretching before you workout can actually hinder your performance. Stretching a ‘cold’ muscle can actually cause the muscle to tighten, and lead to injury. Also, research has found that static stretching before a workout does not decrease the chance of an injury, such as a pulled muscle, during activity itself. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) PNF is a relatively new form of stretching that combines static stretching with intervals of muscle contraction. This method of stretching is extremely effective and produces great results. For best results, you’ll need a partner. PNF works in stages. For example, to use PNF to stretch your hamstring you would do the following: • Lie on your back with your knees bent, extend one leg until it is straight, then lift your leg and...

Read More

Exercise Is Medicine

Today’s article talks about the Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative, their website can be found at www.exerciseismedicine.org If you were to survey a few of your friends about why they exercise, you’d probably hear the standard reasons such as wanting to lose weight, get stronger, or just to get back in shape and have more energy. You probably won’t hear much along the lines or preventing heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass. It is widely known that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but what you may not know is that exercise also serves to protect and prevent the body and mind from a myriad of physical and psychological issues. EIM views physical activity of a way of preventing disease and illness before it starts, with empirical data to back it up. As our society advances and technology replaces manual labor, this leads to a reduction in the amount of physical activity performed on a daily basis. For many, a typical workday consists of sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, with the only activity coming in the form of walking around the office. This coupled with the everyday activities of taking the kids to practice, making dinner and running errands has led to what is now being referred to as an “inactivity epidemic.” This places a tremendous burden not only...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2
Translate »