Have you ever join a marathon?
If you follow my Instagram (click here to follow me!),
I started my self training since June and shared my journey via IG stories,
though I registered for my first 10K marathon in April - Shape Run 2017. XP
Why did I join? Simply because one of my 2017 resolutions is to be HEALTHIER.
And, I need to set a measurable yet realistic goal.
So, I'm going to share a little of my personal experience via this blog post.
First, I have to admit that I'm not sporty person,
at least it was not heavily emphasized during my upbringing.
To kick start with my exercise plan, I focused on the FITT principles.
My advice for people like me who seldom exercise for a long period of time,
remember to set your priority based on the following principles:
Frequency : 3-5 times in a week (recommended)
It's my second priority after Time, aim to gradually increase my stamina.
I started with once a week, followed by 2-3 times in a week, and finally hit 4-5 times.
However, I did find myself easily caught with cold and flu when I hit 4-5 times in a week.
I found out from some articles that could be the sign of our body for not coping well with the exercise routine.
(This varies from individual to individual)
From there, I adjusted my frequency back to 2-3 times a week to allow sufficient time for body (especially muscles) to recover from wear and tear during the exercise.
Guess what? It worked and improved my stamina quite a bit!
Intensity: moderate, 50-70% of your maximum heart rate/ RPE 4-6 (recommended)
This is my third priority, as intensity needs more efforts and time.
For people who seldom exercise, you will find your resting heart rate very high (above 100), where normal resting heart rate is 60-100 for adults and children.
That says your heart is not strong enough to supply blood to whole body within a pump, in fact it requires a few.
So, how to measure moderate intensity?
There's 2 ways: heart rate measurement and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
1. Heart rate measurement
First, calculate your maximum heart rate (formula: 220 - your age).
Next, calculate 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate for moderate intensity, and 71%-89% for vigorous one.
The below table will a be reference for you:
|Reference: American Heart Association|
How to measure your heart rate? (reference from American Heart Association)
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
- Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist.
- Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. You want to stay between 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This range is your target heart rate.
Alternatively, you can invest in a heart rate monitor like FitBit or MiFit that comes with an app to track your activeness in daily basis.
I'm using MiFit since June, and pretty impressive with its analysis and performance.
Using simple indicators to determine your perceived exertion.
For moderate intensity, we are aiming for RPE 4-6.
Time/duration: at least 30 minutes/session for cardio (recommended)
This is my TOP priority, as I believe we need to get ourselves ready mentally and physically.
Getting myself on board for about 30 minutes exercise provide ample time for my body to react with the new pace or exercise routine that I'm going through.
To maintain a regular exercise routine, persistence is always the key.
Jogging at a bearable pace and continue it for about 30 minutes per session, is always better than going beyond that and give up after 10 minutes, which very likely to screw up the plan of having regular exercise in your daily life.
Do it slowly in a practical way for you to make it a lifelong habit.
Type of exercise: cardio, muscle strengthening, and flexibility/relaxation
Cardio exercises contribute greatly to weight loss by burning excessive calories in the body.
It also helps to increase our body metabolism rate (capacity to burn calories even at rest), which is usually decrease by age.
These exercises include hiking, jogging, swimming, dancing, brisk walking and cycling.
Muscle strengthening exercises aim to tone up body and increase muscle:fat ratio.
Adequate weight bearing exercises are good for bone health maintenance too.
Flexibility/relaxation exercises (yoga, Pilate, Taichi) are mainly to increase body flexibility and relaxation.
Match the type of exercise with your own health goal.
What about Nutrition??
1. Hydrate Right
Water is very crucial for daily life, especially when we include regular exercise routine.
I usually will drink up a cup of water before and after exercise.
About 70% of our body weight is comprised of water and we will definitely experience water loss during exercise to cool down our body temperature.
2. Eat it right!
I usually don't eat before my 30 minutes exercise, however, it varies from person to person.
You may opt for light meal like fruits, nuts and seeds, or bread if you prefer.
After exercise, I will go for a full meal that consists of wholegrains, natural protein source (could be meat based, egg, dairy products or soy products).
The protein obtained from my main meal will help with my muscle recovery after exercise.
3. How to do carbohydrate load?
Even though it was just a 10K marathon, I did load more carbohydrate 3-5 days before, to increase my glycogen storage.
This loading is meant to ensure adequate fuel supply from main fuel (glucose) and enhance endurance level during the race.
High carbohydrate foods will be great options: fruits, wholemeal bread, brown rice, legumes, nuts, pumpkin, potato and dairy products.
I only marked up my usual portion to 1.5 during my lunch, and sometimes took it as snacks.
I don't need much, as I'm not an athlete.
4. Do I need isotonic drink?
I don't drink isotonic drinks during my training, as it is often less than an hour.
Hence, replacement of sodium and fuel were not necessary, but only cause unnecessary calories add-on.
However, I did drink up 2 cups during my marathon as I felt muscles started to get fatigue after 45 minutes.
5. Is protein powder a need?
For normal people like me, nope.
I easily replace my protein needs by having a complete meal, getting it via natural food sources that come with other essential nutrients.
From nutrition point of view, excessive protein does not store in body but flushed out via kidney.
I doubt that I want to add on more workload for my kidney other than its heavy daily routine.
And, if you don't work out, all proteins will not gain you muscles but go into waste.
I hope the sharing above will be a good guideline for inactive people (like the previous me) to kick start with their regular exercise routine.
Set your realistic exercise goal now!