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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #187. How much intensity is too much?
September 15, 2016

September 15, 2016

In this newsletter . . .

How much intensity is too much?

Is permanent weight loss possible?

How much intensity is too much?

How much workout intensity is intense enough? And how much is too much? For example, are the popular Insanity Workouts too intense for seniors? Are they safe? Those are real questions received at Senior Exercise Central. It isn’t the first time they've been asked.

Insanity Workouts are popular, and you should know that they are also highly intense. The same can be said for programs such as P90X, Tabata training, and many boot camp style workouts.

This training may be fine – for some people. But when it comes to seniors, I urge caution. While some of these plans offer scaled down workouts for older trainees, they are not the same workouts you see in infomercials, where super fit instructors are pushing people to extremes. Be careful. Some of this may be appropriate if you are a young senior, say in your early fifties, and you have medical clearance. But even then, you may be better served with a less-is-more approach when it comes to high intensity training.

And for those in their sixth decade and beyond, high intensity training gets riskier and may not be age appropriate. Tendons and ligaments, for example, at this stage of life are not as resilient as they once were. And even more serious unintended consequences than injured tendons are real possibilities.

I don't mean to scare you off. I recommend setting challenging goals. But I don’t think a steady diet of workouts that push you to the limit are the best way for seniors to train. The beautifully produced infomercial workouts remind me of the workouts in the Rocky movies. Enjoy them as art, but not as real world exercise programs for older seniors.

Are you at mid-life or beyond? Look over the free material at Senior Exercise Central. See the Beginner Program, for example. Check out Resistance Bands training, or Kettlebells for seniors. These are serious but age appropriate training programs.

Get fit. Stay fit. But don’t hurt yourself.

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Is permanent weight loss possible?

Back in the 1970s, I bought a purebred Welsh terrier puppy. We named him Toby. He was to be the family dog and he turned out to be a real handful.

I still remember taking him to his first physical exam, and the veterinarian told me my puppy had a heart murmur. As you may know, there are different types of heart murmurs, some serious and some rather insignificant. At first I imagined all sorts of bad outcomes: that he would be sickly or die early, among them.

The vet told me not to worry. Toby, he said, should follow a diet of pet food made for dogs with heart abnormalities; but he would otherwise lead a healthy, active life.

I asked him how simply eating a prescription food could make such a difference? I’ve always remembered what he told me: ”It’s because dogs can’t cheat.”

Toby lived 15 very active years.

And therein lies the reason the majority of overweight or obese people cannot seem to maintain a healthy bodyweight, even after successfully losing weight through dieting: People can cheat.

There’s really no big secret to losing weight. You simply stop eating as much as you have been and the weight comes off. The old joke about the best exercise for losing weight is to push yourself away from the dinner table is true.

Dieters who do manage to keep off the fat, once its gone, are the ones who don’t cheat. Their methods to resist falling back into their old ways may be varied. But one way or another, they do resist.

So if taking off the fat sounds difficult, keeping it off is harder. There are statistics to back it up. Following practically any of the popular dieting plans will make you lose weight. Each may claim a “secret” reason why their plan works best. But the fact is any diet works when you consistently take in fewer calories.

That doesn’t mean it is smart or healthy to eat anything you want as long as you eat less of it. It’s certainly possible to lose weight and harm yourself at the same time, if basic principles of good nutrition are ignored. And not all of the popular weight loss programs are properly balanced.

When I led cardio-kickboxing classes, I handed out dietary recommendations. Some of the overweight people who regularly came to class lost a lot of fat and got really fit. Years later a couple of them I kept track of were still trim and fit. I featured one young woman in my book, Living the Fitness Lifestyle (no longer in print). She was determined to succeed and did.

I cannot say how many who came to my classes maintained their fitness later on because I lost contact with them. I would like to believe that all of them experienced long-term success. Unfortunately, statistics don’t support it. Most dieters get fat again. Sorry to say it, but it’s true.

Here is something that improves the odds of maintaining a healthy bodyweight once it’s achieved. When regular exercise becomes part of your life, too, you have a much greater chance of maintaining a healthy bodyweight permanently.

Another huge plus in getting regular exercise while dieting is how your body will look at a lower weight. Without regular exercise, dieters may be trim but flabby. With regular exercise, dieters lose fat while building or retaining muscle. Resistance exercise, in particular, is the antidote to flabby.

Find a free beginner’s exercise plan here.

Discover sound nutrition information here.

The Kettlebell Boomer How to Defy Aging and Be a Human Dynamo Throughout Your Senior Years—Thanks to Kettlebells With Master RKC, Andrea Du Cane

Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, this newsletter and my web site contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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