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Top ten things you need to know to be successful with exercise and nutrition

1) True Rewards. Exercise and healthy foods, and the resulting vibrant healthy body and mind are your rewards. Enjoy these things that improve your life, keep you lean, provide energy, increase self-confidence, and reduce risk of disease.

2) Counterfeit Rewards. Cakes, soft drinks, and fatty foods should not be thought of as treats that you deserve for good behavior. Instead, gradually replace these traditional "reward foods" with healthy foods. Over time you will associate healthy foods with reward. There is still room for occasional cake and ice cream, but limit your intake of these. Choose foods that are free of trans fats, and not so over the top in fats, refined sugars, sodium, and total calories.

3) You Have Time! The average person watches at least 3 hours and even over 10 hours of TV per week and claim they don't have time for exercise. It takes as little as 20 minutes of daily exercise to improve your health, and 45 minutes of daily exercise to improve your fitness. Surprisingly, many who develop type two diabetes or survive heart attacks suddenly find plenty of time to exercise.

4) Exercise, then Recover. Exercise does not make you fit, recovery from exercise does. Exercise provides the stimuli that the body responds to. The physical adaptation to exercise occurs mainly during recovery. To gain maximally from exercise, recovery must be part of the plan. Have easy days and rest days as part of your exercise week. Exercising too hard before you're recovered from previous exercise will cause lack of adaptation and overtraining. Weight training and intensive intervals or intensive sports require about 48 hours or more recovery, sometimes up to 4 or more days. Moderate aerobic exercise usually requires 24 hours recovery.

5) Build a Substantial Base. It takes at least 6 months of easy to moderate exercise to build a fitness base. A person new to exercise should take one year to correct postural problems, muscle strength imbalances, and to develop a substantial base. The physical adaptations that come from exercise require repeat bouts of exercise with gradually increased intensity over long periods to avoid injury and overtraining, which are common to those who go at it to hard too soon.

6) Manage your Exercise. Each exercise session requires some simple management. You need to be fueled and hydrated before you start. You need to warm up, do the main exercise for the session, then warm down and stretch. Intensive workouts require 20-30 minutes of low intensity aerobic warm down afterwards to clear lactate. Daily exercise requirements are 45 to 60 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise every day unless fatigued, 20 minutes will provide some benefit. Pushing hard through those last 10 or 15 minutes when you're clearly fatigued will send you deeper into fatigue, it will not elevate your fitness. If you have a session of hard or moderate exercise planned but discover you are fatigued, replace your planned hard exercise with the 20-minute recovery routine, or no exercise if you're really tired. When moderately fatigued, 20 minutes of easy cardio will help you recover faster than doing no exercise. Do more exercise when recovered, less when fatigued. You need a mix of strength exercises and aerobic exercise throughout the week. Learn about proper exercise planning to maximize your results.

7) Measure your Progress. It is important to measure improvement from exercise. With weight training this is easy, lifting the same or more weight with greater ease means you are stronger. With aerobic exercise it is best to measure heart rate along with resistance. Initially your heart rate should drop about 5-10 beats for a given walking, jogging, or cycling speed, after 3 to 6 weeks of exercise at the same pace, indicating you are more fit. Adaptations occur more slowly after initial adaptations. If these changes don't occur, the way you exercise may be ineffective. You must begin at a very easy pace, repeat 3 or 4 times or until you measure improvement, then make a small increase in how long or how hard you exercise. Repeating this process is the most effective way to have long-term fitness benefits without overdoing it.

8) You have your Pace, others have Theirs. All same-pace aerobic group exercises are inefficient for the individual because the singular pace for the group can't be right for each person. The group is a good place to learn technique so long as the instructor watches and corrects each person, but where your individual exercise benefit is concerned you must go at your pace for your time. A fitness test is the only guarantee to discover what heart rate is suitable for you to exercise at. Heart rate formulas that use your age - X are wildly inaccurate. Your fitness will increase with time, so plan on being tested a few times each year to keep your exercise accurate and effective.

9) The Bodies Tissues and Organs must have Nutrients! Eat Healthy Food. Supplement companies invest millions in research to try to make supplements provide what food does. It is food that you need to eat for good nutrition not supplements. If you believe that a supplement will provide something for you that food can't, you may be desperate for results and therefore susceptible to being charmed by the extreme claims that some supplement companies make. If you eat healthily, there would be nothing to supplement. Exceptions are illness, disease, food allergies, and in some individuals, malabsorption (malabsorption is the result of some other condition that is present. The small intestine is typically involved in malabsorption, since the majority of nutrients are absorbed there. Malabsorption may affect one or more of the many nutrients present in the diet, including large molecules such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as smaller substances, such as vitamins or minerals) - a physician should be consulted in these cases to determine what supplementation may be required.

10) "Diets" are Bogus. Many commercial diets are short term eating rituals, many are borderline "cult" status. Most diets last between 1 and 12 weeks. They promise extreme changes in short time periods using a "unique formula" and fail to deliver long term results. Healthy eating provides good nutrition that your body needs and is continued as long as you live.


  1. Healthy living and being fit are your rewards.
  2. High calorie low nutrient density fast foods and fatty foods hurt you.
  3. You decide what to with your time. Decide to exercise regularly.
  4. Exercise is a stimulus, recovery from exercise is when you adapt.
  5. Gradually build a substantial base of fitness before advancing.
  6. Take time off or go easy when fatigued, go a little harder when recovered.
  7. Measure your resting and exercising heart rate, lactate, speed, weight lifted and so on to chart your progress.
  8. There is genetic variance between individuals. Go at your own pace.
  9. You know fruits and vegetables are part of a balanced diet, so eat them.
  10. Don't fall for "special" diet formulas, take control and eat sensibly.
  11. Relax once in a while, your body and mind need down time.
2004 Rhino Fitness
Copyright 2004 Rhino Fitness. All rights reserved.
For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca