Aerobics – How Do You Fnd This Middle Path

It would be ideal if you could strap a barometer around you. Such an instrument would tell you whether you are improving your oxygen-intake level while exercising. To explain further, any activity needs that many millilitres of oxygen to fuel the required energy for that level of activity. The more oxygen your body can take in and use, the fitter you are. So, it follows that:

A person who is aerobically fit would be able to use up most of the oxygen that he inhales.

A person in an average state of fitness would be able to use up less mls of oxygen that he inhales.

A person who is sedentary would be able to consume the least mls of oxygen that he inhales.

What conclusion do you draw from this analysis? As you take in and use more oxygen, your stamina level rises. But you cannot measure how many mls of oxygen you are inhaling and using up because you don’t have a barometer to measure it. So, how do you know you are working out at a rate at which you are getting aerobically fit and are burning fat?

You cannot measure the mls of oxygen. But you can certainly measure the time taken for your aerobic activity and the intensity or speed with which you do it. After several years of research, fitness experts have worked out how long and how intensely you should exercise to take in and consume oxygen at the optimum aerobic level. Based on these scientific principles, we have translated the clinical data and made it user-friendly. Our method is easy and extremely simple to understand and follow. You measure your oxygen-intake or your stamina level by runs – yes, runs as in a cricket match!

If you can score a certain number of runs, it means you are building up your stamina level and getting into the aerobic fitness category! Now, it becomes even more simple – because you don’t have to think in terms of mls of oxygen, but in terms of runs.

How many runs should you aim for?

In a cricket match, the batsman aims for a century at least – 100 runs.

Similarly, in your fitness match, you aim for a century too – 100 runs!

When your stamina reaches 60 runs, it means you will be a powerhouse of energy. Because your cardipvascular system is like a batsman in excellent form.

“Only 60 runs,?” you may ask. That is because aerobic exercises alone cannot put you in the top fitness bracket. You cannot reach your century if you eat fat, sugar or smoke, and drink alcohol in excess.

Consuming fats and sugar increases your fat level.

Smoking harms your lungs and heart.

Drinking excess alcohol immobilises vital enzymes that are useful in processing the oxygen.

Taking these important factors into account, we have divided your fitness score as follows:

This fitness score of 100 runs should be earned over a week. If you score a century every week, you will not only lose fat-weight and become fit and healthy, you will maintain your weight loss, health and fitness for a lifetime!

How did we hit upon this method? We saw too many people giving up on exercising because they didn’t know how much they should work out to lose weight. There was no goal to aspire towards except that they vaguely knew they had to lose weight. Getting on the fitness track was like climbing into a balloon on which they did not really know if they would reach their destination. What they needed was feeling they were steering their balloon in the right direction. What they needed was to enjoy the fitness journey so that they would never halt midway and return to their sedentary station. What they needed was to rid their balloon of excess load (fat) to be able to soar higher into the fitness skies.

We realised that in enjoying the entire process lay the key. We saw how excitement pervaded the atmosphere whenever there was a cricket match. Offices and factories almost declared a holiday whenever India and Pakistan reached the finals. Every Indian – man, woman or child -was totally gripped as each run was scored. Every run notched up by an Indian batsman was avidly followed as the score rose nearer the victory target.

That is when it hit us. What was getting fit but a match against ill-health? What a fitness player needed was to experience the excitement of attaining a winning target to notch up his or her individual runs day after day, week after week.

Haven’t you – at some point or the other – been asked by a stranger in the street, “What is the score?”

It is even more exciting when India is the underdog and having lost her star batsmen, needs 50 runs to win with three wickets in hand. As the overs run on, we suddenly find the non-specialist batsmen (the bowler or wicket-keeper) are hammering loose balls for fours, running like cheetahs between the wickets – turning potential singles into cheeky twos, until the final winning run is struck. Then, it’s time for cheers and champagne, whoops and whistles!

Similarly, we realised that fitness too is an exciting match where you are the skipper leading your team of muscles and organs into the field of life to defeat captain ill-health and its team of excess fat, slack muscle tone, sluggish circulation, etc. Your target is the fitness score registered by loose clothes, fewer kgs, flatter stomach, a serene, self-confident feeling, endless energy And we set out to devise an exciting format where you could score runs in fitness and keep a tab on your progress so that you would never return to the pavilion of non-fitness.

Our method ensures that you cultivate and play an all-rounder’s game.

Your aerobic activity is your batting – to keep yourself at the stamina crease, you need to score 60 runs per week.

What you eat is your bowling – fats and sugars are bowled out of your way, earning your team 30 runs per week.

By fielding – cutting out your smoking and drinking habits – you add on another 10 runs per week,

If you are a non-smoker and a non-drinker, you have automatically earned your 10 runs without lifting a finger! When you earn 60 aerobic runs in seven days, it means you have inhaled and consumed an optimum amount of oxygen and reached the excellent stamina category. It means that your cardiovascular system is pumping away like a well-oiled, well­trained mechanism, continuously burning excess fat from your system. In addition, if you are able to cut out fats and sugars, your score jumps up by another 30 runs. In three months time, you will see for yourself how these 100 runs affect your weight. It would have definitely dropped by a few kgs.

Study the Score Sheet given below to understand how you can notch up your 100 runs every week. As you will see, each exercise has its own aerobic level. The common factor is the 60 runs that you earn “by working out at a certain intensity in a given time-span. For example, if you walk 4.8 km in 42 minutes, 5 days a week, that intensity gives you a complete aerobic training effect.

Since this is a summary, it gives aerobic runs only in absolutes-through a single activity whether it is walking, running, cycling and so on. But if you wish to vary your exercises the detailed score sheets at the end of this chapter will show you how you can combine differnt exercises ans still earn those aerobic runs per week. Here is a sample of how you can do it by working out 42 minutes per week.

You could devise your own workout programme just as you plan a meal, a meeting, an outing, Don’t try and scor 60 runs in the first week itself. The score sheets at the end of the chapter will show you how you can build up your stamina gradually. If you have been a non-exerciser, scoring 60 runs in the first week may boost your ego or make you feel you’ve hit upon a short cut to fitness. But, believe us, sore muscles are much more difficult to nurse than a bruised ego! Getting into the 60-runs category immediately is like starting your car in fourth gear or plunging into the deep end of a pool without learning to swim. Your team of muscles need as much to attend a conditioning camp to get ready as our cricketers need one to get reaqy for the big matches. You can take short cuts once you begin the conditioning. For example, you can graduate from the third week to the sixth week of intensity if you feel you are not getting sufficiently exercised. Listen to what your body tells you.