Friday, November 11, 2005

Mind Body Health blog goes live today 11/9/2005

Thanks for checking out my site. Please add your comments and let me know what wisdom and experiences you have to share.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Introduction
2. Determine your initial goal
3. Determine your starting point
a. How to take body measurements
b. Measuring your percent body fat and determining your targets
4. Refine your goal
a. Why the scale lies
5. Are you ready to do what it takes? What has stopped you in the past?
6. Develop your "mental" training program
a. Self talk and visualization
7. Develop your "diet" program
8. Develop your "exercise" program
9. What equipment do you need
a. Heart rate monitor
b. The right shoe
c. Choosing a trainer
d. New stretching technique
10. Nutritional supplements
11. This sounds like a lot of work, what about liposuction

1. INTRODUCTION

I have been working out since 1974 when I was 14 years old. At that time, everything I knew about exercise, primairly weight lifting, I learned from a Joe Wieder program I ordered out of a "Boy's Life" magazine.

I made a lot of mistakes along the way. For most of my early life, I was a member of the "no pain/no gain" generation. I even wrestled in high school and utilized the starvation diet to drop from 175 lbs to 126 lbs in one month (please don't try this at home).

I've always been interested in fitness and nutrition. Over the years, I've read fitness magazines, tried a few diets, worked with personal trainers and attended/listened to a number of self-improvement programs.

This blog is my attempt to pull all of this information together in a forum that will, hopefully, be of use to others and will generate comments and additional wisdom.

I'm going to start with a basic overview as laid out in the Table of Contents. I'm not going to attempt to get into any PhD level discussions, but rather, will highlight the elements that I think should be part of a successful program.

As for my personal situation. I am currently 5'7", weigh 174 lbs and have a body fat of 23%. My goals are to lose 10 lbs of body fat, add 5 lbs of muscle and improve my overall fitness level. I also am planning to complete a sprint triathlon in March of 2006 and a middle distance triathlon by June of 2006.

2. DETERMINE YOUR INITIAL GOAL

As with many things in life and business, one of the first steps to take on any project is to become clear on what your goal(s) is. This is important for a number of reasons:

1. You will be able to create a vision in your mind of how you will look in the future. This will be important as you train yourself mentally for accomplishing your goal
2. You will be able to track your progress toward your goal which will keep you motivated
3. You will know how much you need to improve and can design your training appropriately
4. You will be able to communicate your goal to others which will help as you meet with trainers, shoe salesmen, etc...

At the start, it is ok if your goal is not completely quantified or if your deadline is not set. There will be a second goal setting step that will define your goal in more detail

3. DETERMINE YOUR STARTING POINT

It is very important to understand where you are starting from. This will enable you to set a detailed goal and will allow you to track how you are performing against your goal. Tracking and showing progress on a weekly or bi-weekly basis will provide motivation to keep you heading toward your goal.

The measurements to take will depend a bit on your goal. The following are some examples.
1. Weight. Note that when weighing yourself it is important to weight yourself at the same time each day and to wear the same amount of clothing.
2. Body Fat % (more on this later)
3. Cholesterol
4. Blood Pressure
5. Body measurements (more on this later)
6. Take a picture of yourself in a swim suit. Do this in a relaxed position with your arms at your sides. Take pictures from the front side and back. You can use a camera with a self-timer to do this or have a friend take the pictures for you.
7. Time required to run, walk or swim a set distance (one mile for running or walking, 500 yards for swimming)
8. Resting heart rate
9. Average heart rate when running one mile at a set pace (more on this later) or pace (minutes per mile) you can run at a specific heart rate

3A. HOW TO TAKE BODY MEASUREMENTS

This is an easy way to assess your condition beacause it doesn't require any fancy equipment, just a cloth tape measure. Taking your measurements at certain areas can give you an idea of where you're losing fat, which is important since we all lose fat in different areas and in a different order. Taking your measurements can help reassure you that things are happening.

Note that because muscle is more dense than fat, you will lose inches even if you are not losing weight.

Start by wearing tight fitting clothing (or no clothing) and make a note of what you're wearing so you know to wear the same clothes the next time you measure. Here's how to do it:

Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don't pull the tape too tight.
Chest: Measure just under your bust (women only)
Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist
Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips
Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh
Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf
Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow
Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow
Neck: Measure around neck at collar level

Add the total of these measurements to get your starting body measurement in inches

When taking measurements, note that it's more important that you are consistent in how you measure each body part from month to month so don't get too hung up about measuring in the "exactly" correct location

3B. MEASURING PERCENT BODY FAT

Body fat is one the best measurements for determining your current fitness level and for tracking your progress. There are a number of methods for determining body fat and they vary in their accuracy. As for how tracking body fat works:
1. Determine your percent body fat using your selected method. If you weigh 200 lbs and your body fat percent is 25%, you have 50 lbs of fat on your body. If you want motivation, picture this as 50 one pound cans of shortening. You are carrying this around with you every day
2. It you were to lose 15 lbs of fat, your new body fat percent would be (35/185) 19%.

There are a number of methods ranging from technical (weighing underwater, dual energy x-ray absorbtiometry, MRI) that require you to visit a medical center to those that are simple and can be performed at your home for very little cost. Here are three examples of the latter:

Body Fat Scales (~$60) Body Fat Scales measure weight and calculate body fat simultaneously in a matter of seconds, and can be operated without training or assistance. The scales work by sending a low, safe electrical current through the body fat to evaluate its composition.



Hand Held Body Fat Analyzers (~$60) These use the same principle of sending an extremely weak electrical current through the body to measure body composition. As with the scale, this analyzer is simple to operate and does not require assistance.





Calipers (~$20) The only drawback to the caliper method is that it does require assistance. To determine bodyfat using calipers, measurements are taken of the amount of skin/fat at key locations on the body, usually from 3-7 locations. The total measurement is then cross referenced to a data table to determine your % body fat. The key to success with this technique is using the same person to take the measurements and ensuring that the same locations are measured on the body.

As for what your body fat should be the tables below should help

Thursday, November 10, 2005

4. REFINE YOUR GOAL

Now that you know your starting point, it's time to refine your goal. Your goal should be stated in terms of "how much by when". For example:

My personal goal is to lose 10 lbs of fat and gain 5 lbs of muscle by March 1, 2006. I also have a goal of being able to run 1 mile at a 7 minute pace by March 1, 2006.

When setting your goals, it is important to make sure they are reachable. You may even want to set some intermediate goals so that your results are more attainable.

Some things to consider are that experts recommend you should lose, on average, no more than 1-2 lbs per week. This will ensure you are losing fat and not muscle. Also, reference the % body fat targets in the previous section to be sure your targets are reasonable.

As for me, since my starting point in 174 lb wt and 23% body fat (age 45), if I hit my target of losing 10 lbs of fat and gaining 5 lbs of muscle, my new body fat will be 17.8%. This would rate an "excellent" on the body fat tables. I plan to measure my progress once per month.

4A. WHY THE SCALE LIES

I've already touched on this so I will be brief and to the point.

DO NOT USE WEIGHT LOSS AS YOUR ONLY GOAL!

As discussed earlier, your goal should be to lose body fat and gain muscle. If you focus on losing weight only, you could be losing both muscle and fat.

Here is, a very simplified, explanation of how it works.

In order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. If you only try to limit your calories to make this happen, your body will think you are starving and will reduce your metabolism thereby reducing the rate at which you burn calories. Taken to the extreme, your body will actually use muscle for fuel. When you cheat or go off of your diet, you will gain weight back because your slower metabolism will not be able to burn the excess calories you are now consuming.

If, on the other hand, you reduce your calorie intake a little and increase your calorie burning, via exercise, you will lose weight while increasing your metabolism. One of the reasons that your metabolism will increase is that you will add muscle and muscle burns more calories than does fat. Also, remember that muscle is more dense than fat, so even if you do not lose weight, you will be physically smaller; and more toned.

So please make sure that your weight loss goal is stated in terms of how much body fat you want to lose and how much muscle you want to gain.

5. ARE YOU READY TO DO WHAT IT TAKES?

The mental aspects of obtaining an objective are often left out of training courses that I have seen. But, they are very important because if you can't stick with your program, you'll never reach your objective. I'll touch on some things to think about and some techniques in this and the next section.

I'll apologize in advance because you are about to get a dose of some "low budget" psychology. Hopefully it will be useful. My perspective has been gained for reading books ranging from "Body for Life", to "Personal Power" to personal devleopment courses I have attended (Landmark and Millennium3 Education)

There are a few things to think about when asking "Am I ready to do what it takes?".
1. First off, there is a reason that you are the way you are now. You are some how benefiting from your current condition. Some examples of how you might be benefiting are that you can eat whatever you want, sit on the sofa watch tv or eat dinner at restaurants three nights a week. Ask yourself if you are ready to give up some of these benefits or modify them
2. If you are overweight, are you using your weight to create distance between yourself and others. I have read where people who have been hurt in a relationship may gain weight to make themself unattractive thereby keeping them out of relationship and protecting themself from future emotional harm. If you are, it is likely that you are doing this subconsiously. Ask yourself if you are ready to take this on.
3. Are your friends or family inactive/overweight and might they keep you from reaching your objective? Might you need to either enroll them in helping you to acheive your objective, maybe as a work-out partner, or might you need to find some new friends?
4. Think about what has stopped you from reaching the same or a similar goal in the past. Ask yourself what would be different this time. For example, if you stop working out whenever you get extra busy at work, ask yourself what you could do differently this time. As an example, you could work-out in the mornings so that your work-out would not depend on what happened during the day at the office.

When asking yourself these questions, you should also consider the benefits of reaching your objective. You may want to make a side-by-side list of the costs and benefits of reaching your goal. To do this first list all of the costs of reaching your goal; time, effort, money, less time to relax... When you are complete with all of the negatives, list the positives: more energy, more attractive, can participate in sports, longer life...

6. SELF TALK AND VISUALIZATION

I excited about writing this section, because this may be new to you. Now self-talk and visualizations are common subjects within the personal improvement/self-help community, but they are not mentioned within the context of fitness very often.

The intent of these tools is to retrain your subconsious so that it supports you in acheiving your goal.

Self Talk basically consists of repeating a statement to yourself to change how you view something. The statement must be positive, in first person and in present tense, as if it were already true. These statements should be used over a period of time so that they "reprogram" your sub-consious and your self image. They can also be used to remove your barriers to becomming successful.

As an example, if I am having a hard time following my low carb diet, I might use the following self-talk statement. "I enjoy low carb dieting and sucessfully follow my diet every meal". If I say this to myself, out loud, in the morning, at night and whenever I feel like cheating on my diet, I will begin to reprogram how I feel about dieting.

Some other self-talk examples are:
"I work out five days per week and have a firm toned body"
"Working out gives me more energy and improves my health"
"I can easily run one mile in seven minutes"

The bottom line is that these statements should state what you want to be true.

Visualizations are picturing yourself doing or having something that you want. Again, you are tricking the self-consious into believing it is true or at least is possible. When you say your self-talk statement, you should picture yourself living the statement. If it makes sense, as for the "I have a firm toned body" you may actually want to find a picture in a fitness magazine of what you want to look like when you reach your goal so you can better visualize your objective. You can even put a picture of your face on the image to make it more real.

6A STAYING MOTIVATED

A couple of ways to stay motivated are to get a work-out partner and to check out fitness magazines or books.

A work-out partner will make it harder to skip work-outs since you will not only be letting yourself down if you decide to skip a session, you will let your partner down as well. It also adds to the fun of working out. You will have someone to talk with while you work out and to share those new lower calorie meals with. If you are lifting together, you can take turns pushing/encouraging each other to strive for one more repetition or to take on a little more weight.

Subscribing to a fitness magazine or reading fitness books will keep your goal top of mind and will provide a means for you to find out about new exercises, techniques, etc... Personally, the pictures of what people have been able to acheive are motivating to me. This is especially true of the Body for Life information because it has to do with everyday people who have acheived amazing results in a short period of time. Check out the Body for Life success stories at http://www.bodyforlife.com/success/successStories.asp

7. DEVELOP YOUR DIET PROGRAM

What you eat, the fuel you put in your body, is a very important part of any health or fitness program. There are a lot of diet programs to choose from, each with pro's and con's. I am currently following "The South Beach Diet" with a little of the "The New Glucose Revolution" mixed in. These programs make sense to me and I would recommend your check them out. If you would like someone to prepare your food, NutriSystems follows these diets as well, but sells prepared meals.

Most of the diet programs you can follow will help you to lose weight. The key is to select a diet that you can follow and stick with. Some of the principles that I've seen common across diets are to:

1. Consumer fewer calories than you use, assuming your goal is to lose weight.
2. Eat more but smaller meals.
3. Eat a larger breakfast and a smaller dinner.
4. Eat a mix of protein, fat, carbs and "healthy oils" throughout the day. You can do this by eating a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats and healthy oils.
5. Eat fewer carbs that are easily metabolized by your body. These "simple" or "bad" carbs are common in potatoes, white bread, rice, sugar and desserts.
6. Eat more carbs that are more slowly metabolized by your body. These "complex" or "good" carbs are common in vegetables, stone ground wheat bread, whole grains, legumes and some fruits
7. Eat lean cuts of meat and fish.
8. Eat healthy unsaturated non-trans fats such as olive oil and canola oil.
9. Avoid both saturated fats and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Note that current food labeling laws require that a food's fat amount and fat type be listed on the label, so it is easy to avoid these types of fats.
10. Avoid high fat foods as fat has more calories per gram than do either protein or carbohydrates.

My recommendation would be to go to a bookstore and review some of the diets that are in the market. The South Beach Diet, The New Glucose Revolution, The Zone Diet, Body for Life, Eat Right for Your Type (this is a diet you follow based on your blood type), etc... Or, you can check out groups such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or Nutrisystems. As I mentioned previously, any of these diets will help you to lose weight, the key is to select a program that you can stick with.

8. DEVELOP YOUR EXERCISE PROGRAM

In progress

8A NEW STRETCHING TECHNIQUE

At my most recent personal training session, I was shown a new way to stretch and I have never seen it before so I wanted to tell you about it.

It involves using a firm foam roller (cylinder shaped) about 8" in diameter and 3' long. You basically put this thing under you leg, back, calf, etc... and then roll back and forth on top of it. You "stretch" when your skin attempts to conform to the curve of the roller. Trust me that you will find where you have tightness.

My trainer also showed may how to use a small medicine ball placed between my back and a wall to work out the knots in my back.

I searched for the rollers on Google using "exercise foam roller" and found some for about $10

Try this and let me know what you think

Working on balance and core strength

It is 11/14 and I have just finished my second workout with my trainer. We are focusing on using my "core" to improve my balance and mechanics.

The key to this seems to be keeping the shoulder back, stomach in and tight and glutes tight. When I suck in and tighten my stomach, it also pulls my hips under me. The result is that I am using my larger muscles to support my movements. My trainer is promising me that I will be lighter on my feet and that I will not injur myself as I begin to add miles to my training.

The other thing that I am working on at this time is to make sure my feet or always pointing forward and that my knees are in a good position. My right foot has a tendancy to point outward due to an imbalance in the strength of my leg muscles.

The bottom line on this is that it has been a bit frustrating to not get into lifting and interval training as I assumed would happen, but that it makes sense to get my mechanics right first.

This is another reason to use a trainer when starting an exercise program and why it is important to make sure that you have a trainer who is going to do more than put you on a standard non-customized program

8B. AEROBICS AND RESISTANCE TRAINING

After you have defined your objective, you need to develop an exercise program to get you there. As with diet, the best exercise program is the one you are going to enjoy and stick with. There are usually a couple of options for getting the results you are looking for.

Most exercise programs are going to consist of an aerobic workout and a resistance workout:

Resistance training is designed to improve either muscle strength or size. The muscle cells are purposely damaged through a process of overloading, the body reacts instinctively to repair the damaged cells so they can cope with any future overload, increasing their size and strength in the process.

The muscles themselves do not actually increase in number, as some might think: the human body has a genetically defined number of muscle cells.

Typical types of resistance training include lifting weights, performing isometric exercises or using body weight (e.g., push-ups or pull-ups) as the resistance


Aerobic training relates to the processes by which the body generates the energy to perform work. The principal fuels used to produce energy are the body's stores of fat, carbohydrate or protein. These fuels can be converted into energy by one of two processes, the aerobic metabolic process or the anaerobic metabolic process.
The aerobic process consumes fuel in the presence of oxygen (supplied by the flow of blood) producing by-products, carbon dioxide and water, which are expelled by respiration and perspiration. The aerobic process provides the majority of the energy used by the slow acting muscle fibers (crucial to endurance activities).

The Anaerobic process occurs when there is not enough oxygen in the blood to produce energy aerobically. This process consumes carbohydrate as its primary source of fuel and does so in the absence of oxygen, producing a by-product called lactate. It is lactate which produces the muscle soreness and fatigue associated with excessive exercise. The anaerobic process provides the majority of the energy used by the fast-acting muscle fibers (crucial to strength and power activities).

When we start exercising, energy is initially produced anaerobically until the respiratory and cardiovascular systems respond and supply the oxygen necessary for aerobic energy production, hence the increase in breathing and heart rates. Once oxygen supply is sufficient, most of the energy will be produced aerobically, with the balance supplemented anaerobically. The lactate formed by this residual anaerobic production is easily dissipated by the body's organs, avoiding any onset of fatigue.

As exercise intensity increases the muscles' ability to produce energy aerobically will reach a limit (defined by the capacity of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems to supply additional oxygen). At this point the body cannot supply additional oxygen, and energy production becomes anaerobic. This transition point is the maximal aerobic output and is called the aerobic threshold. Exercise above this level causes a rapid build-up of lactate, leading to muscle fatigue which will cause cessation of exercise.

Knowledge of the aerobic/anaerobic process is essential to the successful attainment of specific exercise aims. Fat burn (weight maintenance), cardio-vascular training (cardio-vascular or endurance fitness) and anaerobic training (tolerance to fatigue) all rely on an understanding of the way our body produces energy.

As discussed in the section on Heart Rate Monitors, heart rate is a great tool for understanding which process is operating (aerobic or anerobic) and for making sure you do not over train.

Some types of aerobic training include biking, walking, running, aerobic classes, eliptical machines (my favorite because they are low/no impact) and stair climbers.

9. WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU NEED

The equipment that you require really depends on your goal. If your goal is to simply lose weight all you may need are some shorts and some good walking/running shoes. If you are shooting to be Mr/Ms Olympia you are going to need a bit more and might be better off joining a health club. As with diet, the key to equipment is that it supports your exercise program in a way that you can stick with it.

Also, by way of warning, do not believe everything you see on TV. It might sound great to think that you can lose weight and tone your entire body by doing a certain exercise, but it probably isn't true. If you want to gain overall body tone, you will need to exercise your entire body.

I'm going to touch on a couple of the items I am using, a good running shoe and heart rate monitor. I just joined 24 Hour Fitness and have access to all of their cardio and strength equipment.

If you would rather work out at home, you can do a lot of strength training with something as simple as a set of dumbells (+$20), free weights and a bench (+$150) or a home gym such as a Soloflex machine (+$2,000) or a Bowflex machine (+$800). On the cardio side, you can walk or run for free, or you can purchase an eliptical machine (+$200) or a treadmill (+$200). Please add your comments if you have a home gym and let us know how it has worked for you.

9A. HEART RATE MONITOR


This is my newest toy and is something I hope will help me to acheive faster results with less pain. The key point behind using a heart rate monitor is that you can acheive results faster by ensuring your body is operating at the right level of exertion for the goal you are trying to acheive. For example, if your goal is to lose fat, you should operate at a lower heart rate than if your goal is to increase your cardio. Exercising at a heart rate higher than the correct zone can actually increase the time required to acheive your objective and may lead to overtraining. Your personal heart rate zones are based on your age and your level of fitness. The manual you receive with your monitor will help you to define your zones. Some of the mid and high cost models will calculate the zones for you.

Another way to use a heart rate monitor is to track your progress toward acheiving your goal. For example, you can monitor your heart rate when running a certain pace (eg an 8 minute mile).

A heart rate monitor consists of two parts. The first is a strap that you wear across your chest that contains a transmitter. The transmitter sends a signal to the "monitor" that you wear on your wrist like a watch. Different heart rate monitors have different capabities.

When it comes to buying a heart rate monitor, you can spend anywhere from $30 to over $400. Some of the key differences I have seen are:

Low cost models: Track heart rate. Cannot change battery in transmitter.
Mid cost models: Track heart rate and can signal you when you are outside of your desired heart rate zone. Can show calories burned and % of calories that were fat at end of exercise session. Can change battery in transmitter.
High cost models: Everything in the mid-cost models plus you can download the information into your computer to see your exercise profile. Includes computer software.

I am using a Polar model M32 and have found it to be very easy to use and very helpful. I purchased it for ~$100.

9B THE RIGHT SHOE

One of your objectives should be to not hurt yourself. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but if you aren't using the right lifting technique or wearing the right shoes, you can actually create problems for yourself. If you plan to run or do a lot of walking it is very important to have a shoe that is designed for your stride/gait and foot shape.

One way to understand your foot shape is to step in water and then onto dry pavement. The shape of your foot print will help you to understand your foot shape.

The Normal Foot: Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards slightly to absorb shock. It’s the foot of a runner who is biomechanically efficient and therefore doesn’t need a motion control shoe.


The Flat Foot: This has a low arch and leaves a print which looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an overpronated foot – one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inwards (pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different types of overuse injuries.Best shoes: Motion control shoes, or high stability shoes with firm midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.

The High-Arched Foot: This leaves a print showing a very narrow band or no band at all between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because it doesn’t pronate enough, it’s not usually an effective shock absorber.Best shoes: Cushioned (or 'neutral') shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility.

Now this information might be useful to you, but it just confused me. What I did was go to a specialty shoe store that actually videotapes your stride while running on a treadmill. They call this "video gait analysis". By looking at the angle of your calf (straight vs slanted), they can determine what type of shoe you need. You then try on the recommended shoes for fit and get back on the treadmill to check the result. I went to Big Peach Running Co. in Atlanta, GA and found them to be very helpful and pleasant to work with.

Also, don't expect your shoes to last forever. You should expect to replace them every 6-8 months or 500-600 miles. If you run alot, you may want to buy two pairs of shoes and alternate use. This will give each pair time to dry before their next use.

9C. CHOOSING A TRAINER

I decided to go with a trainer since I wasn't having a lot of luck hitting my goals on my own.

Here are some things to think about when looking for a trainer:

Education: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable fitness organization such as ACSM, ACE or NSCA). An exercise science or other related college degree isn't necessary, but the more education your trainer has, the better your workouts will be.
CPR: your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.
Experience: Make sure your trainer has several years of experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you're a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition (such as being pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor.
A good listener: A good trainer will listen closely to what you say and make sure he understands your goals.
Attention: A good trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions.
Tracking progress: A good trainer will regularly assess your progress and change things if necessary.
Personality is important too since you'll be working very closely with this person. Make sure you get along with your trainer and feel comfortable asking questions.

Most of the health clubs have trainers on staff. Since they will, somewhat randomly, assign you to a trainer you may want to push back and interview a number of trainers before you sign a contract. Especially since training sessions can cost up to $50 or more each. Typically this price drops the more sessions you purchase.

9C1: TRAINER BAIT AND SWITCH

One watch out when selecting a trainer. I ran into this at an LA Fitness in Atlanta

They include a free training session when you join their club. The trainer was great to work with; good personality, knowledgeable, etc..., so naturally, I signed up for some additional sessions.

Well, when I came into meet with my trainer again, I was informed that I had been assigned to a new trainer and that the initial trainer I had met with only sold training packages.

I was so miffed, I never used the sessions that I had bought

9E MSC THINGS TO BUY

Just a quick note on some things you may need if you join a health club

1. Gym bag
2. Lock for locker. Since they now come in colors, I have found it useful to have a red lock, it makes it easier to find my locker after I work out
3. Small towel for wiping off equipment
4. Water bottle
5. Swim goggles, if you are going to swim
6. Stop watch. I have found this useful when lifting weights to control my rest time between sets
7. Radio, tape, I-Pod, etc... with earplugs

10. NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

In progress

11. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK, WHAT ABOUT LIPOSUCTION

I'm still on the fence about whether plastic/elective surgery is a good thing. I know that it is almost impossible for me to eliminate my love handles (one of my main goals) and the liposuction would help with that. So, in the spirit of considering all of the alternatives, here is some information on liposuction.

The concept of liposuction is surprisingly simple. Liposuction is a surgical technique that improves the body's shape by removing excess fat located between the skin and muscle. Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless steel tube, called a cannula (from the Latin word for reed, tube, cane). The cannula is connected to a suction pump and inserted into the fat through small incisions in the skin. Fat is removed as the cannula creates tiny tunnels through the fatty layers. After surgery, these tunnels collapse and thus result in an improved body contour.

There are a number of different liposuction techniques. One of the more common is Tumescent Liposuction. Other types include the super-wet technique and ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty.
To give you a sense for the procedure, here is some info on the tumescent procedure

Tumescent Liposuction: The word "tumescent" means swollen and firm. By injecting a large volume of very dilute lidocaine (local anesthetic) and epinephrine (capillary constrictor) into subcutaneous fat, the targeted tissue becomes swollen and firm, or tumescent. The tumescent technique is a method that provides local anesthesia to large volumes of subcutaneous fat and thus permits liposuction totally by local anesthesia. The tumescent technique eliminates both the need for general anesthesia and need for IV narcotics and sedatives. The tumescent technique for liposuction 1) provides local anesthesia, 2) constricts capillaries and prevents surgical blood loss 3) provides fluid to the body by subcutaneous injection so that no IV fluids are needed. You will typically see results almost immediately with improvement will become more apparent after 4 -6 weeks.

Cost: Cost is determined on how many areas will have fat removed (e.g., arms, back, lower abdomen, upper abdomen, etc...). Here are some published cost ranges: lower abdomen ($2,000), upper abdomen ($3,000 - $7,500), arms ($1,500 - $5,000) and outer thighs ($1,600 - $5,000).

As you can see the cost for one area will almost pay for a lifetime fitness club membership. And, liposuction does nothing to increase your overall fitness level.

As with any medical procedure, you will want to make sure your surgeon is well qualified and has a proven track record with the specific procedure you are interested in. Also make sure that you are clear on exactly what will be acheived and that your expecations are in line with the likely results.