In every aspect of life, we benefit by slowing down. Slowing our mind helps us navigate the stressful twists and turns of life. Reducing the frenetic pace of life brings better balance in our life, good health and emotional wellbeing. Even in our physical fitness workouts, slowing down brings greater benefits. We can make a conscious choice to live a better, more fulfilling, and accomplished life.
Slowing down to go faster is the mantra that Mark Allen, the six times world Ironman champion, uses for developing a fit body and a fit soul. I learned from his book, “Fit Soul-Fit Body”, the benefit of training at a heart rate at or below the Maximum Aerobic Heart Rate. This is different from the way I trained.
In the past I was mindful of speed, effort and duration of each workout and felt I had to keep pushing the bar up at regular intervals. Training meant that I needed to take myself up to the limit at each session, and the ability to perform better indicated progress. I used the heart rate monitor and the cycle meter to gauge performance. Mark Allen made me do things differently. Here are some principles behind his successful training methods suitable for those seeking to lose weight and staying healthy as well as those training for competitive sports.
Training at or below the maximum aerobic heart rate ensures that we burn fat and not carbohydrates. At low or moderate heart rate we burn fat but at a point we switch to burning carbohydrates. This is not the purpose of our physical fitness programmes. Training at high intensity above this heart rate takes us into the adrenal zone, which is not good for sustaining health and fitness. We lose the zest for doing things and the enjoyable feeling about life. Mark Allen places a lot of emphasis on feeling relaxed and at a comfortable level as we workout. He advocates speed and high intensity training only at measured intervals.
Finding the right balance between the work load necessary to get health benefits and staying comfortable is the key. Each one of us can find this right balance, appropriate to our needs, with conscious effort. The positive emotional state that comes from working out at the correct intensity level goes a long way towards re-enforcing a superb feeling about regular exercising. Uniting body and soul as we find the right balance in life and in our workouts brings us the greatest benefits.
Building cardio-vascular fitness and strength are the twin pillars of success in losing weight, improving health, and increasing longevity. Over emphasis of one at the expense of the other will not work for us in the long run. Increasing muscle strength through weight training twice a week is necessary to maintain lean muscle mass and strength which we lose rapidly as we age. Allen does not recommend weight training more than twice or thrice a week as it is counterproductive.
Many of my friends train regularly and have their own practices while training. I would love to hear from them on Mark Allen’s approach, on slowing down to go faster.
#healthy ageing #fitness #active ageing #well being # wellness #healthy lifestyle