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Dream Big Dreams. Believe You Can. Inspire others to do the same.



Often times the best way to start training is by identifying a specific goal or series of goals. These can be anywhere from running your first 5k to your first marathon; from riding a 30 mile bike tour to completing your first century bike ride; from losing 5 lbs to losing 50 lbs (although small amounts at a time or more reasonable); from dropping your blood pressure to dropping your cholesterol; from decreasing your resting heart rate to increasing your anaerobic threshold (the level at which you move from comfortable to uncomfortable during a workout). These are all noble goals and ones that can, in one way or another, improve your health, quality of life and even your job performance.

Once you have identified your goals the next step in the training process would be to identify the means by which you will reach your goal. What equipment needs to be involved, and what equipment you prefer. If you don't like the treadmill then perhaps the bike would be better, or if you don't like the bike perhaps another piece of cardio equipment will satisfy your needs. The best way to start is doing something your like or at least can tolerate.

How often, for how long and at what intensity are you going to workout? There are minimums to the rule, about 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Now the 30 minutes can be slow and fairly painless or they can be fast and painful. The harder you work in the 30 minutes the more calories you will burn which translate to the more fat you will loose. A 30-minute hard workout can be equivalent to a 60-minute easy workout. Longer does not mean better, its how hard you work that really matters. And I know time is not on anyone's side so the shorter, harder workouts will be more efficient and thus more likely to fit into your already busy day.


Starting off with no point of reference can be very disappointing as time progresses. If you can't look back at where you started and see some progress and results then often times the routine falls to the wayside and all hope is lost. Simple tests can be taken to measure resting HR, blood pressure, VO2max and a one-mile run.

As you continue in your training you can reference the outcomes of your initial tests to measure your progress. Every several months re-test to set the course for the next several months; goals can be accomplished is phases. Each new phase begins with testing, then reviewing your goals and progress from the previous phase and finally, setting new goals for the next phase. Once you identify your new goals for the next phase consider modifying your training program or exercise routine to accomplish your goals.

Explanation of Metrics:

As I mentioned above, the best way to measure current fitness levels and progress over the course of several months is to use a metric system. Progress can be measured in raw numbers and also by percentages, showing improvement based on where you started and where you are currently. Percentage is a good way to measure success because it takes into account how you have improved based on where you started, rather than using numbers, which can be discouraging.

  1. Heart rate: resting heart rate should be taken first thing in the morning before even getting out of bed. The heart is a muscle and just like any other muscle the more it works the sooner is will give out. The lower your resting heart rate the stronger it will be and the longer your heart will last. Resting heart rate is an indication of your overall health; it's the bottom number of a blood pressure measurement.
  2. Blood pressure: with increased activity will lower, which is a good thing. High blood pressure is caused by stress and I can't imagine the levels of stress a police officer deals with on almost a constant basis. High blood pressure can cause many poor health issues so doing what you can to keep it lowered is good.
  3. VO2 max: is the measure of the volume of oxygen that is inhaled and then delivered to your system. It's measured by a percentage with 100% being the maximum, although the most fine tuned athletes top out at 90%. 35-45% is considered athletic. It's very important that muscles and organs receive oxygen during physical activity, if they don't then your body triggers an emergency response system that delivers lactic acid to all areas in need.
  4. Lactic threshold: is the point at which the body is not able to deliver the oxygen needed to maintain the level of output. Lactic acid delivers oxygen to your muscles so they don't suffer but the lactic acid also acts as a binding agent and causes your muscles to stiffen making it hard to perform at a high level. The threshold can be associated with a specific beats/min heart rate. Endurance training will make it harder to reach lactic threshold.
  5. Anaerobic threshold: is the point at which heart rate reaches a level that makes maintaining current output very difficult. Anaerobic threshold is the point at which any increase in your heart rate would begin to send you into a downward spiral. This threshold will be harder to reach as endurance training takes place, the number itself does not change, the same output becomes less and less taxing on the body and the heart.
  6. Max heart rate: is traditionally calculated by subtracting 220 from your age. However if training has not taken place then reaching this number may kill you, not really but you may feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. Again, this number does not change but as you train endurance and fine tune your cardio system it will be harder and harder to reach your max heart rate. But when you do it will not destroy your workout, you will feel tired for a moment but once you catch your breath you can pick up the intensity again and continue. Over time your system becomes more efficient and thus you find that working out at the same level only takes your heart rate up slightly rather than spiking it. Another benefit to this is the longer you can sustain an intense level of cardio output the more calories you will burn. There is a direct correlation between heart rate and calories burned; the greater the heart rate and the greater the duration, the more calories burned. So getting your endurance up will allow you to burn more calories which we all know translates to a decrease in weight, AS LONG AS YOU KEEP YOUR CALORIE INTAKE LOWER THAN CALORIES BURNED.


In summary, please that note that these numbers mean much more than I can explain and the true purpose they serve is more than we can discuss. This is just a general explanation of what is taking place and how endurance training can positively affect your body, which in turn positively affects your total heart health, which in turn positively affects your performance!