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Entries in cardio training (4)


What is the best exercises for women over 50 in pretty decent shape. Is it strenuous types or yoga/pilates. Want to know best way to just tone.

The best exercise is the one you will do and do consistently. Cardio exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight and to support our cardio-vascular health. However, as we age, we lose muscle mass so strength training with fairly heavy weights is highly recommended. Heavy weights mean you use enough to challenge and fatigue your muscles – at least 10 lb dumbbells. I teach weight training classes and too many women gravitate to the lightest body bars and weights. If the weight you use isn’t a challenge, it won’t do very much for you. Toning usually means we don’t want to bulk up which you won’t. Women don’t have enough testosterone to bulk up. The best way to tone is to lift weights that challenge your muscles and do numerous reps (12-20) for each exercise.


I walk at least 30 minutes a day and do yoga and pilates on a semi-regular basis. What do you suggest that I add to my routine?

Your routine might be fine just as it is. What is your fitness goal? If you don’t have a fitness goal then anything you do will work since any road will get you there. What you are currently doing is a low level but beneficial routine. If you want to burn more calories, or lose weight this routine is probably not adequate. You will need to add more intensive cardio training like cycling or running or a high energy fitness class at least 2 days a week. If you want to build lean muscle, this routine isn’t adequate. You will need to add some weightlifting to your routine. It’s likely you will want to do upper and lower body lifting to strengthen and tone. This involves moderate weight and numerous reps (12 – 15 per set) probably one or two days a week.

Set a fitness goal and write me back.


I am 5'7'' and 151 pounds and am trying to lose some weight. I work out on a regular basis on a treadmill or an elliptical (usually around 30-45 minutes). Oftentimes the machines will tell me that my heart rate is in the low 180's. I know this is high, but if I try to lower it, I don't feel like I'm working very hard! Is it dangerous or ineffective to workout with my heart rate so high?

Your heart rate is too high but probably you are not in the danger zone unless you are having some kind of chest pains or heart palpitations. From your question I can tell that you do not have the aerobic capacity to keep your heartrate at fat burning heart rate levels (known as zones). You jump up to sugar burning levels. This is a very common problem with many of us. The best thing to do is get a test done to measure where your anaerobic threshold is; i.e. your aerobic heart rate levels compared to your anaerobic levels. You burn mostly fat in the aerobic zones and burn mostly sugar in the anaerobic zones.  While it is ok to work in both areas, it is best to train 70-80% in the fat burning (aerobic) zones, especially for weight loss and to change your body shape. Training in the fat burning zones will help you build an aerobic base and with that big aerobic base, you will gradually increase your anaerobic threshold so you will be able to burn fat at higher heart rates.  This will increase your caloric burn over time while using fat as your fuel!  Make sure and cross train so along with your cardio training, incorporate weight training with moderate to heavy weights. Weight training puts you mostly in the fat burning zones and the calorie burn continues long after the workout. I would recommend hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions so you get started on a program that will be designed to meet your goals. You ARE worth the cost you know! Another alternative is to look into group weight loss classes that are coached by a personal trainer. Please keep me posted on your progress!


I am signed up to run a marathon. Should I “carb-up” the night before with lots of pasta, bread and salad?

The worst thing you can do the night before the marathon is to load up with huge plates of pasta, salad and high-fat salad dressing.  You don't want all that extra weight in your digestive tract the next morning and you don't want any roughage. It will make you sluggish, bloated and uncomfortable.  If you have been eating a balanced diet the week before the marathon, you will have already loaded your muscles with fuel. Remember, what goes in must come out and you wouldn’t want that happening while you are running somewhere around mile 12!

The week before your marathon eat a diet consisting of a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates but don’t over or under eat.  If you really want to have a pasta fest, do it two nights before your marathon and again, don’t overeat and make sure to drink plenty of water. Eating a lot of pasta and salad with lots of roughage the day before you compete is not recommended. One day before the marathon, eat low-residue foods, eat only enough to satisfy your needs, eliminate alcohol and reduce caffeine intake. The morning of the race eat a bland, easy to digest, small breakfast and drink a glass of water one or two hours before the race so you are hydrated but have time to eliminate anything.  Good luck on your marathon – let me know how it goes!