Fitness & Nutrition for today's RMAN pt.1

Welcome to the Fitness and Nutrition Column, the source for real world health and fitness information for the RMan. Here you'll find everything from simple workout tips to the latest nutritional science, giving you the tools to make smart choices and set realistic fitness goals. A wide range of issues will be addressed in this column, including:

  • Fitness over 40
  • Life after mom's home cooking
  • Fitness on a budget: why you don't need a gym
  • Healthy eating in a take-out world
  • Tackling fitness with a bad back
  • Secrets to gearing up your metabolism
  • Think you're getting over with your good genes? Think again.

RMan's own fitness professional is Joe Dorn, a trainer for the U.S. Navy. Joe will manage our Interactive Forum, where readers can submit their own questions and get personal advice on how to lead a healthy RMan lifestyle. Joe is here to bust some common fitness myths, share his insights and keep you motivated and moving. So, get up and get ready to live a healthier life, because there ain't no man like a healthy RMan!


Alright, let's be real. You probably don't spend the majority of your waking hours mixing protein shakes and pumping free weights. Maybe it's been a few months, maybe even a few years, since you saw the inside of a gym. You look after yourself, though, and your basketball jersey still fits. Okay, it's a little snug. But, hey, you're almost forty years old, and you've got a lot going on in life. You don't have time to think about exercise and healthy eating. Right?

No matter how old you are, or how busy you are, your health is your greatest asset and it deserves some attention. For a true RMan, fitness is a lifestyle, and it's never too early or too late to start. It's a matter of being honest with yourself, setting realistic goals and making the commitment. Don't expect an overnight transformation; after all, it's taken years to develop your present habits. However, with the right balance of planning, conscious eating and regular exercise, you can change your lifestyle and become a fit RMan. Armed with some knowledge and simple strategies, it might be easier than you think.

Before you start any fitness regimen, think about your short and long term goals and discuss them with your doctor. Consider the time, travel, and expense you're willing and able to invest. Know your limitations. Be honest with yourself about your level of commitment, but be willing to give it a shot. You might be surprised at how much better you can feel, and how good you can look!

Every fitness plan has three elements:

  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Nutrition
  • Strength training

Each element compliments the other, which translates into a scientific equation: N+C+ST=F. Not everybody has the same body, so we'll try to address the fitness equation by giving general guidelines and suggestions. However, you can always email your questions to Joe Dorn, who will address specific needs and provide more in-depth advice.


Cardiovascular exercise conditions the heart, which is why many feel it's the most important element of a fitness plan. Whether you're running, swimming, cycling or just walking, your heart is engaged in pumping blood and delivering oxygen to your muscles. The benefits of cardiovascular exercise are numerous, and go beyond simply burning calories and fat. A cardio workout relieves stress, sweats out harmful chemicals that are usually stored in body fat, and lowers blood pressure and associated risks of heart attack and stroke. Cardiovascular exercise complements all aspects of your life.

So, choose your sport and make it a habit. A basic cardiovascular workout consists of a 10-minute warm-up, a 20-minute moderate to intense workout in your target heart rate and a 10-minute cool-down period. Calculate your target heart rate this way: start with 220 and subtract your age. Take that number and multiply it by .6, or 60%. This gives you the bottom number in your target range. Next, take the same number (220 minus your age) and multiply it by .8, or 80%. This is the high end of your target range. Here is an example:

220 - 42 years = 178

60% of 178 = 107

80% of 178 = 142

The target heart rate for a 42 year-old is 107-142 beats per minute. Optimally, a cardiovascular workout involving at least 20 minutes of activity in your target heart rate range should be done at least three times per week. Check back with this column to discover a range of activities that will help you pursue cardiovascular fitness.

Try this simple workout for 30 days and track your progress. We'd love to hear your feedback!

Welcome, RMan, to the beginning of our journey to health, fitness and nutritional well-being. Check back often; we'll help you stay on the right track.




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