By LEIGH VICKERY
Local fitness and nutrition expert Kelly Hitchcock sat down with the Tyler Morning Telegraph recently to talk about what he sees as the three main components of a balanced lifestyle: behavioral modification, good nutrition and exercise. Hitchcock has the experience and expertise to be a respected voice of reason in healthy living.
He is well-known as the owner of KH Fitness in Tyler, but he also co-owns a serious sports training enterprise in Tyler called Aim High. The program focuses on more than just helping people stay in shape. Hitchcock and his business partner, Charmyst Amie, work intensely with competitive athletes to help them reach their maximum potential. The Aim High team has quickly built a strong following coaching serious high school, collegiate and professional-bound athletes.
Hitchcock has spent most of his life seeking ways to keep his mind and body as healthy as possible -- and using his knowledge and experience to help others find their path to the best life possible.
This week, we focus on the final component of the plan: exercise.
"Unfortunately, a person often has to reach a certain point of readiness before he or she will be willing to make a serious commitment to a healthier life," Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock pointed out it might be something as small as a high school reunion or all the way to a heart attack before people will realize they have to change the way they live.
||HIGHLIGHTS OF A STRONG FITNESS PLAN
||Any good fitness plan must have a cardiovascular component and a strength component. There are no tricks or shortcuts.
Aim to weight train for 3 times per week for 45 minutes, followed by a cardiovascular workout at 70 percent of one's maximum ability. A simple way to estimate your maximum heart rate: 220 minus your age. Then use a target rate of 70 percent of this number as your goal during your cardio routine.
Monday: Chest and triceps and 15 minutes on elliptical trainer.
Wednesday: Legs and shoulders and 15 minutes on recumbent bike.
Thursday: Back and biceps and 15 minutes on treadmill.
"Men are usually the worst because they will not make the time or tell themselves exercise is important," he said. "We tend to put work and family ahead of taking care of ourselves, and sometimes we won't take the time until something drastic gets our attention."
Hitchcock is quick to point out there are no secret tricks or shortcuts to achieving fitness. His principles are easy enough for anyone to learn and follow. But before he designs any exercise plans for a client, he and his staff always make sure that the client's fitness goals are reasonable and attainable.
"It's a simple question, but it's very important to put it out in the open," Hitchcock said. "Are you a mom trying to stay fit or are you trying to become a serious competitive athlete? There are fitness questions we need to answer to make sure we keep our clients expectations and results on track. Otherwise, people will quit when they don't achieve instant success."
HOW THE BODY ADAPTS
Hitchcock pointed out that the human body is designed to function as efficiently as possible, and over time will require less effort to perform the same task. This efficiency can translate into seeing a tapering off in results once a person starts to exercise.
"Exercise only works when the body is forced to make a change and adapt to what you are asking it to do. Exercise has no effect if it doesn't cause a certain amount of physical stress.
"The stronger the wind, the stronger the oak," Hitchcock said. "As with anything in life, a new stress, or exercise, forces the body to adapt. This is especially true when it comes to how we teach strength training. The amount of effort and type of exercise determines the amount of adaptation."
CARDIO AND STRENGTH
Hitchcock also stressed that any exercise program that does not include both cardiovascular and strength training is doomed.
"A program without a concern for muscle is a program designed to fail from the beginning," he said. "If you are exercising to lose weight, then you probably are going to lose weight, but it's not fat.
"Doing excessive cardio or high-rep weight training makes the muscles take on the characteristics of a slow twitch fiber, which means they get smaller and fatigue resistant," Hitchcock said. "This actually lowers the body's metabolism."
Hitchcock said that the weight used should be enough that a person can only perform 8-15 repetitions. This will increase muscle mass which increases metabolism. This principle applies to men and women alike.
"Women should push just as hard as a man," he said. "Women will not experience the same increase in muscle size as a man, but they will reap the benefits of an increase in metabolism."