April 24, 2020

Conditioning your aerobic system is covered by Rules 7 and 8. They are similar but not the same. But you may think they're the same and that's a problem.

Building Aerobic Capacity

Rule 7 - Move Around Frequently at a Slow Pace


Rule 8 - Build Aerobic Conditioning

#1 - Lift Heavy Things
#2 - Increase Nutrient Density
#3 - Sprint Occasionally
#4 - If It's Good for You, Do It Every Day
#5 - Fast Intermittently Often
#6 - Keep Your Power Plants Running
#7 - Move Around Frequently at a Slow Pace
#8 - Build Aerobic Conditioning

Move Around Frequently at a Slow Pace and it's corollary, Move More, Sit Less is the baseline condition for the human species. You're designed for it but modern life has turned your need for it upside down.

In fact, if you moved around a lot more each and every day (like humans did before the Industrial Revolution), you'd have no need for Rule #8. Rule #7, when done daily, will satisfy Rule #8.

But today, you sit all day long as a default condition, so the need to address both Rules arises. You must do both.

In a world where you:
  • sit when you're in your home (primarily)
  • sit traveling to work
  • sit at work
  • sit traveling back home
  • plop down in front of the TV and sit some more when you get home
  • and oddly you get really tired from all this sitting
All this sitting coined the term Couch Potato and a lot of bio-mechanical problems like tight hip flexors (leading to anterior pelvic tilt and low back issues), rounded shoulders and forward head position.

Using computers and hand-held devices has exacerbated these conditions. You're a physical wreck from sitting on your butt too much.

It gets worse. Your brain detects your sedentary behavior and lowers your metabolic rate since less energy is required for sitting around. And if you're not exercising Rule #1 and/or Rule #3, your need for muscle tissue is less so sarcopenia (muscle wasting) occurs.

Your brain, again reacting to the inputs you're giving it, allows muscle tissue to be consumed because muscle is "metabolically expensive" meaning it uses a lot of energy relative to fat mass. Your brain always wants to conserve energy so if you don't have a need for muscle, it won't keep it around just to look good.

Though admittedly a challenge within the confines of modern life, you have to figure out a way to Move More and Sit Less.

But don't do this. Don't sit on your can all week long and be satisfied with two or three 30 minute runs or bike rides a week. That just makes you a couch potato who runs a few miles a week.

This is why Rule 7 and Rule 8 are separate rules.

You need to move more EVERY DAY. That's Rule #7.

Rule #8 is increasing your aerobic output and is measured by a reduction in your resting heart rate.

Developing Aerobic Capacity

You can build your aerobic capacity in many ways from low level, longer duration work to interval type training to heavy lifting. We talked about energy production in Rule #6 and the aerobic system is always running in the background. It's the one system that never poops out.
When you lift a heavy load that is fueled by your alactic energy system, the recovery of that system is fueled by your aerobic system.

Similar for refueling the glycolytic system, the aerobic system supports this activity. It's always on.

The main point is to look at Rule 7 and 8 as different rules, requiring different approaches.

Rule #7 is to break up your sitting periods (as often as possible) and just move around (a lot) at a low output. Move More, Sit Less.

Rule #8 is purposeful aerobic conditioning like brisk walking, running, hiking, biking, tennis, jumping rope, swimming, etc.

Physical Conditioning

I like to think of 4 areas of physical conditioning:

  1. Move More, Sit Less as your baseline (be active, not sedentary)
  2. Aerobic Conditioning (decrease your resting heart rate)
  3. Lift Heavy Things (build muscle, get stronger)
  4. Sprint Occasionally (do some explosive or dynamic type training to engage type II muscle fiber and train your alactic energy system)

The Rules

1 - Lift Heavy Things
#2 - Increase Nutrient Density
#3 - Sprint Occasionally
#4 - If It's Good for You, Do It Every Day
#5 - Fast Intermittently Often
#6 - Keep Your Power Plants Running
#7 - Move Around Frequently at a Slow Pace
#8 - Build Aerobic Capacity

Rule #9 is next. It's often overlooked.

Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 64 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature 2 Rule Easy Fat Loss training program.

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