Beginning Math

Take your age. For example, 26. Now, subtract it from 220. This number, in my case, 194, is known as your Heart Rate Reserve, the maximum number of times your heart can beat per minute before it explodes from your body and kills you, or possibly the point when you become the Incredible Hulk. It's more theoretical than actual science, but bear with me.

Next, measure your Resting Heart Rate. To do this, don't fucking move for a while, you twit, stop it. Now, take your index and middle finger and press it gently to the top of your throat, just where your jaw meets your neck. That pulsing? It's called a pulse. Time out ten seconds, and count how many times you feel that beating. Now multiply that by six. I got 60, or 60 beats per minute. The average adult human falls somewhere between 60-100 bpm, and the lower yours is, the healthier your heart is (or possibly the more Buddhist you are).

So now, take your HRR (The big number) and subtract your Resting Heart Rate (The smaller number). Now, for me, I'm down to 134. Take this number, and multiply it by .65, or 65%.

Still with me? Good. Take your new number, and add back in your Resting Heart Rate. I'm up to 147.1, but fuck decimals, let's round that bitch. 147 being the final number for me, we have arrived at our final destination. This is the rate at which my heart rate needs to beat for me to actually burn fat from my body.

A guy named Karvonen made this formula up, and it's the medically accepted way to figure out heart rates, percentages and other things, and 65% is the approximate rate that the heart has to be working at for about 15 minutes before the fat cells in your body begin to be accessed for energy.

Too much? TL;DR? Run for MORE THAN 15 MINUTES, fatty, and soon you won't be!


Goal Setting

Followed by a disclaimer*

When starting any kind of workout, you want to have an end result in mind, be it long or short term. When I started in January 2007, for example, all I wanted to do was lose weight. Given that I was 265 pounds, got winded going up shallow steps, and resembled the adopted gayby of the Michelin Man and the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, I figured this to be a good goal.

So I started by walking. Sure, I fraked around with little dumbbells that my dad lent me, but I had no idea what I was actually doing with it. I walked around half an hour, three times a week, and it certainly helped my overheating issues that it was a frakking cold-ass winter. As we're aware, increasing the pace and frequency of my walks (not to mention hardcore cutbacks in diet) eventually led to me shedding 70 pounds, so...GOAL MET!

My current goal is to build up muscle mass (somewhere between Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Ron Pearlman's Hellboy would be nice), and now that I'm much better educated, I can achieve this all the easier. It also helps to know that the actual number of your weight, while important, doesn't mean all that much as opposed to say, your body fat indexing, or your BMI. In the four months I've been attending the National Personal Trainer Institute, I've personally dropped about 1.5% bodyfat, whilst my girlfriend has dropped a whole 2%. It doesn't sound like much, but believe me, for reasonably fit people, it's a mean feat.

How would 2006, Fat Gandalf Edition Harrison have reacted if 2012, GNC Cardholder Harrison said to him that his current goal was to drop from the current 14% bodyfat to a 10, and increase the measurements of his chest and biceps from 48" and 14.5" to 52" and 18" (respectively, unflexed)? Did 2006 me even know what a bicep was? And what the hell was my bodyfat percent back then 'cause I really wish I thought to keep records.

General goals are ok for starting out, but eventually you'll want to be way more specific, turning "weight loss" into "fat loss" into "bring my bodyfat down by three percent." And if you're smart about it, and consult someone who knows how to gather such data (like me please hire me) then you'll be able to see the results all the better, with science!

Muscle Gain? Fat Loss? Want to look more like Katee Sackhoff? What are your goals?

*disclaimer: This is, like, my seventeenth time restarting this blog on a hopefully consistant basis. My goal is to do this once a week.