Guidelines, Steps to getting started – Nautilus NB 2000 User Manual
Keep in mind that the ACSM recommendations are guidelines for the average person, not a champion
athlete training for the Olympic Games.
An appropriate warm-up and cool-down, which would also include flexibility exercises, is also
recommended. While many of you will need to train with more mileage and at a greater intensity to
race competitively, the important factor to remember for most people is that if they follow the ACSM
guidelines of physical activity they will attain increased physical and health benefits at the lowest risk.
Below is a table outlining the guidelines (Table 1.1).
The ACSM guidelines, if followed, can result in permanent lifestyle changes for most individuals.
The good news is that, with the right approach, exercising at home can and should be pleasant. You can
combine strength training, aerobic exercise and flexibility activities that you enjoy and gain valuable
2 to 3 times/week
3 to 5 times/week
3 to 6 times/week
60-80% of max HR
To be in total balance it is important to be flexible. While not part of the ACSM guidelines,
flexibility is important for you to perform tasks that require reaching, twisting and turning your body.
Hip flexibility, for example, is important to preventing lower back pain.
> Exercise and Body Composition
Body composition is an important component of health-related fitness. Good body composition
results from aerobic activity, strength training and proper diet.
Your everyday caloric balance will determine whether you will gain or lose weight from day-to-day.
Caloric balance refers to the difference between the calories you take in from food eaten and caloric
expenditure or the amount of energy you put out in daily activities, work or exercise.
Body weight is lost when caloric expenditure exceeds caloric intake or when caloric intake is less
than caloric expenditure. It is a known physiological fact that one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories
of energy. Though it is predictable that shifts in caloric balance will be accompanied by changes in body
weight, how your body loses weight varies on the various programs you may undertake to lose weight.
For example, low calorie diets cause a substantial loss of water and lean body tissue, such as muscle. In
contrast, an exercise-induced negative caloric balance results in a weight loss of primarily fat stores. If
you were to add a resistant training component to your program, you may also see a slight increase in
weight due to a gain in muscle mass, while an aerobic based program usually results in a maintenance
of muscle mass. While both approaches to weight loss are effective, aerobic activity
is found to be very effective because metabolism stays sustained for longer periods of time and energy.
Expenditure is greater with activities that use large muscle groups such as walking, cycling, cross-county
Follow these guidelines when engaging in a weight loss program that combines exercise and
Ensure that you are consuming at least 1,200 calories per day in a balanced diet. You need to con-
sume calories for everyday bodily, healthy functions.
You should not exceed more than a 500 to 1,000 calories per day negative caloric balance, combining
both caloric restriction and exercise. This will result in a gradual weight loss, without a loss of lean body
weight (muscle). You should not lose more than 2 pounds per week on a diet.
STEPS TO GETTING STARTED
> Muscular Strength
The new guidelines have added resistance training since the ACSM recognizes the increasing
importance of maintaining strength as a health benefit as we get older. The rationale for the addition
of strength training to the guidelines is a result of a ten year follow-up study on master runners (along
with other studies). Those who continued to train aerobically without upper body exercise maintained
their body's oxygen transporting capacity over the years, but lost about 4.5 pounds of lean body mass;
those who included strength training in their program maintained their lean body mass along with their
aerobic capacity after 10 years of aging.
The guidelines also show where consistent resistance training helps maintain bone and muscle mass as
we get older. For women, strength training (along with the aerobic work) may also protect against post
menopausal bone loss and osteoporosis in their later years.
The guidelines recommend that two strength training sessions per week should be added to your
workout schedule. We recommend three sessions a week during the off-season and two sessions a week
for maintenance during the in-season. The new ACSM guidelines recommend one set of eight to 12
repetitions of eight to 10 strength exercises of your major muscle groups per session as the minimum
requirement. A complete detailed strength training program will be outlined in a later section of this
book. If weights or other resistance training devices are not available, add calisthenics to your program.
> Cardiovascular Fitness
The new statement, published in 1991, repeats the four recommendations on duration, intensity,
frequency and various modes of aerobic activity, with slight changes. The duration is now 20 to 60
minutes, versus a minimum of 15 minutes in the past.
Intensity of exercise can be determined by two methods. The first is the familiar use of target heart
rate. The guidelines state that you should aim to work at 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate
(max HR = 220 - your age) or 50 to 85 percent of your maximal oxygen capacity (determined by doing a
stress test on a bicycle ergometer or treadmill at a medical facility).
Duration is dependent upon the intensity of the activity; for those who like to work at a lower
intensity they should work out longer. Low to moderate intensity cycling, stepping, walking, or
cross-country skiing is best for most adults, because higher intensity workouts can lead to increased risk
of injury and it is easier to adhere to the exercise routine. Beginners can achieve a significant training
effect from low intensity workouts. If you're already fit and want to improve, gradually increase your
The type of activity, once again, should include anything that uses large muscle groups, and is rhyth-
mical and aerobic in nature, such as cycling or running. Other activities could include stair climbing,
cross-country skiing, walking, etc. These activities need to be carried out three to five days per week.
> Training Effect
Duration, intensity and frequency of training stimulate the aerobic training effect. Any training done
below the ACSM guidelines will not be sufficient enough to give you the aerobic training effect. If you
are exercising more than the recommendations, it will not significantly increase the aerobic training
effect, though athletes training for competition need to exercise more to be competitive. It is important
to remember not to over do it; your body needs adequate recovery from a hard workout.
In general, endurance training for fewer than two days per week at less than 60 percent of maximal
heart rate, for fewer than 20 minutes per day, and without a well-rounded resistance and flexibility
program is inadequate for developing and maintaining fitness in healthy adults. It is just that simple.