Hey, that Guy Ripped Me Off…

Dear Reader,

When I saw this, I did a double take…

It was a newsletter from another doctor – with an exercise strategy taken straight from one of my own books! It was right there in black and white: The same words and phrases I use to describe my PACE program with no mention of where he got it.

To hide their plagiarism, they removed the word “PACE” and used something else – a term that really has no connection to PACE or any of its ideas. In fact, this doctor’s own insights for improving fitness were completely absent. There he was, trying to take credit for something he didn’t even understand.

But that wasn’t the first time: A few months ago, a concerned reader sent me an e-mail saying she had seen one of my articles on someone else’s website. When I went to the website, I was stunned. There was one of my articles. They had reprinted it word-for-word with someone else’s name on it!

People tell me that I should take action to stop this, but I probably won’t. I have a hard time thinking of my proprietary interest when other people can benefit from it. I believe that your health will improve if you follow my exercise advice. Therefore, the more people who plagiarize my work, the more people who will read my advice and improve their health as a result. I even hope the people who are stealing it, at least practice it themselves.

Besides it’s is a form of flattery, right? But I am concerned when my work is misrepresented or misunderstood. Here’s an example: This “doctor” took my concept of creating an oxygen debt during a PACE workout and called it “becoming breathless.” This is a real problem. If you become “breathless” during a workout, you need to stop and not push yourself as hard next time.

I’ve never said breathlessness was the goal. The idea of creating an oxygen debt is important but you should do it a little bit at a time. Simply giving your lungs a bit of a controlled challenge with the commitment to going a little faster next week will do it.

In this case, you’re asking your lungs for just a bit more oxygen than they could provide at their current capacity at that given moment. When this happens, you create an oxygen debt. You can tell that you accomplished this by monitoring your heart rate. If your heart rate continues to go up a few more beats after you’ve completed an exercise set, you know you created an oxygen debt. You may be breathing hard at this time but you need not, and should not be “breathless.”

Yet some degree of panting after a short burst of exercise is healthy because your body realizes that your lungs need to expand their capacity to handle this new demand. After a little practice, your lung volume will grow, giving you stronger, more robust lungs. And I am firmly convinced that this translates to a longer lifespan as well.

You can do this whether you’re at the gym or at home. If you have room in your backyard – or on a quiet street – try a quick sprint. It doesn’t have to be 50 yards. Just long enough to give yourself a challenge.

Run as quickly as you can. Stop when you feel like you can’t maintain your top speed. Slow down and then come to a full stop. You should feel yourself panting. Take 3 to 5 minutes and recover. Consciously focus on your breath and feel it slowing down. You can keep track of how long it takes for your breathing to return to normal as a way of monitoring your progress.

Next time, try and give yourself a little extra challenge. Try sprinting a little faster than you did last time. If you’re panting but not so breathless that you can’t speak a word, you’re doing it right.

Not only will you boost your lung capacity, you’ll burn fat while you rest.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD