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Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

To lose weight properly, the kind of weight loss that is long-lasting, you need to exercise.

Diets alone that severely restrict energy intake (which most do) trigger compensatory mechanisms that slow the metabolism and increase appetite.Your body wants and needs fuel. If it’s unsure when the next meal will come, it will look to conserve everything.

A recent study by the University of Copenhagen revealed that in groups of sedentary men, there was a significant advantage to incorporating moderate aerobic activity into the daily routine (just 30 minutes or about 300 calories). Interestingly enough, a similar compensatory mechanism was exhibited by those who exercised at a higher intensity (60 minutes/600 calories).

The group that exercised twice as long actually lost less weight than those who were placed on the moderate intensity regime, even though they burned significantly more calories.

Hmm. The problem is that these previously sedentary men now became too active for their own good.

How is that possible? Without an adjustment period, these new stressors place a significant toll on the body. It’s reluctant to break down too much, too quickly, and compensates by slowly putting the brakes on these processes.

In time, you can burn out, get sick, risk injury, or lose motivation. No one wants to feel physically and mentally depleted. Finding a new exercise routine can be invigorating…finding a way to utilize it in a way that makes sense for you is the challenge.

Maintenance Mode – Initiating a strength training program post weight loss

Gone are the days of eating 1200-1500 calories, struggling to create a daily deficit that will allow the scale to budge. You’ve lost the weight. By now, you’ve adapted to eating 5+ meals per day, you’re making good choices, and you understand the meaning of portion control. Now, it’s important to begin to identify new goals for yourself. To keep the weight off, it’s essential that you continue to strength train. Doing so will facilitate further increases in metabolism and will ultimately allow you to eat more while sustaining your weight. How much more? We will work on this in a few. The most important thing to remember is that your body, your muscles need these calories to thrive. If you’re coming off of a program in which your goal was to lose at least 1 pound of body fat per week, you’ll automatically be consuming a minimum of 500 calories more than you were before. Those looking to increase muscle mass will generally require an additional few hundred calories/day on top of that. All of a sudden that 1200 calorie diet turned into an almost 2000 calorie ‘diet’ just like that. Scary right? It doesn’t have to be.

 

Let’s work it another way. The most essential nutrient for sustaining and building muscle mass is protein. Protein requirements for sedentary individuals are typically seen between .6 and .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Since we aren’t sedentary, we won’t worry too much about these numbers.  A more active adult may require up to 1 gram/kilogram or .55 grams of protein per pound. For a 150 pound individual, the protein requirement is roughly 82.5 grams. Time for a little math…

Protein has an energy density of 4 calories per gram.

82.5 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram yields 330 total protein calories.

The average active adult should consume roughly 20% of their daily intake in protein alone.

Multiply the total number of protein calories by 5 (20% x 5 = 100%) to determine your estimated caloric intake. In this case, 330 total protein calories x 5 = 1650 calories, which represents your total daily allowance.

 

For those looking to increase muscle mass, protein requirements are even higher. Research has shown that requirements increase up to 1.4 grams/kg or .64 grams/pound (sometimes even higher in strength athletes). For that same 150 pound individual, using the same equation yields a total daily expenditure of 1920 calories. So there you have it, a range of 1650 – 1920 calories, depending on goals (plus a little extra when you exercise!).

 

How about the other nutrients? Carbohydrates, like protein, have an energy density of 4 calories per gram. Fat is more than double at a whopping 9 calories per gram! Alcohol is the only other energy yielding substance (not a nutrient) and produces 7 calories for each gram, still more than carbs and protein. In any case, recommendations are typically to sustain a total fat intake of less than 30% of your daily allowance. Using the example above and a daily fat intake of 25%, you get 412.5 total fat calories. Divide this by 9 calories per gram and you are looking at a daily allowance of about 45 grams of fat. Still try and stay away from saturated and trans fatty acids as much as you can. Finally, running the same breakdown for a daily carbohydrate intake of 55% (the remainder), you get 907.5 total carbohydrate calories or approximately 227 grams.

 

Estimate of average energy requirements for an active, 150 lb adult to sustain muscle mass:

1650 calories on non-exercising days*

200-300 extra calories on strength days*

83 grams of protein*

45 grams of fat*

227 grams of carbohydrate*

 

If you made it this far, I applaud you! Email me with questions or for help in estimated daily requirements. You can also check out the BMR calculator in the ‘fitness tools’ section of the personal training tab.

Physical Assessments: calculating body fat

As a trainer, one of the most common questions you hear is “how do I know how much muscle I am gaining when I am working out to lose weight?”. Building muscle and losing fat; it can be a confusing concept, especially when the numbers on the scale aren’t showing what you’d like. Sure, you’d like to believe that any fat loss was off set by an increase in lean muscle but how do you know if that’s really the case?

When initiating a new program, it’s important to take multiple physical assessments to determine a solid baseline from which you can progress. Sometimes, weight just isn’t enough. There are too many factors that can lead to strange fluctuations in your total body weight. Water is a big one. Take the time to snap a few pictures (post them on the site if you’d like!), take body circumferences, or best of all… test your body fat.

Very few like to do it, yet almost everyone gets frustrated with the scale. It’s really a simple process. Using a skinfold caliper, I can measure and calculate your body fat in about ten minutes or less. When you’re done, you’re left with a percentage of total body fat. Multiply this by your weight and we can calculate how many pounds of body fat you have. The remainder will be your fat free mass. From here, we can monitor how your fat to muscle ratio is changing and we can determine how much fat you are losing/have lost at any given point along the way.

The following are a couple of charts that can be used to assess overall progress…

Fat Loss Rates

Excellent: .5-1% loss every 2-4 weeks

Average: .5% loss every 4 weeks

Poor: less than .5% every 4 weeks

Muscle Gain 

Excellent: 1-2 lbs. every 2-4 weeks

Average: 1 lb. every 4 weeks

Poor: less than 1 lb. every 4 weeks


Before you get started in any fitness program, set up a consultation for some fitness tests and measurements. In a few weeks, you’ll be glad you did!

Protein Shakes After a Workout

Protein shakes are often associated with bodybuilding and elite athletes. The reality is that most people don’t consume nearly enough protein or carbohydrate, if at all, after a strenuous workout. There is so much confusion surrounding the question of whether or not to “eat back” exercise calories. In the grand scheme of things, you want to be able to utilize physical activity to create a deficit conducive to a healthy, consistent weight loss. You shouldn’t necessarily consume more because you exercised, but you should consume smart.

After a workout, your body is broken down and depleted of many essential nutrients. The two that require the most attention after any type of prolonged or strenuous physical activity are carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy before we get into our fat stores. They drive all of the internal processes that allow us to function and perform on a daily basis. Proteins or amino acids make up the tools necessary to respond, repair, and adapt. They’re used as a building block for muscle tissue. The two go hand in hand. Your body needs the carbs for energy to repair your damaged muscles and the protein to carry out the repairs. If you want to get stronger, boost your metabolism, and generally feel less fatigued, it’s extremely important that you consume both within 30 minutes. This can be a challenge. Whole food choices like your meats, grains, nuts, etc. take far too long to break down. Any added fats will slow down the process even more (fats are metabolized very slowly). On the other hand, protein shakes are already in liquid form and are therefore metabolized and utilized more readily. Many protein powders actually already contain an optimal ratio of carbs to protein.

If you don’t take in the fuel you need to replenish your depleted energy stores, your body can actually begin to break down muscle tissue in order to make more carbohydrates. This can be extremely debilitating and frustrating over time.

I wish there was a simple equation that could tell you how many calories to consume based on the intensity level and overall burn of your workout. In a way, it doesn’t matter as much as you would think. Immediately following a workout, your body is in an extremely anabolic state. This means that you’re burning significantly more calories than you would at normal resting times. It can be scary to workout, see a large burn, and then seemingly take away some of your hard work. Rest assured, it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t always boil down to the numbers. If it was all numbers all the time, it would be much easier to lose the weight! Protein shakes are your friend. Like anything else, consume in moderation!

Changing the way you eat…you can do it too!

Everyone’s conception of what it means to be healthy is slightly different. The first step in making an effective dietary change is to assess the situation. What are you missing? Are you actually looking at the big picture? it’s one thing to eat healthy, ‘low calorie’ foods. But are they the right ones? How do you know? You look at the ingredients. You learn how to read a food label. You begin to identify key words, vital nutrients, and differentiate the good choices from the bad. If you don’t know what something is, look it up! How else will you learn?

Take a look at this diary

What do you see? 

  1. Protein and fiber in every meal
  2. 22 entries for just 1,200 calories. That’s roughly 55 calories per item!
  3. 95% of the foods are all-natural, untouched.
  4. There are no excess calories to speak of. The largest meal is breakfast at 325.
  5. Every one of those meals/snacks could be prepared in under 5 minutes.

How does your diary stack up? Don’t over-complicate things. Take the time to assess the situation and identify simple substitutions to help eliminate those overly processed foods. Work to create a balance throughout the day. Start heavy and end light. Look for protein & fiber (natural) when you can. Finally, hit all of your major food groups! Simple is best… but only when you aren’t eating your meals out of a BOX!

Creating an effective balance by eating fruits & vegetables

This journal entry stemmed from a conversation about making effective dietary changes without placing too many limits. For a lot of people, the problems arise when their are disruptions in the normal day. Sometimes, it just takes an hour or two to sit down, identify potential inconsistencies and work around them. By keeping protein sources and snacks with you at all times, you can prevent long lapses in your day and intense bouts of hunger, all while keeping your calorie count down. If you’re hungry, EAT! …but only if you’ve worked on a plan and have developed some sense of control.

I counted somewhere near 20 fruits and veges on here! Every little bit counts, it can be done!

Click here to view!

Lots of substance!

See how much you can actually eat without breaking the bank! Notice the nice blend of simple and complex carbohydrates in the morning, along with some much needed protein. *Ignore the miscalculation on the first item!

Next, check out the portion control. It’s extreme and somewhat intimidating, but it’s effective. This individual took the time to input each and every food item very meticulously. This shows commitment, dedication, and the ability to take the knowledge and (hopefully) begin to make a direct and personal application of that knowledge. The most successful individuals are those who begin to take this experience to the next level. Only we know what’s happening in our bodies – how we feel, how we’re responding to certain foods, etc. Only we can draw these connections. If we don’t learn and begin to take ownership, we can never truly be successful.

Finally, take a look at the creativity. What about that day screams DIET to you?

Click Here to View

The 5 Best Ways to Lose Weight

Are any of you counting calories and doing your cardio and still not seeing the weight loss results you want? Justin has most likely told you all of these already, but just in case you need a reminder, here’s a really useful video that will count down the top five ways to lose weight:

 

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