Fitness Tips (part 1)
Most people who decide to lead a healthier lifestyle go on traditional diets. The truth is, however, that 95% of those who go on such diets fail; what’s worse, they often end up in worse shape than when they started.
Diets are both ineffective and potentially harmful; long-term health-oriented programs should replace them.
Low calorie diets, result in muscle loss, in preference to fat so that the most useful tissue is preserved for times of starvation. Fat produces 9 cal’s of energy per gram compared with only 4 cal per gram produced by your muscle tissue.
However, muscle determines the overall metabolic rate of the body, so if muscle is lost, the metabolic rate will be reduced. This means that when the dieter returns to a normal pattern of eating again, the lower metabolic rate will result in rapid weight gain.
The other problem with having a low level of lean muscle tissue is the feeling of fatigue, when doing simple exercise tasks. The muscles and the liver both store energy supplies, in the form of glycogen.
This situation has developed simply because many people are looking for an easy way to lose weight that delivers quick results. No such approach exists, yet the slimming industry continues to misguide people into believing that fast weight loss can be achieved with minimum effort.
Achieving target weight requires lifestyle changes. These changes include regular exercise, a sensible approach to healthy eating and the right mental attitude.
Why Dieting can make you Fatter
The conventional approach to dieting is a disaster. The first mistake is to call a program a “weight loss program”. There are many weight reduction programs, which if followed can produce rapid weight loss.
However, this weight loss is neither sustainable nor healthy as it involves dehydration and loss of muscle tissue.
When you are ill and bed bound similar results are produced in only 48 hours, especially if you have a complaint like food poisoning. How much weight do you think is lost in the form of excess unhealthy adipose fat tissue?
70% of the body is made up of water. It is easy to design a dehydration diet that results in losing 10 lb. of water within several days. Many naive slimmer’s are encouraged by these rapid results. Simply dehydration by 2-3 % of body weight can result in a 7% drop in physical performance.
Loss of Muscle Tissue
If you lose weight too quickly, much of the weight loss will be muscle tissue. It is estimated that when people lose over 2lbs of weight a week, 30-40% of the weight lost will be muscle.
This is a disaster for keeping the weight off in the long term because muscle is five times more active metabolically than fat tissue.
Exercise and Healthy Eating-the First Priority
The aim of an exercise program is to lose fat without losing muscle and without reducing metabolic rate. The exercise needs to be customized to fitness level and to specific goal of fat loss.
Together aerobic exercise and resistance training are the ideal combination of exercise to achieve fat loss and it should be part of your lifestyle.
Aerobic exercise metabolizes calories and raises the metabolic rate. The heart rate needs to be raised to a comfortable level for 20 – 30 minutes at least 3 times per week. By exercising aerobically, calories will be burnt at a rate of 300 + per hour depending on your weight and fitness level.
If you consider that just 1 pound of body fat has close to 4,100 calories, then you can get a rough idea, of just how long it will take to shed those extra pounds permanently. Look again at how long it took to put them on, normally years or a complete lifetime of your own bodily abuse.
Now comes the debate of how hard to work. Personally I recommend that you work at a level that you know that you can maintain for a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes.
The debate comes in, when various fitness bodies suggest training at a high heart rate 75/90 % of max, for short periods or 55/80 % of maximum heart rate for easier longer periods.
I have tried both methods on a number of clients, and have found like most things in life, it may work for one person but not necessary for another. There are benefits to having multiple modems in your program.
In short try both methods, unless you are a complete beginner to fitness, in which case I would recommend training at a steady pace for as long as comfortably possible.
Resistance (or weight) Training
Inactive people lose about 10 % of their muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 25. However with regular resistance training it is possible to regain this muscle mass.
Resistance training should be carried out 2-3 times per week for around 30-75 minutes. Although not generally effective as aerobic training for burning calories, resistance training will still burn about 250-500 calories per hour and will raise metabolic rate.
Don’t feel that by doing weight training that you will develop a body that resembles a body builders, as these men and women spend a great deal of their time as well as strict diets and grueling weight sessions to achieve the physiques that they have.
Another important point is that muscle will not turn into fat, if you stop training. The muscle tissue will naturally break down and shrink in size, (hypo trophy)
Important point because lean muscle tissue weighs more than body fat, your actual body weight may stay the same or go up, during the early stages of your new lifestyle regime.
Don’t be alarmed, the weight will come of, however if it does not, your overall ratio of body fat compared to lean muscle tissue, will certainly be in a healthier ratio and that is more important than your weight alone.
Try and avoid using the scales, unless they can monitor your body fat as well, instead measure your body at various points e.g. your hips, chest, stomach and thighs. Using an item of clothing is also a good way to measure yourself, as with a bit of time and dedication, you will find that the clothing fits you properly.
Good nutrition is very important for fat loss, and focusing on health and health promoting foods is far more productive than focusing on fat loss and denial of favorite foods. Adopting a whole food diet, avoiding salt, fat, sugar, additives, preservatives, processed and refined foods, needs to become part of a life style change. By increasing natural foods with a high fiber and water content (fruit and vegetables) more food can be eaten to appease the appetite without gaining weight. A whole food diet also has a much higher vitamin and mineral content than a typical diet containing processed and refined foods.
A good general rule of thumb for determining protein requirements would be one gram of protein for every 2.2 lbs. of body weight.
Part 2…coming soon!