Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Goal: Healthy Weight Loss

Healthy Weight loss

Image from google/

OK, so you are looking at yourself in the mirror holding a magazine with a picture of someone (male or female) and thinking to yourself, "God, I'm fat!". You look down at the picture perfect person with the picture perfect body and you think to yourself, wish I looked like that.

Does this sound familliar to you? It is a typical scene that gets played out in millions of homes every day. This doesn't have to be your reality. You can change your reality. You are in charge of your wellness. You are in charge. You, yes, you! You are your own leader and you can lead yourself to a smaller, leaner, healthier and happier calorie burning machine. Are you ready?

Let's go!

Starting out

The key to weight loss is a negative coloric balance. This means that you are burning more calories (Kcal) than you are consuming every day. To determine how many calories you are consuming I suggest you do the following.
  • Keep a dietary log for every meal. Be very detailed, so this means don't lie. Honesty is going to help you most when it comes to losing weight.

  • Go to or
    • These websites are a great helping place for nutritional information and help. You can set up a user name with , track your diet, your nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and energy nutrients), your Kcal burn rate and much more.

  • Determine your fat mass (FM) percentage by using the simple the 2-3 girth measurement system
    • This is an easy way to find out your fat mass percentage. It might not be as accurate as using calipers, however, you are able to do this at home and with out the help of others.  To start all you need is measuring tape and this body fat calculator. Body Fat (US Navy) Calculator
      • Measurements (can be in inches or centimeters)
        • Hips: at the widest part (women only)
        • Waist (at the narrowest point, usually in line with the belly button)
        • Neck: in the middle (on guys measure over the adams apple) 
        • Height
        • Weight (lbs or kg)
    • Keep a log of your FM so you can keep track of your progress.
    • Check your FM no more than once a month or everyother month. Checking it too often might lead you to disappointment since will most likely no see the results that you want. 

        • Body Fat Percentages
          • Description               Women                     Men

            Essential fat              10–14%                    2–5%
            Athletes/lean             15–19%                    6–11%
            Fitness                      20–27%                   12–20

            Moderate risk           28–31%                    21–24%

            Obesity                     32-39%                    25-29%
            Morbidly Obese        40% or more            30% or more

      • If you fit in the red then you should get approval from your physician prior to beginning you exercise regime. If you were in the green you are good to go, and most likely are pretty fit. If you were in the light orange then you have started your program at the right time. Because of creeping obesity you would have been obese or morbidly obese within just a couple of years, so you caught yourself just in time.
      • As mentioned before, check your fat mass at least once a month to track your progress, anymore than that and you could set yourself up for failure by getting discouraged because you are not seeing the results that you wish to see.
      • Using the above FM method will also allow you to see your changes in size since you will be using  measuring tape. Inches count more than lbs remember that.

        • Determine your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) also known as the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
          • This is the amount of Kcal you burn on a daily basis at rest, approxinmately 60 - 70% of your daily need. This is your largest energy expenditure and, if you are sedentary, probably the only Kcal you are burning. There are two equations that account daily caloric need.

          • Lean Mass Equation: to use this one you must know your fat percentage so you can figure out your fat free mass.
              • 42 year old female weighing 147 pound with 24% fat mass
              • 147 x .24 = 35 lbs of fat mass (FM)
              • 147 - 35 lbs = 112 lbs of fat free mass (FFM)
              • To go further you must convert your FFM to kg (1lb = 2.2 kg) 
                • 112 / 2.2 = 50.9 kg
              • RMR = (21.6 x kg) + 370
              • Let's put what we know into the formula
                • RMR = (21.6 x 50.9) + 370
                • RMR = 1099 + 370
                • RMR = 1469 Kcal*
            • Harris Benedict Equations: There are two formulas here, one for men and one for women.
              • Males
                • RMR = 66 + (5 x ht) + (13.8 x wt) - (6.8 x age)
                  • ht = centimeters and wt = kg
                  • 45 yr old 6 ft male
                    • 6 x 12 = 72 inches (1 in. = 2.54 cm)
                    • 72 x 2.54 = 182.88 or 182.9 cm
                  • 250lbs (1 lb = 2.2 kg)
                    • 250 / 2.2 = 113.6
                  • RMR = 66 + (5 x 182.9) + (13.8 x 113.6) - (6.8 x 45)
                  • RMR = 66 + 914.5 + 1567.68 - 306
                  • RMR = 2242 Kcal*
              • Females
                • RMR = 655 + (1.8 x ht) + (9.6 x wt) - (4.7 x age)
                  • Let's use the same numbers as our male subject
                    • So we have a 45 yr old female that is 6ft and 250 lbs
                    • Our earlier numbers after conversion were 113.6 kg and 182.9 cm
                  • RMR = 655 + (1.8 x 182.9) + (9.6 x 113.6) - (4.7 x 45)
                  • RMR = 655 + 329.22 + 1090.56 - 211.5
                  • RMR = 1863 Kcal*
                • Note: These formulas take into account thermic effect of food (calories burned due to digestion) and  a standard physical activity index.       *Standard deviations of RMR preditions may be between 100-400 kcal. Since each individual will have a different physical activity index.

        • Use to determine your exercise energy expenditure and monitor your daily activities with the amounts of calories burned.   
        You have your physical energy index and your RMR, so what is next.

        Determine how many calories you will have to decrease from your diet and burn to have the intended weight loss that you desire.

        • There are 3500 kcal in one pound of fat. This means that to burn 1 lb of fat each week one would have to lose 3500 kcal from their diet and exercise combined.
          • Example:  Sally has cut 200 calories a day from her diet and has decided to attempt to burn 300 additional calories a day through exercise and activity. Each day she is losing/burning 500 calories, if she is consistant with her plan she could loose 1 lb per week. 
            • NOTE: The American College of Sports Medicine conciders 1-2 lbs of weight loss to be healthy, however .5 - 1 lb per week is more of a realistic goal.
          • Your diet will determine how well you will lose the weight.
          • Avoid sodas that are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Even drinking diet sodas will increase your desire for sweets, and an increase in your desire for sweets will cause your diet to lapse. Choose a soda that is natural like Fresca.
          • Avoid fruit juice that is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Drink Simply Orange or other fruit drinks that aren't made with add sweeteners.
          • Avoid refined/enriched flours and sugars. Most packaging will not let you know that they use refined flours or sugars by writing it in large and bold letters. You will find this information in the ingredients list.
          • Learn to read food lables and ingredients. Try to stick with products that don't have an ingredient list that looks like it came from your 10th grade chemistry class.  
          • Eat from all of the food groups.
          • Avoid trans fats, they will increase your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
          • Eat real butter and not margarine
          • Don't be afraid of fat or carbs, they can't harm you.
          • Track your diet with
        Your exercise regimen

        For best results start with a plan and stick to it, and make sure it invloves 3-5 days of exercise. Adding a workout buddy can make it more fun and more motivating for some people, so find out what works for you.

        * Always start with a 5-10 min warm-up. This could be walking, running, jumping rope or cycling. Make sure you break a sweat.

        For true weight loss to occur there has to be a combination of resistance and cardio training. What are these exercise styles? Here are some answers.

        • Cardio
          • Cardio is any form of exercise be it walking, running, cycling or rowing that keeps your heart rate (HR) raised for a minimum of 30 minutes. True wellness is measured by your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), so working on cardio will make your heart healthy, and a healthy heart will make you healthy. Did I mention healthy?
          • NOTE: It is best for lactic acid drainage to perform cardio after your resistance training is done.
          • Try to work at 60-75% of your heart rate max. A simple formula follows.
            • 220 - age = HRmax
            • 220 - 36 = 184 HRmax for a 36 year old
            • If that 36 yr old male wishes to exercise at 65% of HRmax
              • HRmax x % = Target HR
              • 184 x .65 = 119.6 or 120 Beats Per Minute (BPM)
            • Find out your tartget HR and try to maintain your BPM within that range.
            • As you become more cardiovascularly fit you can up your target HR.
            • Get a HR monitor watch, it will allow you to keep track of you HR, also some HR monitors will give you your calories burned during your workout. They are easy to use and very accurate.
        • Resistance Training
          • Lean mass burns an extra 11-15 kcal per pound of muscle mass increase per day.
            • Keep in mind you might find that you are loosing the inches faster than you are losing the weight. This is because muscle mass weighs more than fat by volume. However, fat takes up more body volume per pound. Keeping track of measurement and clothing size decreases are signs that your program is working. 
          • Calories burned directly post workout will increase up to 18.6% due to lean mass increase.
          • Work within 50-75% of your 1 rep max (1RM) for each exercise performed.
            • To determine your 1RM
            • Keep increasing the weight in an exercise until your can only perform 10 reps (10 RM)
            • 125 lb 10RM bench press was the highest weight our 36 yr old male could perform in 10 reps
              • 10 RM x .26 = Y
              • 125 x .26 = 32.5 or 33
                • 10 RM + Y = 1RM
                • 125 + 33 = 158 lbs
            • To figure out where our 36 yr old male should start @ say 50%
              • 1RM x % = workout weight
              • 158 x .5 = 76.5 lbs or closest to this weight on hand at the gym for bench press 
          • Perform 2-3 set of 8-12 reps and take a rest of 60-90 seconds in between sets.
          • Perform at least 4-5 different exercises during your resistance training. Try to focus on specific muscle groups for each day that you workout. i.e; chest, legs or back. Maybe combine muscle groups...i.e; chest and back, arms and legs.
          • Try to up your weight every 3 wks or when you can perform more than 10 reps per set without getting fatiqued.
          • Note: Free weights will burn more calories than machines since more muscles will fire to complete the action required due to utilization of your stabilizing muscles.
          • Also note: Resistant bands, medicine balls, and your own weight are also good for resistance training.
        * Change it up, but stay consistant to your program, this will ensure weight loss success and your motivation level to remain high.

        * Don't get discourage when you don't see the pounds come off as fast as you would like.

        *Like quitting smoking, don't get discouraged when you lapse. Pick yourself up and start over. It truly is not the end of the world. You are stronger than that.

        * There is not one formula that will work for everyone, however, research has proven that cardio of 30 min. or more and resistance training are necessary for weight loss.

        Good luck with your program. Check in again for help with cardio and resistance training techniques.


            Tuesday, October 27, 2009

            Starting up an Exercise Program: Getting it all Planned Out

            OK, so now you have finally decided to get off of the couch. What now? How will you begin your exercise protocol? Here is a brief list of points that should be addressed prior to beginning your program. It is important to know what your plan is. You would never go to a job interview without directions to get there, so why should your exercise destination be any different?

            First things that should be planned out before starting an exercise regimen.

            • Make sure you are in good enough health. (If you do have a doctor, have them check your blood pressure, heart rate, and over all health)
            • Determine your goal or goals. Remember that realistic short term goals should be easier to attain than long term goals. However, think of your short term goals as baby steps leading to that larger goal.
            • How often are you willing to workout? Be realistic.
            • Use the FIT principle to set your workout strategy. Frequency (how often?) Intensity (how intense will your workouts be?) Time (how long will your workouts be?)
            • Will you workout alone or with a friend or partner?
            • Gym or no gym
            • Fitness coach, personal trainer or by yourself (your own coach)
            • Weight loss goals that are realistic include weight loss of 1-2lbs per week (don't be distracted if you only lose .5 lbs a week). Anything larger than this will appear unrealistic.
            • Weight loss also involves eating less and burning more calories per day. In essense: a negative caloric balance.
            • Weight gain goals require eating a positive caloric intake along with resistance training and high protein intake of no more 2 g per kg of weight, and should mimick those of muscle mass gain.

            • (To determine your weight in kg just divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 kg....150 lbs / 2.2 kg=68.18 kg, so someone weighing 68 kg should not consume more than 68 kg * 2 g = 136 g of protein per day)

            • Gain muscle strength - requires low repetitions and high weights.
            • Improve cardio endurance or just to improve cardio in general - *NOTE: CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) is the only true measurement of fitness and over all wellness; regardless of your goal, cardio is and should be a staple to any workout regimen.
            • Improve metabolism - increased metabolism comes with a decrease in fat mass and an increase in lean body mass. This can be attained by adding resistance training to any program.
            • Improve power and agility
            • Improve muscular endurance - this involves working at a rate of approximately 50% of your 1 RepMax weight (1 RepMax is the maximum amount of weight you can lift once). You should be able to do high reps with low weight. Usually reps over 10 for each set.
            This is just a short list, and each topic will be discussed in further detail later. Hopefully, this list will give you an idea of what you might want to think about and determine prior to starting your workout plan. If you know what you want from your workout plan than it will be easier reach your goals. Good job on your new decision and good luck on reaching the stars!

            Saturday, May 9, 2009


            Living a quality life is a desired goal for most Americans, but very few are able to improve the quality of their life through exercise. In our daily routine of go, go, go, there is little or no time for play. Play is the most important time of the day. Remember when you were a child and you couldn't wait for school to let out so you could play with your friends? So what makes it different now that we are grown up? What is holding us back from our desired goals of health and fitness? Most important is what are you going to change in your life so that you can achieve playtime? How can the quality of your life be improved via exercise or playtime?

            What is holding us back from our desired goals of health and fitness?

            • Have children
            • More than one job
            • Just want to relax after work
            • Gym memberships are expensive
            • Don't have playmates
            • And on and on and on.....

            What must I do to make playtime a part of my life?

            • Go to gym before or after work
            • Turn off the TV for an hour to play with the kids
            • Take up running, tennis, or another sport that is relatively cheap and does not require a gym membership
            • Keep the house clean and the yard and gardening are concidered forms of light exercise
            • Find a friend that loves to exercise and see if you can join them, sometimes having a workout buddy can make all the difference

            What quality improvements can one expect through exercise?

            • Improved blood circulation
            • Improved memory
            • Improved flexibility
            • Food will taste better....even bad food will taste better
            • You can improve your life-span
            • Decreases the risk of heart attack, diabetes, stroke, some cancers and several other diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle
            • You may lose weight, your self image will improve and others may perceive you as being more attractive

            This is the first of several blogs to help Americans gain that healthy lifestyle that they want and know that they need. Keep up with my blogs where I will offer health tips, suggestions and even exercise plans that may help you to lose the weight, improve your cardio-vascular endurance, muscle strength and dietary help.