Saturday, October 17, 2009

-LB = Pounds Lost

As the holiday season is rapidly approching the thought of weight loss isn't far behind. A lot people eat their little hearts out during the holidays with a New Year's revolution closely following to lose weight. I'm not a dietitian, but with countless physiology classes under my belt I know enough for proper weight loss. Here are a few tips for shedding those unwanted lbs:

  1. Count your calories: USDA guidelines for caloric intake per day is a 2,000 calorie diet. Those calories can add up quick if you do not pay close attention to what you're consuming. You can track your calories the old fashion way with pen and paper. Write down the items and calories located on the back or side of purchased items. If you are eating out you can use a calorie tracker book, application (for iPhone or iPod Touch), or go to the USDA ( website under myfoodapedia and type in the item for information.
  2. 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat: Important fact when maintain weight! It takes 1,500 extra calories than what is recommended to gain 1 pound of fat. With that said, think about how much it takes to burn 1 pound of fat.
  3. Portions: Eat in portions. Don't overeat, or inhale your food. Taking your time allows your stomach to adjust properly and signals when it is "full" eliminating overeating. Eating smaller portions doesn't mean only eat mash potatoes, or whatever it may be, as your meal and call it quits there. Make your balanced meal of meat, veggies, bread, and/or fruit and eat smaller portions of each category as your meal. That way you have variety within the food groups, and you are eating an appropriate amount of calories.
  4. Avoid Diets: Diets don't work; otherwise, weight wouldn't be such an issue. "Yo-yo diets" set you up for failure. You diet, lose some weight (mostly water), your body goes into starvation mode because of the lack of nutrients and dehydration, you stop your diet, you start eating "normal" again, and bam weight gained back. Dieting isn't good for your metabolism.
  5. Exercise: Exercise is necessary. The thought of exercise seems to be a hard concept for some people to grasp. People want a magic pill that doesn't and will never exist. Your body is designed to move so move it! :) Eating healthy and exercise are your 2 key factors to lose weight. ACSM guidelines state a minimum of exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle is 3 days per week for 30 mins of physical activity that can be broken down into 3 ten minute bouts of exercise. Results of weight loss will reflect the amount of work you put into it.
*It seems simple, but it can be a hard routine to follow. Get yourself into a routine of eliminating unhealthy food and start exercising. Once you get into that routine and start maintaining it you will lose weight properly, and a healthy lifestyle will seem "normal" to you. You will achieve not only weight loss, but a good fitness level as well as self discipline. :)

*If you are already exercising and feel like you can't lose weight no matter what you are doing you should examine your diet. If your diet isn't the problem and you are at a health weight for your age and height weight loss will become harder and unnecessary. At this point your muscles just need some toning to look slimmer and fit. Add in some core exercises (exercises working your abs and back), arm , shoulder, chest, and leg exercises to help tone your body. Over time you will begin to look "slimmer" while gaining muscle.

Training Exercise of the Week: Reverse Lunges. Reverse Lunges (also known as step back lunges) help work your hamstrings which are normally ignored when strength training. Balanced strength between the hamstrings and quadriceps are important to avoid pulling upper leg muscles. Hamstrings are commonly pulled when running, or forward progression activities, due to an imbalance between the two muscle groups. It will not only strengthen your hamstrings, but will also increase flexibility and range of motion in your quadriceps.
  • To preform this exercise just stand tall like you would preform a forward lunge. Next just step back while maintaining good form (keeping your back straight, stepping back in a straight line, and keeping your knee from hitting the ground. )
  • You can then progress into walking backward lunges. If you lose proper form you should stop and revert back to stationary reverse lunges until you feel comfortable to walk backwards again. This will help eliminate the chance of injury. If you're feelin' crazy you can add some weight while keeping proper form.

Training Tip of the Week: A weight loss of more than 2 pounds a week is unhealthy. That is for athletes and non-athletes. If you are exercising with proper nutrition this will not be a problem because you will/should consume an adequate amount of calories after your workout. Recovery is important for your muscles and bones after a good workout.

Training Song of the Week: I Don't Feel Like Dancing - Scissor Sisters. Oldie but a goodie. This song has been a popular choice for my iPod this week. It's a good alternative change of pace from jam bands and booty dancin' music!

Happy Running,

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