Archive for June, 2011

BMR

Have you ever heard someone say, “I followed the diet plan but I still didn’t lose a pound” or “How come she seems to be able to eat whatever she wants and doesn’t gain an inch while I can hardly look at food without gaining?”

BMR the REAL key to losing weight

Basil Metabolic Rate or BMR is simply a measure of the amount of calories your body needs daily to sustain it’s basic functions like breathing, heart beat, sleep and all the involuntary functions that we do to just stay alive. We all do these things and although the necessary calories vary with age, sex, how tall you are and how much you weigh they are pretty much the same for people who fit into the same groups based on these characteristics.

As you can see BMR is based on some things that are to a great degree out of our control but fortunately for us that is only half of the story. You see BMR also takes into account the calories that we need to carry out all of our voluntary functions that we do during our normal day. Work, play, exercise, making dinner, walking to the store. They all add up to our total Basil Metabolic Rate. These voluntary functions can vary GREATLY from person to person and that’s why some of us can eat almost whatever we want and never gain a pound and some of us can’t. It’s all about the level of activity we maintain during our normal day. To lose we must first find out what our own BMR is and see if we’re actually eating more calories during the day than we need and if so we have two choices. Get more active or eat fewer calories, actually we get the greatest benefit from doing both!

How to calculate your BMR

There are a few different ways to get your BMR. One of the most complicated takes into consideration your gender, weight, body fat vs. lean mass and can be found here.

A simpler method is to just multiply your weight by 10.

example:  180 x 10 = 1800 calories

This is generally a good estimate to start with. Multiply this number by your activity level.

  • Inactive 20%
  • Semi Active (chores around the house) 38%
  • Active (moving all day and daily workout) 40%
  • Very Active (moving all day and involved in sports) 50%

example:   1800 x 40% (active) = 720 calories

Add these together

example:  1800+720 = 2520 calories

That means that in order to maintain a weight of 180 lbs this active person would have to consume 2520 calories a day. If the same person were inactive they would be able to consume only 2160 calories a day without gaining weight, that’s 360 calories less! Given that every 3500 calories add up to one pound in 10 days if 2 people that weighed the same 180 pounds ate the exact same 2520 calories a day and one was active and one not the inactive one would have GAINED a pound while the active one would have stayed the same.

Update – I have added a simple online BMR calculator that can be found by clicking the link to this Fitness Over 50 Tools and Calculators page.

Part 3 – Calculating Calories Consumed

 

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A new study (June 2011) done by the University of Washington looked at a U.S. county by county comparison of deaths over a 20 year period between 1987 and 2007. Their findings show that the life expectancy for women has decreased in some parts of the Southern U.S. and the life expectancy overall varies  a lot for both men and women in different parts of the country.

New York Leaps in Life Expectancy

Surprisingly Manhattan saw the largest increase in life expectancy with men gaining almost thirteen years and women more than seven. The biggest losers? Five counties in Mississippi and Alabama. In fact these counties had life expectancy rates comparable to El Salvador and Honduras.

Women catching up with Men

Over the last 50 years women have been increasingly become the target of tobacco manufacturers marketing campaigns and to steal a phrase from one of their most successful ads “you’ve come a long way baby”. Unhealthy lifestyles that include smoking, obesity, inactivity and other things that lead to heart disease and diabetes has a lot to do with the decline over the years of life expectancy among women.

To see where your county stands in this study follow the link to view an inter-active map.

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First let me be straight with you. This is NOT about losing 10 pounds over the next week or 30 days. As the title suggest it’s more of a simple approach that if done honestly WILL guarantee that you lose 20 pounds or more over the next year. Sure your results could come quicker if you simply tweeked the program a little but my intent is to make it as easy and “do-able” as possible.

Before we get into the details I’ll take a moment to share with you the over all picture so you can see what we’re up against and why making just a few simple changes in your every day living can add up to major weight loss over time.

What is “fat” anyway?

We all know that body weight or more specifically “fat” is the result of consuming more calories over time than you are able to “burn off”. One pound of body fat contains 3500 calories of energy. This is the body’s natural way of storing energy for future use. Of course in man’s early history when he spent a great deal of his time hunting, foraging and later working the land this stored energy or calories were constantly expended during the normal course of his day. Even in today’s world some people in really manually intensive occupations such as construction may burn as much as 500 calories in a single hour!

20 pounds = 70,000 Calories!

Okay so given that one pound of fat is 3500 calories 20 pounds would add up to 70,ooo calories! So even our aforementioned construction worker would have to work an extra 140 hours to lose 20 pounds without dieting. Seems like a lot right? But if he were to spread out this 140 hours over a years time it would be about 20 extra minutes a day!

Well believe it or not the same holds true for you. You see the key is the extra calories that we either burn or consume that really make all the difference. What’s “extra” for you of course isn’t the same as whats “extra” for the construction worker. He may use up 5000 calories a day on the job so any calories burned above 5000 would contribute to weight loss and anything consumed over 5000 calories would contribute to weight gain. Simple isn’t it.

The key is finding out how many calories YOU burn in the normal course of your day and how many you CONSUME. If you’re currently consuming more than your body needs to perform it’s daily duties than your next order of business is to either cut back and consume less or find ways to increase your expenditure or whats called your Basil Metabolic Rate.

Part 2 – Determining Your Basil Metabolic Rate

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Low Carb Diets a No-No for Exercisers

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Understanding the role of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates come in three different types, simple, complex and dietary fiber. The last of these, dietary fiber releases very little energy to the body when digested so for this article we will limit the discussion to simple and complex carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbs are made up of either one or two units of sugar. These are found in fruits, milk and table sugar. They can also be found in may processed foods like cakes and candy. Of course the carbs found in most processed foods come along with a lot of calories.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbs have more than 2 units of sugar. These are found in vegetables and starches like pasta, potatoes and rice.

How the body uses carbs.

Carbohydrates are converted to energy for the body. This is done in the mitochondria. Simple carbs convert faster and can give you a quick burst of energy for exercise while the complex carbs take longer to digest and turn to energy.

Following this line of thought it would stand to reason that eating plain table sugar or candy right before working out would be beneficial to physical performance . While it would boost your energy level candy and sugar also pulls water from body tissues into the intestines thus speeding dehydration which can lead to nausea. That’s where the sports drinks can play a big role in your workouts. Many of them are sweetened to give you the needed sugars and also contain sodium chloride to replace the salt your body loses while sweating.

Admittedly consuming too many carbs and not working them off will be stored as fat. A proper diet that gets 45 – 65 percent of it’s calorie from carbohydrates should work well for people that have a regular workout routine.

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