This is the time of the year when most of us are ready to shed the few extra pounds from the holidays. Don’t worry! With a little knowledge about your body FAT, you can build a stronger and healthier you.
1. FAT: How is it measured?
Body FAT (BF) is usually given as a percentage of total weight. If a 100lb. person has 10% body FAT, that person has 10lbs. of FAT and 90lbs. of lean body mass (LBM) (Water, muscle, bone, etc.). There are 3500 calories in 1 pound of FAT. The most common ways of measuring BF are:
* Infrared: Infrared light is used to determine your body FAT.
* Pinch test: Calipers are used to measure skin fold thickness.
For men 15% or less is considered athletic, 25% is about average.
For women 22% or less is considered athletic, 30% about average.
2. What should my heart rate be to lose FAT?
Heart Rate (HR) is the number of times the heart beats per minute. This is taken by pressing on the front, left side of the neck, or the inner wrist, and counting the number of beats in a certain time. For example, if you counted 10 beats, starting at zero, in 10 seconds your HR would be 60 (10*60sec(1 min.)/10). When doing an aerobic workout, your Max Heart Rate (MHR) needs to be determined. Your MHR is defined as 220-Your Age. A 20-year old MHR would be 200, while a 50-year old would be 170. While performing aerobic exercise, your HR should stay in the range of (50% to 80%) MHR*.50 to MHR*.80. This is your Training Zone. So a 20-year old should keep their HR between 100 and 160. Keeping the HR above this zone will note provide additional aerobic benefit, in fact, it may provide no aerobic benefit at all. For best results, aerobic and FAT burning, keep your HR in the aerobic zone for at least 12 minutes. The longer and more frequently you do this, the more improvement you’ll see.
3. How long should I work out to burn FAT?
An aerobic workout should last at least 12 minutes, not counting warm up or cool down, only the amount of time your HR is within your Training Zone. The longer and more frequently you do this the sooner you’ll see an improvement.
Why 12 minutes? According to experts, this is the amount of time needed for the body to start producing FAT burning enzymes. It does level off, but the idea is that you want to get your body to use FAT for energy. After 12 minutes, you start to burn fat at a higher rate.
4. What are the best ways to lose weight?
Don’t be so concerned about how much you weigh. Instead be concerned about how much of that weight is FAT. You want the weight loss to be caused by losing FAT, not muscle or water.
To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in. To do it efficiently and to make sure it stays off, the following three steps should become part of your every day life:
Start an aerobic program. The activity should be something that you like doing and look forward to doing. The activity doesn’t need to be an aerobic class. Instead, it could be walking, biking, inline/ice skating, dancing, etc. Anything that will elevate your HR and keep it around your Training Zone for at least 12 minutes. Remember, the longer the better.
Modify what you eat. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, chicken, rice, potatoes, etc. Read the labels. 1g(gram) FAT = 9 calories (to make the math a little easier, round that up to 10 calories). 1g protein or carbohydrates = 4 calories. Don’t be fooled by 95% FAT free! Look carefully at how many calories come from FAT. Example, if something has 120 calories, which is pretty low, but it has 9g of FAT and 5g protein and 5g carbohydrates, almost 70% of that product is FAT. Simply switching to the obvious foods will make a big difference, such as, skim instead of whole milk, chicken instead of hamburger, bagels instead of croissants, etc. Also eating small meals more frequently during the day will raise your metabolism and keep you from getting that “I’m starving” feeling.
Resistance Training: To build muscle that will help burn calories throughout the day. One pound of FAT burns 2 calories while one pound of muscle burns 34 calories. Increase your muscle mass and losing FAT will be a lot easier. A simple weight program where you slowly add weight and perform basic exercises every other day, such as, Squats, Bench Press, Pull-downs, and Military Presses are enough for most people.
So now you have the knowledge to build a body that can handle the day-to-day stress of today’s corporate America.