There are 11 Components of Physical Fitness. Do you know all of them? If so, do you incorporate them into your daily workout routine? Learn about the Components of Physical Fitness by clicking HERE.
Daily Caloric Intake and Basil Metabolic Rate
Click here to determine approximately how many calories your body needs at rest in order to sustain your current condition (i.e. weight, body fat%, fat weight). Remember, this is your body at rest. You then must add on additional calories for physical activity. Please read further to determine your approximate total caloric intake per day.
Gaining weight and losing weight is a very simple formula. When caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure you will gain weight. When caloric expenditure is greater than caloric intake, you will lose weight. Thus, you must know how many calories (kcal) are in a gram of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. You should also know approximately how many calories you should consume and expend in a day.
Simply put, you must burn off more calories than what you consume in any given day in order to lose weight. Knowing how many calories you are consuming every day is going to be an important part of losing weight. Therefore, you should know how many calories are in the nutrients you consume.
- Protein – one gram equals 4 kcal
- Carbohydrate – one gram equals 4 kcal
- Fat – one gram equals 9 kcal
- Alcohol – one gram equals 7 kcal
To find out approximately how many calories you are consuming in a day is easy. There are apps available for smart phones and tablets such as lose it and fitness pal. These apps can help you to stay focused on your eating habits and keep you aware of the amount of calories you’ve been consuming. If you don’t have access to apps, then you can keep track of your caloric intake by writing down the foods you consumed in a daily food journal. Be sure to write down all foods, portion size, and liquids. You must do this for one full week. We then can compare your average daily caloric intake to your approximate Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Your BMR measures the amount of energy expended at rest and usually represents about 70% of an individual’s total daily energy expenditure. Additional calories are then added on to one’s BMR based on physical activity level. Depending on whether the person is sedentary or very active, 400 to 800 kcal may be added. For example, if you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day and you don’t workout regularly, then you should add 400 calories on to your BMR. So, if your BMR equals 1,200 calories then add 400 calories to that number. This equals 1,600 cal/day to sustain your current weight and body fat. Remember, your BMR tells us how many calories your body needs in order to sustain your current condition (i.e. body weight, % body fat, muscle tissue) at rest. Now, if you are trying to lose weight you should try to decrease your daily caloric intake by 500 cal/day. This can be done by decreasing food intake, exercising more, or the combination of the two. Try to burn or reduce 3,500 calories in one week. That is equivalent to 500 calories a day. This will help you to lose 1 lb in one week (3,500 calories equals one pound of fat).
Basil Metabolic Rate is influenced by several factors. One’s BMR is primarily effected by body size (height and weight). If two people, one weighing 100 lbs and the other weighing 130 lbs, jog one mile together, the heavier person will expend more energy and burn more calories. Other important factors that effect one’s BMR include age and sex. BMR decreases with age and is highest in a growing child. Men have a higher BMR than women due to the fact that males are generally larger than females. Other factors related to BMR include diet, heredity, and hormones.
I was recently training two of my male clients at a local country club. I love these two guys, very fun, hard-working, nice, and both overweight. I put them through extremely challenging workouts consisting of high-intensity circuit training burning at least 600 calories per hour session twice a week. For the past 2 years I’ve been teaching these clients about healthy eating habits and the proper way to lose weight. Each of them needs to lose at least 25 pounds to get down to a healthy weight.
As with many people, my clients enjoy good food and great wine. What’s wrong with that, right? They over indulge, just like most people in America. I’ve been teaching them that all the exercise they do is not going to help them lose weight if they are not cutting back on their consumption of food and drink (alcohol). Of course, their weight has not changed much over these past several months because they have not been consistent with their changes in calorie consumption. It’s been disappointing for them, and for me, when stepping on the scale. When your main goal is to lose weight, you must cut back on caloric intake and change your behavior with food and alcohol.
While training my clients at their country club, an old friend of theirs was working out too. I’ll call him Jay. When my clients saw Jay they barely recognized him. In the past 6 months, this gentleman lost 77 pounds! After hugging him and congratulating their old friend, my clients asked, “How’d you do it? How’d you lose all that weight?” Jay enthusiastically said, “I stopped eating crap and cut out alcohol.” AH-HA! Thank you very much old friend! I smiled and told him that I”ve been teaching these guys this approach to weight loss for 2 years and they still haven’t embraced it! I had just met Jay a minute before and I felt so proud and happy for him. What an accomplishment!
This weight loss story is a successful one due to behavior modification or changes made in Jay’s lifestyle choices. He changed his behavior of eating food and drinking alcohol. He stopped going to restaurants to eat so he could control what goes into his meals. He also completely cut out alcohol for 6 months. This may sound terrible to some of you, but if you are serious about making a change to your body and your health, this is a very important, yet difficult, step. Jay was consistent with his exercise program and consistent with the changes in his diet until he reached his weight loss goal.
Now that his goal has been reached, he goes out to restaurants once a week. He drinks alcohol, in moderation, once a week. He exercises regularly every week. These behavior modifications helped to change and save Jay’s life. Losing weight can be a continuous lifetime battle for some of you. It’s difficult to change your lifestyle and behaviors. However, consistency, persistence, patience, and motivation must be intertwined in your life to have a successful weight loss story like Jay’s.
I asked Jay how he feels with that 77 pounds gone. He said, “I feel great! I feel like a new man!” If you’re needing to lose weight, you have to change your behaviors with food, alcohol, and exercise. Less food, less alcohol, more exercise. Behavior modification and healthy life-long choices will certainly help you reach your goals and change your life just like Jay. Nice work, Jay!
Over the years of training I’ve seen many people succeed and fail on their journey of losing weight. The success stories are of those that change their eating behaviors, are discipline and motivated, and exercise regularly. Those that fail tend to go on fad diets, starve themselves, and exercise too much or too little. Excessive exercisers usually burn out before their target weight loss has been reached or get injured in the process. Too little exercise will, of course, not burn enough calories to reduce body fat and weight. Losing weight is a very difficult challenge and needs to be accomplished with focus and consistency. Short cuts are not the answer when it comes to losing weight.
I’ve seen people make many mistakes when trying to lose weight. However, the following five mistakes are the biggest ones I’ve seen.
1. Doing ONLY cardio exercise to burn calories and reduce body fat.
Yes, cardio exercises such as walking, running, spinning, jumping rope, etc. is very important in the fight against fat. However, doing only cardio and not including strength training in your exercise program will certainly slow down your weight loss plans. Cardio exercise is great for burning calories and fat, but can also burn away muscle. Strength training must be done in order to maintain your lean body mass (muscle) which helps to keep your metabolism running high and keep you strong. Bottom line, you must do both – cardio and weights.
2. Eliminating all carbohydrates and fats.
Complex carbohydrates and certain fats are needed in your body for energy and several physiological functions. You need both for high energy in order to get through long, intense workouts. Do stay away from saturated fat and processed carbs. These will certainly keep energy levels low and keep that unwanted weight on.
3. Not being consistent with healthy eating.
This is the biggest problem I see with clients that want to lose weight. I find that people do great with low caloric intake and healthy foods Monday through Thursday. But look out on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All that heathy eating is thrown out the door on the weekends. Heavy dinners out at restaurants, desserts, over abundance of alcohol, fried foods. The list goes on and on. Listen, if you are on a mission to lose weight, you have to put forth 100% effort until your goal is reached. Once the goal is reached then splurge every now and then. You can’t eat whatever you want on weekends and expect to lose weight. Simple formula to remember – calories in/calories out. If you are taking in more calories than your body needs, then you will not lose weight!
4. Starving yourself.
Not eating will certainly help reduce your weight. However, how long can you go without food before you have a break down and pig-out on an entire pizza? Starving yourself does not work over a long period of time. Research shows that these people will gain the lost weight back, plus an extra 2-3 pounds or more. You must feed your body healthy foods in moderation in order to keep your metabolism running on high throughout the day.
5. Weighing yourself every day.
Do not do this! When that number on the scale doesn’t move for five days in a row, people get disappointed and frustrated which leads to lack of motivation and questioning all the effort put into healthy eating and exercise. Be patient! If you are sticking with the program and eating properly, the weight will come off. Weigh in once a week, preferably the same day and time and first thing in the morning (after a visit to the bathroom).
Losing weight takes time, consistency, and a lot of motivation and hard work. You must be discipline when it’s time to make the decision to eat dessert or not. Or deciding to have that third glass of wine. Or ordering steamed broccoli instead of french fries. When it comes down to it, it is YOU that has ultimate control over your weight loss. Be patient and consistent with your eating habits and exercise and you will surely see that number on the scale get lower and lower.
People are always looking for easy fixes and fast results when it comes to losing weight. It seeems like every other month there’s a new fad diet that the news is reporting on: fat-free, sugar-free, low-carb, high-protein, gluten-free, juicing, gabbage soup, low-calorie, and the list goes on and on. I’m sure that if you’re reading this article, you’ve tried at least one of these diets. Sure, diets may work for a period of time. However, these are quick fix remedies to weight loss. Most likely, individuals doing these diets will stay on them for a few weeks, lose a few pounds, go back to eating poorly, and gain the weight back plus a few extra pounds. People are not learning the proper way to eat healthy and exercise daily in order to keep the weight off. Behavior modification is most important when wanting to lose weight, maintain healthy eating habits, and living a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.
Of course, it’s easy for me to give you the advice. The most diffficult part is to implement this advice into your life and change your current behaviors. There are several actions that need to take place in order for you to live a healthy life, lose weight, keep the weight off, and stay physically active. I have provided Weight Control Guidelines on our website. These Guidelines will help you to stay on track when trying to lose weight. These are not secrets to weight loss. This is information that most of you already know, however, you may not be implementing in your life.
The following list includes the most important guidelines to follow when trying to lose weight. Please remember, these are not quick weight-loss solutions. These are guidelines you should be following all the time for the rest of your life. When on the journey of losing weight, you should keep in mind that the weight should come off slowly. I recommend losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. Studies have shown that people that lose 1 to 2 pounds per week tend to keep that weight off permanently. Studies also show that people that go on crash diets lose weight, then go off the diet, and gain that weight back plus an extra 3 to 5 pounds. This is due to not changing their eating behaviors permenantly.
- Reduce your intake of processed food and refined sugars. Examples of these include: white bread, pasta, white rice, fast food such as McDonald’s, Panera Bread, and Taco Bell, cookies, cakes, snack foods such as pretzels, chips, and soda pop. These food products tend to be high in calories, trans fats, and sugar. Substitute these foods with whole grain and multi-grain products and increase your intake of a variety of vegetables.
- Portion control. Eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals a day. This will help to keep your metabolism higher. Three large meals a day can be higher in calories and makes it more difficult for your body to burn these calories up. Six small meals a day will keep your energy levels higher, keep you feeling less hungry, and will help you to reduce your caloric intake.
- Eat lean protein with every meal. Protein plays an important role in the development of muscle, hair, and nails. Studies have also shown that protein helps to keep people more satisfied and less hungry later in the day.
- When trying to lose weight/body fat, reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories. 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. So if you can cut out 500 calories every day for 7 days, you can lose one pound in one week. This sticks with the recommendation of losing 1 to 2 pounds per week in order to keep that weight off for the rest of your life. One way of reducing your caloric intake is to cut out carbs such as pasta, breads, and rice at dinner time. Replace these with a variety of vegetables. Do not completely cut out complex carbohydrates from your diet. Complex carbohydrates are the body’s number one source for energy. You need these “good” carbs early in the day in order to perform your daily routine such as going to work or school, running the kids around town, and EXERCISE!
- Drink water throughout the day. Avoid soft drinks, soda pop, and juices. These are high in calories and sugar. Our bodies are 80% water. Water is important for healthy skin, proper physiological functions of the body, and, of course, keeping you hydrated for your workouts.
These 5 important guidelines are just a few of several tips that you should be following when it comes to proper daily nutrition. Please click here to learn more important nutritional information. Combining these weight control guidelines with daily physical activity and exercise will certainly help you to reduce your body weight and body fat. I understand that changing behavior is a very difficult thing to do. So start off slow. Try changing one thing in your eating habits. Accomplish that for 6 weeks and then add on another. Remember, these are lifestyle changes that will stay with you for the rest of your life. These changes will not only help you to lose weight but may help to decrease illnesses and diseases and prolong your life.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good way to assess your body weight relative to height. This method is an indirect measure of body composition because it correlates highly with body fat in most people. Having a BMI above 25 can indicate a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, certain cancers, and osteoarthritis.
The following BMI categories are from the National Center for Health Statistics:
- Adults (18 years of age and older) having a value of less than 18.5 are considered underweight.
- Adult BMI values from 18.5 to 24.9 are healthy.
- Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25.0 to less than 30.0. Adults in this range are at greater risk of developing heart disease.
- Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30.0 or greater for adults. People with a BMI in this range are at greater risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and joint problems.
- Extreme obesity is defined as a BMI of 40 or greater.
Please click on our Body Mass Index calculator to determine your BMI. If your value is greater than 25, you should consult with your physician and discuss a weight loss plan. The time is now to take control of your weight. Delaying an exercise program may only worsen your condition. Always remember to start off slow when just starting out with exercise. Walking is one of the best ways to get moving, increase your cardiovascular conditioning, and burn off excess body fat. Reducing your BMI now, will help to reduce your risk of serious health problems in the future.