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Archive for the ‘lean body mass’ Category

The Secret About Weight Loss and Exercise

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Working Too Hard at Male weight lossIn the last 32 years, I’ve worked hard to lose weight, only to learn early this year that weight loss isn’t really about exercise at all. Seriously, I’ve jogged literally thousand of miles and sweated on gleaming exercise equipment on 5 separate continents. I thought all of this time, that exercise was the disposal system for my calorie extravagances. The answer is, I was wrong. The male belief that we need to “burn off” excess calories to drop the belly fat, is absolutely wrong.

Sure, you’re going to burn some calories and some fat while you exercise. No doubt about it. But weight loss (specifically, fat loss) is going to happen for the most part when you aren’t exercising. Your body’s going to do it on its own without your direct involvement.

Yesterday the New York Times published an article that confirms what I know is the real truth about weight loss. A quote from this article states it all, “In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss.” There are a lot of reasons for this. Among them are:

  1. You may end up consuming more calories when your exercise. If you feel (either psychologically, physiologically or otherwise)  you need to eat more or drink energy or protein drinks because of your new exercise regime, you are adding weight
  2. Your body wants to maintain its current situation. Its hormones and processes will adjust themselves to keep things as they are. Specifically your appetite may be adjusted your appetite at its current level.
  3. Only moderate exercise is needed by the body.

But strength training is a great way to keep weight off once you do lose weight. Your metabolism rate (number of calories your body burns per day) is effected by your lean body mass. Lean body mass is your body weight minus all the fat. The higher your lean body mass, the more likely you will burn more calories simply by doing nothing. So, you always want to do exercises that build your muscle mass. Muscle mass is like a big flywheel that burns calories on your behalf. But just remember, do not expect an immediate calorie burn from strength training. This simply is not going to happen.

Unless your body has less fuel than it needs, your body will maintain “business as usual.” Plain and simple – You need to put your body in a calorie deficit. You need to consume less calories than your body needs every day. It must be a habit.

All these years, the reason I stayed in pretty good shape was because of the eating habits that I adopted many years ago – balance and moderation. It was not about exercise at all. Luckily I know now that the answer is really about eating less calories than I need per day.

The Truth About Loose Skin

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Fat Man Pondering Loose Skin At MidnightIf you could push a button and immediately have the body of a Greek god, with rippling muscles and 8% body fat, you would probably gladly pay a pile of money. Just imagine looking in the mirror at your bare, solid,  glistening abdomen and not being able to look away. The feeling of male invincibility would be intoxicating. Well it can happen. But it just  isn’t going to happen at the push of a button. But there is one other thing about this that may be on your mind about this weight loss.

The Fear of Loose Skin

I have talked with a lot of guys about looking iconic and they can really picture this. The one thing that they start worrying about when they picture this and that is…..loose skin. Fat guys picture that their skin is  filled up like a big balloon blown up by pounds and pounds of fat. Then they think that when they lose weight, that the fat is going to go out of their body and leave a limp, outstretched bag of flailing skin on their emaciated frame. Some of this could be true if you do not watch how you loose weight. But this is of course a lot of exaggeration, but some cautions are called for here.

The Body Fat Facts

Right now, you have a certain body fat content. If you weigh 250 pounds and your body fat percentage is 30% , that means that you have 75 pounds of fat and 175 pounds lean body mass (muscle, bones, organs,  fluids).  At the beginning of a weight loss program, men lose weight anyway they can. Here is the rub.  Loose skin is not just skin, but actually quite a bit of fat.  Here is how this happens.

When you start losing weight, often, this weight loss comes at the expense of both muscle loss and fat loss. When you finally reach your goal weight, if you do not pay attention to fat loss and building muscle mass, you may end up with a baggy belly. What happens is that you lose muscle mass as a result of your hard-earned eating habits.

For each pound of fat, there is about 3,500 calories stored, whereas each pound of muscle contains only about 600 calories. According to Ron Brown over at Body Fat Guide, when you fast 60% of the weight loss comes from muscle and 40% comes from fat! Ouch!  So it is really easy to start chewing up muscle mass when you start drastically cutting calories without any exercise. Not recommended. In addition, muscle is largely composed of fluid which can be lost very easily.

Here is a little saying that I created that makes all this easy to remember: “Fat is meant to be stored, muscle is meant to be used.”  Here is how you avoid losing the muscle mass but lose weight at the same time.

What To Do

Dieting and exercise need to go hand in hand. I used to think that exercise was the only way to weight loss. I never had to worry about loose skin because if I lost some weight, my lean body mass was always very high. Many men think that exercise is the only way to lose fat. However, if you do not exercise or have not exercised much, you will need to really pay attention to what I am going to tell you.

Stay on a weight loss path. Eat a daily caloric intake below the energy balance levels for your age. Very simply, eat less than your body needs in calories per day. See “How Much Food Does Your Body Need?” Make sure that you eat the right kinds of food – proteins, vegetables, fruits, and at least 80 oz of water per day. If you are still eating foods with a lot of white bread, white sugar, soda, sweets or fast food, you have not been listening.  I wonder when will you ever learn?

Start or continue a strength training program to build or maintain your muscle mass. Muscle mass will be built if you do some sort of strength program. Take a look at my Strength Training Program for ideas.  There is no wrong answer for strength training when you are starting off….just do something. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You will put on muscle mass and that is good.

Start Right Now

Do this simple 2 step plan everyday. And just like learning to drive a car, starting a good habit and keeping it rolling is the whole answer. Try doing these two things everyday:

  1. Keep track of your daily calories and make sure that you eat less than the calories that your body needs. Use a daily calorie log and really keep track of everything you eat. I use a free web resource called Physics Diet. I am going to create a video about how to use this thing soon. Even if you are not yet eating less than you need, keep track of the calories anyway. Writing down all of the things that you are eating now, is a great way to become aware of how much you really are eating.
  2. Do strength training 3 to 5 times per week. This does not need to hurt. Just start doing some push-ups and sit-ups on the floor every day. It won’t take you very long. 15 minutes of this work will really pay off. You don’t need to like it, you just need to do it. You can advance to a gym when you feel comfortable doing so. If you are already going to a gym, exercise all the major muscles of your body so that you get the most muscle build overall.

You are going to be proud of the new powerhouse that is growing under that fat cover. You may not see it, but when you do the above two things every day, you will lose weight and KNOW you will look great.

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