Exercising regularly in a good routine with a proper training programme will account for 20% of the weight loss results you’re after. The other 80%, the biggest and most difficult portion, is down to your eating habits. I never use the word “diet”, there should be no such thing – the brutal truth is that either you eat properly or you don’t!
There are a good number of ways to maximise on the 80% portion of your weight loss and therefore drop extra pounds. These methods all increase your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. This figure represents the number of calories that your body consumes per day just to stay alive on the most basic level. The bodily functions that constantly use calories include the generation of heat, digestion, repair of damaged tissues, fighting infection and the function of your nervous system.
If a person’s BMR is 2000 and he or she consumes 2000 calories a day their weight will remain the same. Remember this does not take training into account where extra calories are burned off due to exercise. If this person were to frequently consume less than their BMR figure they will lose weight. Performing regular vigorous exercise will burn off a good deal more calories each week as well, contributing to good weight loss results.
Naturally if someone consumed more than that 2000 figure they will gain weight. 1lb of bodyfat weight is equal to roughly 3000 calories. So, over a period of 1 week, an under-eat of 500 calories a day will result in an overall calorie deficit of 3500 calories, resulting in a loss of just over 1lb. In one week, without exercise… Great! By the same measure, then, someone who over-eats by just 500 calories per day could gain over a pound in a week… which is a bit scary.
So how do you make sure that this BMR figure is as high as possible, to ensure that more energy is being used by default? The 5 main ways to increase your BMR figure are:
- More meals, smaller portions… Have 5 to 6 smaller meals a day, rather than 3 big ones. This keeps digestion and metabolism ticking over throughout the day, reducing fat storage. Meals should fit fully into your cupped hands!
- Be as active as possible… It’s not all about rest! Get the equivalent of 4 to 5 workouts into your weekly routine, each of at least 60 mins. Research has disproven the theory that exercising after fasting burns more fat, so make sure you are properly fuelled for such exercise.
- Get your Anti-Oxidants… Plenty of berries, green tea and a variety of beans for me!
- High Protein… Whatever your dietary preference, high protein foods have up to 25% of the calories burnt off by standard bodily functions, rather than being stored as fat. Make sure you diet is balanced with 5 – 7 a day of fruit & veg and not on a similar track as the Atkins Diet!
- Build up some muscle… Muscle is more metabolically active than other bodily tissue, and needs calories to work!
These are the most dramatic ways to increase the Basal Metabolic Rate. There are some others with smaller effects which when used in conjunction with each other can also make a significant difference. However, one’s BMR does naturally wane away with age, so people who continue to eat roughly the same amount of calories as they get older will find the weight starting to gather momentum, without suddenly eating a bad diet. The BMR is an individual figure for everybody, depending on your age, height and weight. This is calculated using the following formula:
|Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )
Simply put, as you get older your need for calories gradually decreases, so it is important to keep on top of what your required daily intake is. This is a figure which cannot be given as a generic “Male and Female” requirement, it is individual to everybody.
A few measurements of weight and height and two minutes on a calculator later, and you can have your ideal figure of calories your body is using per day. Then go do some Cardio!