Weight loss is an issue that needs to be discussed in the fire service. It's difficult to build real strength and endurance when you're handicapped by 50 extra pounds of fat. The first steps toward preparing yourself for you next fire should start with reducing body fat.
In most of life, there's more than one way to achieve success, and learning how to lose weight is no exception. Firefighter Bill got into a running program, and Lt. Smith starved himself. Brenda started weight training, and the new probie took up hiking. Atkins, Southbeach, Picture Perfect; all diets, all different, and you will hear both positive and negative about each one. For a custom workout plan: click here.
After working with hundreds of people, both firefighters and civilians alike, I present to you my two best and deceptively simple strategies to reduce overall, stored body-fat.
Diet: Keep a Food Diary
Regardless of what road you go down, when it comes to weight loss there's only one thing that really matters - eating less. Sounds ridiculously simple, but most people don't get it. So, what's the best way to cut back? Before you can personally answer that question, you need to find out how many calories you consume in an average day.
Establish a food diary for one week without changing any of your current eating patterns. Add up all the calories for the entire week then divide by seven. This average daily caloric intake (DCI) needs to be substantially reduced in order for you to lose weight.
One pound of body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you can consume 3,500 calories less than you currently consume, you will drop one pound per week. If you reduce your DCI by 1,000 calories a day (7,000 per week) you will lose two pounds. You get the idea.
My custom workout program includes a handy food diary. To check it out, click here.
Exercise: Consistency and Duration
Maybe there aren't as many exercise programs as diets out there, but choices abound. For weight loss, what type of workout do you need? Should you take up a bodybuilder's weight training program if your goal is to shrink? The answer is an obvious no.
Okay, let's explore the other extreme. Should you run all day and endlessly burn calories? If you had the time and energy, that might not be a bad plan for pure weight loss. But as a typical adult American, you're probably short on both. Daily running or brisk walking for 20 to 30 minutes (or more as conditions allow) is a great way to burn a tremendous amount of calories, and should be part of every fat burning regimen.
You need to develop a mindset that you'll do something workout-wise just about every day. Consistency, with a program you like, is what gets the best results. If your goals are pure weight loss, you can turn down the intensity, and amplify the duration. Work as hard as you can, but only if it means you don't have to stop.
This mentality can be applied to both resistance training and cardio. For weight training, learn to do timed sets with low resistance, and work on increasing the length of each set.
Pace yourself on a set of squats for a minute or two and you will get the idea of what this system can do for you. Pair squats with upper body work and go from one exercise to the other for three or four rounds of one to two minutes on each. Put together three or more exercises in the same fashion. You're limited only by physical ability and imagination.
This phenomenal way to train comes from the world of kettlebells, where sets are done for up to 10 minutes or more. As part of my recent appointment to the American Kettlebell Club as Fire/Rescue Advisor, I'd like to share with my readership this unique and powerful concept.
My customized firefighter workouts are a great way to get started on this unique concept. To get more information, please: click click here.
Remember, exercising intensely can be dangerous. Check with your physician and get clearance before beginning any new program.