I got this in an email from a friend. I read it its pretty informative. Enjoy the reading, since were always trying to find ways to build muscle or lose weight.
Some general tips (if you don't have time to read the whole thread):
- In summary, there are a few key elements behind weight-loss:
- Efficient dieting: In general, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you eat. For example, if your daily maintenance calorie intake (the amount of calories you eat to maintain your current weight) is 2500 calories, then by eating only 2000 calories daily, you will lose fat. That is, you are consuming 2,000 calories a day but burning off 2,500, hence some of that extra 500 calories burnt off should be body fat. (If you diet incorrectly, some of your muscle mass will be burnt off too, which is a disaster).
- Efficient cardiovascular exercising: Used to directly burn off body fat and calories in general, and to raise your metabolic rate, which assists in burning calories throughout the day.
- Efficient weight lifting/bodybuilding: Useful as long term insurance against regaining weight, and aids in burning fat. Weight lifting induces muscular growth, and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolic rate, hence the more calories you burn, resulting in more weight loss. You must ensure you have a good high protein diet to back up your resistance training, or else you may incur minimal results.
- Overall, to lose and maintain weight, you MUST watch your diet in conjunction with keeping up regular exercise. Generally modifying your diet alone is not enough. Especially true the other way round too: generally exercising more without modifying your diet is not enough either. You need to realize that it takes a lot of activity to burn off the energy from just a little bit of food. So if youíve been pigging out on fast food a lot, time to make a lifestyle change.
- (For Reduced Calorie diets) Try to eat dinner as early as possible i.e don't go overboard on carbs (especially complex ones) near bedtime. Complex carbohydrates result in the energy being released more slowly over time, for a longer time period. That means alot of the energy from it will be released during sleep, which is of course bad since there is minimal activity during sleep. Therefore the wasted energy (excess glycogen) results in stored fat (via the storage hormone insulin and the fat synthesis process within the liver).
- Get enough daily vitamins and minerals by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, or/and by taking supplements. Vitamins and minerals helps our physiological processes occur efficiently.
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day, but don't over do it on the water either. Recent studies have concluded that an excessively high water consumption isn't good for you either.
- Donít ever cut out all your favourite foods. Just have them in moderation. If you introduce things in an extreme fashion, your chances of failing become high. For example, if you just suddenly cut out your favourite chocolate bar, then your chances of pigging out one day becomes high. This then results in a depressive mood, then more pigging out etc. Take things SLOW.
- Emphasis on the finer details: try to concentrate on eating 'good' carbs (complex carbohydrates), rather than simple ones. The reason is, when eating alot of simple carbs (sugars), your blood-sugar levels lift quickly, and consequently the body releases a massive amount of insulin to suppress the rise. The blood-sugar levels then come crashing down as fast as it went back up, in a relatively small amount of time. So in terms of the effects, you get a big energy spike for a little while, but then start getting tired again (when your blood-sugar levels fall again), plus you feel hungry again quickly. That's why people can eat a whole box of donuts, yet feel hungry again in a relatively short amount of time. Complex carbohydrates don't have this effect, where the energy is released over time and the insulin levels maintain evenly throughout a good few hours, aswell as your energy levels. So itís important to not only watch out how many calories you consume, but also how you consume those calories and what those calories consist of. Otherwise you may find yourself losing Ďweightí in other forms, such as muscle mass (which decreases your metabolic rate and sabotages your chances of long-term weight loss).
- Don't treat fat as the enemy. Your body needs certain fats for proper function, such as the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Saturated fats are the ones you should keep away from at all costs (junk food, fried foods such as fries etc.). Instead eat foods which bases more upon the poly-unsaturated or mono-unsaturated sources instead.
- Maintain regular exercise. Perform cardiovascular exercise regularly to burn off body fat and to raise your metabolic rate. Lift weights to induce muscle growth, which also raises your metabolism. Exercise in the mornings, if you can only afford to exercise once each day for the best results or exercise before your meals.
- You CANNOT spot reduce in any circumstances. That is, for example doing situps will NOT help you lose fat on your belly.
- When eating fat, try to only eat mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated sources, and the essential fatty acids (EFAs, which are crucial to your organ's functions such as the brain). EFAs cannot be synthesized by the body, therefore you must get it from your diet. The omega-3 EFA is quite difficult to get actually, but fish such as tuna and salmon has a healthy amount in them. Stay well away from saturated fatty foods, such as junk food, fries etc.
- You should also aim to spread out your meals from the 3 staples to perhaps 5 or 6 smaller portions. The emphasis is not to necessary eat less, just more often. Your metabolic rate is also kept more constant (and overall more elevated), which benefits your weight-loss efforts as more calories are burnt off over the same period of time. Also, your blood-sugar levels are kept at a steady level, which ensures a constant energy supply. The body has trouble digesting big LARGE meals, so often fat is resulted. So eat as often as possible, and in small amounts.
- DON'T STARVE YOURSELF!. Extremely low calorie diets end up burning almost as much muscle as they do fat. When your muscle mass drops, your metabolic rate slows with it. Also, your thyroid gland which is responsible for how quickly our bodies process food will basically shut down which will cancel out the effects of your low calorie diet and therefore you stop burning fat. Then when you raise your calories back up to even your old maintenance daily total, you start gaining your weight back. That's why going on real low-calorie diets and starving yourself DO NOT WORK! Anyone who suggests that starving yourself, or going on some sort of a regime similar to anorexia or bulimia to lose weight are complete ignoramuses, so do not listen to them. So stay away from pro-ana people at all costs.
Some background on nutrition and physiology
BMI Body-Mass index. A 'score' is calculated from two factors: Your weight and your height. Not an accurate way to determine or not whether you are fat or not, as the value of weight incorporates not only body fat mass, but also muscle mass, bone density etc. A bodybuilder would be regarded as 'fat' on a BMI scale.
Glycemic Index The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. Carbohydrates that breakdown slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have low glycemic indexes.
Aerobic: Requiring the presence of oxygen.
Anaerobic: Not requiring the presence of oxygen.
Glycogen: A chain of glucose molecules. Glucose is stored in the form of glycogen.
Cardiovascular: This word refers to the heart. Cardiovascular exercises are exercises which raises your heart rate, (usually for an extended period of time for any effectiveness).
Metabolism: Metabolism are the chemical reactions which occur in your body. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which chemical reactions occur in your body. Therefore for losing weight, the faster your metabolism, the better (more energy burned in less time).
Carbs, Protein, Fats.. etc.: 'Food' can be effectively categorised into 7 different groups: Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, Water & Fibre. Carbs, proteins and fats are known as the macronutrients.
Carbohydrates: Carbs provide the body with energy. Carbs are specifically molecules which consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are two types of carbohydrates: Simple & Complex. Simple carbohydrates taste sweet. Glucose, fructose (from fruit), sucrose, galactose, lactose & maltose (which are all relatively small molecules hence 'simple') are all simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates (commonly known as 'starches') are chains of glucose molecules. Hence they are bigger molecules, ergo 'complex'. Since simple carbohydrates are smaller molecules, the body can metabolise them faster than complex ones. Therefore the energy released by eating complex ones are more sustained and more slowly released compared to simple ones.
Protein: A protein is a chain of amino acids. Amino acids are small molecules which are the building blocks of our bodies. Amino acids provide our body with the basic building blocks for us to grow and for tissue repair. Bodybuilders obviously need a higher amount of protein intake as they need the extra amino acids to build their muscles. There are two types of amino acids, essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are ones which the body cannot produce, so the only way for us to get them is from our foods. Non-essential amino acids are ones which our body can produce, so it isn't essential that we have to eat them.
Fats: A normal fat molecule consists of fatty acids joined with glycerol. A fatty acid is a long hydrocarbon chain with a carboxyl group on the end, and it's this group which makes the fatty acid.. an 'acid'. This is the same reason why protein amino acids are 'acids', it's because amino acids also have a carboxyl group on their molecular structure. Of course, there are different types of fatty acids, and it is this which determines the properties of the fat itself.
Oils and Fats are basically the same thing. Oils are fats which is liquid at room temperature, and fat is fat which is solid at room temperature.
Saturated fats are fat molecules in which all the carbon chain bonds are 'saturated' with hydrogen atoms.
Non-Saturated fats are fat molecules in which NOT all the carbon chain bonds are filled with hydrogen atoms.
Non-Saturated fats are more healthier than Saturated ones. This is because like stated above, the molecule is not 'saturated' with hydrogen atoms, meaning less bonds for the body to break up. This means that the body is able to burn them off easier than saturated ones. The space where the hydrogen atoms should be are replaced with double bonds. (A bit of chemistry knowledge here helps people.)
Mono-unsaturated fats are fats which have ONE space of hydrogen on the carbon chain replaced with a double bond and is the type of fat that doctors believe to be one of the most healthy.
Poly-unsaturated fats are fats which have multiple double bonds.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are fatty acids which the body can't make itself, so they need to be taken in by the body. Essential fatty acids fall into two groups: Omega-6 and Omega-3. The 6 and the 3 just refers to the position of the first double bond on the carbon chain. Omega-6 fatty acids are pretty easy to find, it's in cornflower oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are harder to find, they are present in some seeds, nuts and fish. Doctors currently recommend that the ratio of intake of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats be around 1:1 instead of 20:1 which is of the average Westerner's diet, which is why many nutritionists recommend eating fish alot.
Conclusively what fats should I be eating then? Concentrate on mono-unsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, or on the essential fatty acids. Try to balance out your intake of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish (tuna/trout/salmon) atleast 3 times a week.
Vitamins are small molecules which the body needs in very small quantities for daily functions. They act as enzymes and catalysts for many of the essential bodily functions, and are hence VERY important. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, which is why it's essential to NOT cut out fat from our diets. Fats are needed by the body to survive. The vitamins the body needs are Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, D, E, K, Pantothenic Acid and Biotin. Fruits and vegetables are high in these vitamins.
Minerals are elements which are also needed by the body in very small amounts in order to create molecules needed by the body. Here are some minerals needed by us: calcium, chlorine, chromium, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.
Water is needed by the body to maintain health. The body consists of approximately 60% water.
Fibre are things which we eat that cannot be digested.
ATP: Adenosine Triphosphate. The fundamental molecule the body relies on for energy. Carbohydrates, protein and fats can all be used for energy, where the body converts each into ATP. Because ATP is so important, the body has several different systems to create ATP. These systems work together in phases.
ATP comes from three different biochemical systems in the muscle, in this order:
1. Phosphagen System - Your muscles contain enough ATP for about 3 seconds of work. To replenish the ATP levels, the muscles make use of a high energy compound called creatine phosphate.
2. Glycogen - Lactic Acid System - Once the initial ATP is depleted in the muscles, the energy rich source of glycogen is then broken down into glucose, which is then further turned into ATP by anaerobic reactions, resulting in energy and lactic acid.
3. Aerobic Respiration - In this process, oxygen is involved (hence 'aerobic'), the glucose can be broken down completely into carbon dioxide and water (and energy). The glucose can come from the breaking down of the remaining glycogen stores in the muscles, absorption of glucose from the intestines from food or the breakdown of the liver's glycogen stores. The aerobic system is important for weight-loss because the oxygen can also react with the body fat stores present in the body to produce ATP. In extreme cases (such as starvation) protein is broken down to amino acids, which are then converted to ATP for energy. The aerobic system produces ATP at the slowest rate out of the 3 systems, but can continue to operate for an indefinite period of time. During the aerobic system, the macronutrients are prioritised in the following rank: carbs, fats then proteins. That is, during the system, the body will tend to burn off your carb supplies first, then your fats.. etc.
There are generally two popular paradigms at the moment in losing weight, in which the majority of all popular diets all fall into:
- Low Carbohydrate diets; in which you practically cut out carbohydrates (atleast initially) from your diet, instead relying on fats and proteins for energy.
- Reduced Calorie/Calorie Deficit diets; in which the aim is to burn more calories than you eat (or said in another way, eat less calories than you burn).
An important note on Caloric Deficit diets & an elaboration upon the importance of keeping high your metabolic rate: Like described at the top of this article, calorie deficit diets are based on the premise that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. This is true, however if you want most of your weight lost to be body fat, you will also have to watch HOW you consume those calories and WHAT those calories consist of (e.g 6 small meals a day, fruit & vegetables, minimal saturated fats and sugar etc.).
Also, eating more efficiently revs up your caloric expenditure total, which means more calories burnt vs. the number you consume. For example, we have a certain diet where John consumes 2,000 calories per day (in good healthy foods relevant to weight loss), in 3 big meals, but burns off 2,500 calories per day. That results in 500 excess calories being burnt off, possibly much from body fat.
THEN we introduce the 6 small meals rule. Since doing this speeds up oneís metabolic rate, we shall speculate that this results in John now able to burn off 3,000 calories a day instead. Then letís introduce some HIIT training, which ups his metabolic rate even further for many hours on end.. and letís guess that he now burns upto 3,300 calories per day! Now of course assuming he still consumes the same amount of calories (2,000), he is burning an 1,300 excess off instead of just 500, overall resulting in more body fat loss. Now it was stated above that weight lifting increases your muscle mass, which in turn increases your resting metabolic rate (BMR).. and this essentially means a permanent increase in your metabolic rate. So instead of John burning off an average of 2,500 cal a day, if he became a beefcake he may be burning say.. 3,500 calories a day instead! What a great reason to lift weights.
Fad-diets (Bad diets): These diets usually revolve around some extreme form of eating method, and anyone who is even half intelligent would know NOT to waste time on these diets. The majority of fad diets revolve around the fasting principle, where they basically starve themselves.
The effects of fasting diets:
- Rapid weight loss within the first week or so, where the overwhelming percentage of weight lost is water weight.
- The slowing down of your metabolism
- Permanent damage to organs if sustained for long enough
- The regaining of alot of the weight after the diet is halted.
There are a variety of fad diets out which claims to lose weight, however many of them results in mainly water being lost, not fat. These diets include the Beverly Hills diet, Cabbage Soup diet, Grapefruit diet, Hollywood diet and Scarsdale diet. Any other diets which are not necessarily 'fad' but still too ineffective or unhealthy will be omitted from this section.
Atkins Diet: One of the most effective diets out today and a prime example of an effective Low-Carb diet, the Atkins diet revolves around the hypothesised principle that if carbohydrates are effectively eliminated from the diet, then the body begins to convert to using fat for energy instead.
The diet starts off with an 'induction phase' (usually 2 weeks or so) where no more than 20 grams of carbs are allowed each day. It's this phase thats the hardest to get through. This works by inducing a state of ketosis in the body. Ketosis is when the body believes that it's starving (of carbs), so it turns for fat to burn instead. Slowly over time carbs are reintroduced into the diet. To maintain your weight, you must retain this diet for the rest of your life. Going back to your normal diet of moderate levels of carbs will result you in regaining alot of the weight. There is a relatively large initial weight loss which is mainly water.
Pros: It really works. You're never hungry. You can eat as much protein and fat as you want and still lose weight. No portion control. Relatively healthy as long as some carbs are allowed in the diet.
Cons: Not a balanced diet. Weight can return quickly if the diet is halted. Often high in cholesterol. Bad breath. Lack of vitamins and minerals (especially during the induction phase). Health issues linked with various organs such as the liver and heart. Argument over whether significant amounts of protein is sometimes burnt aswell as fat. Lack of energy issues (especially during induction).
Fit-for-Life diet: A food combining diet which bases around eating specific combinations of foods at certain times of the day. Overall 70% of the diet is fruit and vegetables with the other food types making up the other 30%. Fit For Life is based on the premise that your body needs to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. The diet creator claims that you should never mix proteins and starch foods together. The digestive system produces enzymes when you consume protein that nullify the enzymes produced when you consume starch (and vice versa) thus halting the digestive process. The food then sits in your stomach "putrifying" and causing toxins. The creator believes that poorly combining foods, not over-eating and lack of exercise causes weight-gain. The diet suggests that you should eat high-water content fruits for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, there is a wide array of food available for you to eat, however proteins and starchy foods should not be eaton at the same time. Overall in terms of what foods are allowed in this diet, there isn't too much restriction. Exercise isn't required, but encouraged.
Pros: Should lose weight. No portion control. Rapid weight loss.
Cons: No scientific basis to some of the claims. Rules are complex and often difficult to follow for the average dieter. Combinative dieting isn't as beneficial as claimed. Requires drastic changes to your dieting.
Body-for-Life diet: The diet is a 12 week fitness plan. You eat foods high in protein, and exercise is emphasised. There isn't too much restriction on calorie control, so you won't be feeling tired. The program boasts a steady loss of 1-2 pounds per week, plus an increase in muscle mass (which helps weight-loss as muscles are excellent calorie burners). This diet is a lifestyle change. The actual change itself happens throughout the 12 weeks, once you reach your target weight range, you simply maintain the diet, for life. Portions are emphasised, not calories. You eat six meals. Most or all of the meals are relatively small, and contain servings of protein and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables should be eaton in atleast 2 of the meals. You are allowed a cheat day once a week to eat whatever you wan't. You MUST be willing to exercise for this to work to efficiency. The exercise routine is mainly cardiovascular exercise for 20 minutes each session, 3 times a week. (Effective cardio is explained in the Exercise section of this post). You also lift weights for atleast 45 minutes per session, 3 times a week to increase muscle mass.
Pros: A healthy balanced diet. Encourages good eating habits. Exercise is emphasised.
Cons: Not suitable for someone who is 'lazy' to exercise.
Carbohydrates Addict diet: Bases around the premise that people become addicted to carbohydrates due to their insulin implecations. The diet allows you to only eat one serving of high carbohydrates food per day. There are three types of meals: reward meals (you can eat any food you wan't but they must be 'balanced', i.e 1/3 low-carb proteins, 1/3 high carbs, 1/3 low-carb vegetables), complimentary meals (one serving of meat plus 2 cups of vegetables), complimentary snacks (same as the complimentary meals, but 1/2 the size) and salads. You begin on an 'Entry Level plan', where you are allowed two complimentary meals plus one reward meal per day. Then depending on your goals, the diet is modified in the form of differing numbers of the each type of meal stated above. You are allowed unlimited amounts of non-sugar drinks. Exercise-wise, it isn't necessary but very much advised so.
Pros: It does work. No forbidden foods.
Cons: Not enough emphasis on exercise, Based on false scientific premises.
NutriSystem diet: This diet works due to it's ability to limit calories. Emphasis is on portion-controlled and calorie-controlled eating. There are several variations of the diet, depending on your goals and they differ by their total daily calorie limit. You are allowed three meals per day. The meals consist of atleast the integral foods: fruits, vegetables and daily products. You are also recommended to eat an unlimited size salad for your lunch and/or dinner meals.
Pros: Not much effort in preparing the meals. Not too carbohydrate-restrictive.
Cons: Portion control. Calorie control.
Hip & Thigh Diet: This diet encourages a very low-fat intake, lots of fruits & vegetables and regular exercise. You eat three meals a day, and the diet is based on proven dietary facts. The diet doesn't help you specifically lose weight at the hip or thighs (don't ask me why they named it the 'Hip & Thigh diet').
Pros: No calorie counting. Well balanced nutritionally. You will lose weight, and be able to keep it off. Good for vegetarians. Minimal hunger as the serving sizes are quite generous.
Cons: Fat intake a bit too low. High effort in making the meals. Plan must include exercise.
Pritikin: This is a low-fat, high fibre diet. This diet must include exercise, atleast 45 minutes of walking per day. A maximum of 400 calories per pound is restricted for every meal. Complex carbohydrates are emphasised over simple ones. Fruits and vegetables are emphasised.
Pros: No portion restriction. Suitable for Vegetarians. Nutritionally safe. Encourages healthy eating. Can be helpful for heart conditions.
Cons: Excludes some animal fats and diary products. Restrictive and hence difficult to follow long-term. Calorie counting. The diet is low in calcium.
Protein Power diet: Another Low-carb diet, this is similar to the Atkins diet. Emphasis is on high protein, low carbs. There are 3 stages to the diet: Stage 1 'Intervention', which is similar to the 'induction phase' of the Atkins diet. Carbs are practically banished during this phase (only very little carbs are allowed), and this stage is followed until you are near your ideal weight. Stage 2 'Transition', is where carbs are slowly reintroduced into the diet until you are at your idea weight. Stage 3 'Maintainance', is where you slowly increase your carb intake to the stage where you can maintain your weight.
Pros: It really works, if followed correctly. Does have some scientific basis.
Cons: Initial weight loss is fast, but it is water, in which it returns fast later. Energy issues. Not a balanced diet as it cuts out many healthy foods.
Slim Fast diet: This is a meal replacement diet in which breakfast and lunch is replaced with Slimfast shakes. You eat dinner as normal. Each shake has about 240 calories, and combined with a normal dinner meal, you should be eating about 1200 calories per day. The Slim Fast diet works because of it's low calorie content.
Pros: A good diet for the more overweight dieter. Very simple to follow and convenient. Fast weight loss.
Cons: Repetitive. Doesn't teach good eating habits, not a balanced diet. Expensive.
South Beach diet: Bases on the known principle that excessive carbohydrates cause weight-gain. But instead of opting for another Atkins style resolve, the diet splits up the carbs into 'good' and 'bad'. Emphasis is also made upon 'good' and 'bad' fats (mono-unsaturated to saturated etc.) You eat 3 meals a day, with snacks allowed. There are 3 phases. Phase 1: Normal portion sizes are maintained but carbs are effectively cut out (for 2 weeks). Phase 2: 'Good carbs' slowly reintroduced into the diet as you reach your desired weight. Phase 3: Maintain your current carb levels etc. to maintain your weight. Little adjustments to the macronutrients percentage of the diet is allowed. If you start to gain weight again, return to phase 1.
Pros: Scientifically based. Improves cholesterol and insulin levels. Does not cut out any food groups, rather an equilibrium between the different groups is found. Low drop out rate. You don't have to exercise.
Cons: Similar to most of the other Low-Carb diets.
Subway Diet: This is a low-fat, reduced calorie diet. A typical meal day includes coffee for breakfast, a sub for lunch and a sub for dinner. (Oils and mayo are emitted from the subs). Unlimited diet soda is allowed throughout the day.
Pros: Very easy to follow, convenient. No cooking.
Cons: Boring. Not enough vitamins and minerals. Expensive.
Sugar-Busters diet: Bases around the hypothesised principle that sugar is toxic, and that sugar being a simple carbohydrates can instigate weight gain. Refined carbs are effectively cut out in this diet. However some healthy foods are also cut out as the overall main emphasis is on foods which has a low glycemic index. The diet is based around a 30% carbs, 30% protein and 40% fat eating pattern.
Pros: Eliminates alot of junk foods. Very clear food guidelines. No portion control. No calorie counting.
Cons: Sugar is not toxic, in contrast to the diet's claims. Eliminates too many healthy foods.
Suzanne Somers This diet incorporates many ideas, mainly a diet based around food combining and Low-Carb methods (like Atkins). Refined foods are restricted and fruits & vegetables emphasised.
Pros: Eat all the fats and proteins you like. Reduces junk food. No portion control. Encourages lots of small meals.
Cons: High fat/protein is linked to health conditions involving some organs like the heart and liver. Low in fibre. Combinitive food guidelines hard to follow. Some ideas not proven by science.
Weight-Watchers A very popular diet based around a points system, in which points are allocated to each food based around fat, fibre and calorie content. Each person is set a target score for each day, and that person can eat any variety of foods which meets up to that score. You are encouraged to join the support groups.
Pros: Any foods can be eaton. Support groups gives very good motivation. Proven weight loss with excellent track record. Promotes good eating habits and is safe.
Cons: Slow weight loss. Often difficult to work out how many points a non-weight watcher product constitutes as.
Zone Diet A diet which is based around the principle that it optimises the body's metabolic processes by regulating blood sugar levels. The macronutrient percentage is based around a 40% protein, 30% carbs and 30% fats ratio. The carbs utilised in this diet are fibre high fruits and vegetables. It works because of it's low calorie net.
Pros: Lots of fruits and vegetables. Low 'bad' carbs and 'bad' fats. It works. Encourages lots of small meals.
Cons: Relatively complex and difficult to follow. Restricts some healthy foods. Low in calcium.
An introduction to why our society is getting more fat (in terms of activity level):
Our occupational and incidental activity has decreases dramatically, even though for many calorie consumption has been constant. For example, instead of going out to hunt for wild animals for food, we drive to work and then sit at an office desk all day long.
There are several things you should concentrate on in the exercise department to lose body fat and to keep it off:
- Increasing incidental exercise: Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to school instead of getting the bus. The effects of these individual actions accumulate and the results become powerful.
- Increase occupational exercise, if possible. That is, the natural low-activity state of your job (or education/schooling) may be a problem.
- Re-prioritise your leisure activities. Go running at the beach (cardiovascular exercise, which is elaborated upon later below), play sport instead of video games etc. Weight lift to increase your muscle mass (also elaborated below, and in the WANNA GAIN MUSCLE MASS thread).
Cardiovascular exercise (or cardio, in short) raises your metabolic rate and also burns you body fat as you're performing the session.
Weight-lifting is a long-term insurance against weight-gain, as it gains you muscle mass. An increase in muscle mass constitutes as an increase in your metabolic rate. Therefore your body becomes a more efficient calorie burner, as you become buffer.
There are plenty of threads in this forum (including the WANNA GAIN MUSCLE MASS thread) already for weight lifting, so lets concentrate on the details of cardio for now.
Why/How does cardiovascular exercises help me lose weight?
Cardiovascular exercises raise your heart rate for a prolonged period of time, which hence utilises the body's aerobic energy system. As explained above, the aerobic system is the only energy system where body fat can directly be used to create ATP. That is, cardio is an exercise which directly burns you body fat off your body. ALSO, cardio increases your metabolism for a good few hours after the session, which will also help you burn off more calories.
- It's important to note that how effective you perform your cardio is based around your heart rate, not necessarily how fit you are. It's all about the heart rate. For best results, you should be able to keep your heart rate at the target zones for the time specified, it's not necessarily about who can sprint the fastest.
- Cardio for weight loss is most effective before a meal and in the mornings.
- Regularity: One of the most important cardio points to remember is that you really should perform the cardio regularly. The reason for this is after a certain period of time (average is 1 to 2 weeks), you will begin to go through 'detraining' where the benefits of training/cardio exercise are reversed. So for example, if you run regularly, and then suddenly stop for 2 or 3 weeks, after that you will find your body to have undergone detraining and you will be unfit again. Of course, if you are unfit, you will be less likely to keep up endurance and hence, less results may result.
- Stretching: You should definitely not neglect stretching while doing workout exercises. Why stretch? Stretching decreases post-exercise soreness, assist injury prevention, improve posture and promote better quality of movement. You should stretch after each exercise the group of muscles you just worked out. Slow rhythmic stretches are better than just quick stretching. This is because our muscles are somewhat elastic. Quick stretches just promote muscles to bounce back, which may result in injury while slow stretches really promote the positive permanent effects of good stretching on the muscles.
- An important note to remember is that your body is adaptive. So if you just keep doing the same exercises over and over again.. your body becomes used to it and you will tend to experience less results. So vary your routine and types of exercises you do often, as to challenge your body.
There are two forms of popular cardio effective for losing weight:
- Aerobics cardio: Just a reminder: cardio is about the heart rate. For aerobics cardio (using running as the example), your aim is to keep your heart rate at 70% of your maximum (about 140 beats per minute) for atleast 30 minutes. At 70% MHR, your body burns the most body fat, in comparison to the other macronutrients (i.e carbs and proteins). So again, the important thing is the HEART RATE! If you sway away from this target heart rate, and say go towards 80%, the burning ratio of fats versus carbs and proteins will lower, which means less results. So again, it's important to check your heart rate often, to ensure you're staying at 70%. Now, just an explanation on why being fit or not is irrelevant: If you are unfit, then you will find it easier to raise your heart rate. Therefore, you will be able to keep your heart rate at 70% pretty easily. If you are fit, then you will have to run harder to keep yourself at 70%. That's why it's REALLY about the heart rate, not how fit you are or anything. So just because the guy next door is way more fit than you doesn't mean you won't have just a running session just as effective as him.
Before you start the main running, it's a very good idea to have a 5 minute warmup run at low intensity (low-jogging or even powerwalking) to warm up your body and to get the blood flowing. Then after the 5 minutes, do some stretching of the main muscles. After your main run, do a cool-down, (i.e same as warmup).
Aerobics cardio is effective as it burns you body fat as your running.
HIIT (Interval training): After an initial warmup (5 minute jogging plus stretching), you start off exercising at 60% MHR for 1 minute, and then immediately exercise your *** off (around 90-95% MHR) for another minute. Repeat as many times as you can. There are several variations of HIIT training, but all bases around the principle that perform your activity at different intensities for short durations, before changing to another intensity. Interval training is effective as it's primary purpose is to raise your metabolism for a good few hours AFTER you've done the training session (often promoted as up to 15 hours!!), so you can be comfortably sitting at the couch after the run while your body continues to burn off fat. HIIT is popular for running.
So notice the differences in purpose between aerobics and interval training. Aerobics aim to burn fat AS you're running, while interval training is aimed at burning you fat AFTER your running. A good idea is to do a combination of both. If youíre short on time, concentrate on HIIT.
Here is the one on Building Muscle.
An intuitive beginner's philosophy to muscle growth is an action/reaction approach. To make muscles grow, we must force them to. Your muscles are the same size they are now, due to how hard to you push them. If you rarely use your muscles (i.e guy sits on couch doing nothing all day), then your muscles will be at the size corresponding to how strong they NEED to be.. i.e relatively weak and small, because you don't need to use them that much. Hence, if you want to make them bigger, you need to put more strain on them, making them work more. That's why people with jobs involving lifting heavy things tend to be more buff.
This is essentially the basis behind weight lifting. We are purposely making our muscles work harder than they generally would in real life situations, so that we force their size and strength to adapt to those activities' requirements. The action is working out those muscles more. The reaction is more muscle growth by the body. This concept is referred to as 'resistance Training'. We exercise the muscles, pitting resistance against them (usually by gravitational means), making them work harder.
Now physiologically, it's not that simple. There are two other extremely important things behind muscle growth: Nutrition & Rest. Simply put, if you don't feed your body the nutrients it needs to stimulate muscle growth, your muscles will obviously.. not grow. Generally, you would want a high calorie (energy), high protein diet. A huge beginner mistake is that many people simply don't eat well. That means wasted workouts. More on nutrition later on in the thread. Why is rest important? Your muscles grow during rest time, such as sleep, not while you're working out (common myth). If you don't rest enough, you're not letting your muscles grow and you will tend to overtrain and suffer more injuries. So make sure you get atleast 7-8 hours of sleep per night, while training. Another common myth is that the fitter you are, the less recovery time you need. This is not true. Rest again, I emphasise, is a very integral part of weight lifting.
In summary: The three important keys of muscle growth are: training, nutrition & rest.
As a bodybuilder, there are generally 3 phases we talk about:
- Bulking: During this period we eat like animals and lift hardcore to stimulate muscle growth. Due to the high calorie nature of the diets, we also tend to gain significant amounts of fat.
- Cutting: This period tends to occur right after a bulk, where we diet to shed the fat that we gained during the bulk. It's extremely important to keep lifting weights and keeping your protein intake high, as not to lose muscle mass. Generally, don't expect to gain muscle mass during this phase. You're lifting so that you can MAINTAIN the muscle mass you have.
- Maintainance: Most bodybuilders don't both with this phase. Maintainance simply means maintaining the muscle mass and body fat percentage you currently have, so that you don't have any serious intentions on gaining any more muscle, but just retaining the body you have now while keeping your body fat levels low.
- Advanced nutrition (includes what to eat, when to eat, how often to eat, why we are eating those things, bulking specifics, cutting specifics)
The Basics, you want:
- High protein: Generally speaking, a common feature of all bodybuilding and powerlifting diets are the high protein-ness of it. Protein are the building blocks of your muscles. If you don't consume enough daily, your muscles will simply not grow. This means you are wasting your time at the gym. No amount of hard slogging at the gym will make you a monster if you don't eat enough protein to fuel your muscular recovery.
To calculate how much protein you should consume per day, on a bulk or a cut, simply multiply your weight in kilograms by approx. 2.6 or your weight in pounds by 1.2.
- You weigh 75 kilograms. On a lifter diet, you should consume approx. 75 x 2.6 = 195 grams of protein daily.
- You weigh 165 pounds (75kg). On a lifter diet, you should consume 165 x 1.2 = 198 grams of protein daily.
- High energy: To grow muscle effectively, you need a high calorie diet. No matter how much protein you eat, how well you work out, if you still only eat a daily total of say 1,000 calories a day (a very low amount), you will not grow.
- Spreading out your meals: (going to work, finish off section later)
- Supplementation (including when to supplement, how often we supplement, why we are taking them, bulking specifics, cutting specifics):
Prohormones (someone else may want to do this section, my knowledge on prohormones aren't that good)
Any other supplements people are taking? Post them.
- Training (includes exercises, training techniques, theory, bulking specifics, cutting specifics etc.)
- Misc. Q & A
Q: I don't have the means to get the amount of protein you specify a day! I have school.. and work.. and other stuff and I just don't have time to watch my diet at all. But if I work out hard, I'll still grow big right?
A: No, without adequate and appropriate nutrition, such as getting enough protein, your muscles lack the means to grow and hence it won't.
Q: I never do my reps till failure, this isn't bad is it?
A: To make your muscles grow, you have to push and stress them sufficiently. If your workouts are too un-intense, your muscles have no reason to grow and hence it won't.
Q: Is working out my abs everyday good?
A: Not necessarily, especially if your workouts are intense. Muscles need time to recover, which takes 48-72 hours. Even longer sometimes depending on certain circumstances. If you work them everyday, you will tend to result in acquiring overtraining and injury.
On a side note, supplements such as glutamine and HMB decrease recovery time.
Q: I do 50 billion sit ups everyday so I can lose my fat gut, how come I don't see any results?
A: Spot reduction of fat isn't physiologically possible, although it may seem intuitively common sensical. Situps won't burn you fat off your belly directly, like-wise squats won't burn body fat off your legs and bicep curls won't burn fat off your arms.
Q: I'm a girl and I've been wanting to lift weights to tone my arms lately but I don't wanna become bulky!
A: Generally, you won't. Girls lack the testosterone required for heavy muscular growth.
Results 1 to 20 of 21
05-01-2005, 10:19 PM #1
Wanna lose Weight or Build MuscleRyan
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Lets not forget those lost on 9-11-01
05-01-2005, 11:04 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
Excellent post, very informative. Physical conditioning is soooo important in this field.
05-01-2005, 11:23 PM #3Originally posted by SAFD46Truck
Excellent post, very informative. Physical conditioning is soooo important in this field.
On a side note however I would need to do some research to confirm, but that may be the longest single post I have witnessed... and more importantly read
05-01-2005, 11:35 PM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 1999
- Lakes Region of NH
Very interesting piece. I will have to print it so I can read it a little more thoroughly. Thanks for the info.Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!
05-01-2005, 11:45 PM #5I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
10-25-2006, 07:33 AM #6
Please peddle your snake oil somewhere else.. post reported to WT."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
10-25-2006, 12:48 PM #7
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
- Las Vegas,Nevada
could not resist
Great article with good info. Now for the lighter side. Want to lose weight fast? Try our new Exlax, benefiber, tapeworm and e-coli diet. Guaranteed to lose weight or else. (Not responsible for hospitilization or death).
10-25-2006, 03:50 PM #8
I still recommend the Purina DietPsychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.
10-25-2006, 09:17 PM #9
I recommend my diet of eating everything Fried and everything till you have to unbutton your pants because your stomach is so full....
and i'm 61 175lb
course i'm only in my 20's
03-11-2007, 10:30 PM #10
Yeah I need to work on both for my own good as well ....
but I dunno what muscles to work on during the summer to gain my strength and so fourth but I am willing to learn and willing to do as told but just dunno what I need to work on and what I don't ... As far as my diet well I can go without eating for a couple days but that helps me loose weight faster. And it works but then it comes right back at me then makes me really hungry imao! But I love ice cream which I know will have to go by bye.!
03-12-2007, 02:56 AM #11
03-12-2007, 08:19 PM #12
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
use the supplements the NHL guys are using
Hey everyone, I have been involved in the 911 field for 18 years now, the last two being a patrol Sgt. The thing that really annoys me is that these "fine citiziens" we deal with are getting bigger and stronger and my officres are getting hurt......I've been the strength coach for a lot of guys who went on to play in the NHL, 23 in fact... they are all using these two great new supplements...and I want to even the odds for our brothers and sister's in blue...I have been in many pro training rooms and right now the pro's are using a new stable form of Creatine called Purple K Creatine...amazing benefits, no side effects like bloating, cramps or water retention...the other new innovative supplement s ZEUS, its a natural stimulant that gets your body to produce more of it's own testosterone.... both are in compliance with the CCES and WADA as well as the NCAA
Both can be found at www.hockeysupplements.com as of this Friday
If you want training advice let me know...Train the way the pro's do...
03-14-2007, 11:26 PM #13
Well I Guess If I Wanna Loose Weight I Better Um...
Not Keep Eating Mcdonalds.imao~
03-15-2007, 10:12 AM #14The thing that really annoys me is that these "fine citiziens" we deal with are getting bigger and stronger and my officres are getting hurt
03-16-2007, 08:02 PM #15
i HOPE THINGS GET BETTER FOR YAH..
i AM SORRY TO HERE THAT nOZZLEIE~ TELL THEM TO GAIN MORE STRENGTH AND TO KEEP THEIR HEADS UP. I HOPE THINGS GET BETTER...
03-23-2007, 04:46 PM #16
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
03-23-2007, 05:20 PM #17
Wow. Isn't he just trying to help?
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
03-23-2007, 11:57 PM #18
thanks for the info i might have to print it out.
12-19-2007, 02:27 AM #19
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
I have taken a few college courses that are crap compared to this. Thanks for the time.
12-19-2007, 03:24 AM #20
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