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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Work smart not hard

We all want to look good, reach our goals and get the best results from our training, I think that is pretty obvious. I go to the gym regularly, I have to admit that I am addicted and I often can't wait until I can get in there for my next workout. I am thinking about it now as I write this.

Whilst I am in the gym I hang out with two different types of crowds. My first workout is a boxing class, which is great. It is a really good cardio workout with a lot of core work, we also do weights and resistance training. The class lasts 45 minutes and always leaves me in a sweaty mess. There is a great bunch of people that come to the class who all work hard and all want to get good results. I see the second set of people in the evening, these are the people who frequent the weights room. They also work hard and also want good results but the results are a different type. In general the people in the boxing class are there to lose some extra pounds and look lean. In weights everyone is looking to add some lean muscle or bulk up.

The one observation I have had over the 5 months I have been going to this gym is that not everyone actually gets any results, well visible results anyway. This brings me on to the point of this blog entry, it isn't enough to just work hard.

All I know is that I would be pretty disappointed if I went to the gym most days and nights over the course of a 5 month period and didn't see any results. But I see a number of people in my gym who work incredibly hard, put in the necessary time and effort but don't seem to be getting any where.

If you have been in this situation before I feel for you, I really do and my aim is to help you to identify how you can make the necessary changes to your workouts in order to achieve your goals.

First, the science behind it. In order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat, you need to create a calorie deficit. Every pound of fat in your body contains 3500 calories. If you were to create a deficit of 500 calories per day, you would lose 1lb or fat per week / 4lb per month. That is a healthy amount to lose.
Every 1lb of muscle in your body will help you burn an extra 50 calories per day. Therefore, if you increase the amount of muscle in your body and continue to keep your calorie intake under control you will actually increase the speed of your weight loss.

Exercise alone is not good enough to help you reach your goals. You need to be really careful about how you fuel your body and what your diet consists of. I'm not a calorie counter (I don't meticulously count every single calorie I put  in to my body) but I have a pretty good idea of the number of calories I eat daily. Start by looking at your diet and look at the nutritional information on the packets of the foods you eat, you will be surprised by the number of additives that are in foods you think are healthy.

A bit more science for you;

  1. Calculate your BMR (Basel Metabolic Rate - the number of calories your body will burn at rest)
  2. Calculate how many calories you burn during exercise
  3. Calculate how many calories you eat on a daily basis

If you can create a scenario where (1+2)-3 = 500 then you have created a scenario for healthy weight loss.
Remember that you need to fuel your body for exercise so be sure to still eat a healthy number of calories (a recommended amount for men is 2500 and women is 2000 on a daily basis).

Good luck and enjoy your training.

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