How to reduce your Body Fat
As promised in last month article “how to reduce your body fat” part 3 Activity…
There are many reasons as to why activity is important. Most people think that activity such as exercise is responsible for keeping people trim. This is only partly true.
Exercise as such does not really burn many calories, when you relate it to the amount of body fat you store.
One kilogram of body fat is 7500 calories worth of energy. This means that you can run 3 marathons, a total of 129 kilometers.
Put a different way. To burn 600 calories which is about what you find in one Big Mac and Fries, you need to do one of the following;
1 hour of jogging
1 hour of advanced aerobics
1 hour of vigorous cycling
1 hour of fast swimming
Walking burns about 240 calories per hour.
Lets now think back to last month where I mentioned metabolism. Your metabolism is the rate at which you burn energy. If you have a slow metabolism your body uses less energy to perform the same functions.
I mentioned that one way to speed up your metabolism is to have more lean muscle on your body. This requires you to be active.
Your body is supported by a skeleton. Around each of the bones in your body there are muscles. (Everyone has muscle) These muscles are responsible for your movement. Around the muscle is a layer of fat. These three things largely make up the shape that you are today. Some of this is genetic. Some of this is a result of the choices you have made.
When you were young you were probably very active, you may have walked to school, rode a bike, played sports etc…We use our muscles and they have a reason for being.
As you age, you drive a car instead of walk or ride, you work in an office instead of run in a playground.
As you use your muscles less they start to deteriorate. You lose muscle mass.
Here is the trap if you do not exercise –
As each year passes you have the same skeleton, less muscle and more body fat.
Yes but…I hear alot of people say ” I am still the same size as I was 20 years ago”
This is because the amount of muscle you have is decreasing every year and the amount of fat on your body is increasing every year and you are staying around about the same size.
Your actual lean body mass is decreasing and therefore your metabolism is slowing every year.
Now that you are all convinced that exercise is a must, what should we do and how often.
Assuming we are beginners and we are in good health (see your doctor if you are not sure) I will use the example of walking for our exercise.
There are three stages
1. The habit of activity
2. The base work
3. Specific exercise
1. Habit is the hardest to master. Once you have this then you are right. You build the habit by consciously making an effort to do something. Do something really easy. Try walking for 3 minutes away from your house and then back. 6 minutes of activity. You need to do this everyday for at least 3 weeks and you will have built the first stage of the habit.
This must be separate from any similar activity ie: walking to the train station when you go to work in the morning etc.
You can then increase the distance, however you need to do this for a year before it becomes a life time habit.
As you walk, monitor the thoughts in your head, what are you thinking? If the thoughts are not positive you must also work on changing your attitude to exercise.
2. The base work is what gets you into the right condition to exercise. After you have formed the habit (the first three weeks) you can start to work on increasing the distance of your walks. If you started with 6 minutes of walking. Try walking an extra minute or two everyday. Build up the length of time for your walks until you are walking between 45 – 60 minutes everyday. This may take a month or two. (There are no short cuts – we are here for the long term) Once you can walk comfortably for this period of time you are ready for the specific exercise.
3. It is important now to note that your body is an amazing organism which adapts easily to many situations. This means we must constantly change what we do so that our body doesn’t adapt. If our body adapts it will not be exercise anymore just an activity that we are used to.
We can increase the intensity of our walk in a simple way. Walk the same distance but try to decrease the time it takes. Don’t try too hard on every session, listen to your body and how it feels. Look at the long term picture and aim to improve your time from week to week, month to month etc. Every now and again change your walk, pick a new route, walk in the opposite direction or just break into a jog.
Traps for the young punter
Focusing on the amount of exercise instead of forming the habit.
Giving up because you aren’t making any progress. Progress is usually not progressive and smooth, it comes in lumps. The next lump may be just around the corner.
Becoming disheartened because you can’t manage to exercise everyday. Aim at everyday and be happy if you can achieve a habit of regular exercise no matter how often that may be.
Walking the same walk ‘forever’ because it gets easier and becomes comfortable. This is not exercise, you must exert your body slightly so that it is under load.
What to do
Start something! Try walking as an easy start. Develop a habit.
Aymen Fares is an International Life Coach with clients all over the world. He is based in Melbourne Australia.
find out about his ‘Key To Life’ Manual