Posts Tagged ‘fat’

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Fat Loss

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

Fall is fast approaching.  If you’ve had a little too much enjoyment in terms of BBQ and beverages this summer you may need a kick start for the fall.  Here are a few tips to get you back on track.  Set some goals and burn some of that unwanted and unhealthy fat!!

1. Count your steps

Not literally, of course, but by using a pedometer and recording how many steps you take each day. According to The Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research, 10,000 steps a day will get you started on the path to fat loss and cardiovascular health. Some good ways to add to your count? Take the stairs; ditch the email and walk over to the person sitting down the hall instead; or walk with a buddy at lunch.

2. Eat more

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: plan to eat six small meals throughout your day to control your caloric intake. You’ll give your body more fuel to tackle those 10,000 steps!

3. Sleep more

Ok, cut out on the late night talk-show circuit tonight and hit the sack! Studies reveal that two hormones are responsible for your need to feed: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells your body it’s hungry, while leptin tells your body it’s full. When you don’t sleep, ghrelin thrives and so will your appetite, so tonight be sure to get your vitamin “zzzz.”

4. Lift weights

The healthier your muscles are the more they will aid in your showdown against fat. Weight training boosts your metabolism and that, in turn, will melt fat and keep your body incinerating all day.

5. Fiber + protein = fat loss

This twosome helps cut cravings by keeping you satisfied longer by breaking down food at a slower rate in your body. Before the day is through, whip up a protein shake, steam some leafy green veggies or pack dried fruit for your afternoon snack. Whatever it is, just make a point of doing it!

 Article from Oxygenmag.com

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Blasting Fat with Cardio Intervals

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Kelly Kalbfleisch- NPTI Certified Personal Trainer

CoachMeFit Ann Arbor, Manager

As many of you have probably figured out by now, whether from magazines, programs geared towards fitness or from personal experience, cardio interval training is all the fat burning rage. 

“Intervals are an important addition to your training routine because your body adapts to movements and intensities over time.  Repeatedly putting your muscles through the same (limited) range of motion or adhering religiously to a specific aerobic intensity will stall any strength gains or weight-loss goals you may have in mind.”

“An admirable quality of interval training is that its sessions can be brief.  In fact 15 to 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can provide the fitness equivalent of 40 to 60 minutes of continual-speed cardio.  Best of all, research indicates that short periods of high-intensity exercise are better for caloric expenditure than longer steady-state periods, giving you more fat-burning bang for your buck each minute during (and for quite some time after) your workout.”

I enjoy interval training, not only for the increased fat burn, but to beat the cardio bordem.  The sessions keep me engaged and focused the whole time.  I tested out the treadmill interval routine listed below.  On paper, it looks quite easy, but once I got into it, it was a great challenge.  You need to pay attention to your body when trying out these routines.  RPE means Rate of Perceived Exertion.  This is a way to monitor the intensity of your workout without equipment.  The most common RPE scales run from one to 10, with one representing little or no activity and 10 being maximum all out exertion.  Your RPE is a bigger factor in your fat-burning success than following the incline, speed and resistance exactly.  If you feel dizzy or not challenged, lower or raise one or more of your exercise variables until your RPE matches what is reflected in the routine.

Treadmill Intervals
Minutes Speed Incline RPE
0-3 3.5 3 4
3-5 4 3 4-5
5-7 5 3 5-6
7-9 4 4.5 4-5
9-11 5.5 4.5 6
11-13 4.5 4.5 5
13-15 6 6 6-7
15-17 5 6 6
17-20 4 6 5
20-22 5.5 4.5 6
22-23 7 4.5 7-8
23-24 6 4.5 6
24-25 5 3 5-6
25-27 4 3 4-5
27-30 3.5 0 3
       
Elliptical Intervals
Minutes Resistance Incline RPE
0-2 4 0 3
2-5 5 3 4
5-7 6 3 5
7-10 7 6 5-6
10-12 7 8 6-7
12-15 8 8 7
15-16 10 8 8
16-18 6 8 6
18-20 8 10 7-8
20-21 10 10 8-9
21-23 8 10 7-8
23-25 6 8 6
25-26 8 8 8
26-28 5 6 5
28-30 4 3 3-4

I like to get 45 minutes of cardio in, so after the treadmill routine, I hopped on the elliptical for the last 15 minutes.  Try a different cardio machine after the 30 minutes to mix it up even more!! 

Good luck and Happy Fat Burning

*Quotes and interval routines are from Oxygen Magazine

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Burn Baby Burn

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Quick Notes on Energy Expenditure and What it Means for Weight Loss

By Catherine Munaco

Owner, CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

As a trainer, I have one basic rule for clients aiming to lose significant amounts of weight: You must know roughly how many calories you consume relative to how many calories your body is burning on a daily basis. Surprisingly, very few people have looked into their energy consumption and expenditure, and instead take what we call “uneducated guesses”. As humans, we tend to underestimate the calories in our food and overestimate the energy we use during our daily routines and workouts. Clients are often reluctant to spend time tediously logging entries into a food diary, and even nutritionists will say that calculating calories in food is a time consuming process. I simply don’t care. I’ve logged my food consumption, its annoying—yes—but vital, read: VITAL, to progress with weight loss. Luckily, online food journals make tracking easier and less time consuming than it used to be (try fitday.com for a free online food journal). If tracking food every day isn’t something you’re likely to stick with, then track for three days (making sure one of those days is on the weekend). Because we tend to be creatures of habit, you’ll get a general idea of how many calories you eat in a typical day. Most likely you’ll be shocked with the amount of calories you’re consuming. If you eat out, be sure to look up calories on the restaurants website, which can also be shocking. I’ll never forget when I learned that my “healthy” Panera salad contained over 30 grams of fat. Simply substituting the dressing would have saved me over 200 calories.

The other half of the equation, of course, is calories expended. Here, we also see inaccurate guesses. Clients will often tell me they went for a long walk, but when I put them on the treadmill they realize how slow they were really moving. For a more accurate calorie count, I usually suggest a heart rate monitor. Cardio machines typically have a spot for calories burned in a workout session, but even they can overestimate. One time, the treadmill said I burned 800 calories in a 40 minute run; my heart rate monitor said 425. (I would have loved to believe the treadmill, of course, but a female my size would have to run faster than 6 minute miles to expend that much energy in 40 minutes, and I don’t think I’ve ever run a 5:50 minute mile, let alone 8 of them.)

Additionally, my clients usually have no idea how many calories they use at rest. The most simplistic estimation of this value is what exercise physiologists refer to as resting metabolic rate, or RMR. RMR accounts for the energy required by cells to maintain normal bodily functions and homeostasis at rest. Similar to RMR, basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the minimum energy needed to sustain vital life functions. In laboratory conditions, BMR is typically only slightly less than RMR, so the two tend to be considered interchangeable. Regardless, knowing your daily BMR or RMR is crucial to weight loss. Again, people are often shocked to learn how little they burn at rest. Equally frustrating—BMR is lower in females (a result of lower muscle masses as compared to males) and decreases with age. To calculate your age, gender, and weight adjusted BMR, go to http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

Aside from physical activity and exercise, BMR ends up being the most important form of calorie expenditure simply because we spend most of our day at rest. Having a basic understanding of our daily energy needs allows us to regulate and change the foods we eat to better accommodate energy expenditure. In the long run, we want eating HABITS that fit our energy needs. Knowing BMR also highlights the importance of physical activity. On days that we put in a significant workout, our caloric expenditure is as much as 25% greater than our resting levels. That means we can eat more! Exercise increases weight loss when calories are carefully monitored and helps to buffer “bad eating” days (you know you’ve had ‘em).

Research has also shown that exercise can have a counter effect on the natural decrease in BMR with age. Age-related decreases in BMR are typically explained by loss of muscle tissue and increase in fat tissue. Some changes in metabolic activity for muscle also exist as we age, but for the most part we lose active muscle tissue, and therefore burn less calories at rest. However, weight training can help maintain muscle mass that we would otherwise lose, thus keeping basal metabolic rates from plummeting. Some research has even suggested that regular aerobic training in older individuals causes increases in BMR with no increase in muscle mass.

BMR often decreases with age

BMR often decreases with age

So what does this mean for the average person? It means that you need to keep moving and you need to know what you’re consuming relative to what you’re eating. Weight loss only occurs when energy out is greater than energy in, but if we don’t at least have some general idea of what our individual caloric consumption and usage is, we can’t begin to know what to change to see results. Is it a pain in the butt? For some of us, yes. Is it necessary? YES. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a temporary fix. Knowing what your body is doing is the first step to changing habits and creating new patterns for a lifetime of health and wellbeing. Smaller pant sizes are the satisfying bonus.

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Every Woman’s Plight: Dieting with Her Husband

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

By: Catherine Munaco

Owner, CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

A few months back, Robin, the mother of my old college roommate called me to ask me a few questions about diet and exercise for herself and her husband. “Mark and I are going to go on a diet!” She explained giddily. My response was less enthusiastic, but she assured me that Mark was a “meat and potato guy” who was “simply getting dragged along for the ride”. I had heard it before, but I gave her my advice on cardio routines and we were on our way.

Less than six weeks later, Robin called me in a fury to explain Mark’s “diet”. “He weighs himself in the morning,” she lamented, “and if he weighs more than he did the day before, he skips his morning muffin. If he weighs less, he eats his muffin.” She paused before exploding: “HE’S LOST 15 POUNDS! I’VE LOST ONE AND I NEVER EAT THE MUFFIN!”

If this were a rare occurrence, women wouldn’t have such a disdain for watching a male significant other drop 5 pounds in a week by eliminating his midnight snack. But instead, woman after woman has returned disgruntled after attempting to diet with her man.

So why is it so easy for men to drop weight compared to women? The easiest answer is the most annoying one: men’s body compositions are simply designed to burn more calories. Anthropologically speaking, men were the hunters and the protectors. Women had to bear children (which also means fatty breast and hip tissue). As we evolved, men continued to have more muscle mass than women in part because the males that survived had higher muscle masses and the strength to kill for food or protection, and the females that survived had the fat stores to carry healthy children to term. Because muscle is an active tissue, it burns more calories at rest than fat. Men have substantially more muscle than women, both because they have a lower percentage of body fat than women (A healthy level of 8-19% for males compared to 21-33% for women) and also more mass in general. In analyzing body fat, a body is generally divided into two groups: Fat mass percentage (FM) and fat free mass (FFM), which includes muscles, bones, and organs. If we compare two individuals with healthy body fat percentages (a 135 lb woman with a FM of 27% and a 165 lb male with a FM of 14%) the female would have a FFM of 98.55 pounds and the male would have a FFM of 141.9 lbs. That’s roughly 43 more pounds of active tissue for the male. It’s no wonder that skipping a morning muffin can still lead to weight loss when a man’s body will almost always have higher rate of calorie burn at rest (also called resting metabolic rate, or RMR). Whether it’s running outside or watching a movie, women simply do not burn as many calories as men.

To be fair, men have a similar frustration when they reach 30 and realize they can’t eat like they did in college. I call this the plight of the 30-year-old male. Part of this is because careers and families make it more difficult for a man to regularly exercise like he did in his college bachelorhood days. But even more significant is the fact that testosterone levels first start to drop at 30 in males. In some men, testosterone can drop by as much as 2% every year after 30. Among other things, testosterone is responsible for muscle development. (The significantly lower level of testosterone in females is another reason female muscle masses are lower than in males. Sigh.) After puberty and throughout the 20s, when testosterone levels are highest and males see their peak muscle mass, an average man can practically eat whatever he wants and not gain significant weight, as long as he remains relatively active. At this age, men are caloric vacuums. Their bodies can literally burn calories while they sleep. But when 30 hits and testosterone levels drop along with activity levels, men who are conscious of their weight often find themselves nibbling on carrots and whole bran cereal right along with the women in their lives.

The bottom line is that many factors contribute to muscle mass in both females and males. Muscle mass is directly linked to resting metabolic rate, or calories burned at rest. RMR is considered the baseline for measuring caloric expenditure. The intensity level of an activity can be measured by how much greater it is than RMR. If an activity burns twice as many calories than RMR, it is considered to be 2MR, if it burns 9 times more calories per minute, its considered 9MR, and so on. It makes sense, then, that a higher muscle mass leads to a higher RMR, and also a higher caloric expenditure in any activity. There’s not much a woman can do to increase her testosterone levels to those of a man, nor should she want to (a plethora of complications could arise). But women can still fight the weight loss battle more effectively by increasing their own muscle mass. And by staying away from diets with men and muffins.

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Amy Dropping Pounds and Going Strong

Friday, November 21st, 2008

“Biggest Loser” contestants Amy and Shellay are clients at the CoachMeFit studio in Birmingham, MI.  They work out with the owners of the studio, Derek and Kerrie DiGiovanni.

“Biggest Loser” airs Tuesday’s at 8:00pm on NBC.

Nothing celebrates losing a lot of weight like selling all your “fat” clothes in a garage sale. That’s exactly what Amy and Shellay did, vowing that they are so over being overweight.

Amy and her Personal Trainer, Derek

Amy and her Personal Trainer, Derek

If Amy reaches her goal, she’ll be wearing a size-10 dress for the season finale. On Tuesday’s program Amy beat out all other contestants in terms of the greatest percentage of weight loss in a week. She lost 8 lbs for a total weight loss of 66 lbs.

Shellay is on-track to don a size 6 little black dress when she returns. Shellay admits that exercising for hours every day is getting tougher. Boredom, burnout … that’s inevitable when all day, every day for the last six months you’ve been counting every calorie you burn. It’s her personal training sessions that keep her enthused. “I always feel really good after working out with Derek. Sure, I’m exhausted, but my stress and any negative feelings are gone.”

Shellay believes that if you exercise infrequently, you can convince yourself you’ve reached your limit although your body is far from it. But with a good personal trainer you find you are capable of more than you imagined. “CoachMeFit is full of positive energy. I cross paths week after week with the same people and can see their progress.

I would tell anyone who is struggling with losing weight to in invest in personal training, even a few times a month. It would be hard to put a price on the benefits.”

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Amy’s Hardwork Paying Off

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

“Biggest Loser” contestants Amy and Shellay are clients at the CoachMeFit studio in Birmingham, MI.  They work out with the Owners of the studio, Derek and Kerrie DiGiovanni.

“Biggest Loser” airs Tuesday’s at 8:00pm on NBC.

“The energy goes right out of me when I don’t exercise. That’s a real eye-opener,” Shellay observed after a family funeral and other obligations made it impossible to keep up her intense exercise regimen this past week. Contrary to how she might have expected to feel after dramatically cutting down on exercise, Shellay admits she “felt exhausted.”

Amy’s hard work is really paying off. When Biggest Loser last aired two weeks ago, she ranked number one – she had lost the greatest percentage of body fat of any of the contestants. From Shellay’s perspective, this has made as big a change in her attitude as in her body. “She is so much happier now.”

Shellay has mentioned before that she tried all kinds of diets from the time she was a teenager. It wasn’t until Biggest Loser that she realized the role of exercise in losing weight. If you doubt the extremes to which she went to lose weight, check this out — Shellay, her mom, aunt, and cousin all tried a controversial diet that involved receiving injections of animal placenta. Imagine that even as a teenager, Shellay was desperately searching for a way to lose weight, just like her mom.

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Weekly posting #3. CoachMeFit follows Shellay’s progress as a contestant on the “Biggest Loser.”

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

“Biggest Loser” airs Tuesday’s at 8:00pm on NBC.

“Amy and I made up a name for Derek, our CoachMeFit trainer … ‘Stroke’ … because he’s silent but deadly. He earned that name last week by coaching us through one of the toughest and best workouts I’ve had. He has a calm, quiet way of getting me to work harder than I ever imagined.” Shellay explained that exercise is a greater challenge for her than dieting, but she has found the one-on-one time with a trainer is the incentive she needs.

Workouts with Jillian were quite different, as viewers witnessed in last week’s program when her “boot camp” style brought Shellay to tears. After it aired, her friends called to console her. But Shellay believes there’s a positive side to facing the tough talk. It helps her confront the life-long issues that keep her from succeeding.

As a “Biggest Loser” celebrity, Shellay has become a role model for people who’ve struggled to lose weight. “People email me for advice and tell me I’m an inspiration.” Shellay has been asked to speak to different groups about her experience. Yet with all the evidence that she has made a dramatic life change, Shellay can hardly believe what she sees in the mirror. “That can’t be me. I still see myself as fat.”

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Debunking Exercise Myths: A pound of fat is NOT a pound of muscle

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

By: Catherine Munaco, Owner, CoachMeFit West Bloomfield (wb@coachmefit.com)

As a personal trainer and exercise coach, I find myself frequently having to “debunk” the most recent trend in exercise information. I’ve seen a lot of fads in dieting and exercise come and go (remember Atkins and Cinefit?) and the reason they fade out is because they all lack the one basic element in lifelong health and fitness: sustainability. Most fads aren’t well researched. At the end of the day, the programs that stick around are the ones that work for the long haul and include a mixture of basic cardio, resistance (strength) training, stretching, and, sigh, a bit of hard work. We have to think of weight loss and fitness as a permanent lifestyle change instead of a temporary fix. A consistent fitness regime will take WORK, but it can also be fun and rewarding. A good training program will improve muscular endurance, muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility, and will be sustainable for the long haul.

It is a common thought that the key to losing weight is packing in as much cardio (running, biking, elliptical, etc) as possible. Some of my clients come to me thinking that strength training isn’t an efficient way to lose weight. They have read that cardio workouts are all you need for weight loss. I would argue the opposite: it is nearly impossible to sustain any weight loss without resistance training. There are many reasons for this. In the simplest of weight loss equations, calories (energy) intake needs to be less than caloric output. Meaning, you need to burn more calories than you eat. Cardio workouts definitely burn calories, but they do little to build muscle, so once the workout is done and your body returns to its resting levels, the cardio workout is no longer “with you”. Here’s what I mean by this: if you build muscle via resistance training, your muscle works for you all day (and night) long. Muscle is a very active tissue; it’s designed to burn energy and can do so even when we are sleeping. Fat, on the other hand, is not active. Its main job is literally to take energy from your system and store it. With resistance training, you can increase your muscle mass. Even minimal increases in muscle can lead to increases in metabolic rate, or the amount of calories expended a minute, during rest. Therefore, your new arm muscle works for YOU. It’s a mutual benefit. (But don’t take my word alone for it:  http://preventdisease.com/news/articles/muscle_vs_fat_measure_what_matters.shtml )

So why do fitness magazines and websites say that you don’t need resistance training to lose weight? Because in the initial stages of resistance training, you may not always see weight loss. Sometimes, people actually gain a small amount of weight before it starts to drop off. The reason comes from the physical properties of muscle and fat. Muscle is denser than fat, and density is a measure of mass per unit volume. In simpler terms, one pound of fat takes up more volume than one pound of muscle. Our volume is our size. It is possible to lose fat, gain muscle, stay the same weight and still be and look smaller. But how much smaller? Muscle has an approximate density of 1.06 g/ml, and fat has a density of approximately .9 g/ml. Pull out your conversion charts and do some math, and you can figure the volume of pound of muscle to be about 26.74 in3 and the volume of the same weight of fat to be about 31.50 in3 – a difference of 4.759 in3. This becomes a significant difference. In fact, many people who enter into a resistance training program often notice their clothes are fitting considerably looser and they are looking smaller well before they see any weight loss. This is why I always tell clients not to be a slave to the scale. It’s important to keep track of your weight for motivation and to stay focused, but weight is only one part of many important health facets. I have one client who lost four pant sizes and only three pounds, but she is sustaining her new body. Her muscles are working to keep her healthy. Not to mention increases in strength make daily living easier and keep us moving.

The bottom line is that to stay healthy and mobile as we age (and by the way, 60 isn’t old anymore) we have to stay strong. Resistance training helps to increase strength and maintain weight loss. This is why people who drop weight quick and don’t work out at all can’t keep the weight off: they have no method of sustaining their new body. At the end of the day, weighing less is nice, but so is being smaller, more energetic, and freely mobile. So don’t use weight loss alone as a benchmark of your fitness progress. Think about the bottom line and most important part of health and fitness: how do you feel today?

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