Losing Weight in Your 50’s……and Keeping it Off

LOSING WEIGHT AFTER 50……….AND KEEPING IT OFF

When I was posting this article I was looking for some pictures of over 50’s being energetic and all google came up with was people that looked to be in their 70’s and 80’s! When did 50 become old? (apologies mum and dad). I myself am 47 this year, I primarily train people from age 45-55 and none of them look like my kids grandparents! So why do some people think that getting to 50 is old? I know for a fact that there are some SUPER fit people in their 50’s that would run rings around many 20 and 30 years that I know. 50 is not old, its a time in your life that you should embrace your wellness and activity levels. The kids are older, you’re a be freer with your time in many ways (restricted in others for sure) but you should definitely  be able to make time in your life to prioritise your health. So instead of searching Google for 50 and active 50 years – I’ll instead use my amazing over 50’s clients! You only need to go to our Facebook page to see many fit and fabulous over 50’s! Click here and see for yourself!

I was asked to write an article on the difficulty of losing weight as you hit your mid 40’s and 50’s. Obviously even my active clients have found that as they have gotten to this stage losing weight isn’t as easy as it used to be, and thats true. It isn’t . Some things have to change as we get older if we want to stay the same size as we were 10 years ago. But the good news is that its really doable. So here is my take on what you can do to lose weight after 50 an keep it off.

 

For many people, maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess body fat can become harder as the years go by.

Unhealthy habits, a mostly sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary choices, and metabolic changes can all contribute to weight gain after the age of 50

One of the main reasons you’ll have to put in extra effort is that your body composition changes as you age. You lose muscle mass at an average rate of 3-5% for every 10 years after age 35, and this can impact the way you burn fat. Your body goes into its aging stage as it leaves the growing one. When this happens, your body doesn’t need as much energy as it used to.

Also, your resting metabolic rate, ie your body’s ability to burn calories while sleeping or sitting on the lounge doing nothing, decreases by about 1-2% per decade due to muscle mass loss and increased fat mass. Our diets usually don’t change enough to account for this metabolic adjustment, meaning weight can creep up slowly but surely with every birthday.

There are many ways you can get around this, however it does take commitment and a change of lifestyle and eating habits.

 

Find an Activity that you Love

Finding an exercise routine that you can maintain long term can be difficult. This is why it’s important to engage in activities that you enjoy.

I always advise finding something that is fun and you enjoy – if exercise ends up feeling like a chore it’s very hard to stick to. So if you like group activities, join a group exercise class, running club or sporting team so you can exercise with others on a regular basis. Group exercise has been proven time and time again to help with motivation and long term enjoyment as well as consistency and long term health.

 

Hormones

It’s wise to get a doctors check up and get your hormones checked. As we age, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones decline, which sets the body up for storing fat instead of losing weight.

Get the doctor to look at your thyroid, testosterone, adrenal glands, and other hormone levels checked—and then take the appropriate steps to bring them back into balance. This can go a long way toward helping people in their 50’s lose weight.

 

Choose the Right Supplements

If you feel fatigued and unmotivated, taking the right supplements may help give you the energy you need to reach your goals.

As you grow older, your ability to absorb certain nutrients declines, increasing your risk of deficiencies. For example, research shows that adults over 50 are commonly deficient in folate and B12,  two nutrients that are needed for energy production. If you are low on energy, its harder to stay motivated.

Deficiencies in B vitamins like B12 can negatively impact your mood, cause fatigue, and hinder weight loss.

For this reason, it’s a good idea for those over 50 to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin to help decrease the risk of deficiency. (Check with your doctor first)

Set Realistic Goals

Don’t plan to lose 10kilos before you head to Hawaii in a month – it’s not gonna happen and if it does, you are very likely to put it back on two days after stepping off the plane and drinking your first Margarita.

Be honest with yourself. How do you feel? How healthy are you? Have you been slacker than usual and a bit lazy? Is your diet not so great?

Decide what is your healthy weight goal to start with – one that effects things like energy levels, your skin, your clothes, your blood pressure, liver function (all those things that may be affected when you see your doctor for your check up). Then set out to lose it slowly, but consistently through sensible lifestyle changes that you can SUSTAIN for life.

Once you reach this goal, reassess how you feel and then decide if you want to choose another small goal. It may be to lose another few kilos, tone up and get stronger, participate in an event now that you are fitter.

Each goal like this you make is another step towards being and feeling healthier. But they are in small, bite sized pieces that are realistic and achievable. Map it out in a diary like you would a savings plan.

Diet!!!

Overhaul Your Diet. Doh.

Just like the 90’s music you loved isn’t the same as it was when you were in your 30s, (even some songs lose their gloss) your metabolism has changed, too, which means you’re burning about 250 fewer calories each day. So if you continue to eat like you did in the early 2000s, and don’t increase your exercise, you’ll inevitably gain weight.

Eliminating the junk food in your diet and replacing it with loads of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can make cutting calories relatively painless.

Limiting foods high in added sugar including sweetened beverages, alcohol mixers, lollies, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, sweetened yogurts, and sugary cereals, is critical for weight loss at any age

Learn to read a nutritional label!

Look for “added sugars” or search the ingredient list for common sweeteners such as cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and agave. Ideally you want the sugar content to be below 10g per serve.

 

Below are some samples of Nutritional panels:

a) b)  c) 

 

a) To look at the sugar content of foods, look at the Carbohydrate (CHO) content. Here, the CHO and sugars are the same (15.9g) so all the CHO in the food item is coming from sugars. Not good!

b) Here there is only 2g CHO but of that only 0.9 comes from sugar. Better, but keep in mind this is a low CHO food.

c) In this example there are 26g CHO but only 1g sugar and 2g fibre – a much better equation to aim for. Note – it’s a vegetable. Hint Hint 😉 That leads me to the next point!

 

Eat More Produce

Vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients that are vital to your health, and adding them into your diet is a simple, evidence-based way to drop excess weight. Of they are also low in calories and very filling.

Change how and when you eat

It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters in your 50’s. Focus on fullness, not portion control, when you are planning your meals. If your stomach’s not full, you don’t feel full, and you’ll stay hungry. When it comes to healthy weight loss and management, you need to strike that important balance between eating until we feel full and satisfied while still decreasing our overall calorie intake. Increasing the protein and fibre content of meals will help keep you fuller for longer.

There are a few ways that you can limit your overall calorie intake without starving or counting calories – let’s face it – that is a real punish!

Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is a type of eating pattern in which you only eat during a specified period. The most popular type of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, where you eat within an 8-hour window followed by a 16-hour fast.

Numerous studies have shown that intermittent fasting promotes weight loss.

Also, some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may benefit older adults by increasing longevity, slowing cell decline, and preventing age-related changes to mitochondria, the energy-producing parts of your cells by giving your digestive system a break.

Eat Less at Night

Many studies have shown that eating fewer calories at night may help you maintain a healthy body weight and lose excess body fat.

One study of 1,245 people found that over 6 years, those who consumed more calories at dinner were over 2 times more likely to become obese than people who ate more calories earlier in the day.

Plus, those who ate more calories at dinner were significantly more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including high blood sugar and excess belly fat. Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Eating the majority of your calories during breakfast and lunch, while enjoying a lighter dinner, is a worthwhile method to promote weight loss.

Increase Your Protein Intake

Eating a protein-rich diet can help prevent or even reverse muscle loss. Numerous studies have also shown that increasing dietary protein can help you lose weight and keep it off in the long especially when balanced with regular strength training.

How many calories you burn at rest, or your resting metabolic rate (RMR), decreases by 1–2% each decade after you turn 20. This is associated with age-related muscle loss. Another reason why strength training is so important.

Research shows that older adults have higher protein needs than younger adults, making it all the more important to add to your meals and snacks.

Embrace Strength Training

Even if you’ve never picked up a dumbbell in your life, now is the perfect time to learn to love weights. Because the secret to losing weight over 50 is this: Build more muscle mass to increase your metabolism (you’ve got about 20% less now than you did when you were 20). The good news is that this is very achievable. Regular weight sessions can help you regain the ability to lose weight like you were able to 20 years ago. Aim to lift weights at least twice a week, whether you use free weights or machines or do body weight exercises. It doesn’t hurt to lift every day—just make sure to work different muscle groups or train differently each day.

Include High Intensity Workouts

Many people as they age think they need to lower the intensity and take up things like walking rather than trying to exercise a bit harder and get their heart rates up. While I understand that if you have been inactive for a while and you decide to take on a program that leaves you gasping for air and screaming in every muscle group that would be very unappealing, to get the weight loss results you want, you need to be aware that you must at least raise a sweat, huff and puff and incur some discomfort! That’s a reality I’m afraid. The good news is that as you get fitter, the discomfort lessens and the happy hormones that exercise induces start to make you enjoy these sweaty sessions more and more.

To help aid in weight loss you need to elevate your heart rate, consume more oxygen than just walking and talking requires (yes ladies – you know what I mean, “lets ‘walk'” generally can mean lets stroll and chat!), and get a bit out of your comfort zone at least twice a week for a minimum of 30mins a day. Short bursts of high intensity exercise strengths muscles, improves heart health and helps to target belly fat.

If however you are new to HIIT then you can start out walking only, but it needs to be brisk. Then gradually add in hills, and more distance – as long as you are sweating and huffing and puffing you are getting there so that’s a great start. Once your fitness level improves, you can add body weight exercises, maybe light jogging and intervals (think run one telegraph pole, walk one etc). Everyone’s intensity level for HIIT is different so start off doing what suits you, your current fitness level, and work in with any joint pain or other issues you may have. Jumping in and doing too much too soon can lead to injury so be guided by a trainer if you are unsure. Bottom line it needs to feel a bit uncomfortable to have any benefit. Low frequency HIIT ie about every 4 days is great if you are starting out as it gives your body time to recover.

Over 50 and already fit? Go for it. If you are already a regular exerciser you can do any form of HIIT or higher intensity training 3-4 times a week, sometimes more for the ultra fit.

The benefits of high intensity workouts for weight loss are :

  • It burns a lot of calories in a short time – great if you are time poor
  • It raises your metabolic rate for hours after you have finished, helping you burn more calories at rest
  • It helps to lose body fat, especially around the belly. But more importantly it has an impact on visceral fat, the unhealthy and dangerous fat around your organs.
  • You are likely to get a gain in lean muscle, which in turn helps to burn more fat at rest by raising your metabolism
  • It improves oxygen consumption
  • It lowers Blood Pressure and reduces your resting heart rate
  • It reduces blood sugar and insulin resistance – very important for warding off Type 2 diabetes
  • There are many ways to get your dose of HIIT – from swimming and cycling, to weight training, to running to walking or mix it all up. Just remember the more body parts you use the better!

Sit Less and Move More

Burning more calories than you take in is critical to losing excess body fat. That’s why being more active throughout the day is important when trying to lose weight.

For example, sitting at your job for long periods of time might hinder your weight loss efforts. To counteract this, you can become more active at work by simply getting up from your desk and taking a five-minute walk every hour.

Research shows that tracking your steps using a pedometer or Fitbit can boost weight loss by increasing your activity levels and calorie expenditure. Ideally aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. 12,500 is now the new recommendation, however if you are starting out, start with a realistic step goal based on your current activity levels such as 5000 steps per day. Then gradually work your way up to 7,000–10,000 steps per day or more, depending on your overall health.

Make the Most out of EVERY Workout

If you’re going to put in the effort to block out the time and exercise, squeeze into your sports bra and lycra and get to a class or the gym, don’t get there and waste your time. You can’t just turn up – you need to do the work. Far too many people think that just because they showed up, they’re working out.  You need to be focused on what you’re doing and push yourself hard enough to break a sweat or at least complete the full range of motion of a certain exercise. Don’t do things halfheartedly!

Check Your Stress Levels

Between paying for Sally’s dance classes, Johnnies uni fees and running the household and working full time, dealing with your own aging parents, being in your 50’s can be a very stressful period in your life.

Emotional eating and a schedule that seems too jam-packed for regular exercise sessions can take over your good intentions. If you want to succeed you need a solution – full stop.

And what’s the solution? Schedule your workouts like they are doctor’s appointments. You wouldn’t flick that because you were too tired would you?

Exercise is more important than brushing your teeth every day. It gives you far more long term benefits than anything you do in your life.

You need to find that routine that you can stick to and make it NON-NEGOTIABLE. Sure, it may mean an early alarm clock if that’s the only time to fit it in, but that also becomes routine and a good habit. The more you do it the easier it is. That is 100% FACT!

Sticking to a consistent routine can not only help ease stress, it can also help you stay on track with your diet. After all, who wants to ruin the benefits of a tough sweat session by eating a donut?

Get Your Sleep

Not getting enough quality sleep may harm your weight loss efforts. Many studies have shown that not getting enough sleep increases the likelihood of obesity and may hinder weight loss efforts.

For example, a 2 year study of 245 women demonstrated that those who slept 7 hours per night or more were 33% more likely to lose weight than women who slept less than 7 hours per night. Better sleep quality was also associated with weight loss success.

Aim to get the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep per night and improve your sleep quality by minimising light in your bedroom and avoiding using your phone or watching TV before bed. Read a book to relax or listen to relaxation music through your headphones is a dark room. Basically try and POWER DOWN. And do it early, don’t get caught up in the latest Netflix series if its going to keep you awake!

Hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin) go into overdrive when you don’t get enough sleep which can lead to excessive hunger and poor food choices as you will be looking for that pick me up.

An early night followed by an early morning exercise session will have you ready for bed again the next night. Keep it up long enough and you fall into a great sleep routine and the early starts won’t bother you. If you are a night owl and like to train in the evening, remember that exercise makes it harder to sleep, so unless you have the luxury of a later start, it may be wiser to switch your day around if possible. You know the old saying, “early to bed, early to rise…”.

Focus on Body Composition

Although body weight is a good indicator of health, your body composition ie the percentages of fat and fat-free mass in your body, is important as well.

Muscle mass is an important measure of overall health, especially in older adults. Packing on more muscle and losing excess fat should be your goal.

Train With Friends that have Similar Goals

Research shows that those who attend group fitness or weight loss programs with friends are significantly more likely to maintain weight loss over time. I believe this to be extremely true based on my experience as a personal trainer of over 14 years and training many people in their 50’s – there is just not the fluctuation with huge weight gains then losses and that yo-yo cycle that I see elsewhere. I put that down to the social side of training which in turn promotes consistency, which is the intended outcome. Consistency get results!

Additionally, working out with friends can strengthen your commitment to a fitness program and make exercising more enjoyable.

 

So in a nutshell here are my biggest tips in summary:

  • Workout with a friend or a group – it will get you out of bed
  • Improve your sleep
  • Check your hormones to see if there are any underlying factors for weight gain
  • Strength train at least twice a week
  • Add in High Intensity to training that is suitable to your fitness level
  • Increase your Protein intake
  • Reduce Stress levels where possible
  • Make exercise a priority and diarise it like an appointment
  • Eat less at night
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake and reduce sugars.
  • Find a training routine that you love and can stick to
  • Sit less, move regularly on the hour if you have a sedentary job.
  • Aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day – doesn’t matter how you get them.

Its not rocket science – Its fixable but it takes commitment. So if you are complaining about your expanding waistline, don’t blame it on your birth certificate – own it and do something about it!

 

 

Effects of Bludging Pre and Post Christmas (ie the Effects of Detraining)

Planning on taking it easy in the lead up to Christmas because it is the party season after all? Think again!

Cutting back or missing sessions will be detrimental to your strength and fitness – ‘Use it or Lose It‘ rings very true here!

If you back off before Christmas and then continue to do less over the Christmas break, you will potentially be detraining for up to 10 weeks! (it’s only 6 weeks until Christmas now and then most of you take a break or go on holidays after Christmas!)

The Facts

Detraining (short-term <4 weeks)

  • Strength can be maintained without training up to 3-4 weeks, but is gradually lost thereafter (strictly speaking, you can temporarily lose strength before this, but it comes back so quickly during retraining that it doesn’t matter)
  • Muscles start to atrophy (reduce in size) after 2-3 weeks, though gains usually come back quickly, at least in beginners. Trained athletes or those with a long training history may take longer to get back to where they left off.
  • Endurance performance decreases by 4 to 25% after 3-4 weeks. That’s huge and hurts to get back. That hill that used to feel OK now feels like a mountain!
  • VO2 max (your maximum oxygen consumption and an indicator of fitness) declines by 6 to 20% at around 4 weeks of detraining.
  • Beginners can maintain endurance performance for at least 2 weeks without training, though recent VO2max gains can be reversed after 4 weeks. So if you are just starting out and feeling great then stop training over Christmas, you’ll be starting again from scratch. Remember that feeling when you first started? Do you really want to go back there?
  • Muscle, strength, endurance, and fat gains/losses vary from person to person. Some will suffer more than others.
  • Flexibility is reduced after 4 weeks of detraining by 7-30%
  • Bed rest/immobilisation/sedentary behaviour (sunbaking?) speeds up muscle atrophy – sleeping in shrinks muscles!
  • Lastly, your metabolism slows (due to loss of lean muscle and less activity) which will lead to weight gain.

 

Maintaining Gains and Fitness over a Break

  • To maintain strength during 4+ weeks of detraining, train at least once per week (for beginners) and twice a week for more trained athletes.
  • To maintain hypertrophy during 4+ weeks of detraining, train at least once per week (for beginners).
  • To maintain endurance during 4+ weeks of detraining, you can lower training volume by 60 to 90%, training frequency by no more than 20-30% in athletes,  but beginners can reduce it by 50 to 70%. Training intensity should be the same. Therefore, if you do less, it still needs to be a hard workout to be effective. The odd walk won’t cut it.
  • If injured, use alternative training forms such as strength training (which can maintain some endurance performance) or underwater running, cycling or swimming.

 

So – if you are pondering taking it easy over the Christmas break, remember that being active should be a year long/life long habit, not something to stop and start. Something is better than nothing so even if its 30mins, just get out there and move each day over the break.

Summer BeachFit 2016 – The Fastest Way To Get Fit and Get Over the Christmas Blowout!

Christmas Festivities getting to your waistline already? Book in Now to Blow Off the Post Christmas Belly Bulge and Start 2016 Fit and Fresh!

Bookings for Summer 2016 Now Open! But Hurry – numbers are limited!

 

BeachFit is a 10 Week Intensive Program that is run by Energy Fitness 3 times a year at Greenhills Beach Cronulla, in the Sutherland Shire.

With the help of the Beach and the Sand Dunes, this high intensity program produces great results year after year (it started in 2006).

The benefits of running on sand are many:

  • Increased effort burns more calories
  • Great for improving leg strength, muscle stabilisation and core
  • Low impact on soft sand is great for joints
  • Increases in fitness are gained quickly
  • Weigh-ins before and after program show consistent body fat loss across participants
  • All participants notice a marked improvement in fitness, body composition, muscle tone and endurance
  • Variety of training in both sandhills and on the beach as well as water work when weather permits.

BeachFit is held in a low key, supportive atmosphere, and there is no ‘bootcamp’ yelling and abuse – just hard work and lots of fun. Every 90min session is different. Finish the session with a swim to cool off (if you’re not already wet) and you will start the day feeling amazing. Completing each session gives you a great feeling of accomplishment and you are guaranteed to enjoy yourself and get the results you want!

Programs are run October-Dec, and Feb-April. All sessions start from the carpark at Greenhills, Cronulla.

The Next BeachFit Program starts Monday 1st February 2016 and runs until 6th April, 2016.

For More Information and to make a booking or enquiry please visit the Energy Fitness Website here.

Bookings are now open, limited numbers available per day.

RESULTS ARE GUARANTEED (the program has been running for almost 10 years with consistent results) AND SUPPORTED WITH NUTRITIONAL ADVICE OVER THE 10 WEEKS.

Testimonials

“I have participated in a number of Simone’s BeachFit training programmes over the past 18 months. Simone offers a fantastic 10 week programme based around high intensity training on sand which is low impact on joints making recovery from each session much easier with little or no soreness in between sessions.

Like many things in life you get out of it what you put into it. If you follow Simone’s training programme and her dietary recommendations & suggestions you are guaranteed to achieve your desired results whether that be weight loss, building muscle mass or general increased level of fitness.

You can achieve even better results if you supplement Simone’s two weekly sessions with one or two other exercise sessions per week. Simone makes the sessions as much fun as possible and no two training sessions are ever the same which is the thing I liked most.

I would not hesitate to recommend Energy Fitness BeachFit to anyone !!”

 Brad Smith, Gymea Bay

 

“Beach fit offers me everything that I need for an awesome workout!  I find the combination of waves, sun, sand and movement a perfect workout for me.  Beach fit has helped me to look and feel stronger. I have also noticed a tremendous increase in my energy level.

In conjunction with running Beach fit has enhanced my level of fitness.  It provides an all over body workout in the best environment imaginable. The mix of working out on the beach one week to sand hills the next provides a varied workout that never gets boring.

A few years ago I took up the challenge of ultra-marathons and beach fit provides me with the extra leg strength required to help me be stronger and fitter to reach the end of those long runs. I can honestly say I can run for 3 hours and not feel as exhausted or exhilarated as doing a session of beach fit.

I enjoy the workouts and look forward to every class”

Susan Jay, Gymea Bay

The Benefits of Strength Training and How to Improve Your Metabolism

 

When most of us think of getting fit, the first thing we think of is that we will be losing weight and burning body fat. But in fact, unless you are obese, these may be the last things you need to think about. Sure, losing that last 5 kilos is always a bonus and generally the hardest weight to shift, and as every woman (and man) knows we always feel a little better when we are less rounded or ‘bloated’. But do we think about what else we gain when we embark on a new training regime or lift those weights to fatigue in class? We should!

Muscular strength and endurance, along with cardiovascular and aerobic improvement, body composition (percentage of body fat to muscle) and metabolic changes should be high on your list of goals to achieve through training. Strength training is essential to achieve the above.

This article is about the importance of being involved in Resistance/Strength Training, especially for women, and not essentially about weight loss.

Many women are literally afraid to lift weights, but the National Strength and Conditioning Association provides these stand points on Training for Women, and if followed, will help you stay healthy, strong and slim for your lifetime. Of course most of these points relate to men too, so you blokes out there – read on!

  1. Proper strength and conditioning exercise programs  may increase athletic performance, improve physiological function (day to day activities) and reduce the risk of injury as we age and are beneficial to both males and females.
  2. Females can hypertrophy (increase muscle size) through resistance training, relatively the same as men, but not absolutely the same. Females have the same muscle fibre types as men, but they are smaller in their cross-sectional area, hence their smaller size gains.
  3. Females will not ‘bulk up’ like a male due to their limited levels of testosterone. It is simply not possible to look like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger by participation in a weight  training program. Unless of course you specifically want that result,  which is a whole other topic.
  4. Resistance Training that utilises multi-joint (eg legs, back and chest) and structural exercises (eg a squat and then shoulder press) is recommended to induce sufficient stresses on the skeletal system and to enhance calcium storage in the bone to ward off osteoarthritis and increase or maintain bone density.
  5. Bone mineral density begins to decrease between  30-40 years of age. Females lose approx. 8% and males 3% of their skeletal  mass every decade and are more susceptible to bone density loss the 3-4 years prior to menopause. As we are never really sure when menopause will hit, it pays to start early and keep going! People who participate in activities that are more non-weight bearing, such as swimming, tend not to have as great a bone density as those who do more weight-bearing exercise. Programs that target the major muscles and joints  of the body have a potentially greater impact on maintaining and restoring bone density, than single discipline exercise activities such as walking.
  6. People who have participated in exercise activities over their lifespan, particularly in the first 30 years of life, are in the best position for making the greatest gains in bone density, than those who discover exercise later in life. However, whilst gains can be  made, there is every chance that bone density will return back to pre-exercise levels if the program ceases. More reason to keep moving!
  7. Resistance Training has demonstrated favourable  changes in body composition with minimal changes in body weight. In other words, body fat loss and an increase in lean muscle mass. The more lean  muscle you have, the better your metabolism.
  8. The more lean muscle mass you build through resistance training, the higher the ‘resting energy expenditure’ (REE). Most of the calories you burn during the day is not when you exercise, but when you rest. Your      heart, lungs, digestive system and most importantly, your brain, work 24/7 and require a constant energy supply. As a result, about 70% of your metabolic demands come from REE. If you are moderately active, you burn an additional 20% of calories during ‘activity energy expenditure’ (AEE). The last 10% comes from simple digestion and breakdown of food and metabolism  otherwise known as ‘diet induced thermogenesis’ (DIT).
  9. Obviously if you want to lose weight and keep it  off and start burning more calories while you rest, you have to exercise. Exercise burns extra calories and helps shift unhealthy stubborn fat, and helps you to preserve and build lean muscles that will keep your metabolism high. Muscle tissue is the powerhouse of resting metabolic rate.
  10. Eating and Energy – if you have enough energy through all food groups, and complex carbohydrates, you can exercise at a higher intensity for longer. Which in turn will burn up more  calories just through exercise (past that 20%) and you will boost your metabolism, improve your digestion, and have positive changes on your hormones. So whilst dieting can make you lose weight in the short term,  the best way to maintain weight is through sensible eating and exercising, and you will ward off the inevitable loss of lean muscle tissue that is related to aging. If you cease to exercise you will see drastic drop in your endurance, strength, power and ultimately additional muscle mass. All of this reflects on your REE – the calories you burn at rest and results in a slower metabolism.

But wait…there’s more………

  • Strength training is essential for injury prevention and increased performance. Through strength work you can tend to the weaker supportive muscles that can get neglected such as the gluteus medius, rotator cuff, hip stabilisers, abdominal and lower back region.
  • Strength doesn’t necessarily have to equate to muscle mass and huge bulging biceps – it can simply refer to your increased ability to recruit extra muscle fibres in times of need, such as when you are running up a steep hill.
  • Strength also ensures your joints, ligaments, soft tissue and bones are strong and sturdy enough to withstand repetitive pounding, in running and most sports.
  • Power and Speed also comes from Strength Training. Plyometrics and explosive exercises such as box jumps, squat jumps, lunge jumps etc result in a greater muscle fibre recruitment, which in turn gives you more muscle fibres available for the explosive exercise you are performing. Eg a sprint finish up a hill!

 

Summary

In a nut shell, don’t always rely on cardio exercises such as running to improve your body and performance. If want to change your body, you will have to change your lifestyle and approach to training. Move more and get your heart rate up, and eat better quality food, but make sure you include resistance training in your fitness regime at least twice a week. You should then reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass, lose centimetres, increase your metabolism, prevent injury and improve your performance results.