The show was fantastic. One of the things I liked about it was the way she went through a fitness 101 tutorial. I realize that I have worked with some of you for many years, and back in the day we went over BMR and calorie deficit and all the basics. But I haven't done that in a long time, and it is really important. So, whether this is new material or a review, here we go.
Everything starts with your BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the amount of energy your body uses each day at rest.
You can calculate an estimate of your BMR here http://www.myfitnesspal.com/tools/bmr-calculator
You can also get your Resting Metabolic Rate measured at one of the facilities in town that specializes in metabolic testing, such as Baseline Fitness or Max Sports. This is most accurate, but not necessary. You can also make a very quick estimate by adding a zero to your body weight.
What is your BMR? _____
Mine is 1309 calories. This is the approximate number of calories my body burns if I sit on the couch all day. So if I don't plan any activity and I don't walk or work out, I would need to stay under 1309 calories to prevent weight gain.
Luckily, I am active now. I get to multiply by an activity factor based on how active I am.
Multiply your BMR by 1.1 if you work at a desk, and do simple activities around the house.
Multiply your BMR by 1.2 if you have a job or do work that requires standing or walking.
Multiply your BMR by 1.3 if you have a very active job or do work that requires lifting. This one was me.
This is your calorie requirement per day. What is yours? _____
Mine is 1309 x 1.3 = 1701 calories
This means I need to eat approximately 1701 calories per day to maintain my weight.
But wait! There's exercise.
I average about 500 calories a day burned from exercise (this is in addition to my activity, job, housework, gardening, etc.) That is why I can eat 2,200 calories a day and maintain my weight. It has been like that for years. That's a LOT of food! In addition to that, Jillian said that on the Biggest Loser, all green vegetables are considered free calories. So I can eat 2,200 calories plus all the veggies I want. Life is an adundant feast!
OK let's keep going. Are you with me?
So my BMR is ~1,300 calories.
My BMR adjusted for activity is 1,700.
My calorie requirement per day with exercise is 2,200 calories.
The important question, then. What is my goal?
If my goal is to maintain my weight, all I need to do is keep up my workouts and activity level, and keep my caloric intake under 2,200 calories.
If my goal is fat loss, then I need to take it a step further. I need to create a calorie deficit. In other words, I need to burn more than I eat; so the body's stored fat supply (the junk in the trunk, or mine is around my waistline) gets used.
This is where the fun begins. We all know that we need strength training and cardiovascular exercise to be strong and healthy. We women need muscles! And our heart, lungs and circulation need to go for awesome, long hilly walks.
The key is to do these things in your target heart rate range. Still have your calculator out? This is important. And I am going to ask you what your target range is this week so have it memorized. <--I mean it.
Take 220 minus your age.
I am 49, so 220 - 49 = 171. This is called my Max.
Your Max is 220 - (your age) = _____
Once you have your Max, you need two more calculations:
Multiply 0.75 x (your Max) = _____
Multiply 0.85 x (your Max) = _____
This is your target range. Your target range is _____ to _____.
Mine is 128 to 145:
0.75 x 171 = 128
0.85 x 171 = 145
Your job is to get up to and stay within your target heart rate range the majority of the time you are exercising.
The best way to measure this is with a Polar Heart Rate monitor. But it can be done manually by finding your pulse, measuring for 6 seconds, then adding a zero. I will be asking you to find your heart rate this week. Be ready! Bring your monitor, or know how to find your pulse.
Are you still with me?
OK, I have already established that I can eat approx. 2,200 calories and maintain my weight. But what if my goal is fat loss? Here's how that works.
To burn one pound of stored fat, I must burn 3,500 extra calories.
So you get to decide how fast you want to burn fat off.
35 extra calories burned a day and you will lose about 3.6 pounds in a year.
250 extra calories burned a day and you will lose about a pound every two weeks.
500 extra calories burned a day and you will lose about a pound a week.
1000 extra calories burned a day and you will lose about two pounds a week.
And here, I agree with Jillian when she said that anything above that is unrealistic. Life is not like the Biggest Loser. The reason they burn so much fat is because they calculate this burn for them based on 6 hours in the gym in their target heart rate range.
So, how does this translate into daily practice?
For me, if I want to lose two pounds a month, I would look for a combination of more exercise or less junk food to add up to 250 calories per day. Do that consistently, and the body burns the stored fat for fuel. It is biochemistry. That's just how it works.
If you didn't know any of this (or had forgotten), then you are about to start a long and wonderful journey. The more you understand how the body works, the easier it will be to make choices that support your health. You absolutely must know how many calories are in the foods you eat, so you know the difference between a good choice and a bad one. I love my salad at O'Charley's but I also know it is over 900 calories, and that is without the rolls.
This math and biochemistry is mind blowing! Exercise is the key. Anytime we try to do this without exercise, by only restricting calories, we are setting ourselves up for failure. It can't be maintained. You must become someone who exercises daily. Walk, walk, walk! In your target heart rate range. For an hour sometimes. Almost every day. And lift to keep those muscles the calorie-burning machines they love to be.
Yes, I understand how hard this is. Some of you are not working out at all right now. Some of you are struggling to get in one session a week. I get it! In that case your next step is to meet with me individually, read my book and come to my seminar. Get to the bottom of why you keep putting other things first. You know what to do, but don't do it. It can feel overwhelming. There is healing for that! No one is too busy and there is always a way. But you have to start by getting real. Understand your body and how it works. Then create a daily practice (walk, walk, walk!) that supports your goals.
'Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?' [Mary Oliver]
Your one wild life. It is precious and so are you. Get moving.