Posted by : Barry Mahfood Saturday, April 21, 2012
Among the people I know and see on a regular basis, there are always some who are trying to lose weight at any given time, usually by trying some gimmicky new diet or diet supplement. What's ironic and sad to me is that people actually pay other people so they can eat less. They pay more money for fewer calories. Doesn't seem right. Most fail to lose weight, and those few who succeed just become thin and flabby.
At the gym I see people who are built like bears. Massive, barrel chested, arms bigger than my thighs, they lumber around the gym moving enormous stacks of weights. They are impressive. But their muscle is buried under slabs of jelly-like fat. They are unhealthy, don't look good and - I'll bet anything - are uncomfortable all the time.
Then there are those who are trying desperately to do something that has been proven to be impossible: Spot reduce. They want to get six-pack abs so they do hundreds of crunches. They pine for slim thighs and hips, so they open and shut their legs on adduction machines. Their legs get stronger, but they will never get thinner unless they lose fat. And where fat comes off is up to genetics, not the type of exercises you do.
Instead of hit and miss (mostly miss) attempts to lose weight or build muscle, why not undertake a systematic approach to accomplishing both? This is the path to being lean and hard. There is no mystery to doing these two things.
First, losing weight can only be accomplished successfully by taking in fewer calories than you expend. It's basic arithmetic. Figure out how many calories a person of your age, gender, weight and level of activity needs on a daily basis in order to maintain. Then, assuming that you have to burn 3500 calories more than what you take in (or take in 3500 calories fewer than what you burn), you can figure out how many calories you can eat every day in order to lose X pounds over Y weeks.
Here're my numbers when I started at 303 lbs. According to several online calculators, A man who weighs 303 lbs., is 5 feet 10 inches tall, is 52 years old, and does light exercise 3 times per week is burning just over 3000 calories per day.
Keeping in mind that most medical professionals who know about calorie restriction say that you should not go below 1200, let's say I want to lose a safe 2 pounds per week. That would require shorting myself 3500X2=7000 calories per week, or 1000 per day. Subtract 1000 from 3000 and I get to a calorie intake goal of 2000 per day.
As I lose weight, however, my calorie needs will decrease, so I will have to add activity and/or lower my intake in order to keep losing at that pace.(I actually leveraged my success at losing weight by increasing my exercise, since I could exercise more without too much difficulty as I lost weight.)
So I've been growing muscle and trimming fat. At some point I expect the muscle to be close enough to the surface that its contours give me a nice, sculpted look, and I get to see that elusive bicep vein!