Northeast Wisconsin
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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2010
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Weighing fitness tips and myths

When using the scale as your directional indicator, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you’re getting a true and accurate reading. Remember, a person’s weight can fluctuate five or more pounds throughout the day, so by following these three very important but simple rules, you will have a clear-cut and accurate picture of how your true weight loss is going:

  1. Weigh yourself only one time per week.
  2. Weigh yourself on the same day every week.
  3. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Keep in mind that weight loss comes in unpredictable spurts, so don’t get frustrated. If you have a week or two with no weight loss, it’s just your body making re-adjustments that are necessary in order for your progress to continue and be permanent.

Measuring progress without the scale

The scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on what stage you’re in: either the weight is falling off and things are looking great or you’re sitting in a mini plateau where it seems like all your progress has reached its end. These are the times when alternative measures of progress will keep you focused and moving forward toward success.

Try some of these benchmarks when the scale isn’t moving:

  • Body measurements (smaller or tighter) - waist, hips, arms, butt, legs, even the way your clothes fit you.
  • Performance - more endurance during exercise, walking longer and further, exercising at a higher level for longer periods of time.
  • Health - a good check-up from your doctor, lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels, etc…
  • Inner change - Analyze the way you’ve been feeling lately, a higher energy level, a better attitude and outlook, more confidence, how others respond to you, how you look at yourself and the compliments you receive.

These are all great indicators even when the scale has been letting you down!

Exercise

Coupling a healthy, flexible, and well-rounded nutrition plan with an active lifestyle is the single best way to stay lean, healthy, and fit for life. This can mean anything from spending an hour a day for four to five days a week in a gym to just grabbing the opportunity for physical activity whenever and wherever possible.

Try using the stairs more, taking a brisk walk at lunch time, using a treadmill or exercise bike while watching TV or reading a book, working in the yard, parking further away from the office, or taking the dog for a walk each night, whatever works for you. Try it! Even housework will help!

All of these seemingly small bursts of activity, if done on a regular basis, can accumulate into real results and help you reach your goal more quickly.

Spot reduction

Unfortunately, contrary to what you may have heard...it is impossible to reduce fat in a specifically targeted area of your body. Body fat is reduced in layers. So, for example, doing crunches will strengthen your mid-section but will not take the fat off your stomach. Similarly, an activity like walking or running will burn fat all over your body, not just in your legs or butt area. However, you can incorporate a sensible exercise program, along with your new healthy eating habits, to speed up your weight loss while toning your body.

Burn baby burn!

Research has proven that a pound of muscle burns 30 times more calories than a pound of fat. That’s why it is absolutely essential that we preserve our muscle mass while ridding our bodies of those undesirable fat pounds. One way to do this is to be conscious of your heart rate while exercising. The optimal heart rate for burning fat is 80% of your heart’s maximum capacity.

There is an easy way to figure out how to get the most out of your cardiovascular workout:

Here is the formula to find the perfect zone to maximize your fat burning potential:

220 - (Your Age) = (X) * .8 = Your perfect zone

Example: 220 - 35 = 185 * .8 = 148 beats per minute

Tip - If you also do some type of weight training, ALWAYS do your cardio workout afterward.

Reason - During your weight training session you burn up muscle glycogen, this leaves your body searching for an alternate source of fuel when it comes time to do your cardio. The alternate source of fuel will come directly from your fat storage, thus burning more fat at a quicker rate.

Do you have a question you’d like to see answered here in my column? Write or email me your topic and I’ll do my best to answer it in a future article.


Tony Bednarowski is co-owner/publisher of Nature’s Pathways and founder, developer and nutrition counselor for Getyourleanon.com — Good Food, Better Health! He is an International Sports Science Association (ISSA) board certified Nutrition Specialist & Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist with more than 30 years experience in the health and fitness industry as a trainer, nutrition specialist and competitive bodybuilder. For more information, visit http://www.GetYourLeanOn.com or call (920) 850-9983.

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