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One decade, ten lessons
May 7, 2014
Topics: Personal Training, health fitness tips, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, weight loss and exercise, healthy lifestyle, Fitness Tips, best way to lose weight, fitness, Personal trainer, Baltimore fitness, diet lifestyle change, the best way to lose weight, being present
Chances are by now you’ve heard about the “surprising” appearance and percentage of body weight lost by the most recent winner of The Biggest Loser. Rachel Frederickson, lost almost 60% of her body weight in only five months. The trainers and other contestants could hardly contain their surprise and seeming concern at her reveal and final weigh-in. This would be more shocking if it weren’t the logical outcome of a contest conducted in the manner of The Biggest Loser. The contest is judged on total weight loss and pays no attention to body composition; the percentages of fat mass versus lean body mass. There are some wonderful aspects of the show, but this aspect is very misleading. Don’t be fooled.
In this post I mention that weight is only one aspect of a person’s overall health...the one everyone obsesses over. Unfortunately, our attention to the number on the scale is misguided. What most of us are really concerned about is our body fat - a percentage of our overall weight. When most people say they want to lose weight, they really mean that they want to lose fat. The two are not synonymous. However, some people are still under the illusion that gaining muscle is bad, because it contributes to the total number on the scale or for fear of becoming bulky.
Gaining muscle is NOT bad. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially if you are trying to lose fat. Muscle is expensive, calorically speaking. It takes a lot of calories to maintain and build muscle. The more muscle you have the more energy (calories/food) your body needs to maintain it. Gaining muscle helps you burn fat for energy even at rest, helping you reach your weight loss goals (or fat loss goals) even quicker. Gaining muscle will also make your stronger, not bulkier. Cinnamon buns make you bulky, not dumbbells.
Additionally, when you are too preoccupied with the number on the scale it is way more tempting to crash diet. When people crash diet (ever heard of the master cleanse?) they lose weight for sure - both fat and muscle weight. However, at some point after a crash diet you have to start eating food again. When the inevitable occurs your metabolism is now slower because you’ve lost calorie burning muscle. Meaning, you’ll gain more fat eating the same amount of food that you were eating before. And the cycle begins. You starve yourself to lose weight, you lose fat and muscle, eventually you have to start eating again, but now you get even fatter than you were before, so you starve yourself again to lose some weight…
Stop telling yourself that the number on the scale is the enemy!
Television shows like The Biggest Loser are for entertainment first and foremost. Unfortunately, they perpetuate idea that the scale is the enemy. Contestants are rewarded for losing the most weight, not the most body fat. The insane amount of weight the contestants lose each week is not realistic. It makes a more realistic and sustainable rate of weight loss seem disappointing. If you are trying to lose weight (and keep it off), you want to maintain your muscle mass, if not build upon it. Therefore, ideally most people will be losing some fat, and gaining some muscle each week. That’s why we say it is safe and most effective to lose 1-2 pounds each week...not 25. You have to take a gradual approach to weight loss if you want the results to be long lasting. Remember it’s a journey.
It’s time to end that unhealthy relationship with the scale. To get a more accurate picture of your overall health and weight loss progress find out your body composition. Ask a personal trainer to help you find your body fat percentage, or check out the Bod Pod that comes to Merritt several times each year. It is a quick and highly accurate way to test your body composition and get your estimated daily energy expenditure (the number of calories you burn daily ). The scale is not the be all and end all measurement of your health and fitness. Don’t give it more importance than it deserves.
Joanna Meade (view bio) is a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer at the Downtown Athletic Club. She is a Level OneCrossFit instructor and competitor. She can be reached at Merritt Athletic Clubs Downtown Club at 410-332-0906 or click here for a Free CrossFit Session.
Topics: Personal Training, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, body composition, weight loss and exercise, Fitness Tips, fitness, Personal trainer, weight loss healthy, Baltimore fitness, body fat, best gyms
Weight loss has always been a struggle for me. I have dieted on and off with short-term success, then I would gain it all back. September 1, 2010 was the day this journey truly began. The decision to commit to losing weight was due to my health insurance provider’s requirement to undergo 6 months of supervised weight loss. I was planning to have bariatric surgery. After my initial consultation with the potential surgeon in August 2010, it was an awakening to see my weight was almost 365 pounds! Within the first three months, I had lost over 30 pounds. Over time, I started to find it frustrating and costly to meet with my doctor monthly for a weigh-in. By November, I realized I could do this on my own and let go of the “crutch” of weight loss surgery. I also had firsthand knowledge from a friend that gastric bypass surgery would not offer me a long-term solution. The short and long-term side effects of obesity were evident in my family: diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and cancer. My motivation could not be greater. Big family meals were a constant in my home and there was no accountability. I suffered with depression, social woes, and other issues due to my weight. Food was my comfort and I often used my personality to convince myself I was happy. I realize today that I was NOT!
Breakthrough & Success
Today, I am 128 pounds lighter! I am still working towards my goal of losing another 75 lbs by Spring 2013. My goal weight is 160 lbs.
I have been an ongoing member of Merritt Security since October 2009, but had previously been sporadically dropping in at various Merritt Cub locations since 2007. Merritt Security is somewhat of a second home where I work out at least five days a week alternating between cardio and strength training. I am now trying new things to keep my routine fun and interesting. I finally had my first Spinning Classes with Sharon and Cheryl, respectively, and for me that was a major victory! My favorite classes are Zumba, Spin, and Absolutions. Out of all the Merritt clubs I have attended, I feel most at home at Security.
My daily calorie intake is about 1600 calories that I monitor with an online application called MyFitnessPal and I burn an average of 500-1200 calories a session with exercise. I cut out sugary beverages and I drink mostly water.
I am motivated, focused, and working on continued success. I still struggle with issues of daily living and have good days and bad but I remain positive. I credit my strength to Yahueh throughout this journey and my prayers and faith have gotten me through the challenges, pains, and struggles. My words of advice to others like me are that you have to prepare yourself in order to take that first step. You MUST be ready! I have kept Yahueh in the midst of this journey. I take life one day at a time. This experience has taught me patience and self-appreciation.
The Merritt Family celebrates the success of Tiera’s weight loss as we continue to encourage her in her journey. May she be an inspiration for others who are facing the same challenges, and her story will be your story.
Tiera, Merritt Athletic Clubs member since 2009
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How To Get Rid of Belly Fat by Tasting The Six Pack
Apr 30, 2012
Taste The Six Pack
“Do you have abs”? This is a question that a friend of mine who is also trainer was asked by one of his clients. The quick answer, for anyone who is asked this is, YES! We all have “abs” which is the short name for the rectus abdominis, a large muscle in front of the abdomen that if weren’t there we couldn’t walk, lift things, stand upright, and our intestines and other organs would be falling out! So, yes, we all have abs. The specific question this client meant to ask is, “do you have visible abs, or the ever sought after six pack?” That is a very different story. So if we all have abs but most of us can’t see them the question is how do we get a six pack? Well the easy answer is exercise and a proper diet with a strong emphasis on proper diet. We all can’t see our abs but we can all taste them. Taste abs? What the heck do I mean right?! Well as you are reading this right now (as long as you aren’t eating anything) you are tasting what a six pack taste like. Six pack abs taste like seeing that bag of peanut M&Ms and walking past them. Six pack abs taste like not eating a piece of cake, not eating that bag of chips, not overeating, not overloading on carbs. This is a little trick that I taught myself to keep myself from eating junk food. I see something that would be delicious and I am tempted until I remember that NOT eating it is the way to the six pack.
Topics: gym health clubs, Personal Training, exercise, Weight Loss, baltimore gyms, weight loss and exercise, Baltimore Group Fitness, wellness, baltimore personal trainer, Personal trainer, fitness classes, six pack abs, weight loss programs, health club, fitness goals, group fitness
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