Body conditioning has always been neglected by weight losing people. They usually get excited after reading a few calories burning articles online, and jump straight into a weight loss challenge, without having a clear understanding of his health and body, and preparing his body to face a heavy challenge ahead. Some resulted in investing more (in terms of time and money), while some face even worse consequences.
Here are what you should do to condition your body properly prior to such challenge:
Detect Early Or Existing Health Disease
As the first step, you are always encouraged to go for a complete health check-up & consult a doctor, before you embark any weight loss program. This allows you to assess your health properly and uncover any early or underlying health disease you might be unaware of i.e. irregular heartbeat, or body infection.
Certain health diseases can potentially lead to unexplained weight loss, which may result in making you losing more weight than desired.
Image Credit: Speedoglyn1’s Heart Exam ECG album
Determine & Test Your Fitness Level
A proper fitness assessment beforehand allows you to understand your body strength, stamina and endurance levels. Once determined, you can work out a simple training program as a kick-starter before the actual regime, to observe how well you can cope or perform, and if you should increase the intensity or period.
Tip: If you are engaging a fitness instructor to plan out a fitness or weight training program for you, this assessment will come in handy.
Image Credit: Sometimes Suzie’s Attitude Adjustment Bench Monday album
Know & Track Your Body Statistics
Gather your initial body stats like height, weight, BMI, body fat percentage, bone mass, muscle mass etc. for a start. This allows you to track the progress of your weight losing and body health over time. Any changes with these stats along the way, allow you to make quick alterations to your diet or exercise programs. Example, if you are losing muscle mass while losing weight, you can step into the gym to do some strength training.
Understand & Monitor Your Vital Health
You can gather some initial statistics for your body & health to track the progress later i.e. average resting and exercise heart rate, heart rate recovery time etc. You can understand your vital health better with these statistics over time.
Learn To Avoid Your Food Cravings
This might sound weird to some, but knowing your tolerance or resistant level towards food craving, can help you to control your diet better. Since young, we have been trained to have this emotional connection with foods. Our parents had given us the best foods to eat and we are always happily enjoying them every day. It can be quite challenging for us to resist them after so many years.
During body conditioning, you probably have to write down the list of food cravings you usually have and start to have a feel of what happen when you slowly avoid these cravings. Strike off the items one by one off the list and see how well you are coping over time.
Image Credit: Ames Lai’s Waffle with chocolate overload album
Summary: The whole idea of body conditioning is to learn about your body and allow you to make small changes slowly over time.
Please feel free to give me any suggestion to improve on this topic by commenting below. Thanks.
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We have many readers sending me queries to ask the amount of calories they should burn every day. Here is my answer to this question with what I have personally experienced and researched.
How Much Calories Should I Burn Every Day?
It depends on your weight loss goals. Meaning to say, how fast you wish to see your results. It varies as different people have different aims. Some like to lose 10 kg in just a few weeks, while some like to go slow i.e. a few kg within 10 weeks.
When it comes to weight losing, we always emphasize on calorie deficit. Calorie deficit is the negative number we achieve, when we compare the amount of calories we eat, versus the amount we burn. Example: If we eat 1,500 calories & burn 2,000 calories, we have achieved a deficit of 500. This would involve maintaining a diet journal & doing calorie counting every day. See below.
*Tip – I recommend boosting of our body metabolism to burn calories efficiently. Read here to find out how.
Does Burning More Calories Mean Losing Weight Effectively?
The answer is No. You can see people exercising heavily but still seeing no results. You need to lower your daily calorie intake. To achieve this, you need to obey 2 simple rules: eat the right food and eat moderately or lesser than usual. If you are still eating the same like before, you cannot possible see much weight changes.
In summary, always remember to manage your daily calorie deficit, not your daily calories burnt.
In general, the rule of thumb is, with an approximate calorie deficit 300 – 400 per day, you should start to see results in a few weeks time. If you wish to see results fast, a deficit of 600 – 800 will be ideal though not recommended. *Visit a doctor to assess your body condition prior to this this.
Disclaimer (30 April 2018): My website contents are written for your reference only. They do not represent any health, fitness nor medical advice. You should visit a health or fitness specialist or medical doctor for professional help.
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One way to burn your calories efficiently is through boosting your body metabolism. The rate, which our body burn calories, is called Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Having a high metabolism also means giving ourselves more energy and possibly making us feel better.
- BMR refers to the amount of energy expended and calories burned while we are resting. It differs for different individuals mainly by gender, age, height, weight and muscle mass.
- Daily Calorie Intake refers to your amount of calorie intake to meet the amount of energy expended for your daily activities (low, moderate or high)
To lose weight effectively, you need to reduce your daily calorie intake accordingly, based on your goals.
- To lose a little bit of weight – Reduce daily calorie intake by 10%
- To lose reasonable amount of weight – Reduce by 15% to 20%
- To lose large amount of weight – Reduce by 20% or more.
Apart from just reducing daily calorie intake, we ought to learn how to boost our metabolism thus allow our body to burn calories efficiently.
1) Start a Plant-based Diet (though may not significant in my opinion)
Plant-based diet does not mean 100% vegan diet. It only suggests you should include more vegetables in your diet. Why vegan foods increase metabolism simply because they are usually protein-rich (i.e. broccoli, boiled green soybeans or peanuts) and high-fiber (i.e. fruits, vegetables & whole grains), which require twice amount of energy to metabolize as compared to other high-carbo or high-fat foods. Such foods are also usually unprocessed, which take more energy to digest in our body, as compared to refined or processed ones.
Green tea or Chinese Oolong tea can boost metabolism for some people by 4% to 5% more. While spicy foods like hot peppers can boost an additional 10 calories per meal according to studies.
Read more: Top 6 Benefits of Having a Plant Based Diet.
2) Start High Intensive Interval Training (HIIT)
Different from traditional fat-burning cardio workout, HIIT has proven to create an after-burn effect on your body, to continue to burn large amount of calories for up to 24 hours, even after you have completed the workout.
[Image Credit: Elaine Smith’s Lose Weight and Gain Muscle album]
3) Build More Muscles
When you step into the gym for strength or resistant training workouts, you are building muscles. When you grow muscles, your muscle tissues grow too. Unlike fat tissues, muscle tissues are more metabolically active thus burn more calories (4 more calories per pound per day) as compared to fat tissues.
4) Sleep Better At Night
Lab studies show that when you deprive of sleep or facing any sleeping disorder, your metabolism will be affected negatively, particularly our hormones that help to regulate our metabolism and control our appetite at night. Hence getting a good night sleep every day is crucial.
5) Hydrate Yourself Well
Drinking enough water or at least 17 oz. of water can increase the resting metabolism of healthy men and women by up to 30%, while mild dehydration may decrease your metabolism by up to 3%.
6) Stand More, Sit Less
Therefore, here’s another benefit to stand more… to burn extra calories. Prolonged sitting, especially during work, will burn lesser calories as compared to standing. Standing helps to prevent growing of visceral fats (tummy) too.
Read more: 7 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Reduce Your Visceral Fats Naturally
7) Eat Smaller Meals, More Frequently
Smaller yet more frequent meals will prevent gorging of food and over-eating. Traditional pattern of eating like 3 meals a day has a gap of 5 hours between each meal. This will potentially increase hunger and temptation to gorge. Smaller meals usually contain fewer calories as compared to large hearty lunch.
Last Revised: 18 April 2018
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Today is 12 April 2018 and it marks the end of my 12-week weight loss challenge, which I started on 9 Jan. A long 12-week journey gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about weight losing and putting what I have learned into practice.
Here is a recap of my objectives in the beginning:
- Age: 42, Height: 170.4cm.
- Lose weight naturally – My starting weight is 70.9 kg and my waist measures at 36.1 inches. My aim is to achieve 62.9 kg and 34.5 inches by end of challenge.
- Lower body bad cholesterol, yet maintaining normal total cholesterol – My fasting LDL Cholesterol measures at 3.82 mmol/L, which is considered as borderline. I aimed to bring it down to less than 3.4 mmol/L to make it at desirable range.
- Reduce visceral fats – Visceral fats are harmful fats. I measured around 12 using a fat analysing scale for a start. Hope to reduce to less than 8 for better health.
- Lower BMI (Body Mass Index) – With a weight of 70.9kg and a height of 170.4cm in the beginning, my BMI measured around 24.6. I hope to achieve around 21-22 after 12-weeks.
Here are my results of 12-weeks of hard work:
- Age: 42, Height: 170.4cm.
- Final weight (63.1kg) – Did not achieve my ideal weight of 62.9.
- Final waistline (33.8 inches) – Exceeded my ideal waistline of 34.5 inches, which is very encouraging for me.
- LDL cholesterol – To go for medical blood test to determine. Will update here again.
- Visceral fats – Down to 9. Need to reduce 1 more. Did not achieve my target.
- BMI – Down to 21.7. Target achieved. 18.5 to 25 is ideal.
I am going to start Part 2 of my weight loss challenge soon to achieve all my targets.
Stay tuned & feel free to drop me a comment below if you have any question.
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Visceral fats (内脏脂肪), as weird as the name suggests, are actually active fats that are stored around our abdominal area, particularly around our internal organs like pancreas, liver and intestines. Such area is also known as intra-abdominal fat. See below diagram.
Why should we get rid of our visceral fats? Well, such fats are dangerous because they affect our hormone functions negatively, and linked with numerous health problems including Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
As we age, it is quite natural for us to have a growing belly due to laziness to move & losing of muscles, but it may not be all visceral fats as there will also be some subcutaneous fats stored together. So how exactly can we know how much visceral fats is to use a digital weighing scale that measures visceral fat level? The ideal level should be less than 13. Any level from 13 and above is considered excessive. See below.
Another way to find out if you have too much visceral fat is to measure your waistline. For women, it is usually 35 inches or higher while men is 40 inches or higher.
So how exactly can we reduce our visceral fats naturally & effectively? Here I am going to share with you 7 simple tips to benefit you easily.
- Reduce amount of trans fatty food intake – Visceral fats contain high level of trans fatty acids, which link with the amount of trans fatty foods we have consumed. Check the trans fat content in your food before you eat. Go for trans fat free as much as possible. Trans fatty acids are linked with LDL cholesterol too.
- Cut down on your alcohol intake – You can still drink moderately but not heavily. Intensive drinking is bad & does affect your level.
- Reduce your stress level – When we stress, our body will produce a kind of catabolic hormone called Cortisol in response. Long-term production of such hormone will increase the distribution of body fat to our abdominal area.
- Stand, do not sit – Studies show that people with sedentary lifestyle, or spend too much time sitting, will easily grow or have highest level of visceral fats or total abdominal fats.
- Have a well-balanced diet – Adopt a high fibre, low sugar, and low fat diet & maintain a healthy weight is the key to healthy living. Proper diet is still crucial to reduce such fats.
- Exercise more & exercise right – Do more resistance training & if possible, coupled with high intensity interval training like aerobic to encourage distribution of body fats healthily.
- Sleep enough – Studies also show that by sleep enough, meaning more than 5 hours & less than 8 hours daily, can maintain a good level of visceral fats.
Feel free to drop me any question or comment using the comment box below. Thanks.
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Nah… Until today, that I learned that over-exercising can be bad.
So why is it so? Well, let me explained to you now.
When we mention over exercising, we mean making our exercise routines more frequent, harder and faster. However, it does not mean that it is better.
You may face some or possibly all the following withdrawal symptoms like me:
- Your athletic performance will decline – Excessive training with inadequate rest will result in poorer performance. This is because it is during the recovery periods that your cardiovascular and muscular systems will improve to greater levels to cope with the amount of stress you have applied. Not resting well means shorter recovery period.
- You feel tired (fatigue) instead of energized – Most people increase their intensity of exercise but not their length of recovery time. As a result, your body would have stressed heavily again, before it could fully recover.
- Your immune system may weaken – Although exercise can boost your immune system, especially for certain upper respiratory diseases but it is only if you exercise moderately and regularly over a period.
- You may not sleep well – Over-exercise is known to be a major cause of insomnia because excessive exercise especially endurance training, will make your body produce more stress hormones and activate your stress response. Stress hormones can weaken your immune system too.
So how does over-exercising affect your weight losing? Well, in a few ways, if you ask me.
- You will eat more – When you exercise more, you will grow hungrier and possibly eat more to cure your hunger.
- You will eat faster – When we grow hungrier, we may eat faster. As a simple eating rule, we should give ourselves 20 mins to finish a meal so that our brain can tell how much we have eaten. Eating faster may also impair your glucose tolerance & insulin resistance, thus affecting metabolism & fat burning.
- You will eat immediately after exercise – Growing more hungry may increase our chance of eating immediately after exercise, which may in turn, limit the effectiveness of our workouts, since our body will tend to store any new calories you have just consumed.
- You will eat at night – As our activity levels are low at night, it is not recommended to consume any food after 8PM at night. However, if you are unable to sleep due to over-exercise, you will tend to eat due to hunger, especially if you did not eat enough for dinner.
I have personally experienced ALL symptoms above. Please feel free to ask me any question you have below or if you have experienced any other withdrawal symptom not mentioned above.
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