Although I’ll state right off the bat that there is no such thing as “tone" – you either have muscle and low enough bodyfat for it to be apparent or you don’t – parts 1 and 2 of this article will deal with the weight loss side of things. Part 3 will discuss weight training and aerobic exercise (cardio). You can think of these as three legs of a stool: each is needed in order for the stool not to topple.
The bad news: If you’re looking for a way to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks or if you want to know what supplements you can take so that you’ll lose weight without significantly modifying your eating habits, stop reading now. There are no magic pills or formulas and I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending that there are. Losing weight is all about establishing a healthy relationship with food, one in which your food choices are fueled by knowledge, not the latest fad or gimmick.
And, speaking of fads and gimmicks, any diet that suggests that you eliminate an entire food group or that you subsist on starvation levels of calories is one you should run from as fast as you can. While you might lose weight in the short term, you’re practically guaranteed to gain it all back. Worse yet, taking it off the next time will be that much more difficult. So let’s get started doing it right the first time.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
The first thing you need to do is to calculate your maintenance calories, that is, the number of calories you need to eat to stay exactly as you are. I understand that you don’t want to stay exactly as you are, but this is where you need to start. To calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR – the number of calories you would need if you were laying in bed all day.) Write down the number you get.
Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself. Whether you are eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning etc... your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going.Metabolism is affected by your body composition. By body composition, I mean the amount of muscle you have versus the amount of fat. Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat. Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the minimum calorific requirement needed to sustain life and to maintain bodily functions while your body is at rest. Another way to look at it is as the amount of energy your body would expend if you were to lie in bed all day. It does not take into account any other daily activities that would expend calories such as working, walking, exercise, or any other daily chores.To determine your resting metabolism, simply enter your age, weight and height into the fields below to estimate the number of calories your body burns while at rest.
An important factor that affects metabolism is the amount of lean muscle in your body. Lean muscle mass is a primary consumer of energy in your body. This is why exercise is so important to a weight loss program. Weight bearing and cardiovascular exercises help to build lean muscle which increase your basal metabolism and help to burn more fat while at rest. Also, 15 to 40 percent of the calories that you burn come from the various activities you perform throughout the day. This includes anything from mowing your lawn to working around the house. The more active you are the healthier your metabolism and your body will become!
Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Next, you need to apply an activity factor to the number you got above (your BMR). An activity factor is a way of estimating the calories you burn doing whatever it is you do during the day – driving your car, making meals, sitting at a desk, etc. The activity factors established by Harris Benedict look like this:
If you are sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2
If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375
If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55
If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725
If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9
Let’s say your BMR was 1350 and your activity factor is 1.55 because you weight train 3 days a week and you do HIIT cardio 2 days a week and steady state cardio once a week. You'd multiply 1350 by 1.55 for a total of 2092. This is the number of calories you’d need to stay at the weight you are, called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Calories For Weight Loss
You want to lose weight, though, so you need to do one more calculation. You will often hear the suggestion to eliminate 500 calories per day as this results in a weight loss of one pound per week. In some cases, this might be appropriate, but in others it could be too much and in rare cases of extreme obesity, it could be too little. Better is to find a number that is 15%-20% less than your TDEE. Using the 2092 example, this comes to 1674-1778 calories. Eating in this range will help to ensure that you lose fat, not muscle and that the weight you take off will stay off.
To determine the number of calories you should be eating you will
1. Establish your BMR
2. Estimate your TDEE
3. Establish a target calorie range that is 15%-20% less than your TDEE
Coming Up in Part 2
How often and what foods to eat.
Till then, Elise Howard
Click here to go to Shape Up Part 2
Lift for Life.com Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness