Sunday, September 6, 2009

Burn, baby, burn!

Greetings and salutations my friends. As many of you know, I'm currently in my 2nd round of P90X, and in an effort to really try to dump some poundage, I committed to doing doubles. That simply means that I work out, really hard, six days per week, and on 3-4 of those days, I add in another cardiovascular workout. You'd think that the weight would just be sliding from my body, but alas, such is not the case. Sure, I've lost a few pounds, and I'm pleased with the progress I've made with regards to fitness, strength, and the like. But I felt like I'd hit a bit of a plateau, I didn't know if I was eating too much, too little, or if my newly fit body was just more efficient, and I wasn't burning the calories like I was 20 weeks ago. So, I purchased a Bodybugg, an electronic device that you wear around your upper arm that calculates caloric expenditure throughout the day. It is accurate to within 90%, and I felt that this would be a good investment that could provide me with additional feedback while working towards my goals.

I started wearing my Bodybugg a week ago (I wear it 24 hours/day unless I'm in the shower), and was really surprised with the findings thus far. Now keep in mind, this is just my experience with the device...everyone is different, and your body may react differently to exercise than mine does, but there were a few things that surprised me enough that I felt the need to share with you, in the hopes that, perhaps, you might be able to take one piece of information to use along your own journey towards fitness.

To begin, I really was quite surprised at how many calories I burn in a typical work day (2850, which includes a one-hour long workout). As a teacher, I'm on my feet most of the day, and that walking around the classroom really helps the numbers add up. Throughout the day, I average a 2.4 calorie per minute burn while at work. On the weekends, when I'm just sitting on my caboose, it drops to 1.9-2.0. Doesn't seem like much, but spread that through an 8 hour workday, and see a significant increase in calories spent. In addition, I've found that by walking the dogs or doing a 30 minute cardio workout in the morning before work, it boosts my calorie burn another .3 per minute for about 2 hours after the workout. Also, while I show a 12 calorie per minute burn during workouts such as plyometrics (jump training), I still burn between 6-8 calories per minute during brisk walks with the dogs. Heck, even those muscles that I've worked hard to develop help burn 1.2-1.3 calories per minute while I sleep!

Today, knowing that I wasn't going to have the benefit of walking around the classroom or up and down the school hallways, thus gaining that extra burn, I decided that I was going to burn 3500 calories from midnight to midnight. When I woke up this morning, my 'bugg' showed that I'd burned 520 calories from midnight to 6:20 a.m., and at 6:30 p.m., I'm already sitting on 3207. So, I've burned just over 2500 calories in a 12 hour period. To do so, I had to do the following: Cardio workout (42 minutes), brisk dog walk (up & down hills--40 minutes), yard work (1 hour, 15 minutes--push mowing with a self-propeled mower, trimming two shrubs, and raking up scraps), Strength training and ab workout (65 minutes), OLD SCHOOL exercise video (25 minutes--it was MTV's The Grind with Eric Nies), and another 35 minute dog walk. Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not saying to go out and do this every day. This was simply a scientific exeperiment to see what it would take to burn those calories if I wasn't at work, moving around all day.

I'm sure many of you are wondering what my point is. I promise, I'm getting there. Here's the deal...if you want to lose weight, you simply need to burn more calories than you consume. However, it's not as easy as just limiting what you put in your mouth, because you still need to feed your body. I've eaten a LOT today, and I'll definitely be at a calorie deficit, but without that nutrition, I could never have done what I accomplished today. So, you've got to eat...and you've got to eat good stuff: Whole grains, lean meats & fish, fresh fruits & veggies, legumes, nuts, etc. You also need to eat often. I try to eat three big meals per day, and 2-3 smaller snacks interspersed between. You need to ditch the Doritos, white bread, and sugar-laden foods that make losing weight harder.

Next, you've GOT to move. If your job requires that you sit at a desk all day long, you're going to have to move a LOT more at home in the evening than someone who has a job that allows them the freedom to move while working. In addition, working out causes your body to burn calories at a higher rate. So, not only are you reaping benefits during exercise, but you reap benefits for hours afterwards! That, to me, is a win, win situation.

No, I'm not suggesting that you go out and purchase a Bodybugg. However, by working out five-six days per week, you can burn up to an extra 500 or 600 calories each day (depending on your current fitness level, body efficiency, and how hard your push during workouts). Your workout can be programs such as Power 90, Slim in 6, or Turbo Jam, or one of the many others offered through Beachbody. OR, it can be something as simple as walking your dog or pushing your child in a stroller for forty-five minutes to an hour. My point is, if you truly want to lose weight, you must move your body, and burn more calories than you consume without limiting your calories so much that you prevent weight loss.

If you want some help, or have some questions, PLEASE feel free to ask. You can contact me through my coaching page, and I would be more than happy to help you out. My services are FREE...all you need to do is ask.

Here's to taking the stairs, going for a walk, push mowing the lawn, or pushing play on your favorite workout. Bravo to you who are already investing sweat equity in yourself. I'm sure you can feel that calorie burn!

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