Thursday, January 3, 2013

Knowledge is Power

As you constantly try to improve yourself and make progress towards the goals you have set, you try to educate your mind and are bombarded with endless and endless amounts of "raw" data on how to reach those goals. What you want to find is a source where it's all tied together and it makes sense. There is so much to learn and sometimes knowing the basics or fundamentals makes it so much easier to digest. The knowledge you acquire empowers you in so many ways. You learn to avoid the pitfalls that have stifled you and prevented you from realizing the things you want to achieve. In this article, I hope to ease some of the painful learning process and pull together some of the meaningful details you have probably seen yet not fully understood how to use. To begin, we all must first decide what goal we are pursuing. For the moment, I will generalize and say that I want to lose weight. The weight I wish to lose is body fat and not lean muscle. Sounds tough? It should and even more so if you don't understand the basics. What are the basics?
The basics to losing fat/gaining muscle:
We all know that in order to lose weight, you must place yourself in a caloric deficit. That means, the number of calories taken in must be less than the calories burned. The calories burned are what is referred to as "basal metabolic rate" (BMR). To determine your basal metabolic rate is extremely difficult. One way to find this is to weigh yourself at the start of a week. Monitor the number of calories taken in for the week. If your weight does not change, the total calories for the week is probably your basal metabolic rate. Of course you may want to repeat this process to nail down an average. Divide this weekly total by 7 and you will know your basal metabolic rate per day! Simple? Knowing your daily basal metabolic rate opens a wealth of knowledge. How you ask? Well say you find that your BMR is 2500 calories per day.

Now, you have decided that you want to lose weight. However, you want to maintain lean muscle in the process. To accomplish this you next need to determine your body type. The three scientific body types are: ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. An ectomorph has very long limbs, very low body fat, and has a hard time packing on mass. A mesomorph is muscular, has a thick and lean build and has a moderate amount of body fat. An endomorph is heavy set and carries a high amount of body fat that is difficult to reduce. Some of us actually may fall in between these types. Myself, I am an ecto-mesomorph. This is because I have some areas that are muscular and others that have been and are difficult to build. Knowing your body type and your BMR provides several significant things. In the following table, based on your body type and perceived metabolism, a value can be derived:
Metabolism Slow Moderate Fast
(Endomorph) (mesomorph) (Ectomorph)
Lost Fat/ Maintain Muscle 10 11 12
Lose Fat/ Gain Muscle 13 14 15
Gain Muscle 16 17 18

To interpret the table, assume you weigh 180 lbs., and have a fast metabolism. Using the table above, to lose body fat, you would simply multiply your body weight by 12. The result, 2160, is the number of total calories per day that you would consume to reduce body fat. This number has very little meaning without knowing that each gram of carbohydrate or protein equals 4 calories and each gram of fat equals 9. A 180 lbs. bodybuilder in a pre-contest 2160 calories diet who has been instructed to achieve a dietary 10-30-60 fat/carbs/protein ratio, would need to consume 24 grams of fat (2160 * .10 / 9), 162 grams of carbs (2160 * .30 / 4), and 324 grams of protein (2160 * .60 / 4).

Each nutritional component multiplied by the recommended daily percentage and divided by the number of calories per gram, provides its total grams per day. Once you have mastered these formulations, you can easily adjust your daily consumption percentages with ease! Now, having realized that your BMR was 2500 calories per day and to achieve you goal, you must adhere to a 2160 calorie diet, means you will incur a 340 calorie per day, 2380 per week deficit.
This allows you to know how much cardio to incorporate when you exceed your daily goals due to unexpected binges! To find success in any dietary scheme, you need to know "what" your consuming and how much to consume. The calculations above give you all the information you need. However, it can be confusing when deciding what foods to include and what to avoid. Personally, I feel it is important to eat healthy foods for the most part. Quality or nutritionally fulfilling food groups provide larger portioning. Eating things like, pizza, pie, cake, etc. can quickly result in exceeding your daily totals. Next time you get the opportunity, check out: This site provides the nutritional values of several fast food menus. You will surely be surprised when you see the high numbers of saturated fat in most fast food! Also, the USDA provides an interface to a database containing detailed nutritional values of just about any food you can think of. The address is:

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