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Not about the numbers!!

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How much do you bench?  How much do you weigh?  How much weight have you lost?  How much weight have you gained?  If someone has ever asked you one of these questions raise your hand?  O.K. I see those hands out there.  Why are we so consumed by numbers?  What do I mean?  Well, when I say the numbers I’m really just talking about the numbers on a scale.  Now, don’t get me wrong, your weight is important but I think we put too much focus on the numbers on a scale when the the ultimate result is– to get fit and healthy.

Here are a few important numbers to know to get fit and healthy.

  • 3500 – The number of calories needed to burn to lose one pound of fat
  • 100 – Minimum number of additional calories burned for each pound of muscle gained
  • 500-1000– Recommended number of fewer calories to consume each day to lose weight
  • 1200 / 1800 – The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie intake never drop below 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,800 calories per day for men, otherwise you risk causing an ongoing reduction in resting metabolism.
  • 89 – Percent of people who lost 30 pounds or more, and kept it off for at least a year, by combining diet and exercise. (Only 10% succeeded by just dieting and only 1% succeeded by just exercising.) Survey by National Weight Control Registry.

The reason I listed the numbers above is because they are numbers that you need to know to get fit and healthy.  These are the important numbers I was talking about earlier.  So what is your reason for wanting to stay fit for the rest of your life?  Is it for weight control? Vanity? or just your ego?  The real reason why people struggle maintaining their health is they have their focus on vanity, ego, and weight control.

Should I be concerned about weight loss?  Sure, but weight loss should be the result of you placing your focus on fitness, feeling good, and a enjoying a quality of life.  When you place your energy into how you feel, the rest will fall into place.  When a you exercise, your brain increases the output of feel-good chemicals like dopamine, nor-epinephrine, serotonin, and adrenaline.  Working out on a regular basis stimulates your muscles and your brain, resulting in continued physical strength and mental well-being.  When you don’t workout your brain doesn’t release those chemicals – the result, that sluggish, tired feeling we all love, right?  NOT!!!

When we get so worried about hitting a certain goal on the scale the result is usually a crash diet, which kills our metabolism, and burns up our own muscle mass to hit some arbitrary goal.  In a recent study it was proven that your weight is not necessarily an indication of how healthy you are.  For example, the study pointed out that a person that was by definition over weight might be healthier than a person who is “skinny” or at their ideal weight.  The simple reason is that the “skinny” person may have a higher metabolism and eats junk food all day.  However, the overweight person may eat a cleaner diet but may put on more weight.

The problem with weighing yourself on a scale and looking only at the amount of weight you’ve gained or lost is that it’s way too vague.  Because the human body is made up of so many different components, it’s impossible to tell whether the scale’s reading is good, bad or indifferent. So, what is the true indication of a healthy and happy lifestyle?

Get some calipers and start monitoring what matters — your body composition.  Body composition analysis more specifically looks at what exactly you’re gaining or losing when you get on the scale.   In general, we divide the body into either fat mass or lean body massFat mass is obvious – this would include all forms of fat within your body.  Lean body mass is everything else.  Clearly, we want to have the smallest amount of fat mass and the largest amount of lean body mass possible.

 This means stop gauging your progress based on a bathroom scale.  Start gauging your progress on 3 things:

–How do you feel?

–How do you look in the mirror?

–What is my body composition (body fat and lean body mass)? 

The scale is just a number.  It’s about looking and feeling great, fit, and healthy.  Yes, I’ve lost over 50 lbs with programs like P90X and Insanity, but if I could feel the way I do today and be as healthy as I am today at 230 lbs, I would.  Just over 2 years ago I thought the aging, the soreness and the sickness was what just happens when you get older.  Now, I don’t believe in aging, I’ve found that exercise with the proper diet can “turn back the clock” and help you feel better than you have in years.  The bottom line, if you want to get better with age, have more energy and feel better than you ever have, start focusing on what really matters, your health.  Everything else will work itself out.


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2 Responses to “Not about the numbers!!”

  1. Tammy says:

    Why does the scale go up rapidly everytime I start to workout hard and regular when food intake has not increased and my intention is to loose weight on scale? I don’t think you can gain muscle that fast?

    If my calorie intake too loose is 1200 per day and I burn 300 calories in a workout, do I have to replace the 300 calories that I burned to not get below the Recommended 1200 daily calorie intake?

    • Coach Greene says:

      Hey Tammy,
      That’s a great question. The problem I’ve seen in the past usually comes down to a couple of things.
      1.) If you don’t track your calories, you may be eating alot more than you think. I was very surprised when I started to tracking everything that I put in my body. I use an app. called Tap and Track. Go to my website and click on Nutrition, then healthy eating tips and read the article “Why Track What I Eat?”
      2.) Some people don’t lose when they workout and here’s why. They exercise without changing their diets. I noticed you said that your regular food intake has not changed. What most people don’t realize is that 70 to 80 % of their weight loss comes from their diet, not working out. In a study done in Sept 2009 researchers found that you burn 200 to 300 calories in a typical 30 min. workout. You can replace that immediately with a bottle of Gatorade. But few people, an overwhelming body of research shows, achieve significant weight loss with exercise alone, not without changing their eating habits.
      3.) You must eat a proper diet. To burn 1lb takes 3500 calories, so that means you need to drop 500 calories in a day for 1 week to lose 1 lb.
      Checkout my website, I have several articles and videos about healthy eating tips and recipes.
      If you need any more help just let me know.

      Coach Greene

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