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Exercise & Fitness Message Board

Exercise & Fitness Board Index

Okay... lets start at the beginning. Forget everything you have heard. I'll lay out the basics and then we can address specific points if needed...

[B]Calories:[/B] Your body needs a certain amount of calories each day just to function. This is called BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). It can be kind of complicated to determine this accurately, but a close rule of thumb is 12xbodyweight in lbs. So if you're 125 pounds, 1500 calories a day is what you need to maintain your current weight. To lose weight/fat, drop caloric intake [B]no less [/B] than 10xbodyweight in lbs. Going too low in calories is just as bad as going too high in calories because your body has a built in survival system that kicks in when you eat too little. And its job is to hold onto as much fat as it can and use up lean muscle for fuel because it thinks it is being starved (and it is). This works against you in a big way. For one, because it means you are keeping the fat and two, you are losing that muscle that would otherwise be helping you to burn the fat. SO... if you are dieting, keep it around 1200-1300 calories a day (no less).

[B]Protein:[/B] You need to get about 1g protein/ lb. body weight (give or take) in order to keep lean muscle and stay healthy. Keeping the muscle means higher metabolism. You should be getting protein from fish, chicken, lean beef and other meats, eggs, nuts, dairy, beans and soy stuff. Other veggies have some protein, but thats the short list of high protein foods.

[B]Carbs:[/B] Amost everything but meat has some amount of carbs. You need to have them for energy, but when 90% of the diet is carbs, a lot of it will go to storage / fat. Veggies are good... very good (better than junk food :) ), but you have to eat more of the right veggies or add meat in there. (Im a vegetarian and get plenty of protein). There is also something called the GI scale (Glycemic Index) which is a rating system for how quickly your body metabolizes certain foods. Like pure white sugar is 100, while whole rye bread is 41. That means the body takes longer to burn the bread than it does the sugar, which is good, because the longer it takes for the body to metabolize a food (turn it to glucose) the less of it will likely be stored as fat and the more that can be used for energy. So complex carbs like oatmeal, whole breads and pastas and tortillas, brown rice and such are more preferable than a lot of fruit and cereal and white rice etc.

[B]Fats:[/B] Fats are not the devil. In fact you need some amount of fat to live, to regulate hormones and even to *burn* fat, believe it or not. But saturated fats are bad for your health and heart. Unsaturated fats are good for you and contain nutrients you need. You can get good fats from olives and olive oil, avocadoes, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds (natural peanutbutter or almond butter is awesome for good fats) etc.

[B]Timing:[/B] When I said that tomatoes didn't speed up your metabolism, I mean that that specific food had no abnormal qualities that would make your metabolism faster. It is true however, that the act of eating and digesting does raise your metabolism some (and is especially important first thing in the morning). So if it is at all possible, eating 5 or 6 small meals each day (every 2-3 hours) is the best way to go. It will help maintain an even blood sugar level and gradually and constantly give your body the nutrients you need.

[B]Exercise:[/B] More is not always better. 30-60 minutes is plenty. Especially if you are dieting already. If you do too much cardio, it will put you too far into a calorie deficit and you'll lose muscle putting you into the same bind as if you were eating too little. 3 x a week, 30-60 minutes will do a lot of good. Resistance training (weights/machines) will also get some lean muscle on you that will help to burn the fat, help to keep bone density and improve general health.

So thats the basics.... anyone else?

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