Mistake # 1 â€“ Not Exercising with Weights (resistance training)
Even Dr. Kenneth Cooperâ€¦the father of aerobicsâ€¦finally had to admit that aerobics is not the one-and-only solution to true health and fitness that he originally thought it was. However, according to the latest survey by the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, over 80% of women still forgo resistance training in their exercise programs.
Obesity and excess body fat have reached epidemic proportions in Americaâ€¦and the rest of the developed world is quickly catching up. Please notice that I never use the terms â€˜overweightâ€™ or â€˜weightâ€™-loss.
If you just want to lose â€˜weightâ€™, then donate an organ. You will â€˜weighâ€™ less afterwards and at least someone else will benefit from your â€˜weightâ€™-loss. However, if you are trying to lose excess body fat, then thatâ€™s what you need to focus on. All fad diets and many exercise plans result in a loss of muscle (a bad thing) together with a less-than-satisfactory loss of body fat.
Clinical obesity begins at 20% body fat for men and 28% body fat for women. So it doesnâ€™t matter what your â€˜weightâ€™ is. Itâ€™s your percentage of body fat that is important and the BMI does not measure this. So if you weigh 150lbs. with 30% body fat, I donâ€™t care what your BMI is, you are technically obese. If you weigh 150lbs. with 15% body fat, you are in great shape. Overweight? If you weigh 150lbs. and the chair you want to sit on will only support 100lbs., then you are â€˜overweightâ€™â€¦for that chair.
There are only two things that use a significant amount of energy in your body. One is your brain, which uses approximately 500 calories a day to functionâ€¦although I would question this amount of brain activity in some peopleâ€¦many politicians for instance. The only other significant energy burner you posses is muscle.
Basal metabolism is the amount of energy required to maintain vital functions in your body when you are at complete restâ€¦keeping all your cells alive and organs functioning. Â Your basal metabolism accounts for up to 80% of your total daily energy (calorie) expenditure. And guess what most determines your basal metabolic rate? Thatâ€™s rightâ€¦firm, healthy muscle!!!
Not only will your basal metabolism get a boost from more muscle but, the more muscle you have, the more calories every exercise you do (including aerobics) will burn. So having more muscle is a win-win situation.
OKâ€¦so the only efficient way of permanently raising your basal metabolism is to add more muscle. Ladiesâ€¦are you afraid of looking like Arnold Whatzizname? Donâ€™t be. Instead, look at female gymnasts. They are very strong and very lean, but I donâ€™t hear people accusing them of looking like men. Still too muscular for you? Then take the rhythmic gymnasts (the ones who use the hoops, ribbons, etc) as examples. Other than skin, bones, and internal organs, their weight is composed of about 85% healthy, supple, form-giving muscle, yet no one accuses them of looking like a bodybuilder.
I have one last observation about exercising with weights, but itâ€™s a very important one. The amount of calories that you burn during exercise is pretty minimal. The vast majority of the calories burned because of exercise are burned in the hours after you have finished exercising. And the length and amount of this â€˜after-burnâ€™ are determined by both the intensity of the exercise and the amount of muscle used during the exercise periodâ€¦not by the amount of time spent exercising!!! So rememberâ€¦you can exercise hard, or you can exercise longâ€¦but you canâ€™t exercise hard for long.
There are many other positive health issues related to resistance training, but I will leave it at this for now.