The Exercise And Weight Loss Myth

I have recently been reading and answering weight loss and exercise questions on Quora, and I felt compelled to write this post. Several questions there ask something along the lines of:

“What exercises can I do to lose weight or to reduce my tummy?”

Lose weight

Lose weight

These questions are so many that they show that many people still believe that the key to weight loss is exercise. This is not true. The key to weight loss is changing your food habits. I have deliberately said ‘food habits’ and not ‘diet’ because many people think that ‘diet’ is something unusual that you do only for a while, and then you stop.

I will not go into many details in this post, (you can read this post that compares calories from food and calories used in exercise) but if you want to lose weight (or lose fat), then you need to change your eating habits. You probably need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume (especially sugary drinks such as juices and sodas). You probably need to eat more vegetables and protein and healthy fat. Yes, you need to eat healthy fat to feel fuller for longer and not get hungry and crave carbohydrates. I say ‘probably’ because I do not know your current food habits and your specific circumstances, but this advice usually applies to many people.

Exercise is good, and exercise can help you lose weight, but the bulk of weight loss is by changing your eating habits.

Belly fat

Belly fat

About losing belly fat in particular, if you want to reduce your belly fat, you need to lose fat from your whole body, mainly by changing your eating habits. Again, exercise is good, and exercise can help you lose fat, but the bulk of fat loss is by changing your eating habits. Doing situps is not very useful for losing belly fat. If you want to exercise for fat loss, and you are physically able to, then go for intense exercise, like jumping rope or sprinting. If not, you can simply walk or jog for the health of your heart and lungs, not necessarily for fat loss.

Belly

Belly

Once more, the key to fat loss is changing your eating habits.

Even Closer To 20 Pull-Ups

I am pleased to demonstrate that I have moved even closer to 20 pull-ups – that long-sought-after goal of mine. I have been doing pull-ups fairly consistently for the past weeks. I have been doing pull-ups maybe twice or thrice a week, though in the individual workouts, I have not always done the 5 sets expected by the Recon Ron plan (that I still generally follow).

Here is my performance last week:

 

 

HASfit Workout and Pull-ups

On Friday last week, I was to perform the workout for Day 18 of Max Capacity Training. Day 18 follows the Time Attack protocol, in which you are to perform a certain number of reps per exercise, based on what you recorded for those exercises in previous workouts. There is no time limit. I think some previous versions of the app had the usual 16 minutes as the time limit for the Time Attack.

I started the workout, but I soon faced two problems:
1) I realised that I was not really pushing myself and I was taking long breaks
2) My phone was running out of charge, and I did not want to go and get its charger.

So I decided to get a follow-along workout on YouTube, similar to some I had seen before.
So I got my other device, opened YouTube and searched for ’20 minute workout.’ A number of results came up and I picked the one below.

It was intense! It was fun! By the end of the workout, I was sweating profusely.
I liked the intensity of the workout and the fact that there was an easier and a harder variation of each exercise (I did the tougher one, of course 🙂 ). It was also quite easy to follow. I subscribed to the Hasfit channel after the workout.

So I had an excellent workout after all.

On Saturday, in the first set of the pull-up program, I was able to do 17 pull-ups! This is my best performance since April 2014!

Max Capacity Training, Ideal Weight and Pull-Ups

I have three quick updates for you, dear readers.

Max Capacity Training, Day 9

Tuesday was workout Day 9 of the Max Capacity Training program. The task was to complete specified number of reps of certain exercises, in as short a time as possible. The number of reps was calculated from the reps recorded fro those same exercises in previous weeks.

Unlike day 7 and Day 8, this time I actually completed the reps required. I took just under 30 minutes and I was sweating a lot by the time I was done, though at the beginning I wasn’t really pushing as hard as I could.

Ideal Weight Formula

I was going through an online weight loss course and the instructor or lecturer mentioned a formula for calculating ideal body weight, called the Hamwi formula, after Dr. G. J Hamwi.

The Hamwi formula is as follows (keep in mind that 5 feet is equal to 60 inches):

Men: Ideal body weight = 106 lb + 6 lb for every inch over 60 inches.
In kilograms: 48 kg + 2.7 kg for each inch over 5 feet

Women: Ideal body weight = 100 + 5 lb for every inch over 60 inches.
in kilograms: 45.5 kg + 2.2 kg for each inch over 5 feet

So, since I am male and 5 feet 7 inches in height, my ideal body weight, using this formula is:

106lb + (6 x 7), which is 106 + 42, which is 148 lb.

I am currently about 150 lb (68kg), so I am pretty close to my ideal weight 🙂

I was happy to have a formula for calculating the weight someone should aim for if they want to lose (or gain) weight.

There is also another formula called the Devine formula and it is quite similar to the Hamwi one, with results close to those calculated using the Hamwi formula.

Pull-Up Progress

I had my pull-up workout on Monday, so I was not scheduled for pull-ups on Tuesday, but I decided to test and see if i could perhaps manage 20. I don’t know why I thought I could do this. So I got my pull-up bar, hung it on the door frame and did as many as I could. I did 14, paused a bit, did one more, paused again, then one more, for a total of 16 pull-ups without getting off the bar! I was quite pleased!

Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_weight

http://www.csun.edu/~cjh78264/diabetes/pages/page32.html

http://halls.md/ideal-weight-formulas-broca-devine/

Return Of The Max

Apart from working towards 20 pull-ups, I have not really been exercising in an organised manner. So on Thursday this week, I again started on Week 1 Day 1 of Max Capacity Training, using the app. You can read my review of the app here.

The first workout has common exercises: squats, pushups, lunges and plank. The 16-minute workout  was tough! By the time I was done, I was sweating! I had expected that, though and I was glad to finally be following a systematic plan.

I hope I pursue it to the end this time. I expect to get stronger and to lose some fat in the process.

Pushup
https://pixabay.com/en/users/Hans-2/

If you are not following any workout plan, I suggest you get one. You can try Max Capacity Training, or the 7-Minute app that I reviewed here, or any other plan that is challenging and gradually increases what it demands from you.

Keep working out!

Can You Eat Pizza And Lose Weight?

At the beginning of a new year, many people make resolutions, and one common one is to lose weight. This new year has gotten a little old and I should have posted this earlier, but you can always start losing weight at any time.

Now, when many people think of losing weight, they think of joining a gym or starting some exercise program. While exercise indeed can help one lose weight, it is much more effective to lose weight by changing what you eat, so that you consume less calories than you have been consuming before.

As you probably already know, when you eat and drink more calories than your body needs, your body stores the excess calories as fat. This is what leads to weight gain (fat gain, to be precise).

Sometimes, people eat some food that they know has a lot of calories and they feel guilty and want to burn it off through exercise. How easy is it to burn off excess calories through exercise?

Let us look at a simplified example, using a man named Tom. Tom is a 154-pound man who is 5′ 10″.

Pizza Slice

Pizza Slice

According to CalorieKing.com, four slices of Garlic Parmesan (12″), Chicken, Bacon, Tomato pizza has 880 calories.

There is a common claim that one pound of fat is about 3,500 calories. This claim is disputed by some, but in this post, to we will assume that this is true.

If Tom’s body needs 2,600 calories a day of nourishing food to maintain his current weight, if he eats well and takes in that 2,600 calories a day, he will not gain weight.

If he decides to treat himself to one pizza a week (8 slices) as described above, in addition to his usual food, and does not exercise, he will gain 1,760 calories per week. If one pound of fat is 3,500 calories, then Tom will gain half a pound of weight per week.

Jogging

Jogging

To burn off four slices of the pizza through jogging, Tom would need to jog for about one and a half hours.
If Tom continues to eat one pizza a week, but decides to jog for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, (totaling one and a half hours per week), he will now burn off 880 calories (half of the pizza) and he will now gain 880 calories (the other half of the pizza) a week. So he will now gain 1 pound of weight every 4 weeks, despite jogging 3 times per week. In other words, Tom will be gaining calories faster than he can jog them off.

If Tom decides to stop eating the one pizza per week (but he continues with his earlier healthy diet), and continues jogging 3 times a week, he will now start losing 880 calories a week or 1 pound every 4 weeks.

The above example is a simplified illustration only. The figures may not be exact, and other factors will come into play (such as Tom’s body adapting to his new exercise habit), but the point is, it is much easier to lose weight by reducing the number of calories consumed, than by exercising while taking in more calories than you need. So, if you want to lose weight, it is more effective to change what you eat than to sign up at the gym.

Images from pixabay.com

Links

http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-pizzas-garlic-parmesan-12-chicken-bacon-tomato-pizza_f-ZmlkPTIxMDUxMg.html
https://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-calories-burn
http://www.zoeharcombe.com/standalone/1lb-does-not-equal-3500-calories/
https://authoritynutrition.com/calories-in-a-pound-of-fat/

Pull-Up Rest Between Sets

Yesterday, I continued my pull-up workout. I decided to go to Week 13 of the Recon Ron Pull-up program, which specifies sets of 14, 10, 8, 8 and 8 pull-ups.

I managed to do the first 14 successfully, without getting off the bar. I was pleased with that, since at my last attempt, I had managed 13. So this was progress.

My timer was set to about 2 and a half minutes of rest. The next set did not go too well. I did 6 pull-ups, then 1, then 2, then 1 more, to make up the required 10.

I paused the timer at some point and went to do other things, which meant that I rested longer than the set two and a half minutes.

When I came back, I was able to do the required 8 pull-ups straight, plus an extra 2. My grip had one hand facing me and another facing away.

In the next set, I did the required 8, then added two more to match the previous set, since my grip was now the reverse of the previous set.

In the final set, I did 8 pull-ups.

These events made me interested in how much rest I should have between sets and I did a little research on the Internet. You can read the articles in the links below, but in summary and generally speaking (and in the context of pull-ups), I found that for strength, you need longer rest ( 3 to 5 minutes) between sets and for muscle growth, you need shorter rest (1 to 3 minutes).

I then adjusted my timer’s rest periods for the pull-ups workout to 3 minutes.

Keep working out!

http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/trainer-qa-how-much-should-i-rest-between-sets

How Long To Rest Between Sets & Exercises – Workout Rest Times