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 πŸ™‚

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!


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!

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

Consistency Is Key

Consistency is key for any lasting progress regarding fitness and fat loss. Actually, consistency is key for progress in almost any field. You can see this in almost anything that you have learned in the past: You learnt (or learned) to walk as a child by practising a little (or a lot) every day. You learnt to talk in a similar manner. You went to school every day during the school term, with weekends and vacations off. But it was all consistent.
Yet, when it comes to fat loss and fitness, many people are looking for quick results – lose x pounds of fat in 30 days. Gain 5 pounds of muscle in two months. Well, sometimes it can be done, but with extraordinary effort.
Let’s look on the flip side and ask: how do people become overweight? By consistently making bad food choices, a little at a time, but consistently. Weight is usually gained slowly over time. Similarly, weight loss can be achieved through consistent proper eating and consistent exercise. Of these two, proper eating is more important (for weight loss).

Consistent Proper Eating
Many diet plans you will find will include what is called a cheat day. This is usually one day in the week when you can eat whatever you want. A cheat day allows you to enjoy the foods you are used to and satisfy your cravings. This helps you avoid abandoning the diet plan altogether. Don’t be afraid of having ONE cheat day in a week. One day of ‘bad’ eating will not make you gain weight, just as one day of ‘good’ eating will not make you lose weight. The important thing is that you consistently eat properly during the other days of the week.

Consistent Exercise
A good training plan will have exercises that are challenging but do-able, and that get a little harder over time (as your ability increases). For example, a beginner running plan that I followed a while back starts with walking for 6 minutes then jogging for 1 minute, then repeating this. I did this 3 days a week. The next week, the plan stated I walk for 5 minutes, then jog for 2 minutes, then the week after that was 3 minutes walk and 4 minutes jog and so on. A little more at a time. It seemed difficult at various points, but with consistency, I was eventually be able to jog for 30 minutes non-stop.

Whatever plan you decide to follow, follow it consistently, be patient, and the results will come.

Small Steps To Weight Loss

Small Steps To Weight Loss

A friend recently completed a two-week detox programme. the kind where you take only vegetable and fruit juices. I personally do not think it is necessary to do that, but at least it showed some determination to take some action about her health. She wanted to know what she should do next, with regard to achieving a healthy weight.

This is what I emailed her, with some slight editing. You may find it useful for yourself or for a friend:

Congratulations on the completion of the detox programme!

So now, what next?

Let us start with the hard part (for most people) – food.
1) Plan your meals. Decide beforehand what you will eat, to avoid just eating whatever is available.
Your plan should cater for the following points:

2) Whatever quantities you have been eating of the following foods (and similar ones) cut that in half:
Bread and other wheat products e.g. chapati, cakes and maandazi, potatoes, rice.
Replace these with green vegetables and with meat (beef, chicken, fish) and eggs
(You can eat the whole egg – that means including the yolk)
Have vegetables with every meal.
Drink water before every meal.

3) Work towards eliminating soda, juice (yes, juice), squash from your diet.
Replace these with water, and with actual fruits. The greater the variety, the better.
And with some nuts – macadamia, groundnuts, cashew.

In summary,
1) Plan your meals
2) Drink water before every meal
3) Have vegetables with every meal
4) Cut carbohydrate intake in half
5) Eat protein
6) Have some fruits and nuts

Image courtesy of vorakorn/


Now, the easy part:
Get a good pair of walking shoes.
Get out and walk at a pace of 100 steps a minute or faster.
Yes, carry a timer/phone, walk and count your steps for a minute, adjust your pace if necessary.
Do this 3 times a week or more if you can.

Week 1 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday (or whichever days work for you)
100 steps a minute, for 10 minutes each day
So, 5 minutes going, turn, 5 minutes back

Week 2 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
100 steps a minute, for 15 minutes each day
8 minutes going, 8 minutes back

Week 3 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
100 steps a minute, for 20 minutes each day
10 minutes going, 10 minutes back

Week 4 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
100 steps a minute, for 30 minutes each day
15 minutes going, 15 minutes back

After 4 weeks, we can review and plan the next steps.

Please weigh yourself each week, and record your weight, so that you can track your progress.
I will not ask you for the figures, so do not feel shy πŸ™‚

All the best!

Some links for you

How To Lose Weight

How To Lose Weight

Image courtesy of maya/

This article should actually be called ‘How To Lose Fat.’ Your body weight includes the weight of your muscles, and you generally do not want to lose muscle. I used the phrase ‘lose weight’ because that is what most people say when they talk about losing body fat.
If you want to simply lose any weight from your body, then that is fairly straight-forward. Just eat less and less, and your weight will drop. However, you will also probably become unhealthy if you eat less nutrients than your body needs.
Losing fat, on the other hand, is slightly more challenging, but the steps are also quite well known: Eat less, exercise more.
I will phrase that slighly differently and say, eat less and move more.

Eat Less
If you have some additional body fat, then it means your body converted some of the food you ate to fat and stored it for later use. It means you ate food that got converted into energy that the body did not need at the time, so it got stored. It is the same concept that animals use when they hibernate. They eat lots of food, it is stored as fat, and their bodies use these stores to keep their bodies functioning while the animals are asleep and not hunting and eating, during the winter period. The problem with humans is that we eat food, it is stored as fat, but we do not stop eating and hibernate. We just keep on eating more food, and more gets stored. So the goal is to not eat so much that some has to be stored, but eat only as much as our bodies need.

It is important to state that what you eat is perhaps more important than how much you eat. To put it simply, eat less carbohydrates (these are usually white foods – bread, rice, potatoes, pasta) and eat more green vegetables and also more proteins – eggs, meat, beans.

Move More
I replaced the word ‘exercise’ with ‘move’, so that we do not get stuck thinking we can only benefit by blocking out some time in our schedule, changing into exercise clothes and then doing some specific exercises. Doing all that is good, but the whole point of exercise is to burn calories and strengthen and build muscle. We burn some calories whenever we move. Such movement can be walking to the shop, gardening, dancing, mowing the lawn, carrying our shopping into the house and so on. All that is movement that burns calories. If you want to lose weight, then you want to burn some of the calories that have been stored earlier. Moving more gives your body a reason to burn up these calories. Of course, this will only work if you are also eating just enough for your needs. If you eat more than you need, then the calories burnt by moving more will only be replaced by the excess food you eat.

So, move more: walk more, take the stairs, start an exercise program, take up a sport. If you want to really accelerate your fat loss, then you could look into high intensity interval training.

So plan how you will eat less and how you will move more, and the fat will come off. This is a very summarised article on this subject, but it addresses the basic concepts of fat loss.


How To Start Exercising

How To Start Exercising

Exercise protects you from disease. Exercise makes you stronger. Exercise helps you do things more easily – lift luggage, walk up stairs to an office, run after your child. Exercise relieves stress. There are manyΒ good reasons to exercise. So, knowing all this, why do you not exercise? You may say that you cannot afford gym membership or afford the equipment you think you need for exercise. Or you may say that you do not have the time to exercise. Or you may say that exercise is difficult.
Let us address these concerns one by one:
1) Cost: Well, the truth is, you can exercise without expensive equipment or without joining a gym or aerobics class. You can perform bodyweight exercises or use minimal equipment like a skipping rope, items found in your house or running shoes. That means that as long as you are able-bodied, you can start exercising at low or no cost. Today.

2) Time: We all make time for the things we consider important, or things that we find pleasant. We tend to put off things we find difficult, or unpleasant or unnecessary. The same applies to exercise. We may agree that it is important, but we think it is difficult or too demanding, and hence unpleasant. The good news is, you can spare as little as 30 minutes or less a day, 3 days a week and get reasonable exercise, right in the convenience of your home. Chances are, you will later want to increase this time all by yourself, because you will find that exercise can actually be fun. That *you* can actually enjoy it.

3) Difficulty: We may think exercise is difficult, because we think of doing too much or doing things that are currently too far beyond our ability. So we may start, strain for a short while and lose momentum or give up. Again, the good news is that you need not do anything that is very difficult. Start where you are, and grow in exercise. Just like anything we learn properly, we start where we are, and we increase our ability slowly over time. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Start Now
Please get medical clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise program, especially if you have not been exercising for a while and/or you are over 30 years of age.
If you are not getting regular exercise, then you need to start now. One problem with delay is, the longer you stay without exercising and while not taking care of your nutrition, the bigger the problem gets. It will take more effort or time to undo the effects of such a lifestyle, than if you start making changes sooner. So the sooner you start, the better.

What are some exercises you can do? There are all sorts of exercise out there. Pick one that you will enjoy. A simple Internet search will give you more than you need, and several videos exist showing how to do the exercises properly. Examples are walking, jogging, skipping, stair running, star-jumps (also known as jumping jacks), press-ups, squats, and so on. All these require little or no equipment. Many of them can be done in or around your home. I emphasize, pick one that you will enjoy.

So how do we start?
Set a written, easy, specific, measurable goal and write or find a plan to achieve it. Remember to start slowly.
For example, you could set a goal that a month from now, you will be walking a total of 1 hour a week. (Remember we are starting with something easy).
You could then break down that goal to walking 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
You could then start with 5 minutes a day for the first week, then 10 minutes a day, the next week, then 15 minutes a day, then finally 20 minutes a day.
Just like that, you will have a goal and a plan to reach it.

A written plan simplifies your work. You simply need to read what to do each day and do it.
A written plan helps you monitor and see the progress you are making.
A written plan motivates you to exercise, even if just so that you can mark off one day as done.

Start with something that you can actually do and enjoy. For example, if you want to take up running and you have not been running at all, you can start with a walk/run plan, where you walk a number of minutes, then jog for a short time, then walk some more. Don’t plan to start jogging 30 minutes straight when your body and mind are simply not prepared for it. You will get to your 30 minute goal if you work towards it properly. It also needs to be something that you enjoy otherwise you may son stop exercising. The plan that I followed when I started running was this one from

The plan should be specific. e.g. walk for 5 minutes, then jog for one minute. Or skip 200 times. Or walk up 3 floors and back to ground floor, 2 times.
Similarly, it should be measurable. You should be able to know whether you did as planned or not. Did you skip 200 times or 180? Did you jog 1 minute or 45 seconds?

The plan should also include rest days, to allow you to, well, rest, so that your body has time to recover. Rest is important and should not be neglected. Rest days also cater for times when realities of life prevent you from exercising.

Record progress. This can be done by simply ticking against your written programme above or writing the date, the activity, and the number of repetitions done, such as “Skipped 500 times.” Seeing your progress will help motivate you to keep going.

You may want to share your plan with others who can keep you accountable and encourage you to maintain the habit. Better still, if you can find someone to join you in the exercising, that would help. A partner can help you stick to your exercise appointments.

Get Moving
The most important step is to actually start doing it. Go to Day 1 of your plan and do what it says. The best plan in the world and the best sports gear will not help you if you do not actually get moving. So get up and do it. And enjoy yourself while at it.

All the best in your fitness journey. Remember, if you have not yet started, then start today.