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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Good Ole' Days

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photo by EmJay

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Just because you could eat anything you wanted in college and not gain weight doesn't mean you still can. Now I realize that a few of you have maintained a lifestyle that allows you to eat plenty, but if you are just starting an exercise program, even if it's the same one that coach had you doing back when you were a PAC 10 linebacker, you still need to watch what you are eating if you intend to lose weight.

Years of being sedentary will have several effects on your body that work against successful weight loss.

  • Lowered Metabolism - As we age, our metabolism tends to creep downward. Studies suggest that this effect is mostly avoidable by doing strength training, but most people don't strength train, and, as a result, experience age-related metabolic decline.
  • Lowered Intensity - Someone who is just beginning an exercise program won't be able to exercise with an intensity that is going to make quick changes. It takes time to build up the strength and endurance needed to really torch those calories.
  • Lowered Muscle Mass - Long-term couch potatoes tend to have very little muscle mass to begin with. This lack of muscle takes time to rebuild, and during that building phase, intensity will be quite low.

My point is this: Everyone should be doing a program of strength training and cardio work. If you enjoy spending hours running, then great, do that for your cardio. If you have only a limited amount of time, spend that time doing hard intervals. You'll get a far better fat-burning bang for your buck. But remember, even if you follow the advice of starting to exercise, results will be MUCH slower without also monitoring the calories that you are consuming. Nutrition is 80% of the weight loss battle. Strength training and cardio are the other 40% of the battle. :-)

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