You might have seen last week where I suggested some apps if you had created some 2020 fitness goals. If you downloaded some of those or others (share in the comments which ones you chose!), then you’ll well on your way. As Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher said, “The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I am very proud of you for making the decision to move towards a healthier lifestyle. I know when I first started out, some of the lingo about body stats was difficult to comprehend at first. Of course, as new studies and new techniques come out, things don’t stay the same so the body stats that you are used to might have changed by now. To help those first starting out or needing a refresher, I want to go over some basics that will help you understand where you are at and how to measure the success of your weight loss journey. Seeing numbers on a scale doesn’t determine your success journey. You hear common phrases and words such as BMI and Body fat percentage, but what does that really mean? Here’s the (body) stats:
BMI (Body Mass Index)
Your body is made up of 50 – 75% water, about 3-5% bone mass, muscles and fat. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement of your weight compared to your height:
(That’s weight in kilograms divided by weight in meters squared – don’t worry, there’s websites and apps for these calculations!)
Once you have your number, there are categories those numbers fit into:
Underweight = less than 18.5
Normal weight = 18.5 – 24.9
Overweight = 25 – 29.9
Obesity = 30 or greater
For a better breakdown, check out the full chart here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_tbl.pdf
Body Fat Percentage
It is a common misconception that BMI and Body Fat Percentage are the same, but these are different body stats. However, body fat percentage is not determined by weight. Your bones, organs, tendons, nerves and muscles and fat all weigh differently. This percentage is simply just the amount of fat (good or bad) in your body vs. everything else. You may have even heard before that muscles weigh more than fat, but really they weight about the same, it’s just that fat is much bulkier.
So what exactly does 1 pound of fat and muscle look like?
Credit: Google Image Search
To put fat in a better perspective, 1 pound of fat is amount the size of a normal coffee mug (btw, what a cute mug right?!):
Credit: Google Image Search
To burn off that one 1 pound of fat, you’ll need to burn off an estimated 3,5000 calories. For this week, we’re going to talk quickly about movement (but stay tuned for next week’s edition where I’ll talk about the power of movement)
I like to move it, move it
Credit: Google Image Search
Adults (without Chronic illnesses or restrictions) should do at least 150 minutes (that’s 2.5 hours) up to 300 minutes (that’s 5 hours) of exercise that is considered a moderate-intensity. If doing what is considered a vigorous intensity, it is recommended a 75 minutes (that’s 1 hour and 15 minutes). A combination of both is highly ideal. Add in 2-3 days of some time of strength training (doesn’t mean you have to do weights!)
I hear you, trying to fit in up to almost 4 hours of exercise in a week? That’s nuts! Let’s break it down though:
1 week = 7 days = 168 hours = 10,080 minutes = 604,800 seconds
So 4 hours / 168 hours = 2.38 % of your entire week. I think that’s pretty reasonable time for maximum health benefits!
150 minutes a week / 30 minutes a day = 5 days a week (leaving 2 full days you don’t have to think of exercising!)
210 minutes a week / 30 minutes a day = 7 days a week
300 minutes a week / 60 minutes (1 hour) = 5 days a week
So, the math isn’t that scary!
So what kinds of exercise activities are there? Harvard health has a great breakdown of ideas for aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening activity, bone-strengthing activity, balance activity and multicomponent physical activity:
For aerobic (oxygen) exercises (think: walking, running, jump rope, elliptical, mowing the lawn, dancing), Your muscles will burn off energy stored for the 1st 30-60 minutes BEFORE moving on to burning off actual fat as energy instead. Muscles burn more calories which is why strength training, weight lifting and resistance training (think: Pilates, resistance bands, Boot Camps, rock climbing) is also equally important.
Thoughts to think about:
- It’s recommended that you get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio 5-7/days a week. It’s also recommended to get 2-3 days of strength training in. How can you fit in 30 minutes of either one into your daily routine? Movement is movement – you don’t have to run or use fancy machines! Simply even taking a 5-10 walk extra out of your day will help get you started!
- Find out your BMI and your Body Fat % – knowing where you’re starting at is a great way to start. Don’t feel guilty about if your numbers are high, you’re making the right decision now and we’re here to support you along the way. I know I’m proud of you for just taking the first step
- Find a walk/run club to get your movement going!
- Go to your local library or bookstore and take a look at some of the books. Find books that SHOW you what you’re doing, the steps to poses and explanation of machines. For example, I recommend books like The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercise and the Men’s Health Big Book of Exercise as they were very helpful to me. It can be found in your Library system, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or even possibly some used bookstores. I found my paperback copy at an online book provider called Thriftbooks for $4!
- Check out these links:
https://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/bodyfat (has great calculators for you:
From the HHS (US Department of Health & Human Services) https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical- activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html
From the AHA (American heart Assoc) https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
I can’t wait to celebrate with you each step of the way! Stay tuned for next week where I’ll talk about the power of movement.