Tag Archives: weight management

Get Fit or Get Fat

19 Oct

Today, in the United States, more than 2/3 of adults are overweight and more than 1/3 are obese.  Research indicates that the overweight and obese (specifically those with excess fat weight) have a higher risk of chronic disease and premature death.  Increased exercise/physical activity is a recommended strategy for individuals seeking to effectively reduce and manage bodyweight.  In the past, exercise recommendations have focused on aerobic exercise, such as walking, biking, and swimming.  Research suggests that incorporating resistance exercise can also be beneficial to long-term weight management.

Benefits of Resistance Exercise

  • Promotes improvements in muscle mass and strength.
  • Improves flexibility and range of motion.
  • Improves cognitive function.
  • Improves energy level.
  • Decreases fat mass.
  • Increases lean body mass.
  • Increases resting metabolic rate.

“A weight management strategy that combines a reduced calorie diet, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise may be the best combination for reducing unhealthy body fat while attenuating the losses in lean body mass and resting metabolic rate that commonly occur during periods of weight loss.” (David Sword, PT, DPT, CSCS; Strength and Conditioning Journal)

Want to get started on a resistance exercise program but don’t know where to begin?  Check with your doctor to ensure it’s okay, and enlist the help of a qualified, experienced Strength and Conditioning professional.


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Calories, Physical Activity, and Weight Management

4 Aug

Occasionally, my clients ask me to address the topic of healthy weight management.  I do a fair amount of nutrition education and counseling.  I have some clients that want to gain weight (especially teen-age, male athletes); others want to lose weight (adult clients); some want to maintain their current weight; and still others don’t pay too much attention to what the scale says (kudos to you).

Strength training, in and of itself, is not necessarily a weight management strategy, although it is a significant component.  Same goes for cardio.  Generally, in order to gain weight, you have to ingest more calories than you burn, over time.  Obviously, the opposite is true if you want to lose weight – you have to burn more calories than you ingest, over time.  Strength training is great for improving your metabolism, but gaining muscle and losing fat may or may not result in weight loss (muscle weighs about three times more than fat), depending on your individual situation.  I can almost assure you, though, that you will like the way you look and feel if you gain more muscle and lose more fat!

Ultimately, weight management comes down to two factors: calories and physical activity.  Here’s a simple formula I learned several years ago.  This formula is useful to calculate the number of calories you should eat (or drink), per day.  Despite its simplicity, it’s actually fairly accurate.

Target Weight (TW) X (10 + number of hours of moderate/vigorous physical activity per week) = Calories per Day

For example, let’s say your target weight is 150 pounds.  It doesn’t necessarily matter whether you want to gain, lose, or maintain weight.  In order to calculate the number of calories you should eat, per day, you need to assess the number of hours of exercise you get, per week.  I’m talking about moderate to vigorous exercise; lifting the TV remote doesn’t count.  Let’s assume you get five (5) hours of exercise, per week.  Add this number (5) to ten (10) to calculate the factor you will multiply by your target weight.  Multiply your target weight (150 lbs.) by fifteen (15), and your calories per day equal 2250.  Once again, this formula works pretty well, regardless of whether you’re trying to gain, lose, or maintain weight.  There are several other caveats regarding healthy weight management (eating breakfast, calorie quality, meal size/frequency, etc.), but I’ll cover them in another blog post.


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