Weight loss is not an instant outcome, just as weight gain isn’t an instant outcome. It takes time, and effort; though is not as difficult as it may be perceived.
The equation to experience weight loss is expressed two ways:
Amount of Energy in + Type of energy in + Equivalent Energy Expenditure = Sustainable Weight
Cardiovascular Training + Resistance Training + Nutrition = Controlled, Healthy and Real Weight Loss.
A simplistic view of our biological system, and the ability to gain or lose weight, is often expressed as an “energy in -vs- energy out” ratio. Energy is measured in kilojoules (kJs), and we as humans use energy in all activities we perform, inclusive of when we rest (as our body requires this to remain operational). To replenish this energy, we consume food and beverages. All substances we consume have an energy value and a rate or speed of breakdown of the energy released into our body. Everything we eat and drink can be measured in kilojoules, and it is this relationship of “kilojoules used versus kilojoules consumed” (kJ in -vs- kJ out) that dictates our ability to lose or gain weight.
Implications of Cardiovascular Training
Cardiovascular training does work. It is very useful in assisting a person to lose weight. However, this type of training does have its limitations and should have other variables to co-ordinate with for maximal results.
These limitations relate to weight loss because you’re only utilising additional kilojoules whilst performing the cardiovascular exercises. This means that when you stop performing your cardiovascular routine, you stop burning the extra energy.
Implications of Resistance (Weight) Training
Resistance training is often perceived by overweight people as, “making me bulky”, However – this is simply a misunderstanding of resistance training.
Resistance training is one of the most beneficial activities that an overweight (or underweight) person could partake in. It has a multitude of benefits including:
- Stimulating your body to continue to burn energy long after finishing your exercise session,
- Improving your strength and endurance to exercise longer.
- Improving your confidence to exercise and potentially include other activities in your routine
The purpose of resistance training, in this instance, is to improve your body composition by increasing your lean muscle mass. This does not mean increasing muscle size or mass. Which means that you will be burning more kilojoules at rest through improving the amount of muscle in your body. The reason this is ideal, is because of the metabolic activity that muscle demands, relative to lipids/fat.
Implications of Nutrition
One of the most misunderstood components of weight loss is the nutritional aspect.
It’s easy to say stay away from highly processed and most take away foods. But we need to consider:
(1) the energy in the food
If your body does not expend the energy in a food, the excess energy is stored as body fat. Ideally to lose body fat we aim for around 10% energy deficit
(2) the makeup of the food.
We need to be concerned about the foods:
- simple sugars that break down rapidly – providing a rush of energy into the body
- high levels of saturated fat – more energy dense and unhealthy
- poor nutritional value in vitamins and minerals
Your diet should consist of the following macronutrient levels (approximations):-
– 60% – CHO – Carbohydrates
– 20% – AA – Protein
– 20% – Fat – Lipids
On active days, ‘Complex’ carbohydrates and high fibre intakes are ideal, where carbohydrates are your main source of energy intake. Carbohydrates are the most abundant and efficient source of energy utilised by our body while also containing the lowest kilojoule value.
On more sedentary days, reduce your carbohydrates
It’s important not to starve yourself, as your body will naturally adjust and lower your energy availability – slowing you down. Short-term you will lose weight – long-term you will become lethargic, potentially ill and the weight will come back as your body metabolism slows.
Ultimately, you will need to read labels and learn the energy levels of your most regular foods. Then you can identify areas that could cause your “energy in / energy expenditure” imbalance.