Friday, October 12, 2012

The Experts Weigh In: Lose It To Live!

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The most common reason for people to start an exercise program is for weight loss. Whether there are other motivations - like reducing the symptoms of various chronic diseases or improving appearance - weight loss is still the reason that 95% of people walk into our facility at Flywheel Sports. Although exercise is a powerful component when it comes to healthy living, it is not the primary factor when it comes to weight loss. The only thing the body takes into consideration in the maintenance of body mass is caloric balance. More calories in than out - you gain weight. More calories out than in - you lose weight. It is that SIMPLE! Obviously since it is easier to consume calories than it is to lose them, food intake becomes the primary factor in losing weight, not exercise.

We have all heard that diets don't work. I'm here to tell you that this is not the case. Diets DO work. If they didn't work then people wouldn't lose weight when they go on them. What doesn't work is the idea that we can go off a diet and maintain the benefits of the diet. Do you expect to get a paycheck when you quit your job? No! The day you stop working is the day you can no longer expect to receive a paycheck.

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The reason the weight loss industry has been a failure in delivering sustained weight loss is because they have not yet come up with the 'magic pill' that we all want. We want to have our cake and eat it too - literally. We are a charge it! society - buy now and pay later (with no interest). We want to wine and dine, eat everything in sight and then think about losing it for next year's resolution. Well, weight loss is not that easy. Like a credit card bill that suddenly spirals out of control, the more weight you have to lose, the worse your experience becomes.

To put it in perspective, here's a little reality check. Ask yourself this question and answer it honestly. By all accounts, do I live a normal life? If the answer is 'yes', then look in the mirror and get used to what you see - this is what you 'normally' looks like. But if your answer is 'no' and you desire to take off the perennial 10 pounds that most have and nobody wants, then you have to be willing to say goodbye to your 'normal' life - NOW. You will have to change things and adopt a lifestyle that may seem abnormal to you.

Question: How long does this have to go on for?
Answer: As long as you want to keep the weight off.

You will no longer be able to leave it for tomorrow or start your diet on Monday (remember, that strategy is what got you in trouble in the first place). Losing weight is not impossible or even hard if you are willing to take the bull by the horns and claim responsibility for your decisions. No more excuses - fat does not care about excuses. Many people have lost weight and kept it off successfully. They did it by eating properly and adding plenty of activity to their lives. Many of these people never joined a gym, bought any equipment or lifted a single weight. They just took the time to take care of their bodies. Weight loss begins with the intention to lose weight and ends with a lifetime of healthy, happy living that suddenly isn't so hard once you get the hang of things.

Here's a final word for my indoor cycling folks. I'd like to share some interesting facts about cycling and weight loss...

Bob Seebohar, a USAT nutritionist, talks extensively about metabolic efficiency. That is, controlling blood sugar levels and insulin response through diet. At lower levels of aerobic intensity, the body burns a higher percentage of fat. As intensity increases (along with heart rate) the body begins to burn a higher percentage of carbohydrates. While the overall caloric burn is higher, it is the carbohydrates and not the fat stores that are depleted. Why should we care about this? For two reasons... First, we have about 70,000 calories of fat stored on average and second, many of us would like to improve our body composition and utilize those stores on a daily basis. Bob's goal is to get athletes to use a greater percentage of fat at higher intensities.

Grant, with fellow Flywheel instructors Ryan Makely and Chris Tracy, showing Good Morning America how this cycling thing is done!
The number of calories you burn cycling varies depending on the duration and intensity of your workout, as well as your body weight. Surprisingly, moderate-intensity workouts burn a higher percentage of fat than vigorous-intensity workouts. According to the American Council on Exercise, when you exercise at a moderate-intensity, approximately 60 percent of the calories you burn come from fat. Cycling at less than 10 mph qualifies as moderate-intensity exercise.

When you increase the intensity of your cycling workout to vigorous, the majority of the calories you burn comes from fat, concludes the American Council on Exercise. So if you're cycling at a speed of 10 mph or faster, you're likely getting a high-intensity workout. You know you're working out at a high intensity if you're breathing so rapidly that you can't carry on a conversation.

Although you burn a higher percentage of fat cycling at low to moderate-intensity, you burn more calories overall (and therefore more fat) at higher-intensities. With that being said, if your goal is weight loss, most of the calorie deficit you create will result in fat loss anyway in the end because your body won't have excess calories to store as fat. Calories you burn at rest and during everyday activities will also pull from body fat stores to meet your basic energy needs.

At the end of the day, I want you to push yourself to the edge and find the GREATNESS in you! Find an activity or meal plan that works for you and then stick with it. The end results will more than make up for the pain of the adjustment period. 

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Grant Belton is a Brooklyn native and long-time NYC resident who grew up in the trendy neighborhood of Williamsburg before it was deemed 'trendy'. After pursuing a career in the travel industry, Grant segwayed into the fitness world - his true love - by becoming a certified personal trainer and an indoor cycling instructor with Flywheel Sports. When he has the occasional day off and is not teaching class at the break of dawn, you can find Grant relaxing and doing nothing at all! Well, maybe eating his favorite, Greek God Honey Yogurt and blueberries, but that doesn't take much effort. His doctor most recently told him he should drink more water because he was dehydrated. Hello! He teaches like 14 classes a week! Of course he's dehydrated! In response, Grant has increased his water intake and purchased a box of Depends. (Just kidding)!

                                                            To check out one of Grant's awesome classes, click here!

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