Best Shape of Our Lives: Part 2 – Gettin’ The Ball Rollin’

Picking up from where we left off that day, it’s time to get started on this quest!

Don’t worry too much (because I did) about not getting the results. Over and over again I was told by people who’ve been there and done that, that it’s absolutely possible to lose weight i.e. the excess body fat if you put your mind, heart and soul to it. You must really, really, really want it to happen. I even have goosebumps discussing this as I type.

The best way to go on this journey is with a friend, a spouse or anyone who has the same goals as you do. Of course, you can do it on your own, but wouldn’t it be exciting and more fun to have someone on this rollercoaster ride with you?

They’d understand the pain and struggle that you’re going through and would equally push your lazy ass to ensure you reach that wonderful destination…

Halle Barry

Photo source: www.popsugar.com

Do you not want that?

Or maybe something more toned –

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Ronda Rousey

Photo source: Pinterest images

Or this for them gentlemen –

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Abercrombie & Fitch

Photo source: www.literarilycreative.com

And this??

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Chris Hemsworth with a Thor-rific body

Photo source: www.varicoseveins.org 

If you’re still having doubts on whether you can do this, don’t fret. I’ll leave you and your thoughts for a moment. But don’t take too long! This mission has to start pronto!

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Things You Must Know

If you hate math, well, this is the time for you to be friends again, and get re-acquainted. Because these equations and numbers are crucial for you to move forward and make a change. Your life (and hot bod) depends on it!

 

What is BMR?

You can know the amount of food intake for your body by calculating your BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate. This represents the amount of energy your body needs in a day to function, which includes breathing and keeping your heart beating. It’s an estimate of how many calories your body burns if you do nothing but rest for the entire day.

So, since our aim is to lose weight (body fat), knowing your digits can help attain this goal.

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How Do I Know My BMR?

There are a few options:

Option 1

Step on a Karada, Tanita or any body composition analyzer machine (but before that you need to key in your body stats into the device).

Option 2

Calculate yourself! Here’s how:

  • BMR for Women: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
  • BMR for Men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

(If you’re used to centimeters and kilograms, don’t forget to convert these measurements to inches and pounds first before you calculate)

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OK, so now what?

Now that you know your BMR, let’s start consuming less than your BMR.

Important: To Lose body fat is to Exercise + Eat below your BMR

Example:

BMR = 2200 calories

Hence, you should consume less than 2200 calories per day, and make sure you sweat it out at the gym, at home or outdoors.

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Introducing the Calorie Equation:

[Calories burned] – [Calories eaten/intake] = Calorie deficit

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To create Calorie Deficit:

Low calorie intake + High calories burned via physical activity (exercise)

Although in the equation above states that you must consume less than your BMR, in order to lose weight healthily, you must eat enough calories coupled with exercises or do any vigorous physical activity.

Too little calories consumed; and your body will go into ‘starvation mode’. What the body will do is protect the stored fat, and burn the lean tissue or muscle to provide it with calories it needs to stay functioning. This results to a loss in muscle, leading to the body lowering its metabolic rate, so that it only requires fewer calories to continue functioning.

So, peeps, we don’t want this to happen. Losing muscle is the last thing we want to happen!

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Calorie Burning Chart for various activities.

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Daily Calories Intake

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the recommended calorie intake is:

  • Women (19 to 51 years old): 1800 to 2000 calories per day
  • Men (19 to 51 years old): 2200 to 2400 calories per day

But never go below 1200 calories! There are some diets out there that even recommend eating below the 1000 mark. If you exercise heavily and constantly, and eat below 1000, there’s a high possibility you’ll fall flat on your face after a workout.

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How Much Do I Eat?

Rule of thumb – eat below (but not too low) your BMR. There are also so many schools of thoughts on healthy eating.  There is no perfect workout or perfect diet that’s applicable to all. What’s important is to find the one that is perfect for YOU.

 

To avoid complicating things, both of us chose to do:

  • Eat 4 to 6 times a day
    • 3 Main Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Don’t skip breakfast!)
    • 2 -3 light healthy snacks in between – green apples, green guava, walnuts, almonds
  • Drink buckets of (plain) water – 3 to 4 liters per day. Keeping your body hydrated helps you from overeating or experience hunger pangs.
  • Stay off sweet/sugary food and drinks
  • Cut down on starchy food like white rice, white pasta and white bread.
  • Increase your greens! If you loathe vegetables, try broccoli as a start.

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Should I Really Eat Frequently?

I’m sure you’ve heard the “eat six times a day” notion one too many times.

Experts advise building an eating/meal plan according to your caloric needs, instead of simply plucking a number popularly mentioned by others.

We love referring to BodyBuilding.com for its clear and concise explanation on fitness. Quoting one of their certified trainers, there’s no definite data supporting “hyper-metabolic effects of multiple meals.” It may be effective for some people; it might not be for others.

What you can do: Start with eating a solid, protein-rich meal every 3-4 hours i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lean meat, chicken breast and fish are the easiest source.

Is snacking OK? Notice that the gap between lunch and dinner is more than 4 hours (given that you had lunch at 12 noon, and your dinner is at 6 or 7pm) – remember one thing – DON’T STARVE yourself! The science is that, when the body is not supplied with food, your blood sugar level drops. Eating 6 or 7 hours later after your last meal will make your blood sugar spike. This in return causes excess insulin in your blood. With excess insulin in your blood, your body stores fat more easily.

Here’s a good excuse to eat more often, as long as you chow down the right food. Prepare a snack pack to work, and avoid getting your hands into the cookie jar at the office pantry. Trust me, I’m a semi-retired cookie monster.

Body-friendly Snacks: green apples, celery sticks, carrots, walnuts, almonds, oats – just to name a few.

 

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How Often Do I Exercise?

Exercise could be running up and down the flight of stairs of your apartment or jump rope for 15 minutes. There are endless types of exercises you can do to break a sweat.

Frequency: 3 to 6 days a week

Duration: 30 mins to 2 hours per day

Type of workout: Izwan and I now opt for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as it has been proven to be an effective fat burning exercise compared to ‘steady’ or ‘constant’ cardio. The internet can be your workout bible. Google for “Sample HIIT Workout” and you’re all set! But if you’d rather have a personal trainer help you sort this bit out, the better.

Wait for my next post on the workouts that both of us look forward to everyday!

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References:

  1. BodyBuilding.com
  2. FitnessInAnEvolutionaryDirection.com
  3. MyBodyTutor.com
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