The Health Guru

Facts, Hints, Tips, Advice and Inspiration on everything to do about health & weight loss.

Common mistakes that sabotage your weight loss and exercise effort

Posted on | August 6, 2010 | No Comments

You’ve probably heard it a million times, the only way to ever lose weight is to exercise and Singaporeans are buying into this exercise craze. Fitness Gyms are opening up in every corner of the Island as more and more people are rushing to sign up to exercise. There is also an increase in participation in sporting events, Singapore has just witness thirty thousand of people participating in the December 09 Singapore marathon.

Surely, if exercise is the only way to lose weight, why is the Singapore overweight and obesity population continues to rise?

So what went wrong? Here are my theories

1) Reward after working out

“I walked 4.8 Kilometers today so I’ll reward myself with a blueberry muffin.” The 4.8 kilometers walk burned off 239 calories, but the muffin added 420 calories.

If it takes 30 minutes of brisk walking to burn a tablespoon of sugar which is “hidden” in tea or coffee, wouldn’t it be more realistic to cut out the tablespoon of sugar rather than have it and then work your butt off in the gym? Therefore, instead of rewarding yourself with food why not go for a nice massage, buy a cute dress, or simply enjoy a nice warm shower to relax.

2) Eat more to “make up” for exercising

“I’ll eat more protein ‘to repair damaged muscles’ caused by my intensive workout”

Most of us overestimate our workout and with eager advertisers trying to sell us their products, it’s a recipe for weight management disaster.

Take protein for example.  The Recommend Daily Allowance (RDA) which is the minimum amount of protein needed to fulfill protein is equal to 0.8 g of protein per kg body weight per day. However, the average mixed American diet provides from one to two times the RDA for protein.

For endurance athletes, they need to increase their intake to 1-1.2g of protein per kg body weight per day. It will be perhaps just an additional egg or 2 for a 60kg person.  Hence for a typical weekend warrior, if more protein is consumed in excess of their daily energy requirement, it will cause weight gain.

Another scenario – Thirsty after your run? Just hold on to that 100 Plus or Gatorade and read this: Sport drinks contain sugar as well as electrolytes, which means calories. They are only recommended to drink after an hour of continuous workout or if you are exercising in extreme heat conditions, otherwise just cold water is good enough to hydrate your body (and calorie free )

3) “I have muscles so I eat more”

After you work out hard enough to gain more lean muscle you have on your body, your metabolism rises. It is estimated  that 1 pound of muscle requires 50-100 calories per day to functions —a major achievement, but it equates to the calories amount in a teaspoon of butter!  Not that much extra.  While being buff does speed up your metabolism – it still does not give the green light to indulge in overeating.

4) Trusting the “Calories Burnt” Number on the Exercise Machines?

“I have entered my gender, age and height into the machine and it says the calories I have burned is 600 calories after an hour on the elliptical. The machine must be right”

The accuracy of calories burnt depends on each individual machines. Some are more accurate than others but they usually vary between a few hundred calories. I would recommend using the more accurate heart rate monitor device e.g. Garmin or Polar Watch to get the most out of your workout whether fat burning or improving aerobic fitness.

Nevertheless, use the information from the exercise machines as a guide to measure the intensity and effectiveness of your workout – but don’t be obsessed with calorie counting.

5) Unable to sustain

“To lose weight … 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.” That’s 60 to 90 minutes on most days of the week, a level that not only is unrealistic for those of us trying to keep or find a job but also could easily cause compensatory eating – American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association (2007)

Do shorter but higher-intensity workouts, they burn more calories in a short amount of time. Circuit training is a hit among the fitness gurus, because it combines aerobic and resistance exercise to keep the heart rate up and has reported after burn effects. Which mean you continue to burn calories even after your work out — Excellent for the workaholic who has little time to spare.

I believe in moderation and developing a balance, many research studies investigate the effectiveness of weight loss through 1) diet only 2) exercise only and 3) exercise and diet. A study conducted at the Ball state University determine that the people who exercise and diet produced the most significant results; They infact lost 90 per of their body fat.  So pay equal attention to both exercise and proper eating to achieve lifelong weight maintenance.

Health Guru Note: This article was contributed by Christine Wang, Health Coach.  I wanted to make a special mention and thank-you for a wonderful article.

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