*warning y'all - this is a long post*
when i started my fitness program at the beginning of the year, i detailed how and why i started; followed by some updates about my progress. fast forward 7 months and i've completed the 30 day shred, ripped in 30 and i'm currently on month two of insanity, a program that is designed to seriously kick your ass.
i thought i'd post some things i've learned along the way, namely what and why interval training is so effective, understanding your BMR and your daily caloric intake and how you can use this information to help you lose weight safely and effectivly.
we all know that you need to exercise and eat right in order to lose weight. the body needs to burn calories to shed fat but i found the mechanics of interval training fascinating and how it transforms the body by putting immense pressure on the entire system through short, yet very intense interval exercises.
what is interval training? in layman's terms, interval training involves a series of high-intensity, interval based exercises followed by a short period of rest. this means you exercise as hard as you can, as fast as you can in the allotted interval time (typically 30-45 seconds) and then you rest for short period only to start up again after the rest period is done.
when it comes to weight loss, many focus on the calories burned during exercise but did you know that you continue to burn calories after you exercise? this process is called EPOC - excess post-exercise oxygen comsumption - which are the calories your body is burning as it's trying to return to its rest (pre-exercise) state. the greater the intensity and duration of your intervals, the greater the intensity and duration of your EPOC which means your body will continue to burn calories for a longer period of time post-exericse. depending on the intensity of your workout, your body can continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours post-exercise. how awesome is that?!?
this is why interval training is so effective - you push your body to exercise at the maximum level for a longer period; your heart rate soars and your body temporarily goes into an anaerobic state making it harder for your body to return to its rest state, increasing the magnitude and intensity of your EPOC and therefore accelerates weight loss. it's why programs like insanity, p90x, turbofire and all of those other high-intensity interval programs can boast about total body transformation in a short period of time (usually between 2 - 3 months) that would normally take about a year of regular, moderate exercise. insanity circuits are 3 minutes each and each interval are 30-45 seconds followed by a 30 second rest betwween circuits. this basically means you work like a motherfucker for 3 minutes straight and then you get 30 seconds to go throw up.
however, weight loss is only 20% exercise with 80% being your diet ... and proper nutrition is a MUST for weight loss.
what is BMR and how do you lose weight? to understand how much you need to eat in order to lose weight, you need to understand your daily caloric intake. your body burns calories even in its rest state - this is called your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate - and to understand your caloric needs, you need to figure out your BMR. i could type out the calculation but it's easier if you go here and punch in your stats.
the number you get is your BMR at rest state. in my case, my BMR is 1417 so i burn 1417 calories by just sitting on my ass and doing nothing.
to figure out the number of daily calories you need to consume in order to maintain your current weight, multiply your BMR with the following value according to your current exercise level:
- If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2
- If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : BMR x 1.375
- If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55
- If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : BMR x 1.725
- If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9
with insanity and other workouts i do, i selected #3 (moderate) so my maintenance caloric level is 1417 x 1.55 = 2196 which is the number of calories i need to eat daily in order to maintain my current weight. if i eat more than 2196 calories, i will gain weight.
for weight loss, subtract 500 calories from the maintenace level (2196-500 = 1690) so i need to consume 1690 calories per day to lose weight with my exercise level. if you eat below your caloric maintenance level, you will lose weight and exercise will only accelerate that process.
when i first started OAL, i never tracked calories; i felt that i ate very well and exercised regularly and to be quite frank, i was too lazy bother with the tedious effort of tracking what i ate. about a month ago, i realized that my weight loss had stalled and in fact, it seemed like i was gaining weight so after tracking my calories for a few days, i realized i was under-eating (which i suspected because i was always hungry) and i was averaging about 1193 calories per day which is way too low. when you under-eat, your body goes into 'starvation mode' and will hang on to whatever weight you want to lose so your efforts for weight loss will be halted. after altering my diet and bumping it up closer to what it should be, i started losing weight again. isn't that weird? to lose weight, you need to eat which is oppostie of what has been drilled into our heads for years "eat less to lose weight!".
by the way, a fantastic app to track your calories is myfitnesspal (also has an android and iphone app). it has a huge database with caloric content so you simply search or scan the barcode of whatever food you're eating and it'll enter the rest in for you in addition to allowing you to modify your own personal weight settings. don't pay attention to the caloric target it sets for you - it's way too low. use the one mentioned above to find out your daily caloric intake.
the next OAL update will be all about insanity - the meal plan, workout summaries and why i think everyone should challenge themselves to try it. i toyed with the idea of video taping myself so you can watch how i torture myself every day but then i thought about all the time it would take to edit out all the ugly parts of me cussing, grunting and throwing up. instead, you can watch a snippit of one of my favorite yet extremely ass-kicking routines - max interval circuit. skip to 5:26 for the routine that always kills me. remember - this is after almost 50 minutes of ass-kicking-make-you-want-to-puke-your-guts-out interval circuits torture. even these trained athletes and insanity veterans are fucking half dead.
this shit cray but it's so fucking awesome.