By Canice Barbone
Exercise is important for most people, but especially important if you are trying to lose body fat weight. I say “body fat weight” because it is imperative that in any weight loss situation or attempt, that lean muscle is maintained and body fat weight is what is lost. To lose body weight, you must burn or expend more calories than you consume. Exercise combined with healthy nutrition is the best way to do this. When you exercise regularly, you build strong muscles, boost metabolic rate and ultimately eliminate excess body fat weight. Muscles expend or burn more calories than fat throughout the day, even when you are resting. Therefore, it is imperative that weight training be a major component of any exercise program.
In beginning an exercise program, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. As the body begins to develop cardiovascular and muscular strength and endurance, the duration and intensity of exercise can and should increase. A slow and steady progressive plan of action in a body fat reduction plan is safer and more effective than any quick weight loss plan. Losing weight too quickly and especially without strength training usually results in more muscle mass loss than fat loss. When this occurs, it is much easier to put unwanted body fat back on once the quick loss plan has ended. It is a temporary fix to a permanent condition. Exercise provides permanent results. For long-lasting, safe, and effective body fat loss, it is recommended to lose 1-2 pounds of body fat weight per week (providing a person has that to lose).
Body Fat Reduction
Let’s take a look at what will be required for you to lose a safe 1-2 pounds of body fat in a week. EASIER SAID THAN DONE! To lose 1 pound of body fat in 7 days, you need to “burn” or eliminate 3,500 calories in 7 days. That’s right, 3500 calories. A pound of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you want to lose 2 pounds a week, you need to eliminate 7,000 calories in 7 days. Challenging, yes, but it can be done safely and effectively.
You will need to understand how to reduce your caloric intake as well as to EFFECTIVELY increase physical activity for the desired result. I say “effective” activity because there is a difference between exercising with purpose and direction and just moving around. It is imperative to truly understand that quick fixes, crash dieting and waste-of-time exercising are not effective tools for body fat loss, weight management and overall fitness. Many health risks are associated with low caloric intake and should be discussed with a qualified professional.
Instant gratification and instant results sound wonderful, but are not reality. As a professional fitness trainer, I deal with reality every day working with clients. My approach to training is straight forward, honest and real. No one can promise you instant results when it comes to overall health improvement, body fat loss and strong, sculpted muscles. If they do … RUN! Recognize that you are being sold a bill of goods.
Steady and consistent workouts with focus, direction and intensity combined with a healthy, smart nutritional plan ARE the answer. It may take a bit longer, but the results are well worth the time and effort and are longer lasting. This is about YOUR health, YOUR body, YOUR life, not just what you look like in a bathing suit.
Another vital yet overlooked training tool is heart rate training for cardio. The majority of people who do cardio do NOT understand the concept and benefits of training in “zones.” Qualified fitness trainers should understand and pass that information onto their clients. You should immediately purchase a heart rate monitor and use it. The use of a heart rate monitor is the best and most accurate way to know where your heart rate is at and what “zone” or intensity your body is working at. The benefits of heart rate training are numerous and a sure-fire way for you to get the most out of your workouts and achieve the goals you desire.
If losing weight or improving your health is a concern for you, now is the time to get started. The longer you put it off, the more of a concern it will become. Chances are that you are more focused on how you look than how you feel or how healthy your internal systems are. I am here to tell you those things do matter, and that the more efficiently the system of your body operates, the healthier and more fit you will become. The outside stuff … the surface stuff will happen, but it’s the inside stuff that will keep you moving and out of the doctor’s office.
Regular physical activity reduces coronary disease (your heart is the most important muscle in the body), reduces the risk of developing diabetes, helps prevent and reduce high blood pressure, helps control weight, improves sleep, helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, reduces the risk of colon cancer, reduces stress, anxiety and depression, promotes improved psychological well-being and much, much more. Millions of people suffer from illnesses that can be prevented and improved through regular physical fitness.
In a world of statistics, here are some staggering numbers to show why we need to wake up and take control and responsibility of our health and overall well-being.
13.5 million people have coronary heart disease
1.5 million people suffer from a heart attack in a given year
8 million people have adult-onset (non-insulin) diabetes
95,000 people are newly diagnosed with colon cancer each year
250,000 people suffer from a hip fracture each year
50 million people have high blood pressure
Over 60 million people (a third of the population) are overweight
Obesity is at epidemic proportions*
It is time for a change. Discover why you need to make exercise work for you, not just to look better, but to feel better and to live better.
*Health benefits of exercise, Nutristrategy. www.nutristrategy.com/health.htm 
Canice Barbone is Co-owner and Director of Ultimate Fitness Boot Camps, SCBSA Fitness Center and Club Spinnergy in La Verne. For more information on Canice, click on the “Expert” button on the front page of LaVerneOnline.com, and then click on Fitness.