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Take It Off Slowly
The Caloric Cost Of Lifting
Limit TV
Attitude And Training
The Scale Doesn't Tell All
Fat-Free Weight Gain
Weight Gain
Yo-Yo Diet
Substitutes Or Lower-Fat Cheese
Mobil Metabolic Rate



Our culture in general and bodybuilders in particular become obsessed with bodyfat. Thin and lean are definitely in, but do we take it all too far? Eating disorders and dieting have become Epidemic.

While athletes generally have lower bodyfat levels than their sedentary counterparts, it must be emphasized that there's no direct relationship between bodyfat level and athletic performance. Elite athletes range from low levels of 4 to 6 percent bodyfat in runners and gymnasts to the male norm of 15 to 18 percent seen in professional football linemen and baseball players. There is little scientific evidence, however, that bodyfat levels below 8 percent improve athletic performance. In fact, women lose normal menstrual function when their bodyfat levels drop below 10 percent. While reducing training overload and increasing bodyweight will return normal levels.

Periodic dieting to reduce bodyfat often leads eventually to higher levels of bodyfat once the person stops restricting calories. Yo-yo dieting, as it's called, can also increase the risk of heart disease. While low bodyfat is important for a bodybuilder's appearance and an endurance athlete's effective horsepower, you should consider your long-term health whenever you embark on a weightloss program. Understand that drastically reduced bodyfat levels may not appraisal of your genetic potential and set your sights on taking the weight off slowly.





There seems to be a lot of confusion as to how many calories a person actually uses during a resistance-training workout. While there have been many studies done on the various forms of aerobic exercise, resistance training and energy expenditure hasn't been a popular research subject. Aerobic exercise is continuos in nature; Weightlifting is intermittent, with reason it is more difficult to control the caloric expenditure for weightlifting.

Depending on the type of resistance training, the average caloric expenditure for a 150-pound weightlifter ranges from values of 5.5 to 6 kcal/min for Nautilus and isometric-resistance exercise to 12.5 kcal/min for circuit weightlifting. Isotonic, isokinetic and hydraulic forms of resistance training fall in the range of 9 to 10 kcal/min.

Remember, however, that this represents the caloric cost of lifting, not of the entire time spent in the gym. Using a mean value of 9 kcal per minute, we can estimate that a typical hour workout, in which one- third to one-half of the time is spent resting between sets, would result in an expenditure of between 180 and 270 calories. A comparable hour spent walking would expend 325 calories, even though walking has a lower caloric cost (5.4 kcal/min).

Don't let these values mislead you, however. Aside from the health benefits of resistance training, the additional muscle mass boost your overall metabolic rate, which cause you to burn more calories, throughout the day than you did in you less-lean condition.






In other studies on caloric expenditure researchers measured the effects of watching television on the metabolic rates of both normal and overweight girls. In both groups there was a significant drop in metabolic rate while the subjects were watching TV when compared to when they were lying at ease. The drop was greater in the overweight group, 16.5 percent as compared to the 12.5 percent drop seen in the normal-weight group.

The link between TV and obesity begins with the lack of activity and the influence of food commercials. This new data further establishes that connection. If you're going to spend time in front of the TV, make sure you've already spent some time in the gym to counter the harmful effects that the tube will have on your metabolic rate.










The Institute for Aerobic Research in
Dallas has found that attitudes toward dieting and healthy foods are directly inked to bodyweight and the amount of exercise an individual gets. It appears that the leaner the person and the more training he or she does, the more positive the attitude toward healthy, lowfat foods. The results of this study showed that sedentary people who were 15 to 30 percent overweight had more negative feelings about food. These included the belief that everything they like is bad, that bread is fattening, that healthy food is boring and that it's hard to find healthy substitutes for certain foods. It appears that as we become more nutrition conscious, active and lean, not only do our health and performance improve, but al does our attitude toward healthy eating.






Your bodyfat level is a much more accurate indicator of your fitness and health than your bodyweight is. This is particularly true for athletes who have much higher bone density and muscle mass than their sedentary counterparts. While weighing yourself on a weekly basis can let you know if you're gaining or losing, the more important factors are you body composition and whether what you're losing is muscle, water or fat. Lean tissue, or muscle, will make you weigh more, yet it benefits your performance and health. It's great to weigh 200 pounds if your bodyfat level is less than 10 percent-that is, more than 180 pounds of you is lean tissue. If, on the other hand, your bodyfat level is 25 percent, you're only carrying 150 pounds of lean tissue, which dramatically reduces your health performance and appearance benefits.

There are three methods for determining body composition and bodyfat levels; skinfold measurements, impedance testing and hydrostatic, or underwater, weighing. All three techniques have their advantages and limitations.
One of the most convenient and readily accessible procedures is the skinfold test. If it is performed by a qualified practitioner, the results can be as accurate as those for the other two methods. As with bodyweight measures it's not so much what your initial value comes out to be, but rather how that value changes with training and time. Just as you might get two different bodyweight measures between your bathroom scale and the one at your doctor's office, your body-composition level will vary somewhat when determined by the different methods and with different people performing the tests. No matter which method you choose, it's best to have the test performed by the same individual and under the same conditions every time.





Most people find it easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, most weight gain comes in the form of fat. Athletes who want to gain weight are looking to increase their lean muscle mass while gaining as little fat as possible.

While people who have family histories of heart disease or other majors illness are not encouraged to put on weight, especially bodyfat weight, you can increase lean muscle by following several guidelines for fat-free gain.

In order to put on weight, you must take in more calories than you burn up. To gain one pound of muscle, you need to eat about 2,500 extra calories. The best way to accomplish this is to spread the excess over several days during each week for a reasonable weight gain of one to two pounds per week. This way your daily intake doesn't exceed your energy expenditure by more than 1,000 to 1,500 calories.

Don't change your diet drastically from what you normally eat, however. Although you're increasing the quantity, stick with foods that are low in fat.

To ensure that the excess calories will primarily go toward building muscle, you should undertake a vigorous training program during this high-calorie period. Don't make the mistake that many athletes make and reduce your activity in order to put on weight. This practice only results in increasing your fat stores, not you lean muscle tissue.




As with weight-loss programs weight-gain programs should include exercise, diet and behavior therapy. While weight-loss programs emphasize aerobic exercise and sports activities to burn calories and fat, weight-gain programs require resistance/strength training to increase lean bodyweight and should limit calorie-burning activities

Your weight-gain diet should include an increase in calories, with an added 750 calories on strength training days and an extra 250 on nontraining days. The additional calories should come largely from lowfat, protein-rich foods. Include an extra 20 grams of protein for muscle growth.

Behavior therapy is an important factor in achieving any goal. Develop a reinforcement schedule to reward weight gains. Determine your desirable weight and make steady progress toward that goal.

Plan to gain only one pound per week maximum. Too rapid an increase will lead to an increase in bodyfat levels. Remember to return to aerobic exercise and weight maintenance when you achieve your desired bodyweight.








Our current obsession with bodyweight and appearance leads most of us to diet at one time or another. In fact, at any one time approximately 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men are on weight-loss diets. This statistic, along with estimates that 95 percent of dieters are unable to keep the lost weight off, supports the notion that diets don't work.

Recent research conducted at
Yale University and at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta indicates that the risks of heart disease. Death from heart disease and death from all causes are greatest amount individuals who undergo repeated weight-loss/weight -gain cycles. Commonly known as "yo-yo dieting." In one of the studies the group that repeatedly lost then regained more than 25 pounds showed a higher incidence of premature death than that of people who smoke cigarettes. The researchers determined the risk of premature death to be 25 to 100 percent higher for the yo-yo dieters regardless of each person's initial weight, blood pressure, smoking habits, cholesterol level and physical activity.

If you're interested in losing bodyfat, you'll do better if you take a more balanced approach, including diet modification, moderate calorie restriction, exercise and lifestyle modification. This is a healthier course and one that ensures you a better chance of keeping the weight off. Subjects who are involved in weight-loss programs that include education and behavior modification are more likely to remain at their reduced weight than those who simply restrict calories.

Athletes such a bodybuilders who continually lose weight for competition and regain it rapidly after the contest should be aware of these recent studies and the possible long-term effects such practices may have on their health. A more sensible approach would be to maintain your physique at near-competition weight year-around.








Q: I love cheese, but I realize that it's high in fat and cholesterol, two things you are always warning us to avoid. Are there any fat substitutes or lower-fat cheeses?

A: I often receive requests and recommendations for nonfat, healthy roods or recipes. I'm also a former cheese lover, and guess what? Help is on the way. I've discussed other products for which manufacturers have perfected as nonfat versions, such as the nonfat salad dressings made by Kraft Foods, and now I'm pleased to report that there are nonfat cheeses in the grocery stores. While some of these products leave much to be desired, I have found one brand to be excellent. The product is distributed by the Lifeline Food Company of Seaside, California, and is called Lifeline Fat-free cheese. It is made with skim milk and is all natural. If your store doesn't carry this brand, ask the manager to order it.

Lifetime cheeses are delicious, particularly the cheddar and jalapeno-swiss versions. The texture and taste remind me of what cheese used to taste like when I was still eating it. You can melt it in an egg white omelette, use it in other prepared dishes or eat it on its own with nonfat saltine crackers.

Another great product to get you grocer to order is Rice & Bean Tortilla Bites Light, an all-natural, fat-free chip manufactured by Baja Bakery in Chicago, Illinois. This item comes in several varieties, but I like the smooth ranch flavored ones the best. Keep an eye open because new, nonfat alternatives are coming on the market all the time. If you have any favorites in your area, please write and let me know so I can pass the names on to the other readers.









The amount of calories a human burns at rest, known as the resting metabolic rate (RMR), depends on a number of factors. If you want to lose weight, the optimum situation is to have a higher RMR. While the RMR goes up after you exercise and after you eat, it tends to be lower in overweight individuals and to go down when you've been dieting.

Regarding this decrease that takes place after a period of calorie restriction, recent research indicates that it is only transient and that your metabolic rate will return to normal within a short period of time. The only problem is, if you're repeatedly losing and regaining weight, this alters your body's ability to store and burn fat. So even though your RMR returns to normal between diets, your body is more efficient at storing fat and less efficient at burning it.

This information reinforces something that your probably already know. Since exercise enables you to burn fat more efficiently and also increases your RMR for a while after you exercise, it is better to burn calories through exercise than to restrict them through dieting to lose bodyfat.