Friday, February 20, 2009

About Gym, losing weight and maintenance !

First of all, let me clarify one thing before I make further statements. This is not a lesson or teaching on how to lose weight. This is my experience and interpretation of things related to gym or weight loss. I may be right for some, and totally wrong for others. I accept that fact.

Over the years, while talking to various people, I had many questions raised about gym and weight loss. None more so than the golden question “how do I lose weight?”. In my belief, I think this is probably the most frequently asked question in the world.

My answer to this question is simple “hit the gym, at least 4 times a week for an hour a day”. Well, I can see that most people are not very encouraged by this answer, because they expected me to say something which they can use as a proverbial ‘silver bullet’ to lose weight. Unfortunately, as in the proverb, there is no silver bullet when it comes to weight loss, toning or maintenance.

I will try here in this blog to clear out some of the misconceptions, incorrect understanding about various things related to toning, weight loss and body maintenance.

#1 Weight Lifting or Weight Training – What are they and do I need it?

Well, most people have heard and know about weight lifting because its one of the popular sports. But most people also confuse weight training with weight lifting. So when I tell somebody to go to gym and use weights, their immediate reaction is - its not for them.

Here is the truth. Weight lifting is a specialized sport. Where as weight training is a technique used to tone various muscles of the body with the help of weights. So as you can see the 2 are really apples and oranges. Most of us would never need to do weight lifting, But most of us need to train using weights.

No other exercise (aerobics, jogging etc) helps you lose more weight than weight training. By using weights to work out various muscles of your body, you can burn more calories and increase your metabolic rate for a longer period of time than with any other exercise for the same amount of workout.

#2 Can I lose Weight if I just walk everyday.

Answer to this question is a simple question. How much calories will you burn in your walk? If you can burn 500 calories or more every day with, say, an hour of walk then probably you could lose weight. However, as most of us know, burning 500 calories or more in about an hour of walk is going to strenuous, if not impossible, for most of us. The reason is the actual interpretation of this question , which is “can I do something which is basically laid back, and does not put too much strain on me physically and still lose weight?” Answer, as you can imagine, is NO.

#3 Dieting and Diet Control

These are 2 completely different things. Most acceptable definition of dieting is “intake of low calorie, low fat, low carb, high protein food over a period of time to lose weight”

Diet control is controlling the intake (amount) of food that you normally eat.

So, the question is , which is better. Well, my real answer is which ever works for you. But more honest answer is this. Dieting, in my view, is un-natural for the simple reason that it wants you to change your natural eating habits. We are all born and brought up with a particular eating habits which are very specific to the community , race, religion we belong to. And all of them are good as time has proven them to be.

I believe its almost impossible to completely forget what you used to eat and start having a completely new kind of diet. You will go back, sooner of later, to what you have been eating for most of your life.

So my take on this is simple – Don't waste your time, money and mental peace on trying to diet. Invest instead on controlling your diet, which should be easier because there are NO restrictions on what you can eat, only on how much you eat.

Of course, diet control will work more effectively if its also accompanied by gym! :-)

#4 Which is easier – Weight Loss or maintenance

I say none,  unfortunately! :-)

You need to have enough dedication, energy and drive to lose weight. You need same amount of all 3, if not more, to maintain your body. When God put us in this world, he did not think it a good idea for the man to lose weight once and enjoy for the rest of his life. I am sure God is working on Man 2.0! :-)

So follow the 3 golden rules

1. Go to gym at least 4 times a week for 1 hour each day

2. Use weights to train various muscles of your body along with a bit of aerobics or jogging or walking

3. Diet control

Ciao and take care!