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YOUR SOURCE FOR FITNESS, NUTRITION AND STRENGTH TRAINING HELP. GET INTO GREAT SHAPE!
YOUR SOURCE FOR FITNESS, NUTRITION AND STRENGTH TRAINING HELP. GET INTO GREAT SHAPE!
THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT EXCESS BODY FAT.....

UNDERSTANDING HOW WE GOT OUT OF SHAPE:

The human body is genetically wired to adapt for survival. Whatever regular stimulus we subject our body to will determine how it adapts. The body is an incredible marvel of efficiency. It will build needed tissue, replace damaged tissue, and make itself better able to meet the requirements we put on it.

 
Adaptation is why athletes train, to make the body adapt in a desired way. Adaptation is why physical therapy can help recovery from a bone or muscle injury. The principal of adaptation is why a well designed fitness program will help your body adapt in a positive way to become fit and strong.

You have built the body that you currently have by programing it to adapt to your habits and lifestyle.

One common symptom of unhealthy adaptation is extra body fat and being overweight. If you are carrying extra fat, it is because you have programmed your body to store it. Fat is made up of unused calories, or energy. When you consume calories that you do not burn for energy, your body adapts and stores the extra as fat. As we repeat the process, our metabolism slows down, and our body adapts into an efficient fat storage container.

This process of overeating and not burning the calories sets off a whole chain of negative health events in our body. Not only are we now mainlining large quantities of unburned fuel to our fat storage reserves, but we begin to feel weak, have reduced energy, and find it uncomfortable to do even the simplest exercise. Our physical recovery and defense mechanisms are not able to function as they should, our blood pressure climbs, our insulin response begins to fail, our joints begin to fail from carrying more weight than they were designed to, we look terrible, feel terrible, and our health spirals out of control toward debilitation and illness.

But our modern culture is finding that the cost of our physical complacence is high, very high indeed. As we have grown fatter and less fit, an epidemic of illness and diseases including diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, obesity, depression, back and joint failure, has paralleled our excursion into the sedentary life. The Center for Disease Control and the medical community recognize the dangers of our inactive lives, and have been issuing urgent warnings for modern society to get back into shape.

It is inspiring to have observed many people exchange their flabby, unhealthy lifestyle for one of strength, health and fitness. These have transformed their overweight sedentary "barely able to get by" body into active, shapely, energized people that seem years younger than their actual age.  

By contrast, it is alarming to observe the general population's health and fitness continue to decline. As we wallow in the wake of our inactivity, we grow fatter, and the life-threatening result of our complacence steals our life and vitality. As a society we are in desperately poor health, and we know it.

And yet, paradoxically at the same time, our culture is obsessed with preoccupation about our bodies and fat. We spend more than ever on health care, while our health slips away, being traded for convenience and pleasure. You can't turn on the TV or read a magazine without being bombarded with ads for medicine, diets, exercise machines, pills for this, pills for that.

What is needed is to re-establish a proper balance of caloric intake and restore healthy lifestyle activities that will encourage the body to adapt in a positive way.

This is exactly what fitness training can do for you. A well designed fitness training plan will include the nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits that will absolutely reverse the negative adaptation, get rid of the excess fat, add shapely firm muscle, restore your body's defense and recovery potential, and encourage your body to continually adapt in a fit and healthy direction.

Let's repeat that for emphasis. What is needed is to re-establish a proper balance of caloric intake and restore healthy lifestyle activities that will encourage the body to adapt in a positive way. This is exactly what fitness training can do for you. A well designed fitness training plan will include the nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits that will absolutely reverse the negative adaptation, get rid of the excess fat, add shapely firm muscle, restore your body's defense and recovery potential, and encourage your body to continually adapt in a fit and healthy direction.

How much is too much body fat ?
It is generally accepted that men should have less than 18% total body fat and women 23% or less, However, experts suggest that an excess is not particularly hazardous to health until an individual accumulates 35% and 40% total body fat respectively. Such levels definitely constitute obesity and potentially, if not most probably, have a detrimental effect on one's health. Body fat percentage can be determined using a pair of calipers.

So what is percent body fat?
Percent body fat is the percentage of the total body that is fat. Thus someone who weighs 150 pounds and is 10% fat has 15 pounds of fatty tissue and 135 pounds of other, so called lean tissue.

Where does body fat come from?
Fat is produced by the body when an excess intake of calories in the form of food or drink occurs. When the diet provides the body with more calories than it needs for general maintenance and its current level of physical activity, this excess energy is stored in the form of body fat.

How do I lose excess fat?
Put simply, the removal of excess fat is by a reversal of the bodily processes which store excess energy, if an individual burns more energy than he or she is consuming, the extra energy stored in the body will be removed to be broken down for physical activity.

How does exercise affect body fat?
An increase in regular exercise will help to increase your calorie expenditure. The more physical activity you do, the more calories you will burn. Accordingly, if you increase your physical activity, and do not increase your intake of food, you will draw the extra energy needed from your stored body fat.

Why do gains in weight always seem to go on the same place?
One's body tends to deposit fat according to your individual genetic code. In other words, hereditary characteristics dictate areas in your body which accumulate fat. If you are a typical female you will accumulate fat around your thighs and hips. Typically males accumulate fat around the midriff and lose it there last

Can I get fat off from a specific part of the body ?
Unfortunately not, there is no such thing as "spot reduction". If you exercise a particular part of the body, muscle tissue under the fat will become firm and make the overall appearance of that region look better. However, such specific exercise will not reduce the quantity of fat within the area. Thus simply by jogging one will not just reduce the fat around the legs and hips, the fat providing energy for this activity may be coming from the stomach, chin, back etc.

How many calories will it take to lose one pound of fat?
A calorie is a unit of energy, the deficit needed to lose one pound of fat being approximately 4000 calories. This "rule of thumb" may vary considerably depending on the nature of the fat lost, however, for long term weight loss this figure is probably accurate.

Can I sweat off excess weight in a steam room or sauna?
Remember you are not trying to lose weight but fat. There is a real difference between the two. Weight could be fat, water or even muscle tissue, whereas fat is fat. The loss of weight through excess sweating as experienced in the sauna/steam room is not fat but water. Such weight returns immediately you consume fluid. Consequently if you lose say two and a half pounds in a session in the steam bath you will replace it with approximately the next two pints of water drunk (one pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter). However and obviously more worrying is that if the fluid loss is replaced by a high calorie drink you may end up gaining fats as a result of your weight loss attempt.

What are Essential Fat & Storage Fat?
The essential fat, required for normal physiological functioning, consists of fat stored in the marrow of bones, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, muscles and lipid rich tissues of the central nervous system. In females the extra 9% of sex specific fat is required for childbearing and other hormonal related functions.

In addition to essential fat deposits, storage fat consists of fat accumulation in adipose tissue. Men and women have similar quantities of storage fat - on average 12% for men and 15% for women.

Overweight and Obesity Health Consequences
Overweight and obese individuals (BMI of 25 and above) are at increased risk for physical ailments such as:

  • High blood pressure, hypertension
  • High blood cholesterol, dyslipidemia
  • Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes
  • Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance
  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Angina pectoris
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Gallstones
  • Cholescystitis and cholelithiasis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Some types of cancer (such as endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon)
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • Poor female reproductive health (such as menstrual irregularities, infertility, irregular ovulation)
  • Bladder control problems (such as stress incontinence)
  • Uric acid nephrolithiasis
  • Psychological disorders (such as depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and low self esteem).

Reference
Stunkard AJ, Wadden TA. (Editors) Obesity: theory and therapy, Second Edition. New York: Raven Press, 1993.
National Institutes of Health. Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. Bethesda, Maryland: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 1998.

Portions of this information were used by permission from SPORTS COACH

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