How to lose weight fast using Maths!!

Hi Everyone,

So if you are like me, or in fact any normal human being, you will have at one time or another wanted to lose some weight. How important that is to you will to a large extent depend on just how overweight you believe you are, and what your end goal is.

So you want to lose weight…….then what? How, over what period, in what way? Does this mean you’ve got to go on a diet? And if so which one, there are literally hundreds of them.

Now at this point I’m going to own up to being something of a hypocrite. I have written articles before (see here) where I have attacked diets and said that they don’t work. For me that still holds true. Rather than going ON A DIET I would advocate adopting a long term healthy eating plan that you can maintain AND that also allows you to eat some of the things you enjoy and have a blow out now and then whilst still controlling your weight.

However, that is not to say that you can’t adopt a plan to lose weight when necessary and this article is purely about the mechanics of how to do that. The subject has become almost fiendishly complicated in many peoples minds and my aim is to simplify it as much as possible. Low carb? Low Fat? High Protein? Which is the right path? Most people become so confused and frustrated they just revert back to their normal eating habits and never achieve the results they want.

So lets start with the basics….Calories. You’ve all heard of those right, your dreaded enemy in the battle with the scales. Well not really, a Calorie is just a calorie, it’s neutral. It’s how many and what you do with them that counts.

Calories and what to do with them.

A calorie is simply a measure of energy, heat energy to be precise. Food releases energy as it burns inside the body, so the more calories something contains, the more energy it releases. Body fat is essentially stored energy. So if you don’t use up the energy (Calories) that you eat, your body will store them as fat for future use (or not). Here is the first Maths fact. Each pound of Fat contains 3500 Calories. So in simple terms if you eat 3500 calories more than you use in a week, you will gain roughly a pound of fat.

Essentially you can think of your body as a bank account and Calories as money. If you use/spend the exact amount you put in the account you will remain level. If you put in more than you use your balance will go up (gain fat), and if you use more than you put in your balance will go down (one of the few times its good to spend too much).

To some extent it really is as simple as that. Use more Calories than you eat and you’ll lose weight. From a purely weight loss/gain point of view it also doesn’t really matter where those calories come from ie whether it is healthy or completely unhealthy food, the result will be the same. However not all calories are created equal and clearly from a health, nutritional, muscular, vascular and overall wellbeing perspective its good to eat as healthily as possible and get your calories from good sources.  Don’t just eat rubbish.

So, here is the key part. How do you work out exactly how many calories you use and how many you should be eating to obtain your goals.

This is where it becomes slightly more difficult, but keep reading and I’ll make it as simple as possible. Each persons metabolism (the speed and rate at which it burns calories) will vary slightly and is affected by how much and what type of activity and exercise you do. It also varies slightly from men to women. Roughly speaking however, these figures will work.

First you need to work out your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the rate that if you laid in bed all day and did very little you would burn calories. Essentially its your maintenance rate each day.

Do this calculation: 66+ (6.3 x your weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years). So to use me as an example:  (6.3 x 168lb) + (12.9 x 68) – (6.8 x 48) = 1675. So my BMR is 1675. You then have to factor in just how active you are. Do you sit at a desk all day and do no exercise, or do you work as a labourer and go to the gym?

Sedentary – desk job, very little exercise. Multiply BMR x 1.2

Lightly Active – Workout or do some activity 1-3 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.325

Moderately Active – workout 3-5 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.55

Very Active – workout 6-7 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.725

Extremely Active – workout everyday in addition to a physically demanding job (rare). Multiply BMR x 1.9.

So again using me as an example. I am probably between moderately active as i workout 5 days a week but do a sedentary job, so i took a figure of 1.55. 1675 x 1.55 = 2596.25. So for me my Total daily expenditure of Calories living the lifestyle i do is 2596 per day or 18,173.75 calories a week.

Remember i said earlier that 3500 Calories = 1lb of fat. So very simply if i cut my calories intake by 3500 to 14,673 per week or 2096 per day, then i should lose a pound of fat per week. For most people it is sensible to cut your calorie intake by 15/20% (in my example it was 19%.

It really is as simple as that. Get a calculator, work out what your Base Metabolic rate is. Multiply that (be honest now) by your activity levels, cut 15/20% off of that figure and hey presto you will lose weight.

Of course what that means is that you do need to count calories fairly carefully. Nowadays most things are labelled so it’s not that hard. It also means you are allowed to have some good days and bad days as long as you achieve your overall target each week. It also means that whilst it is best to get your calories from non processed, healthy and natural products ( fish, meat , poultry, vegetables, healthy fats etc), you are allowed to be naughty now and then and hit the ice cream, as long as you meet your weekly target.

Throw in some intensive exercise and you WILL achieve your targets. I’d also add that if you are heavily overweight and you are currently eating way over your total daily calorie expenditure then you will find that if you get your calorie levels to where they should be, then initially at least the 1lb per week barrier is conservative. You may find that for the first few weeks you lose 2lb or even more.

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve kept this on a very simple level. There is a lot more detail to be covered in terms of exactly HOW you should eat and WHAT you should eat. Specifically there is the complex topic of Protein, Fats and Carbs and if you really want to get into some detail, Macro levels and how to eat to build or maintain muscle. However, I’ll do an article on that in the next couple of weeks. For now lets keep it simple.

Work out your daily calorie rate to maintain your current lifestyle and activity levels using the formula I’ve given you. Knock off 15/20%. Eat as healthily as possible, treat yourself now and then (this is Ordinary Guy Fitness after all) and exercise regularly. Follow these simple numbers and the fat loss will come and weight loss will follow.

Take Care,

John

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7 Top Tips to Look Great by Summer!!

Hi Everyone,

I wrote a post previously (see here) about Winter being the time to put in the hard work to get the body you want in the Summer. Well that is absolutely true Summer bodies are made in Winter. However if you over indulged a bit over the Christmas period (like me) and are keen to have a body to die for when beach season comes around (or at least not look like a beached whale), then what can you do to turn things around in the next few months.

Below are my 7 top tips for getting yourself beach ready and looking as well as feeling fantastic when Summer comes around. After all feeling fantastic on the inside will go a long way to helping you look great on the outside.

7 Top Summer Tips:

  1. Drink as much water as you can: Yeah yeah, yeah. I know you’ve heard it all before, hell I’ve even written about it numerous time (here and here) for example. It just happens to be true however. Did you know that drinking a large glass of water will make your body burn 30 calories more over the next hour than it would have done without drinking it, even if you just sit on your arse for that hour. 6 glasses a day = almost 1300 calories a week burnt off. Water also allows your body to work more efficiently, flushing toxins out of your body, improving your skin and also allowing more effective processing of proteins and good fats to help you build muscle and shed fat. Finally drinking lots of water make you feel more full, reduces your appetite and actively helps you shed weight.
  2. Cut out the booze: I know, I know, this is a hard one right. Well I don’t mean completely. This is a site for ordinary people and most of us like a few beers or glasses of wine now and then. However what I do is try to be good and have no alcohol at all from Sunday night when i hit the pillow, until Friday evening. Why? well a number of reasons. You sleep better which is major factor in both physical and mental wellbeing. You sleep well you look better, simple. Proper rest also allows your body to rebuild its cells and grow muscle. As well as sleeping better you will be cutting out tonnes of calories you probably didn’t even think about. A pint of Lager contains approx. 190/200 calories, wine even more at about 210. If you can cut out 8 beers or 8 glasses of wine a week that’s roughly another 1600 calories gone (2900 including the extra water.) Just these two measures alone over the period of 3 -5 months will have you shedding pounds in weight.
  3. Eat right: At this point I can feel you frowning at the screen “damn this all sounds like hard work” you’re saying. Well I have two answers to that. Firstly, I’m all about moderation and enjoying your lives so believe me I’m not saying you have to deny yourself completely. Secondly, yes it does involve a bit of effort…..shock horror!! Did you really expert to transform your lazy arse into Elle Macpherson or Dwayne Johnson without having to do just a little work? So what do I mean by eat right? Well in previous articles (here , here and here) I go into a lot more detail. However lets keep things simple. Try to reduce portion sizes by 10%. Cut as many starchy and heavily refined carbohydrates as possible (that means less bread, less white pasta, white rice, potatoes). Cut out or at the very least reduce sugar as much as possible (sorry, that means very few cakes, biscuits/cookies, sweets and definitely cut out the soda’s and fizzy drinks). Eat lean proteins – Fish, Chicken, lean red meat every day and get as much salad and vegetable matter down your neck as you can. Again, for me, the same rules apply as with booze. Cut it our Monday to Friday and then (within reason) enjoy what you want at the weekends. Do this and again that will be many hundreds of calories less per week. Combine with the above two measures and you’ll be rocking and rolling in terms of internal health and weight loss.
  4. Aerobic Exercise: Or as it’s also known cardiovascular exercise. By this I don’t mean an old school John Travolta aerobics session (leg warmers are soooo last century). Unless you love running and have plenty of time on your hands I also wouldn’t go the route of long distance running (nothing against this, it’s just not time efficient in getting you fit and looking good). I would go the way of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training, or if you are more old school Circuit training. Pick 6 exercises that work your whole body between them. Do each exercise for 20/30 seconds or 10/12 reps with no rest in between. Once you have completed all 6 rest for 1 minute. Then repeat 3-6 times depending how fit you are. It should only take 10-20 mins max and you can do it in your garden, a park or even in the house if you can’t get to a gym. If possible try to incorporate some weights such as dumbbell/kettlebell into 2 or 3 of the exercises as this will tone muscle as well as build fitness and torch calories. This article and video demonstrates some examples you can use.
  5. Do some Strength/Weight training: I know that some of you hate weights. Ladies either get embarrassed using weights or mistakenly believe that they will turn into a 1970’s style East German shot putter as soon as they pick up a Dumbbell. Guys either don’t know what to do or again feel embarrassed by the muscle heads in the gym. Ignore all that, bite the bullet and do some strength/weight training. This sort of training tones and shapes your body like nothing else can. For ladies it will shape your legs and butt, define your shoulders and neckline and help shed those saggy backs of your arms that you hate when wearing summer dresses (yeah i know about those). It doesn’t have to be Olympic style lifting ladies, some smallish dumbbells and the right exercises will do the trick. Guys, unless you shift some weights around now and then it’s going to be very hard to tone up the muscles underneath that weight you have lost. Every man in the world looks better with slightly wider shoulders, a narrower waist, toned, fat free arms and a chest that is firm and free from moobs. We are not trying to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger here (unless you want to), just simply putting some muscle and toning onto your frame.
  6. Be targeted: I mean this in two ways. Firstly think about what you want to achieve by the Summer and write it down as a goal committed to paper becomes much more tangible and real. It could be I want to lose 2 dress sizes and tone up my butt. Or for guys, I want to get into 34 waist jeans and have muscular arms. Set a date to it eg by 1st if June i want to….. . Once you have done that you also need to be targeted in terms of your actual body. Take a look in the mirror and be honest. what are your good points that don’t need much work, and which are the bits that are heading south faster than you would like or are just a bit to squidgy and need some work. Once you have done that tailor your approach around those parts. If you are a lady and you want to firm up your bottom and legs then focus your training around those a little more (lots of lunges and squats). If you are a guy with a Pigeon chest or saggy triceps then target those areas and hammer things like presses and crossovers or push downs. It’s just common sense.
  7. Have fun and enjoy life: This is probably more important than all the others. None of the stuff above should be a chore. It’s all about moderation in life. By working hard and having some discipline some of the time, you can have fun and enjoy the good things in life the rest of the time. However it’s more than just that. I mean really enjoy life. Spend time with your kids, be stupid, laugh a lot, put work second to family, go on long walks, visit amazing places, eat good food, try new things. Get out and experience the world and squeeze the enjoyment from it. This is critical. People that are happy, enjoy life and are vibrant just exude a sense of wellbeing and simply look better. If you want to look and feel fabulous this summer the trust me, the six points above may help you along the way, but it’s this one, number 7 that will make all the difference.

Take Care,

John

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Why Diets Don’t Work……..Ever!

muscle-building-foods

You’ve all been there. You look in the mirror and sigh, try to pull on a pair of jeans or skirt you haven’t worn for a while and mysteriously can’t get the zip done up no matter how hard you tug. “That’s it, I’m going on a diet” you say. On a Diet, those three words sum up the problem with diets and the reason they just don’t, won’t, can’t work….not in the long term anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Atkins, the Cabbage Soup or the Caveman diet, ultimately they will fail and you will gain back any weight you lost. Why? Well because the whole phrase going on a diet implies that at some point you will come OFF of that diet, and what happens then? Inevitably the bad habits come back and the weight starts to creep back on.

Also the whole psychology behind dieting creates a negative mindset. It’s all about denial. Denying yourself the foods you’d like to eat, being hungry all the time, forcing yourself to do something you aren’t mad keen about in a desperate drive to lose some weight. If you have that mind set how does it make you feel. Anxious? Depressed? Stressed? At some point you are going to crack. No matter how much will power you have you can’t keep that up for the rest of your life.

Wouldn’t it be soooooo much better to feel positive about your food, what you eat and how you eat? Wouldn’t it be better to east tasty, fun foods, eat decent sized portions and also NOT to feel guilty or beat yourself up when you occasionally tuck into something bad like a sticky toffee pudding with cream. “What, how can i eat that on a diet?”.  Well on a diet you can’t, but if you follow what I’m about to say you CAN!

What you need to do is change your whole outlook and attitude to food. You need to change how you eat and what you eat FOREVER. You aren’t going on a difficult diet, you are going to change your lifestyle and become a HEALTHY EATER. This really isn’t rocket science, in fact it’s absolute common sense and to be honest our grandparents generations and the ones before that did it as a matter of course.

It’s really really simple to do. Basically you just need to eat fresh food. That’s it. “It can’t be that simple?”  Well actually it pretty much is with a couple of rules. The key is to avoid processed and packaged produce as much as you possibly can. Avoid sweet or packaged snacks as much as you can and avoid fizzy or sweetened drinks as much as you can, and cut back slightly on Carbs such as potatoes, bread and pasta. That is pretty much it. Other than that you can still eat 2 to 3 meals a day and for your main dinner you can eat pretty healthy/large portions.

So what do i mean by processed foods? Again it’s simple. Anything that comes in a packet or packaging that has a list of ingredients needs either to be avoided or the label carefully studied. ALL ready meals, most childrens meals, ALL fizzy drinks, anything that has lists of chemicals, sweeteners or E numbers on the label. “Hmmmm, so what can i eat?” As i said, basically it is fresh stuff. Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Beans, Nuts and Vegetables / Salad / Fruit. Within reason you can eat as much of these as you like. Throw in some exercise and you will either lose weight (if you are currently overweight), or maintain a healthy weight (if you are not really that overweight).

Is it a bit more difficult, less convenient in this busy modern world. Yes it is slightly but would you prefer the slight inconvenience of having to buy and prepare fresh food and healthy meals that you can eat a lot of and enjoy, or suffer the misery of continually being on a deny yourself everything type diet?

So what does this mean in practical terms? The best way to illustrate that is probably to tell you what I’m eating at the moment. I am on a drive to lose some weight and strip some blub from around my middle area. I’m not overweight at all really. I was about 12 stone 5 pounds  and want to get down to about 11 stone 10 if possible. Why? Well because as I’ve already told you I’m vain and would love once in my life to have some proper 6 pack abs. So I’m training quite hard and want to lose some weight but at the same time don’t want to lose any muscle and therefore need to eat well and decent portions. So here is what i ate yesterday and will eat today.

Yesterday: Went to the Gym first thing. When i got back i had a medium bowl of Greek Yoghurt (the real stuff, not Greek style) with a large handful of blueberries thrown in and a drizzle of honey over the top. This was washed down with a double scoop protein shake. Late morning i had a Banana. At lunch i had 2 eggs, simply cracked into a bowl, salt and pepper and microwaved for 1 minute. Mid afternoon a large handful of mixed nuts. Then for dinner we sat down as a family and smashed into 3 beautiful lamb cutlets (with the lovely crispy fat as well) and a large salad. The salad was mixed leaves, loads of tomato’s, red pepper, spring onion and a large avocado. It took ten minutes to make the salad and about 7 minutes to cook the chops, what’s hard about that? I was full and very happy.

Today is a no Gym day. So far I’ve had the same bowl of Yoghurt, Blueberries and Honey plus one banana. For lunch i plan a couple of Ryvita’s smeared in delicious Nut butter, probably another Banana and some Melon I’ve got in the fridge. Mid afternoon I’ll probably break cover, be bad and have a cup of coffee with a biscuit. Then for dinner it will be similar to last night. We have some marinated spicy turkey breast steaks with a different type of salad and maybe some couscous.

Is it working? Absolutely! I’m down to 12 stone 1 pound. Feel great and am seeing some Abs appear (although long way to go yet). Also the trick here is that I don’t deny myself. We have got a few social nights out coming up in the next few weeks and on those nights I’m going to eat and drink what the hell i like, no denial whatsoever. Can you do that on a diet? No. However on a lifelong healthy eating plan you can cut yourself some slack and break loose now and then.

To just go back over this and make things very clear. The critical thing you need to change is not just your diet, it’s your attitude to food and eating. Be proud of the fact that you are changing your life for the better. In the book I’m writing I talk about pride as being a big motivating factor and maybe my next post will be about pride and other tools you can use for motivation. Your attitude needs to be “I am going to eat well, eat healthily, prepare my food myself instead of letting the supermarket do it, and I can eat big portions and be bad now and again”. It’s just common sense, it’s just going back to what our Grandparent did and adopting their “meat and two veg” lifestyle but making it more fun.

Future posts will start to give recipe advice, tips on how to prepare food in advance to cut down on time and if you want I’m happy to give more examples of what I’m eating.

Take Care,

John

 

I need HELP….Now! – Comments, Ideas, what do YOU want?

IdeasHello from the other side…..

No seriously, i do need your help. It’s all very well me writing these posts, offering advice and giving opinions but it’s all coming from me. What i really want to know is what EXACTLY would you like to see on a site like this, what are your ideas. When you are scrolling Facebook or Twitter, rummaging around on the web, looking at other fitness, health or diet sites, what is it that really GRABS your attention.

Tell me, i really want to know. What are your interests and what would stop you in your tracks for 5 minutes from your busy days and make you read an article. Do you want more specific training routines? Tips on losing weight? Specific diets? Ways to incorporate health and fitness into your daily routine? I’m here to help and keen to provide the information that you want.

Would you be interested in my daily routine (what i eat – good and bad-, how i train, how much booze i drink etc? Do you want tips on equipment to use, training techniques, specific exercises? Do you want more focus on alternative health and fitness themes? Give me some ideas.

This is a call to action. Please, pretty please, tell me what that one thing you’d love to see is. If you could wave a magic wand and think “if only someone could show me how to….” or “If only someone would tell me….”. Just ask and it’s yours…….well maybe, depends on what you ask, but I’ll definitely try.

The whole purpose of this is to be interactive. It’s for ordinary guys and ordinary girls who are going about their daily lives and just want to improve, to be better, fitter, healthier, stronger BUT who also do have a life and need to work around that.

So come on, take 2 minutes, hit the comment button or email me. Tell me “what you want, what you really really want” (Ok no more song jokes i promise).

I’m sitting at my laptop waiting, DON’T disappoint me!

Take Care,

John