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Why Losing Weight Gets Harder as You Get Thinner

When someone starts a new diet and workout routine they often feel the have a disadvantage but, when someone is overweight, they have more going for them than they think. On the flips side, thinner people actually tend to struggle with weight loss as the get closer to their goal weight. Here are 4 things you need to know about calories and weight loss.

1. Heavy People Burn MORE Calories at Rest 
Many people who are overweight think their metabolism is slower than skinny people. The truth is, it takes more energy to run a heavier person. The more you weigh, the more muscle your body needs to carry you around. This is why heavier people typically have more muscle mass and burn more calories. You may feel sluggish, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lower metabolism or are burning fewer calories than a thin person.

NOTE:  250LB person that is lightly active with a slow metabolism burns approximately 3,500 calories a day.  Read the rest of this entry

50 Shades of [Athletic] Grey

Before I even begin, I must confess I have not read this book. I have no idea if there is any reference to the actual greyscale. Now, with that in mind, hold on to your panties – because I’m about to get down and dirty – about fitness that is! 😉

The fitness industry often bounces back and forth between two extremes – black or white. Like we’ve seen in politics, fitness is often either extreme right or extreme left. People preach fitness is very easy or ridiculously hard. I think we need more grey!

Black & White

Back in the 80s, fitness gadgets and programs were always marketed as fun, easy workouts – rarely showing someone even breaking a sweat. It’s like they thought they could fool people into getting fit. But no matter how easy the fitness model made it look on TV, sooner or later the person was going to figure out it took work.

Then came Biggest Loser and P90x where extreme measures were exploited, making people believe they weren’t working out unless they were jumping 4 feet in the air one hour straight. Drill sergeant trainers, yelling in your face, stole the show – and people wanted the Jillian Michaels experience, so they too could be “forced” to workout and get results. The major difference between the two extremes was the message. One tried to attract the fat and lazy crowd, and the other tried to attract the fat and desperate I’ll-try-anything crowd. But what about everyone else?

The Danger of Pale Grey 

I personally think everyone fell into the pale grey aera. Even with extreme fitness being more more accepted, most mainstream magazines and brands continue to lean toward the gentle nudge “pale grey” approach, in an attempt to make people feel better about making very little effort. Many writers mislead readers by promoting basically anything, but sitting, as a fitness routine – and people believe it. I guess headlines like “get off your fat butt” doesn’t sell. Maybe we need a clearer message because, in a recent diabetes study, data showed only 3.5 percent of Americans between 18 and 59 did the minimum amount of physical activity recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services. Mediocre message might just make a mediocre impact.  I think we need more honest headlines, honest advertising and real hard facts, but the truth hurts.

People want to believe they are doing everything right. People don’t like hearing that they need to workout harder or that they need to improve. Most people think that doing anything is good enough – and while it’s better than nothing, that doesn’t mean it’s the answer.

50 Shades of White

When it comes to painting a room, most people will gravitate to neutral colors. White, off white, antique white, linen white, smokey white are for people afraid of commitment. When you choose an actual color, you have to stick to decorating around that color. It takes a lot of thought and requires some level of commitment. The same goes with fitness. Like bold colors, bold fitness makes the biggest impact. The problem is, people are often too afraid of failure to commit. So they play it safe, choosing a “white” workout that’s not too difficult, not too scary, not too risky, and that doesn’t require too much of a commitment. As a result, they don’t get the impact they hoped.

The New York Times recently did an article on Updating the Message to Get Americans Moving. In the article, the director of the psychology laboratory at the University of Georgia, Rod Dishman, said he was annoyed when students enrolled in walking classes, boldly saying “It is a sin for a healthy, capable young adult to enroll in a walking class. It is obscene. What they are getting credit for is avoiding making any effort.”

I’m sure none of the students felt that way. However, I totally understand the director’s point of view. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking walking and I realize his words are harsh. Walking may be someone’s only option. I’m trying to encourage people to realize that even an out-of-shape body is typically capable of so much more – and I’m sure the majority of his students could have done more too.

A New Start

Instead of choosing a program based on what someone is willing to do, maybe they should look at fitness from the finishline instead of the starting place. What do I mean? I mean, a person should base their activity on their goals. For most people, fitness is about being physically fit and at a healthy weight. When it comes to weight loss and making drastic changes, it’s not enough just to move – you must move purposefully.

So, what shade of grey are you? Now THAT’s a good question. You may not only pick only one “shade” or training style. Of matter of fact, I’m a firm believer in variety. Whatever you choose, you should have an idea of where that exercise falls on the fitness greyscale.

Here’s a simple chart I created of various popular activity, and the approximate calories burned. In order to get a real understanding of calorie burned, note that sitting on a computer burns approximately 100 calories per hour, so you can subtract 100 from the calories burned during exercise to reflect INCREASED activity. Also, please realize these are generalities only.

The Fitness Greyscale

White: (130lbs: 100-200 calories/hour. 200lbs: 200-300 calories/hour.)
Walking 2mph
Stationary Bike, no resistance

Mild Stretching

Light Grey:
(130lbs 200-300 calories/hour. 200lbs: 300-400 calories/hour.)

Walking 3mph
Elliptical, light pace/resistance
Stationary Bike, light resistance/pace
Tai Chi
Weight Training, light weight with moderate rest
Seated Exercise Class
Bicycle, less than 10mph
Light Calisthenics 

(130lbs: 300-400 calories/hour. 200LB: 400-500 calories/hour)

Power Walking 4mph
Elliptical, moderate pace/resistance
Jogging (12-min mile)
Low Impact Aerobics
Body Toning Class
Weight Training, light weight with little rest
Weight Training, moderate weight with moderate rest
Weight Training, heavy weight with ample rest
Beginner Yoga or Pilates
Water Aerobics
Stationary Bike with Moderate Resistance/Pace
Swimming Laps
Moderate Bodyweight Exercises
Cycling 10-15mph
Moderate Calisthenics 
Rowing, moderate

Dark Grey:
(400-500 calories/hour. 200LB: 500-600 calories/hour.)

High Impact Aerobics
Advanced Zumba 
Power Yoga
Circuit Training
Weight Training, moderate weight, with little to no rest
Weight Training, heavy weight with little rest
Vigorous Calisthenics 
Jump Rope
Cycling 20mph
Gauntlet Stair Machine
Rowing, vigorous

(130lbs: 500-600 calories/hour. 200LB: 600-700 calories/hour)

BCx Boot Camp
Sports Conditioning
Olympic Lifting

Get Ready for the Holidays & Help Someone Get Fit: 

Read my fitness gift guide: Top 25 Fitness Gifts for Your Fit Friends

Tips to Making Your Cardio Count

Are you choosing the right cardio for your goals? Many times I see people who need to lose weight leisurely peddling along on the recumbent bike, thinking they are doing some really great fat-burning cardio. However, unless they are rehabilitating an injury, they could burn up to 200 calories more per hour if they moved to an elliptical or treadmill.

Look at the following list of most common exercises and see how they compare to each other. Each exercise is listed from lowest calories burned to highest calories burned.

Calories burned per HOUR for a 155lb person
232: Walking, 3.0 

281: Water Aerobics
281: Yoga (not cardio, but thought it was cool to compare)
281: Bicycle
352: Walking, 4.0 brisk pace
352: Low Impact Aerobics
422: Dance Aerobics
443: Walking, 4.5 very brisk pace
472: Running 5mph/12-Minute Mile
480: Elliptical (Moderate)

493: High Impact Aerobics
493: Stationary Bike (moderate intensity)
563: Calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups…)
563: Circuit Training (minimal rest)
568: Elliptical (vigorous)
633: Stair Machine
633: Running 5.2mph/11.5-Minute Mile
704: Running 6mph/10-Minute Mile
704: Kickboxing
744: Running 6.5mph/9-Minute Mile
760: Plyometrics (Burpees, Jumping Jacks, Box Jumps)

Time vs Work
Now, let’s also look at the type of cardio compared to the amount of time you are likely to do that activity. I know in my heart I will not run on the treadmill for an hour, but I’d do kickboxing for an hour. So, in reality, when looking at the numbers above, I can’t compare them as apples to apples.

The reality: Walking for 30 minutes (176 calories) vs an hour of low-impact aerobics (352 calories) is 176 calorie difference. Running 3 miles/30-min (352 calories) vs 1 hour of kickboxing (704 calories)  is 352 calories! Now THAT’S even a bigger difference.

Workout with Purpose
In a nutshell, if you have a specific goal you want to achieve from fitness, you may need to do what your body needs – not necessarily what you like the most. Sure, it’s great to choose activity you like, and will stick to, but are you going to be OK with the results you get from that activity? Many times people keep doing what they like without ever achieving their goals – and they quit working out eventually because what they liked didn’t give them the results they wanted.

If you are exercising for your health, and not for calorie burn, that’s one thing – but if you are wanting to do cardio for fat-melting results, then maybe it’s time to choose a workout based on the results you want to get. Once you choose your workout, make those workouts priority and the fun workouts extras – until you reach your goal. Once you reach your goal, you can rearrange your training schedule, reduce intensity and increase your fun activities.

Top 5 Calorie Scorchers
If you are like me, you want the most bang for your buck. Here are my personal favorite workouts that burn a serious amount of calories while sculpting muscle too.
1. Plyometrics
2. Circuit Training
3. Calisthenics
4. Kickboxing Class
5. High Impact Aerobics

Top 5 Exercise Tips:
1. Do weights before cardio
2. If you need to lose weight, make calorie burn your top priority
3. Do moderate cardio on a mostly empty stomach, when possible, when doing cardio alone.
4. Plyometrics, circuit training and calisthenics require food to fuel you through your workout.
5.  None of your calorie burning workouts will pay off if you are just replacing the calories burned with calories you eat. Limit calories consumed for maximum weight loss results.

NOTE: Cardio was a term originally was used to describe exercising your heart and lungs. Now people refer to cardio when doing fat-burning workouts, from a power-walk to an aerobics class.

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Source: NutriStrategy 


Metabolism: What You Need to Know

Here is Steve‘s raw, edgy and in-depth explanation of metabolism. It’s information you need to know and understand, whether you want to hear it or not. Take a deep breath and get ready to take a hit…

When it comes to metabolism, the health and fitness community has redefined this term from its original definition.  This can be both bad and good.  Good as long as we all have a good understanding of how the word is being used in regards to transforming our bodies, bad when we use half of a clinical definition and half of the “en vogue slang” definition.. as this leads to using excuses in regards to weight loss.

Clinically, metabolism  is defined as  the  processes in any organism for cell growth, reproduction, response to external stimuli(environment), survival strategy, sustenance, and cellular maintenance.  It includes building up of the cell or organism (anabolism), and the breakdown of substances primarily for energy expenditure (catabolism).

By far, the number one excuse I hear when training a client for weight loss is… (drum roll… wait on it… waaaiiiit) yep’ you guessed it… “I just have a slow metabolism)  

Let’s Dig In
What they are really saying is “Steve, I’m eating more calories than I burn”.  The words that actually come out of their mouths are,  “I barely eat anything at all, and I still can’t lose weight”… Of course  I reply in compassion and love and say “so, if I drop you off on a deserted island with no food, and come back in two weeks, you will be the same weight or even a little heavier?”  At this point, If they don’t walk out of my office shooting me a bird then I know I might be making headway.

Allow me to give you a real world look at metabolism.  If two people are walking on a treadmill at the same speed and incline, and they weigh exactly the same, the amount of energy required to move their masses is significantly similar regardless of a fast or slow metabolism.  The deviation of calories burned would be negligible.  You might ask, what about heart rate?  I’ve heard many clients say, “the girl next to me burned a thousand calories in spin class and I only burned 250.  Is it because I have a slower metabolism?”  Of course not.  So what is going on? READ THE REST OF THE STORY  (learn more about heart rate monitoring & boosting your metabolism)


A FIVE GUYS burger with fries = 1,460 CALORIES. That could take 14 MILES to WALK OFF! Instead of thinking about food as calories, we should look at it as required work to erase.

When Steve was in high school he worked at Burger King. Every time he went on a date, he knew exactly how many hours he’d have to work to afford to take the girl out. At that time he got minimum wage – which was not much. His dates were a lot more valuable to him as it would require a certain amount of work to accomplish.  Read the rest of this entry

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