Monday, November 01, 2010
In a nutshell, a given weight of muscle mass takes up a LOT less SPACE than an equal weight of fat!
Muscle mass is smaller, tighter, leaner and more dense!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Well I answered a question that someone else had in their blog today, about body fat and where it goes when we lose weight. Someone else saw it and thought the information was good and I should include it in a blog for others to see? Enjoy!
Q: When we lose weight, where does the fat go? What actually happens to it, does it just melt way getting absorbed into the body?
So without all the fancy names and scientific mumbo jumbo......
When you intake LESS calories from food than the calories that your body burns daily, somehow your body needs to make up the difference to keep you going.
Yes, your body has fat cells that act as storage places for "actual fat", i.e. triglycerides. Our fat cells being full of "actual fat", that's what makes for all our love handles, fat rolls and such, all the stored triglycerides in various places in our body.
Now when your body needs that extra energy (because of dieting/exercise), it starts it's own little "fat burning process", known as lipolysis. During lipolysis, the body calls upon triglycerides to be transported from the fat cells to be used as energy in the body.
As I said, skipping all the "big scientific words", suffice it to say that the fat from our fat cells is first broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids.
The glycerol portion is then broken down/converted by the liver into glucose (sugar), which can then be used by the body for energy! The sugar is consumed/spent/burned up when our muscles move and fire: Mass/Energy converted into Motion, Physics 101, right?
With the "fatty acids" portion, that's where it get's a bit interesting. Again, keeping it simple (as if the human body is): Once our body has used up all the sugar it can find for energy, and it still needs MORE...the body then turns to using "fatty acids" directly for energy.
How? Well, our bodies are smart .... it switches from "burning sugar" (glucose) for energy to "burning fat" (fatty acids) for energy, entering into a process known as ketosis. This is a natural process that happens during long cardio workout sessions.
This is the reason that if you are looking to burn FAT during your cardio sessions (instead of sugar) it's recommended that you work out at LEAST 20+ minutes. Why? Because it usually takes about 20 minutes (give or take) of strenuous exercise to deplete the body's "sugar" energy reserves and force the body to enter into "fat burning mode".
The body can also be manually switched into Ketosis (fat burning mode) by following a low carb diet. People following a low carb diet are purposely limiting their intake of carbs (sugar) to force the body to find and use an alternate source of energy, i.e. burning body fat.
Mind you, the fat cells that we have in our body, they never go away, they are just emptied out when we lose weight. No worries, when they are empty they don't take up much space at all.
But if you DID want to get rid of the fat cells too ...you'd undergo a surgical procedure like liposuction...which sucks from your body all the fully loaded fat cells in one fail swoop.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Yes, it finally happened! I reached my threshold of "being asked ten times", so we finally got another question to add to the running FAQs list:
Question: Don't we need carbs for energy??? Someone else told me to load up on carbs before doing cardio??? How do you have energy for working out so long and hard if you’re eating so few carbs, do you carb load???
Ok my fellow Sparkers, it’s not the Stone Age anymore! You know people actually used to drink moonshine because they thought it had vitamins in it??? My uncle Frank was blind as a bat but strong as an ox!!! Were both effects from the same brew??? Those were also the days when turpentine had magical medicinal properties, really the stuff could heal anything that ailed you: Got a sore throat or a chest cold??? Put some turpentine on it!!! Broke your leg??? Put some turpentine on it!!! Stomach bothering you??? Drink some turpentine!!! Oh-Em-Gee, I can still taste that stuff.......dangit Grandma!!!
But time, knowledge and wisdom has saved us from such folly, true. Same with “carb loading”, it’s a thing of the past, on the same relic pile with CDs and black-and-white TVs.
First thing, every one of you has heard rumor of a mysterious body function/process called “fat burning”, true? It’s heralded as “the zone” to be in when doing cardio? Seems that “fat burning” is all the rage now-a-days, true? All the boys and girls are doing it!
Then if “fat burning” during cardio is your goal, why dump a ton of sugar (I'm sorry, carbs) into your body before said cardio for it to run on? Does it not stand to reason that if you DO load your body up on carbs before cardio, then “burning carbs for energy (burning sugar)” is just what your body will do? Does this not defeat the purpose, or am I missing something? You gotta be a little street smart in the game people, otherwise you go home from NY City the first day with your pockets picked!
News Flash: You body will NOT burn fat if there are ample reserves of quick fire SUGAR on tap, period, end of story.
So my pre cardio workout fuel of choice: A protein shake w. 50g of protein, 0g of carbs and 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil added (yes, good fats for energy). Why eat fat before going to a fat burning workout? Because your body burns what you eat!
But I would be remiss not to explain further --- the notion of carb loading does have “some” merits as it relates to extreme endurance cardio, i.e. marathon running. But I would dare say that our most extreme cardio sessions at the gym pale in comparison to running a 26 mile marathon, right? I know we may "feel like" we are truly gassing ourselves in that 30 minutes at the gym, but seriously, no. And THERE is the big difference.
So with actual carb loading before THAT type of event, you have to understand a) the purpose of carb loading and b) a few key elements to the process.
The purpose? To fill the muscle glycogen stores before the extreme event. Most of us already walk around with our muscle glycogen stores filled to capacity anyway. How do I know? Because a) most people eat tons of carbs, b) they do relatively LITTLE exercise compared to the carbs that they are eating and c) thus they are gaining or have gained weight …. This bringing them to Spark!
News Flash: If your muscle glycogen stores are not ALREADY completely full, then the excess “carb” (sugar) calories that you eat will not make you gain weight, they will NOT be stored as fat, instead they will replenish your muscle glycogen stores.
The procedure for actually doing “carb loading”? (3 methods stolen from Wikipedia)
“Original Regimen - 7 days before the event, perform an exhaustive exercise to all but deplete your energy stores. Then for the next 2-3 days cut back on carbs and do low exercise to keep the carb level very low. Then 3-4 days before the event, eat a very high carb diet. This will initiate a response from the muscles to take in as much glycogen from the carbs as possible, over compensating for the starvation from the previous days.”
“Without Depletion - In the 1980s, research led to a modified carbo-loading regimen that eliminates the depletion phase, instead calling for increased carbohydrate intake (to about 70% of total calories) and decreased training for three days prior to the event. Most athletes now follow this modified regimen,it is recommended by many coaches, although there are some athletes who still follow the original carbo-loading regimen”
“New Short workout - A new carbo-loading regimen developed by scientists at the University of Western Australia calls for a normal diet with light training until the day before the race. On the day before the race, the athlete performs a very short, extremely high-intensity workout (such as a few minutes of sprinting) then consumes 12 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean mass over the next 24 hours. The regimen reportedly resulted in a 90% increase in glycogen storage.”
The bottom line: These type extreme atheletes NEED to load their body with glycogen in order to run 26+ miles at a high rate of speed without taking a break, yes. But even they don’t “carb load” using Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby
So no, you don't need to "carb load" before your 20 min extreme cardio burn session on the stepper!!!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I do so hate "knowing better"
But after weeks and weeks of constant begging from my kids, I decided to finally go ahead and make them some homemade Waffle House waffles tomorrow morning. I've had a $5 bag of their dry mix sitting in my cabinet for weeks now, just waiting to see the light of day. Normally their pleas would fall on deaf ears but, hey, they deserve a treat once in awhile.
But, I was shocked tonight to see the mixing instructions for the 3 lb bag, basically using 4 eggs and 2 quarts of half and half for the bag, no wonder they pack a hefty calorie laden punch. The finished mix has to sit overnight in the fridge, but according to my youngest, yes it tastes just like the waffles in the restaurant.
Since I believe in accountability, I've already tracked tomorrow morning's carb fest in the food tracker, just to see what I'm dealing with --- breakfast is gonna cost me 6 miles on the treadmill tomorrow, oh well Gotta pay to play!!!
But the worst part of it, as my kids reminded me --- the affects that carbs always have on my digestive system. Me normally NOT eating bread/flour products, rice, pasta or potatos, my system has gotta used to only the good stuff (eating clean), and thus rewards me. Right now, I can almost feel the tell-tale rumblings of the gastrointestinal meltdown that's sure to come after tomorrow's breakfast. It's so not worth it
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