no matter where you’re going…

three letters to get you there.

Calorie. A unit of energy. Our body needs calories just to live. We use calories to breathe, blink, for our blood to circulate, muscles to contract and so on. Calories are essential to living. And we need a lot of them! But how many do we need to just function? The amount of energy we need daily to function in the form of calories is what is known as BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate.  And this is only to function as if you were resting in bed the whole day. We may enjoy doing that once in a while but not every day.

Why

Knowing our BMR is important be it your goal is to lose weight, gain weight or just maintain your weight. Your BMR will give you a number to use as a reference to help you achieve your goal.

How

To best accurately measure your BMR, an expert will take carbon dioxide and oxygen measurements after you have fasted for 12 hours and have rested for 8. But, there is a way for you to calculate your BMR using the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. This formula was introduced in 1990 and is considered more accurate than the previous formula used.

Mifflin St. Jeor Equation

For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + (6.25 x height (cm)) – (5 x age (years)) + 5
For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + (6.25 x height (cm)) – (5 x age (years)) – 161

The more ‘body’ you have, the more calories required. As your amount of muscle increases, your BMR will also increase.

As you age your BMR reduces due to the decrease in muscle mass. But, what if you are someone who is active and maintaining, or even increasing muscle mass. This is where we need to take into account the amount of physical activity we have and the impact it has on our BMR.

Activity

The more intensely our muscles are working, the more calories we will burn during exercise. If we are doing high intense interval training, our body will have to work even harder to replenish its oxygen stores thus requiring more calories after exercising.

Now that you have your BMR, let’s look at how to account for your activity level:

Activity Level Calories Needed Daily
Little to almost no exercise BMR x 1.2
Light exercise 1 to 3 days per week BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise 3 to 5 days per week BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise 6 to 7 days per week BMR x 1.725
Very heavy (working out twice daily) BMR x 1.9

 

Results

So what do you think? Are you shocked at how many calories you need to just maintain your weight? Maybe?

Remember, this is a guide and is not as accurate as having your BMR professionally measured. But it gives you a guideline. You know your body. Do you know how many calories you consumed today? Are you just maintaining weight? Compare what you consume daily in calories to your BMR and knowing where you are weight wise, it should give you a good idea on what you need to do. And whatever your BMR is, try to fulfill it using quality calories.

Think of this as another tool for your fitness tool box. Use it as you choose.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

magnified by a hundred

Just enough, and you’re OK. Too much can be dangerous.

You killed your workout yesterday. Everything felt great, no pain, everything working the way it should. It’s the following morning and as you get out of bed you feel the pain, hardly able to move. You know you are going to be challenged walking down the stairs because your quads are yelling at you.

You are experiencing DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness. That feeling you have that you accomplished something. A lot of athletes wear it as a badge of honour.

So why does this happen, and is it a good thing, or can it be harmful?

Muscles

So what causes DOMS? DOMS is the result of microscopic tears in the connective tissue and also microscopic ruptures in the muscle tissue. It is typically felt after exercises that focus more on eccentric muscle contraction (lengthening the muscle) instead of concentric muscle contraction. So does soreness mean you are building muscle and getting stronger? Not necessarily so. Some soreness up to 48 hours is ok, but it should not be debilitating. Some muscle trauma is needed to stimulate protein production and muscle growth. However, debilitating muscle pain can prevent you from working out and can also be an indicator of injury.

Addressing

So what can be done to lessen the duration of DOMS? Here are some things you can do that may help:

  • Rehydrate: It’s important to replace the water you have lost during your workout. If your urine is the colour of apple juice or darker, you are dehydrated and it’s time to drink more water.
  • Sleep: The benefits of sleep are really underrated. The body’s natural production of chemicals such as HGH (Human Growth Hormone) are increased during sleep. If you can, get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
  • Protein: There are studies that show taking protein following resistance training can help in shortening the duration of DOMS. Increasing our protein intake will also aid in protein synthesis (a simple explanation is when a cell makes protein).
  • Caffeine: A recent study showed that those who took caffeine suffered less pain 2 to 3 days later than the group that took a placebo. It is suggested that it works because caffeine blocks central nervous receptors related to pain.

When it’s too much

Sometimes you may overdo it DOMS may last longer, 72, 92 hours. ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) advises that if the pain becomes debilitating, you experience heavy swelling in your limbs or your urine becomes dark in colour, you should see your doctor.

To prevent DOMS from lasting more than 48 hours, ease into resistance training if you have been away from it for a while. You can’t expect your body to start up from right where you left off. Give your body a chance to adapt.

The body adapts. Be sure to change your workout when you no longer feel DOMS. When you’ve lost that feeling, your body has adapted and will stagnate. Keep it guessing. Keep moving forward.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

I am standing still. In slow motion, I watch the colours blur

…And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to working out. You’re stuck doing to same routine over and over. It becomes boring, unsatisfying, and our body tends to stop growing. It doesn’t respond anymore to the same stimuli. And if you are bored of your workout you are most likely on your way to not working out anymore. That’s not good. We need to remain engaged.

Options

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can change things, introduce new things and take away that boredom. Our body will respond to this by getting stronger and our mind will respond to this by becoming more engaged.

I’m going to list off 5 things you can do to shock the body and get engaged in your workouts. Maybe you are already doing some of these things? If not, give them a try and see if it’s something you might want to add to your workout.

  1. Ditch the barbell: Instead of using a barbell for presses, and curls, use dumbbells. All of us have muscle imbalances, one side stronger than the other. We will keep perpetuating that imbalance if we continue to work out both the weak and strong side at the same time. When working with dumbbells start with the weaker side. Keep track of how many reps you did and do only that many on the strong side. Over time your weaker side will get stronger and catch up to the stronger side.
  2. Bands: Exercise bands are a good option for resistance training if you don’t have weights. Some advantages of exercise bands are they are very portable letting you use them pretty much anywhere. The resistance gets greater as distance increases and tension is created throughout the full range of motion.
  3. Speed: How long does it take you to do one rep of an exercise, let’s use a push up, or a bench press. Maybe one, two seconds? Now lets do the same exercise taking 10 seconds. 4 seconds to lower the weight or lower your body on the push up, hold for a second and then 4 seconds to come back up. A lot different, wasn’t it. You can mix up the time also. 5 seconds for first movement (lowering), hold for 3 seconds and then 10 seconds to raise. Lots of options but the idea is to slow it down.
  4. Drop it: Instead of using the same weight, or varying by a small amount, for each repetition of an exercise, start with your 1 rep weight (the amount you can execute one repetition) and work to exhaustion. When your rep is completed, drop the weight and continue. Then drop the weight again without pausing. Do this for 4 to 5 sets. This will give you a great burn on the muscles you are working. You think you have exhausted your muscles but you keep going further and further, until you are totally drained.
  5. Pyramids: Like the name implies, we in a sense are building a pyramid, a pyramid of muscles. Well, ok, not so much a pyramid of muscles but we are working out our muscles from the bottom of a pyramid up to the top, then back down again. How does this look? Start with a weight that you can execute 15 reps. Do those 15 reps. Than choose a weight where you can do 12 reps. Do those reps. Are you getting it? Of course you are. 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15. That’s the pyramid. Your muscles will thank you for it. It’s tough but you can do it and you will do it. It’s not the weight you use but the repetitions you do.

Is it new?

If you’ve been here before you have heard this message already. Our body adapts and needs to be ‘shocked’ to continue to grow. Will it hurt? Yeah, but that’s the bonus, it’s a good pain. The pain that lets you know that your muscles are responding, instead of feeling nothing the next day. You want that pain. Don’t you? Good, I knew it.

There are other things we can do to ‘shock’ the body and get results. But, it’s not always about getting results. If we don’t work out, then we do ourselves a disservice. It can be about keeping ourselves engaged. Staying in the game. Stay in the game and make it a part of your life.

Yours in health,

Darryl