Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The build-up of body fat usually occurs in adulthood when we are naturally less active than we were as children and when eating tends to be the focus of social occasions.  In women, the excess body fat is commonly stores around the thighs and hips, giving rise to the pear-shaped figure.  Another typical area where fat accumulates in women is the back of the arms.  (This is a trait that my sisters and I all have in common.)

Forget fad diets, fancy equipment, potions, pills and creams.  There are really only two sensible ways to change your body shape - eat less and exercise more.


Aerobic exercise involves using your large muscle groups for 20 minutes or longer, which raises your metabolic rate.  An increased metabolic rate burns calories faster and so speeds up weight loss.  Do such exercise regularly and you will become leaner, with less calories being stored as body fat.  In addition, you will build up muscle mass - even more so if you do weight training and toning.  Since muslces need lots of fuel (in the form of calories) to function, your resting metabolic rate will be raised, too.  The result is that you will look leaner, stronger, shapelier and fitter.


Metabolism is the continual process in the body of breaking down food, burning calories and creating fuel for the energy our bodies need to function.  Metabolic rate refers to the speed at which this happens, and is dependent on factors such as heredity, age, gender, amount of exercise regularly undertaken and muscle-to-body fat ratio.  For example, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate.


These exercises aim to stretch and tone rather than build up bulky muscles.  They aim to firm up specific body areas, although you will not necessarily reduce body fat in these areas.  Just as you cannot dictate where fat accumulates in the body, you cannot dictate where it will come off.  Fat gets stored all over the body and the fat that went on last will most probably come off first.  To shape your figure, you need to attack the fat through a combination of sensible eating and increased aerobic and muscle-strenthening activity.

Last night I finally began my official fat-burning workouts.  Victor and I have gym memberships at Gold's Gym in Oxnard.  Since I haven't worked out in a long time I started off slow.  I set my goal for 15 minutes on the stair stepper. 

I know - it can make your butt bigger.  According to my sister Jennifer, I have a flat butt.  Victor says she is mistaken.  I think Victor would know.  :)

Any way, I ended up staying on the stair stepper for 26.5 minutes.  I had moved at an average of 30 steps per minute which is equivalent to 50 floors and a little over 1 mile.  That's pretty good for my first day back at the gym.

Every morning I also walk for 15 minutes around the office building.

A typical exercise session includes:

  1. 5-10 minutes of warming up
  2. 10-20 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises
  3. 30 minutes of aerobic activity (which you can build up to if you are not used to exercising)
  4. 5-10 minutes of cooling down and stretching out exercises
This is a little over an hour.  If you are serious about getting back into shape you should set aside an hour and a half of time each day to exercise.  It doesn't all have to be done at one time.  I break mine up throughout the day.  I also have established some healthy practices:

  1. I park further away from the building than necessary and walk briskly to the office (I also do this when I go shopping).
  2. I take the stairs to the second floor of the office building to use the restroom; rather than walking down the hall from the office.
  3. I get up from my desk every hour to stretch and walk out the kinks from sitting at the computer.
Start a little at a time and you will begin to see some changes. 

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