In all my college years of writing papers, taking exams and giving lectures, nobody has been more insightful in the
field of fitness than good old reliable Mr. Groundhog. This little critter teaches us what not to do when trying to get more
physically fit. He uses the tool of hibernation to keep him alive during the winter months.
can be defined as a state of inactivity and metabolic depression. He accomplishes this by limiting his physical
movement, lowering his breathing patterns and not eating. The lowered metabolism allows fat stores
to be burned more slowly (the opposite of what we want). This allows him to survive months and months without food. Good for
the ground hog, bad for someone trying to lose-weight. A good solid eating and exercise program negates
the starvation mode and turns your body into a calorie burning inferno. I love working out especially with weights, that’s
my thing. I realize everybody is different, some people hate to lift weights and that’s fine. The
message here is any type of physical activity that pushes your body and forces you to breathe more deeply
will help you burn more calories.
We as a society are surely lacking in the physical activity department. Just look at these stats: Only
26 percent of U.S. adults engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity three or more times per week (defined as periods
of vigorous physical activity lasting 10 minutes or more). About 59 percent of adults do no vigorous physical activity at
all in their leisure time.( Lethbridge-Çejku M, Vickerie J. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health
Interview Survey, 2003. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10,225. 2005). Folks! That’s only ten
minutes each day, 3x week. I used to do that everyday just running to catch the A-Train each morning!!!!
The young adult population is no different, about 25
percent of young people (age 12 to 21) participate in light-to-moderate activity (e.g., walking, bicycling) almost every day.
About 50 percent regularly engage in vigorous physical activity (as defined above). Approximately 25 percent report no vigorous
physical activity, and 14 percent report no recent vigorous or light-to-moderate physical activity (U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1996). The bottom line is, try to find activities that get your cardiovascular system pumping. Activities like jogging, speed
walking, swimming, weight resistance exercises, yoga, pilates, and bike riding. These are all great movements
that can help you melt away those extra pounds!
Eat More Frequently
5-6 small meals daily. This final point can better understood if we bring in another seemly unexpected character the Sumo
Wrestler. Sumo's typically eat three large meals a day (spaced out every 5 hrs) which contain about 10,000-15,000 thousand total calories. Eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) prevents overeating. Think about it?
Who doesn’t get hungry (real hungry) after 5 hrs of not eating? A long period of semi starvation lowers your
metabolism. Your body then tries to conserve its energy by holding on to fat cells. In addition, the human body can only use
a certain amount of calories in one sitting, the max being about 850, the rest? You guessed it...will be stored as fat. The
longer you go with out food the bigger (more calories) your next meal will be. After the second meal (lunch),
they take a long nap. They believe sleeping within two hours of eating a big meal will result in weight gain (fat gain mostly).
Guess what? They're right!! The take home message is unless you want to look like a sumo wrestler:
eat big meals before a long period of inactivity
skip meals and try make up for it later.
spacing out smaller meals with daily exercise will definitely jump start your way to a healthier
and slimmer you!