How to Set Reasonable Fitness Goals
OK, so you're exercising and watching your diet now. You want to lose weight,
buff up, and generally get to feeling better about yourself. How long should
it take before you can expect to see some progress?
Most experts in the fitness and exercise field believe that you won't
be able to see significant progress for up to 12 weeks. The moral is: Don't
get discouraged if you don't see things happening right away. You have
to give your body time to adjust itself to your new regimen of exercise
and diet. It doesn't happen all at once!
Overblown expectations can be poison to an otherwise good plan. The
commercial Diet Industry would have us all believe that you can lose all
the weight you want in a minimum of time, and keep it off with some near-
magical set of special foods or pills. Forget it. It just doesn't happen
that way. Some of those diets will, in fact, knock off some pounds. Some
of them have testimonials from people who lost a lot of weight. Few to
none of them have long-term results without placing their followers on
The most intelligent approach is to simply eat reasonably and sensibly,
and to exercise. First, you have to find out what's reasonable for you.
That's going to depend on several factors, but your current level of fitness
is high on the list.
Your present fitness level will, in large part, dictate just how rapidly
you'll be able to burn fat, as your metabolism is directly related to general
fitness. The more fit you are, the more fat you can burn in a given amount
of time, whether exercising or not!
Next, you'll have to determine about how many calories you might burn
in an average day; your basal metabolism rate, or BMR. If you just want
an easy guideline, here's a simple formula -- (exact measurement of BMR
requires some pretty sophisticated facilities, indeed!!) --
Adult males: Weight in pounds X 12
Adult females: Weight in pounds X 11
For every 10 years older than 20, you should lower the result by 2%.
180-lb man, 180 X 12 = 2160 calories per day at age 20-30
120-lb woman, 120 X 11 = 1320 calories per day at age 20-30
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Another, more recent calculation used for determining the actual components
of a diet assumes that you are exercising regularly. It is the same for
both men and women. All quantities are in grams per pound of body weight:
1.8 carbohydrate, 0.7 protein, 0.3 fat.
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