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What are some good weight loss tips? With Expert PJ Striet
Bright Hub: What is the first thing a person should consider when deciding to lose weight?
PJ Striet: In a general sense, people need to honestly ask themselves whether they WISH they could lose weight or if they WANT to lose weight. People who truly want to lose weight need to accept that their lifestyles are going to change, permanently, in order to keep the weight off once they lose it.
Losing it isn't necessarily the problem. Keeping the weight off once they've lost it is. I think a lot of people wish they could lose weight, but very few people want to do the hard work necessary...most don't truly want to lose weight.
Bright Hub: So, weight loss starts in the mind. What kinds of things should a person focus on in a successful weight loss program?
PJ Striet: People who want to lose weight have to accept the fact that losing weight and keeping it off is very hard work. It is like taking on a part-time job in addition to your regular job, your family responsibilities, etc.
One basically has to warm up to the idea of living a very quantitative life: you have to quantify how many calories you are taking in, and keep track of this; you have to quantify how much activity you are receiving, etc.
Guessing at it or going about it haphazardly won't get people to where they want to be. We are talking about numbers, and input vs. output...you have to quantify both the input and the output.
Bright Hub: As a personal trainer, what types of weight goals do you advise for your clients? Is there a certain chart you use?
PJ Striet: I don't go off the height/weight charts or BMI charts...these are flawed. I take a more subjective approach with my clients.
Bright Hub: So, in your opinion, how concerned should people be with their BMI?
PJ Striet: BMI doesn't tell you a whole lot. I think the data on waist size and waist-to-hip ratio is more compelling than BMI, especially in regards to disease risk, so I use that. BMI also doesn't take into account lean body mass. Most athletes would be classified as overweight or obese due to their higher levels of muscle tissue...they obviously are not at risk and can be classified incorrectly.
Bright Hub: How do you help your clients determine their weight loss individual goals?
PJ Striet: I ask them what they would like to weigh, whether or not they've achieved this weight in the past, and, if so, how long they were able to maintain it.
I look at past and current exercise habits, the practical amount of time they can devote towards exercise, etc. Sometimes, their goals are realistic. Other times, I'll determine they are not, and we'll set a more realistic goal.
Also, I’m looking at not only how much weight these people want to lose, but more importantly, what weight these people can maintain in the real world. You can lose a heck of a lot more weight, temporarily, than you can lose and then keep off. Again, losing it isn’t the problem.
Bright Hub: Say a person was unable to afford a personal trainer and trying to set weight loss goals without help. What kind of practical advice would you offer?
PJ Striet: For most people, losing 10 to 20% of their current bodyweight, and keeping it off, is realistic, especially if they've spent some time at or near this weight in the past. Furthermore, I never advise people eat diets which provide less than 1200 to 1400 calories daily. This is dangerous long-term in my opinion.
Bright Hub: Is strength training beneficial to weight loss?
PJ Striet: Extremely beneficial. Muscle mass plays a huge role in resting metabolism, which accounts for up to 70% of the calories you burn daily. The more muscle you have and the more muscle you can maintain as you age, the more calories you'll burn at rest.
Bright Hub: Should dieters focus on trying to build muscle?
PJ Striet: A lot of people talk about trying to gain muscle, but I'd rather just see people focus on maintaining the muscle they currently have, especially if they are middle aged adult interested in general fitness and weight maintenance. This can be done with a regular, consistent strength training program of modest intensity. You don't have to kill yourself, shake or quiver while strength training to meet the objective of maintaining muscle mass.
Bright Hub: Why is it so important to maintain muscle as we get older?
PJ Striet: If the average adult can just maintain their muscle mass, they are going to have a much easier time maintaining their weight. The creeping weight gain most adults experience through their 30's and beyond is due to a loss of lean muscle mass. Losing muscle is like taking hot logs off of a roaring fire.
Bright Hub: What advice would you offer about strength training for a person trying to lose weight?
PJ Striet: The biggest thing is that all the major muscular structures need to be addressed. Most people make the mistake of only working on "problem areas" or areas which they want to look better. To get the most benefit, every structure needs to be addressed.
A lot of people neglect their lower body. This is a bad idea because some of the largest, most powerful structures are in your lower body. The same can be said for those people who only want to train muscles they can see in the mirror, and ignore the muscles on the back side of their body.
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About the Expert
PJ Striet is a personal trainer and exercise physiologist based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He serves as the Fitness Correspondent for 700 WLW radio, the largest radio station in the Midwest and has presented on behalf of respected organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine . He owns FORCE Fitness and Performance in Cincinnati, where he and leads a team of fitness professionals. FORCE Fitness and Performance offers a private fitness training studio and fitness services. Mr. Striet boasts well-known clients, such as Bob Castellini, owner of the Cincinnati Reds, as well as various local radio and television personalities.
Mr. Striet and his staff also hold certifications from nationally recognized fitness organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength & Conditioning Association and The American Council on Exercise.
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What are some good weight loss tips? Part 2 with PJ Striet
Bright Hub: What about aerobic exercise?
PJ Striet: For people with no limitations, I prefer high intensity interval type training 2-3 days/week for 20-30 minutes. Interval training is nothing more than alternating bouts of very intense activity with bouts of lower intensity recovery work.
Working extremely hard for 20-30 seconds (pretty much an all out effort), and then recovering a very low intensity for 60-90 seconds on a stationary cycle is an example.
This type of training needs to be brief (again, about 20 minutes is ideal) out of necessity…it is very intense. Interval training is tremendous for getting in better condition (the ability to perform more work) and also keeps your body burning calories at an increased rate after the exercise session is over (although this “after burn” is usually overstated.)
Bright Hub: In addition to interval training, what other kinds of aerobic activity should be considered in a successful weight loss program?
PJ Striet: The high intensity type of work can be supplemented with 2-3 additional lower intensity, longer duration aerobic type workouts of 30-60 minutes. This is not great for conditioning purposes, but it does expend extra calories, which is obviously helpful.
Bright Hub: How important do you consider diet in a weight loss program?
PJ Striet: Its importance cannot be overstated. You cannot “out train” or “out workout” a poor diet which provides too many calories. This is true even if you workout very hard for an hour per day 7 days per week. It’s an efficiency issue. You can eat 500 extra calories in a matter of minutes, but the typical 150 lb. female is going to have to exercise for up to 90 minutes to expend that same amount of energy. You are better off not consuming those calories in the 1st place.
Bright Hub: Does that mean that exercise isn’t as important as people think?
PJ Striet: That is not to say that exercise doesn’t play an essential role in long term, successful weight loss. Most people do not want to lose weight just for the sake of losing weight. They want to look “better” and more athletic. You can only achieve this athletic or “toned” look through exercise and a reduced calorie diet. You could certainly lose the weight through diet alone, but you may not have “the look” you want.
Bright Hub: What other weight loss tips would you offer your clients?
PJ Striet: Buy a food scale and weigh the food you eat. This made a world of difference for me, personally. I’m easily able to maintain my ideal weight within 2 to 4 pounds (high or low) by using a food scale. It really helps me track my energy intake accurately.
Furthermore, use an online calorie database like www.calorieking.com. You can use it to develop a list of the foods you commonly consume and how many calories are in various amounts of those foods. I have my own personal list, and I list each food with the amount of calories contained within one ounce of each. This approach has worked well for my clients as well.
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Condensed Blueprint for Weight Loss Success from PJ Striet
1. Establish Your Weight Loss Calorie Requirements and ADHERE TO THEM. For most, this means eating 10 to 12 calories per pound of current body weight. As you begin to lose weight, you’ll need to continually adjust this figure downwards as there will be less of you and you’ll require fewer calories.
2. Perform Full Body Strength/Resistance Training 3 Days per Week
3. Perform High Intensity Interval Training 2-3 Days per Week
4. Perform Lower Intensity Aerobic Work for Extra Energy Expenditure 2-3 Days per Week
This is what a typical week may look like exercise wise:
Monday: Strength Training (45 minutes) + 20 minutes of Interval Training
Tuesday: 45 minute walk
Wednesday: same as Monday
Thursday: 45 minute walk
Friday: same as Monday/Wednesday
Saturday: 45 minute walk
This is about 5.5 hours of weekly activity, and you are getting strength training to maintain metabolic rate, interval training for conditioning and energy expenditure, and lower intensity physical activity for extra energy expenditure and health enhancement. You get it all in. If you adhere to your weight loss calorie requirements, you really can’t fail in regards to weight loss.