I will be following the eight step process for successful life change outlined in my previous post.
Define a question, problem or specific aspect of my life to change
Increase lean muscle mass and reduce body fat.
Why target Body Composition?
By focussing on changing my body composition it will allow me to focus more on health then weight loss. Two people can be of equal height and equal weight and look completely different. This is due to the fact that fat tissue takes up more space then lean muscle mass.
Gather information, resources and observe successful people
Over the last few years I have spent a great deal of time gathering information reading books, blogs and scientific literature and have developed my working hypothesis. In it’s most simple form:
- Create a calorie deficit.
- Undertake cardiovascular training.
- Undertake weight training.
Test hypothesis by undertaking experiment and collect data
In order to test the hypothesis I will have to record calorie intake. The easiest way to keep a food journal is by photographing everything I put in my mouth. From the research I have done this is the most effective way to accurately record calorie intake.
One of the best resources I have found for evidence based fitness information is ExRx. Both my resistance and cardio programs will be based off information from this website.
“Review of the scientific literature suggests that moderately intense aerobic activity needs to be performed most days of the week to bring about significant fat loss. Some sources recommend brisk walking progressing to 45 minutes or more daily. Other authorities recommend working up to 60-90 minutes of daily physical activity for weight loss.
The USDA recommends at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderately intense physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements to sustain weight loss in adulthood. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain. (USDA 2005).
Alternating weight bearing with non-weight bearing exercises every other day may be recommended to minimize the repetitive orthopedic stresses of exercising daily.”
The best way to monitor body composition is by way of DEXA scan. For simplicity I will be using a simple tape measure and body fat scales to monitor progress. This is not accurate however I think it is overkill to have a DEXA scan every month. I had my last DEXA scan at the end of 2008, my body composition has not significantly changed since then. I will also monitor my strength gains be keeping a training journal.
At the end of each month I will analyze the data and refine the hypothesis if needed and re-test. This is the basic outline however I am sure over the course of the project this will be refined updated and improved.