Ask an expert
Question

06 May 2004

Health Spas
I am 38 yrs old with an excess of 25kgs of fat on my body, I have become a regular at the gym, however I become despondent at the length of time it takes me to drop a few cms.
I use the treadmill, the rowing machine and a complete circuit. Can u help me
Answer 374 views
Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Shireen

There are a few things that are perhaps important here, that I don't know. The first is how you know that you have an excess fat on your body, and how you know if it is really 25%. It's hard to say this, and unless you had some really intense body composition measurements done, you can't. I'm guessing that perhaps what you have done is to have your body fat percentage measured, and this came out to be around 25%, or otherwise, someone calculated your fat mass and told you it was 25 kg. I'm not sure on this, but I can tell you not to base too much on it.

The next thing is that with training, it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact problem without knowing some prior history.

Cardio exercises such as spinning, running, cycling, rowing and aerobics are the recommended way to lose weight - you are correct in doing the exercise you are doing at the moment, but you may wish to:

1. Increase the intensity and frequency somewhat. You see, the body burns most fat at about 80% of maximum, but the problem is that most people can's maintain 80% for long enough to burn much fat. Therefore, you have to settle on an intensity that you can maintain for 40 minutes or so, but that is also high enough to burn fat in fairly large amounts.Also, increasing from 3 days a week to 4 or 5 will make a large difference to your overall energy expenditure and metabolic rate, and so this is worth giving a try.

2. It is also important to do some weight training, as this will help to speed up your metabolism, increase muscle tone, and lose weight in the right areas. If you have access to a gym, ensure that you are shown how to do each exercise correctly, to prevent injuries.

Here are some general guidelines for weight training:

If your aim were to build muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
• Perform 6-10 reps at a high intensity - use a weight that you could lift 12 to 15 times
• Perform 3-4 sets
• Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
• Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
• Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

If your aim were to tone muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
• Perform 10-15 reps but at a much lower intensity - use a weight that would allow you to lift the weight at least 25 times.
• Perform 4-6 sets
• Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
• Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
• Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

3. Keep at it for longer. I'm not sure how long you tried for, but you often need to give it a good 2 to 3 months to see an effect.

4. Combine diet with exercise. Here are some basic dietary tips:

• Enjoy a variety of foods, this will enable you to obtain the essential nutrients you need.
• Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables daily
• Make starchy foods the basis of all meals - carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, pastas are a major source of energy to the body.
• Avoid food groups which are high in cholesterol - e.g. red meat, processed meat, sausages, egg yolks, fried or fatty foods
• Reduce amount of fat in your diet - e.g. use as little oil as possible (Olive oil is preferable to sunflower oil), reduce amount of margarine/butter, use 2% or Low Fat milk instead of full cream milk, avoid eating too much hard cheese (cottage cheese is preferable).
• Boil, grill, or steam your food instead of frying it
• Use salt sparingly as excessive salt is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
• Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
• Reduce the amount of sugar, salt, sweets, crisps, chocolates, cakes in your diet
• Reduce amount of alcohol consumed

It is important to have 3-5 meals a day, and to try and cut out snacking during the day. Also, one should not eat a heavy meal too late at night, as this will slow down your metabolism. The above are merely guidelines and every individual is unique and they require specific things in their diet that others do not require. As Biokineticists, however, we are experts in the field of exercise prescription and not specific diets and nutrition. I would suggest that you contact a dietician in your area who will be able to help you with a personalized diet. If you need help locating a dietician in your area www.dietetics.co.za may help you. You need to look under PPD (Private Practice Dieticians).I hope this helps you

Good luck
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.