Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Plan For A Better Body

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson poses with shoulder tattoo. It is a new year. That means a fresh look at what we have been doing and an opportunity to fix things that may have gone unattended. For me, and my attempt at reducing my body fat below 10%, that means drinking at least a gallon of water and eating six meals each day.

Fortunately, I have been lifting weights and doing cardio pretty consistently since August, so there were few changes I needed to make in the activity department. Unfortunately, I neglected to monitor and manage the other half of the weight loss equation, which is my nutrition.

Looking back over the last six months, I have lost somewhere around 15 pounds. It doesn't sound like much, but consider the fact that I am also building lean muscles.

The Plan
For those of you who are interested in the finer details of my activity, I am going to lay out my plan of action. Feel free to take from it what you like, but also listen to your body try to understand what it needs to meet your goals.

Weight Training
For the past few years, I have tried a number of different routines. In the end, I find that my body and mind responds well to a six day split. This means that I work one muscle group each day. See my plan below:



Monday (Chest)
  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Decline Barbell Bench Press
  • Incline Barbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Flys
  • Dumbbell Pullover laying on bench
Tuesday (Back)
  • Wide-grip Lat Pulldown
  • Barbell Row
  • T-Bar Row
  • Stiff-legged Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Row 
Wednesday (Legs)
  • Squats
  • Angled Leg Press
  • Lunges
  • Lying Leg Curl
  • Leg Extensions

Thursday (Arms)
  • Barbell Curl
  • Dumbell Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  • Narrow-Grip Bench Press
  • Barbell Tricep Extensions
  • Pulldowns
Friday (Shoulders)
  • Arnold Press
  • Side Raises
  • Bent-over Raises
  • Barbell Shrugs
  • Upright Row    
Saturday (Calves, Abs, & Forearms)
  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Barbell Wrist Curls
  • Barbell Reverse Wrist Curls
  • Roman Chair Sit-Ups
  • Hanging Leg Raises
For upper body exercises (chest, back, shoulders, arms), I do five sets (one warm-up and four working sets). For lower body exercises (legs), I do six sets (one warm-up and five working sets). In each set, I focus on doing generally 10-12 reps. The weight I use on each exercise is adjusted to meet that goal. For calves, abs, and forearms, I shoot for 15-20 reps (if I'm using weight) and a burnout if I do an exercise without.

I understand that there are many different ways people work out. Some may recommend doing a full body workout 2-3 times per week. That may be good for you, but I chose this route because it allows me to hit each muscle group from different angles.

Cardio
There are numerous ways to get cardio. I personally use the elliptical or bicycle to grind out 30-45 minutes. At the end of a serious session, I can burn around 320+ calories.

Overall, the aforementioned routine, with cardio, takes around 75 to 90 minutes.

Meals
I love food, but I also realize that too much can make me pleasantly plump. So, I need to watch what I put in my mouth. Based upon my goal of 215 lbs, I can reasonably expect to lose 2 pounds per week.

To lose one pound, I would need to restrict my body of 3500 calories. To do that, I can workout 7 days a week at 500 calories a day or I can just cut 500 calories from my diet. To lose two pounds, I need to restrict 1000 calories a day. NOTE: Anymore than 2 pounds a week means you are probably losing muscle, which is counterproductive.

Cutting 1000 calories from my diet each day means I need to look at my daily calorie needs. Because I have a body fat caliper, I know my percentage number. Using the Katch-McArdle Formula, I can determine what my body currently uses to maintain my existing weight. If you do not know your body fat percentage, you can use the Harris Benedict Formula. At the conclusion, you should have a number. In my case, let's say its 3707 calories. This means that my body uses 3707 calories a day to maintain my current weight. If I want to lose 2 pounds per week, I would cut 1000 calories from my diet, which leaves me with 2707 calories per day.

Now that I know my calorie intake per day, I then figure out what my fat, carbohydrates, and protein intake will be. Following the 20/40/40 rule, I plan to eat 20% fat, 40% carbs, and 40% protein. Stated in calories, my 2707 gets divided this way.

  • 20% of 2707 calories is 541 calories from fat (60 grams*)
  • 40% of 2707 calories is 1081 calories from carbs (271 grams*)
  • 40% of 2707 calories is 1081 calories from protein (271 grams*)
* 1 gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories. 1 gram of protein/carbs is equivalent to 4 calories. Therefore, to figure out how many grams of fat, carbs, and protein you need, simply divide calories by 9 or 4.

At this point, I know that in order to lose 2 pounds a week, I need to eat 2707 calories per day. Twenty percent (60 grams) of those calories will come from fat, forty percent (271 grams) from carbs, and forty percent (271 grams) from protein. To speed up my metabolism, I will divide my total intake into six meals. Each meal between 2-3 hours apart.

I know that was a lot of information, but if you hold on to it and refer back, as needed, I promise you it will eventually make sense.

Tools For Success
In order to manage my weight, I need to first measure and track my activities. This is done using a number of tools. In this section, I list some of the tools I use to measure, track, and manage my success.

  • SparkPeople
    Keeping track of my progress both in the gym and in the kitchen is important. Therefore, I have selected SparkPeople as my tool of choice. This free web site offers a nutrition and activity tracker that records my every move. With the press of a button, I can view my daily totals in real-time.

    There are plenty of things to do and learn about SparkPeople, nutrition, and working out, which is why I created a Body Transformation Support Group. This free SparkTeam provides a forum for asking questions and offers you a helping hand, listening ear, and encouragement when you need it. So, take a moment to follow the link and join our team.

  • Body Fat Calipers
    This handy little tool helps me measure the amount of body fat I carry. With just a few pinches, I'm on my way.

  • Scale
    A quick step on the scale once a week is all I need to measure the direction of my weight.

  • Camera
    With my digital camera and tripod, I take a picture of myself each week. Over time, I can see changes in muscle definition.

  • Measuring Tape
    Another favorite tool I use to measure changes in my waist, arms, calves, chest, and thighs.

  • Mirror
    The true test of success is with my own two eyes. How do I look?
Final Thoughts
The process of changing ones body is not something that happens over night. It takes time and a lot of patience. It will require dedication and a willingness to be consistent with nutrition, activity, measuring, and tracking. In the end, know that you are not alone. Join the SparkTeam and let's do it together.

Until next time...


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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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