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Weight no more

Smart eating and regular 'natural' exercise can help you stay in shape during this food-filled season.


BY ASHA MACAM


DECEMBER 2011-JANUARY 2012


For many Filipinos, feasting on foods laden with fat and sugar are part and parcel of Noche Buena—diets be damned. Then they buy fish, veggies and gym memberships to fulfil their New Year’s resolution to lose the holiday heft. But maintaining your diet and exercise enthusiasm can be the trickiest part of weight loss. Desperation—like shortcuts—can lead to diet debacles by way of extreme fads, which may further complicate health conditions. Get ready for some weight-watching during the holidays, and all-year-round. Here’s how:


Set a target

Whether it's dropping 10 pounds or reducing 10 percent of your body fat over a month or a year’s time, set a realistic target. Once you've identified it, make specific, achievable goals for your diet, activity and behavior required to reach results—they'll keep you committed. For long-term weight loss plans or goal-setting, consulting a dietitian, sports psychologist or a personal trainer will do wonders for your motivation and goal achievement.


Use fat as fuel

The law of thermodynamics states: The only way you will lose body fat is if you're burning more calories than you consume. “The most ideal intensity to fry fat is between 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate,” advises US-certified coach and The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition’s top trainer, Jim Saret. Examples are brisk-walking, doing five to 10K runs or treadmill jogs (burns at least 300 calories in 30 minutes).


Split the effort

“…You can…up your caloric expenditure by ‘rationing’ physical activity to increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or simply, one’s caloric afterburner,” Saret explains. Split workout sessions into two parts of equal time to keep your heart pumping so circulating blood and oxygen can keep your body's “fat-burning zone” and metabolism stoked, even after you're done working out. Rest for 15 to 20 seconds in between sets to keep the body firing and frying.


Get lifting

Lifting weights spikes your metabolism for one hour after a workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover. That means you’ll burn an additional 25 percent more calories. There’s more: For every three pounds of muscle you build, you’ll lose an extra 120 calories a day during rest because muscle requires more energy for sustenance. Throughout the year, your total fat loss without modifying your diet would be about 10 pounds.


Vary your training

Calorie for calorie, cardio workouts help burn 10 to 12 calories for every minute of say, running, but it gets easier and predictable after a while. Also, not every person is keen on running or hitting the gym. Consider signing up for a spinning class, or any circuit-based group workout like Physique 57 to strengthen your lungs and improve your focus and coordination as you fry fat (about 600 calories) to fun tunes. Check out Plana Forma, forma-asia.com, Tel. 553 0870; Steps Dance Studio, stepsdancestudio.ph, Tel. 757 2984 or 843 8472; or Arts in the City at Bonifacio Global City for classes.


Bend it like bikram

Call it a holistic calibration of the mind and body. The focus you need to hold positions in yoga (think Standing Bow Pose) helps you shift thought processes and beliefs for the positive. “Regular practice—at least three times a week—will not just tone and strengthen your body, but help boost your metabolism and cause a natural change in the foods you desire through self-awareness,” says Yoga+ studio manager and Hot B instructor Ryan Chester. A 90-minute Bikram yoga session makes one sweat a great deal—essential to flushing out fatty toxins. Yoga also has calming effects, making one less prone to stress-eating. Check out yogaplus.ph, Tel. 238 2768 for hot yoga classes.


For more tips on welcoming the New Year with a fit, new you, grab a copy of the holiday issue of HealthToday magazine, out now in bookstores and newsstands.






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