10 Weeks to Single Digit Body Fat!
One year ago, on Sept. 17, I weighed 395 pounds and was in horrible shape! I now weight 228 pounds and have 15% body fat. While I'm ecstatic with this progress, I still have some work left to do and I'm starting a journal with my quest to get to 9% body fat and lose most of my belly fat in the process.
I've done quite a bit of research on how I'm going to lose my fat and it has confirmed what we all know: the key to losing fat is long & slow exercise. The intensity must be low in order to allow your body to burn fat as the primary source instead of glycogen and, ultimately, muscle. So, the majority of my plan will focus on exercising (mostly running) according to a heart rate monitor and making sure that I never leave my fat-burning zone. The main inspiration for this is an article by Mark Allen (the champion triathlete) on heart rate training and building the aerobic base.
So, here are the numbers that I have come up with and I'm posting them here for feedback. With my current numbers, I am carrying about 35 pounds of fat on my frame. In order to get to 9% BF, I need to drop that to about 20 pounds - so I have 15 pounds of fat to lose.
As for my heart rate, with the numbers in the article and other numbers I have seen, a HR of 150-151 still keeps me in the fat-burning zone. So, that's the highest HR that I should see during my runs.
I plan to use running as my main form of exercise and my current training has shown me that I can keep my heart rate at 150 while still running about 5MPH (12 minute miles). So, I can burn about 725 calories per hour with approximately 80% of those calories being fat calories. That means, each hour I will burn 580 fat calories. Since each gram of fat is 9 calories, I will be burning 64 grams of fat/hour or 0.14 pounds. So, putting it all together, I will need about 100 hours of low intensity exercise in order to reach my desired body fat.
My goal is to complete this in 10 weeks, so I will be doing my exercise for 2 hours each day, five days per week. I know that this sounds like a lot, but its really not - here's why: The low-intensity is the key to all of this. at 150 BPM, quite frankly, I'm barely breathing. Plus, keep in mind that I'm not starting this "cold". I've been exercising for the greater part of the last year and have really upped my running. I can currently run a mile in under 8 minutes, 3 miles in 25 minutes and I have completed a 10-mile run in 2 hours. So, while the daily time of 2 hours may eventually prove to be monotonous, I have no doubt that I'm in shape enough to try this.
The other component of this, of course, is my diet. I'm currently very disciplined when it comes to my diet. I eat very clean and don't have many holes in it. I don't eat fried foods, I don't eat candy bars and I haven't had fast-food in over a year. I mostly focus on proteins and my fiber intake is pretty good. Overall, I take in about 2300 calories/day which is right around what my BMR would recommend for maintenance. So, I actually plan to make very few changes to my current diet. Keeping somewhere near 2300 calories with small, frequent meals should keep my metabolism right where I want it.
This plan will all start, ironically, on Sept. 17 and I will run it for 10 weeks. I will be posting my "start" pics at that time. However, I've decided to post it right now in order to get some feedback from you guys. This plan makes sense to me and I've checked the numbers twice, but I'm not beyond thinking that there may be some gaping holes in this plan. Any comments on my numbers and plan are welcome.
I thought I'd post some before pics to get myself started and motivated. These are shots from the front, side and back with the swimsuit that I want to rock at the beach next summer! :biglaugh: I know that summer bodies don't happen overnight, so I'm starting my "lean out" process on September 17th and not stopping until I hit my goal!
wow man, you have come along way. Good luck in continually getting in better shape.
A Trial Run
So I had some time last night and went out and did a "trial run" for this new fat-loss plan. I got on the treadmill for 2 hours, just like I will during the next 10 weeks. Some things I learned:
-This will be incredibly monotonous, bordering on boring. An iPod is essential and I will have to update all of my playlists in order to get me through this. I'm actually considering getting a video iPod and getting caught up on all my old episodes of Lost or anything else to keep me distracted.
-A water bottle is essential. I stared with a full 30oz bottle and had to refill it twice - I'm consuming a lot of water during the 2 hours.
-Recovery will be important. I feel OK this morning, but I will need at least 20 hours between each workout in order to not burn myself out.
I would like to suggest that at least one day out of the week, when you do cardio, try HIIT. If you do treadmill for 2 hours at a steady pace for too long, your body will become accustomed to it and be more efficient in doing the work and therefore you won't burn as much fat as previously done. Just $.02.
I thing you may want to serioulsy reexamine where you get your fat loss info. While that guy may be a great triathlete the only real realization is that a triathlete or a distance runner cannot train like a sprinter all the time.
When someone is going to make scientific assertions they need some sources to back it up. A lot of what he says is just dead wrong. Especially the idea that the body only burns fat at this one certain intensity. I.E. until he started training a certain way his body didn't "know" how to burn fat. Just not true. While higher percentages of fat may be burned at lower intensities anytime you are using you muscles do do work at any realistic amount of time all fuel sources will come into play to on extent or another. It's the myth of the "fat burning zone".
Even in HIIT, as Dave suggested you try, fat will be utilized to some extent, and in fact, even though fat oxidation will be lower in percentage if more calories are burned the total amount of fat burned can be the same if not higher. It is a trick of mathematics that makes people thing that higher percentage translates alway to a higher number. I'm not really preacing one way or another, just saying that the fat burning zone isn't a reality.
Also, as Dave suggested, what has worked up to this point may not necessarily keep working. Low intensity, high intensity, no intensity is the "key" to overall fat loss. What works is what works. AND what you can maintain and doesn't have your body desearately rebounding as soon as you let down your guard.
BTW, 15% is a great healthy number for the normal active person. You've done a fantastic job so good work. My .02 would be to focus on appearance at this point instead of single digit numbers, which are neither necessary or realistic to maintain for everyone.
I'll certainly keep close track of my numbers and make changes if my body does indeed become accustomed to this plan.
What is your workout routine? By that, I mean weight training.
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