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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Create DEBT to Get Ahead

It's that time of the year where many of us are looking to start on the road of getting fit, losing weight and getting healthy. With so much information out there on how to accomplish this goal and the "best ways" to do this, what makes sense?

Well, one principle that underlies most if not all of the diet and weight-loss advice out there is that you must EXPEND more calories than you take in! But how should you create this DEBT? What makes sense? How does your body react when you attempt to do this?

According to Kevin Hall, PhD of the National Institutes of Health if you approach your weight loss goals by merely slashing calories - in other words approaching this goal only by reducing food intake - you cause your body to rely on its defense mechanism of CONSERVING or storing energy when it thinks it's being starved. In other words, it slows its metabolism. This of course has the opposite effect of what you're trying to do by dieting. So, what's the answer? CREATE DEBT!

The kind of debt that I'm talking about here can be created through activity - through exercise. By combining exercise with a healthy reduction in your food intake (and here I would insist that you seek the counsel of your physician or registered dietician before you do so), you can begin to expend more calories than you bring in. Dr. Hall says that by gradually reducing your calorie intake you won't trigger the starvation reflex, and instead of resisting your efforts, your body will adapt to the reduced calorie intake and exercise by LOSING!

The exercise necessary to help you create your debt can come in many forms. For example, aerobic or cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging, biking or swimming will go a long way to increase your debt. Fitness experts recommend a minimum of about 30-minutes a day of this type of exercise for general health. As your fitness level improves so can the "intensity" of your cardiovascular exercise. Increasing intensity can take many forms. Two of the most common ways to increase your intensity are 1. increase the time that you exercise, or 2. increase the pace of your exercise. While increased intensity will make the exercise more difficult, the good news is that it will also help you increase your debt!

The second form of exercise that will not only help you increase your debt, but also help you build muscle tissue which will help improve your metabolism, is resistance training. Also known as weight training, resistance training is literally exerting force against an object. Some of the more common ways to perform this exercise are lifting weights, using body weight exercises such as squats and push-ups, and using "other resistance" such as resistance bands or tubes. In-depth discussion of either cardiovascular exercise or resistance exercise is beyond the scope of this article, but what I always recommend as a "must," is that you check with your physician BEFORE undertaking exercise, and if you're new to exercise, seek the advice of an experienced certified fitness professional.

So, what are you waiting for? Start going into DEBT today!

Interested in getting started on your goal of getting healthy, or in improving your current exercise program?

LaRue Cook is the owner and operator of LEC Fitness, LLC and is an 18-year veteran strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer and wellness coach. He has served as Director of Wellness, Fitness and Recreation at the College of Southern Maryland, Fitness Director to a large corporate fitness facility, and Consulting Strength and Conditioning Coach to Shepherd University.

LEC Fitness offers creative, challenging, effective and fun exercise programs for clients of all ages, sizes and fitness levels. Got questions or would like to set up a consultation with LaRue, contact him at: or visit his website at:

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