Thursday, March 17, 2011
During the holidays it's not unusual to break your exercise and dietary patterns and simply enjoy that special time of year. On New Years, everyone makes resolutions that they don't keep. It almost sounds like a comedy routine or song. Promises you can't keep.
The problem is a plan of action based on evidence, not on opinion. Rather than quote PubMed studies or Doctors, Gurus, Saints and Sinners, Robin White decided to put her money where her mouth is, and be a human guinea pig.
Many would assume that this would entail joining a boot camp and adopting a starvation diet. NOTHING could be further from the truth.
Here are things Robin did NOT do:
1. Go hungry.
2. Give up grains.
3. Work out for hours.
4. Walk around sore and tired.
5. Train to the point of nausea.
6. Consume special supplements.
7. Eat Organic.
8. Give up red meat.
9. Take Fat Loss Pills (amphetamines).
10. Give up alcohol.
Here are things Robin DID:
1. Exercise sensibly, regularly and progressively
2. Include variety, but never give up the basics.
3. Do activity (swimming, inline skating, walking) for calorie burning.
4. Eat a balanced, lower caloried, diet.
5. Allow an occasional 'free' meal.
6. Strength training as a first priority.
7. Ensure adequate sleep.
8. Weigh herself daily and record.
9. Enjoy sensible social activities
10. Set goals based on her needs, time and genetics.
Many people, when attempting a task, immediately look for barriers to their goal. No one lives in a vacuum. Robin has torn both rotator cuffs with a previous trainer so she was not only physically aware of her weakness, but psychologically aware. She has had sprained toes and irritated a knee from inappropriate squatting technique.
I have measured Robin's body with both a tape measure and skin calipers and plugged her into various body fat calculators. Measurement can be elusive. I've measured hundreds of people, so many variables exists, therefore, the only thing to look for is a trend.
For example, lean body mass includes bones, organs, muscles, etc. Contents of the intestines and energy stored in the muscles and liver (glycogen), will change measurements. Slick marketers will sway or manipulate results to dramatize their products or services. Truthfully, a long term improvement is the only result that counts. Numbers are less important than satisfaction, fitness and general well-being.
Robin's statistics changed over a period of eight weeks. When we measured after the holidays, she had already reduced her caloric intake, managed sodium and become more physically active. The first measurement on January 11th was actually done after 10 days on a stricter diet with more activity.
Here are the stats:
Body weight-129.6 lbs.
Belly-32" (around the navel)
So 1/11/11 Robin's bodyfat was 25.16%
3/17 it was 20.93%, a loss of almost 5%.
So within 8 weeks, Robin lost 4lbs of bodyfat. She actually gained, in theory, 1.5 pounds of muscle.
Two things to remember. Having a good bowel movement or walking for an hour in a tropical climate and losing fluids can skew these results. The interesting part is this, when I met Robin, her training was Yoga, Pump & Tone Classes and Dancing. Her Lean Body Mass was around 95 lbs.
Currently, at age 54 her lean body mass is almost 99 lbs! That is a theoretical increase of 4 pounds!
What does Robin's training consist of? Fundamentals. Pulls, Pushes and Squats. The basics of all human movement. Her activity is enjoyable - walking, swimming, inline skating. Her abdominal work is based on bracing the torso, as if preparing for a punch, which can be arranged. (old Russian joke).
Her goals are first and foremost, health and longevity and REVERSE-ing the aging process. At a certain point, we begin to lose lean body mass or muscle. This is age-related sarcopenia. Only strength training and adequate nutrition can reverse this. Secondly, she wants to optimize her femininity. Women who are ignorant in fitness technology proclaim, "I don't want to get too muscular!" The possibility is slim to none, without adequate chemical intervention or extreme genetics.
The optimal female form is not chosen through Madison Avenue or Vogue Magazine, but through Anthropology. The waist to hip ratio signals, on a deep hormonal level, that the female is healthy and capable of breeding. This is not about sociology, but propagation of the species. Oddly and historically, the ideal ratio of 0.70 has been represented through models and icons as the ideal.
"Scientists (and Western society) think a curvy figure trumped other body shapes. This idea was based on results from medical studies that suggested a curvy waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 or lower (meaning the waist is significantly narrower than the hips) is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease.
In addition, past research has revealed that men prefer a ratio of 0.7 or lower when looking for a mate. The preference makes perfect sense, according to evolutionary psychologists, because the low ratio is a reliable signal of a healthy, fertile woman. Along those lines, Playboy centerfolds tend to have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.68, Cashdan found. Raquel Welch at her prime was 0.63. Pamela Anderson is 0.64. Sophia Loren was 0.63, and Internet Bikini Model Denise Milani is an incredible 0.55!! So if women think the bar has been set high with the "Playmate Body", then think again. Sex symbols throughout history exhibit figures that are at another level entirely. Ms. Milani is off the charts and currently the most downloaded female according to online research."
Here is a photo of Ms. Denise Milani-
Here is a an old photo of Raquel Welch in her forties-
Currently through a balanced diet and sensible exercise, Robin White has a ratio of 0.69 which is optimal.
Her goals are to add lean body mass to counteract the ravages of time, and to be able to participate in any activity that she chooses for enjoyment. She realizes that a reduction in body weight can negatively effect her buccal stores in her face. There is currently inadequate research in this area.
Facial and maxiofacial surgeons will tell you that the most aging component in terms of appearance is the mouth, then the neck, then the eyes. Therefore, an increase in neck training with no extreme dieting measures should be employed.
Any increase in activity could cause fat loss, so careful additions in much heavier squatting for the buttocks and thighs, along with more intense bracing for the abdominal region is part of the long term plan. This would ensure a 0.70 or better in the waist/hip ratio. Also strengthening of the latissimus muscle and shoulder complex is needed to avoid future injury.
With simple training and adequate adherence, really great results are possible as seen here.