This is going to be all about numbers. Many times we focus on more intangible aspects of our health and lifestyle based on how we feel or what we can overcome. That is nice and feels good, but sometimes, we really do just need to take a look at the numbers. Here are a few numbers you need to be aware of to ensure you are succeeding in your efforts to look good, feel great and reach your goals.
1) Get 7-8 hours of SLEEP- every night.
2) Drink 96+ ounces of WATER- every day.
3) Eat 7-9 servings of VEGETABLES- every day.
4) Intake 30+ grams of FIBER- every day. (Which won't be hard, by the way, if you eat your vegetables)
5) Eat 1 gram of (clean, lean) PROTEIN per every lean pound of muscle you have... every day. (so, if you have 100 pounds of lean muscle mass, eat 100 grams of lean protein)
6) Based on pure numbers, it takes 3500 calories to burn 1 pound of body fat. So, you need to control your caloric intake to match your metabolic needs by being aware of how MANY CALORIES you are eating every day and then ensure you don't overdo it. (If you don't know your base metabolic rate, you can go to a BMR calculator like: http://www.stevenscreek.com/goodies/calories.shtml and it can give you a basic idea).
7) 1 gram of protein is 4 calories. 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories. 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. Those are some useful numbers to be aware of. Of course, you need the fat (especially the Essential Fatty Acids we have spoken of in past articles) just make sure you get the right fats in the right amounts. Same as your carbohydrate intake and quality proteins. It's not just quantity; the quality is of utmost importance!
8) Your WEIGHT is a number that can give you feedback on how well you are doing.
9) Your BODYFAT is (in my opinion) an even more important number to be watching and ensure it is in a healthy range. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends men maintain a body fat under 25% and women keep their body fat under 31%. Those numbers are being quite generous- aim for mid to low 20's% for most people.
10) Your CIRCUMFERENCE measurements are also a very effective way to track how well you are managing your health. If you are carrying excess girth/fat around your midsection in particular, you are at a higher risk for increased cardiovascular/heart disease. So, watch
11) Finally, keep up your 90% on track nutrition with your 10% off track nutrition to ensure you keep your numbers where you want them!
Now that you've been given a few numbers that can help you regulate and monitor your health and fitness, it's up to you to determine which numbers are going to be the most beneficial in that quest. If you know that your lack of sleep is directly affecting your body's ability to release growth hormone and thus improve your weight loss or recovery, then that is THE number you should be working on improving. If you know that you are most definitely NOT getting in 7-9 servings of vegetables every day, or you are far below the 30 grams of fiber every day then you should spend this next week focusing on getting those numbers up to par.
How about your water intake? Think you are hitting that 96 ounces or more number? If not, you are not giving your body the help it needs to flush out toxins and aid in weight loss, recovery and becoming the best you can be. You need to know your body composition (particularly how much fat and muscle you are made of) because that is also going to help you determine how many grams of protein you are going to aim to consume every day. That is an extremely important number to know to ensure you are feeding your body the supremely important protein that is going to build and repair muscle and increase your body's metabolic rate.
If you really want to succeed at maintaining your goal weight, keeping your body fat and circumference measurements healthy and living a vibrant lifestyle, you need to RECORD what you are doing. Studies show that people that keep a nutrition journal lose more weight than people who don't. In fact, in a study of 1,685 dieters conducted by a health insurance company, the best predictor of weight loss throughout the first year was the number of food records kept per week. Another recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that dieters who tracked their food intake in a "food diary" lost twice as much weight as those who didn't track their food. Those should be some pretty convincing numbers! So, pick your numbers this week. Do your best to improve that number and make it a GREAT week!!
Coach Keena is a regular contributor at TriEdge and has 15 years experience coaching and training hundreds of individuals. She is a USA Triathlon Certified Coach and holds additional certifications from the National association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Council of Exercise (ACE) as a certified personal trainer. If you would like to contact Coach Keena go to: www.coachkeena.com.