Archive for February, 2010

How to Lose Muscle and Gain Fat

February 25th, 2010

I work-out regularly, three times a week, on the lineal vibration machines at Vibra-Train where I work.  That is except for the past three weeks as I’ve had an ongoing infection that required me to take antibiotics, which in turn upset my stomach.  I’m all okay now but during the time I had active infection I didn’t use the vibration machines, except for an occaisional squat position.  It was very hard watching and instructing customers while personally obeying the rules which say, “Do not use the machines if you have active infection”  There’s good reason for the rules and in the case of active infection the machine might cause increased blood pressure or temperature, or irritate the infected area.

The interesting thing is what happened to my body during the three weeks I stopped vibration training.

Yesterday I was using the B.C.A. (Body Composition Analyser) machine to get current body measurements for a customer and I decided to use the machine myself.  I saw right away that I’d lost just over 1kg in weight which in most people is not worth noting but as my weight had remained stable from early December through Christmas and to my previous B.C.A. test three weeks ago I was pleased.

Looking over the full printed results of my test I lost my joy completely.  Sure, I had lost over 1kg in weight but I had lost a full 2kg in muscle.  And I had gained 1kg in fat.

Without the B.C.A. machine my change in weight, even as little as 1kg when I struggle with weightloss, would seem to be a victory BUT knowing that three weeks of almost no vibration training had caused 2kg of muscle loss is upsetting.  The corresponding fat gain during a time I wasn’t eating much due to sickness even more upsetting.

The value of the B.C.A. machine showed more when looking at other results: My B.M.I had dropped slightly (looks good but is it?) It’s an outdated measurement that also didn’t show the correct picture as my Resting Metabolic Rate (B.M.R.) had dropped also.  That means that although I am now slightly less overweight I am not burning as many calories each day.

It’s not a good result at all!  A small Weight Loss that is actually a Time Bomb for Weight Gain of the worst sort – FAT.

Worse still, as I am mid-aged female, I would continue to lose muscle mass and bone density if I don’t go back to a resistance exercise program, be that Vibration Training or a weights program soon.  Today I am back into the Vibra-Train Safety Program and I’ll increase my protein intake so that I’ll soon gain back what I’ve lost.

I encourage all women to work-out using a high quality lineal (upright) Vibration Machine if available or at least buy some free-weights and a book similar to this “Strong Women Stay Young”.  Next time I am unable to use a vibration machine I’ll be looking in the back of the cupboard for my box of free-weights.

Disabilities and Vibration Machines in the Studio

February 18th, 2010

Some of the customers at the Vibra-Train studio where I work have disabilities.  No, I don’t just mean they don’t listen when I instruct them or forget the poses from one session to the next I mean they have real physical and/or mental disabilities and they come in two or three times a week (same as other customers) to workout on the vibration machines or to do a vibration therapy session.

One of these customers has been very regular lately, coming three times each week no matter if he’s feeling well or having a “bad” day where he can barely get out of bed.  On Wednesday he came into the studio very slowly, stooped over and saying he hadn’t come the previous day as he’d been too unwell but he didn’t want to miss his session so he’d come in today despite quite bad muscle aches from his condition.

While I can feel some empathy I didn’t dwell on his illness instead telling him firmly, “Okay, now get onto the machine and let’s do your work-out”.

Later he thanked me and said that’s the reason he’d come in despite feeling very achy.  He knew he’d get no special treatment or allowances from me but would be expected to do the Safety Program to the best of his ability.  In his case he is only able to do a Basic Squat position supported by holding onto the side handlebars of the Level 2 Vibra machine.  Because of his condition he can’t always manage the 60 seconds of the squat so we do as long as he can hold the position perfectly with three repeats.  This means he drives his car or gets someone else to drive him 20km across town for just three times 30-60 second squats.

What does this tell you?  Obviously Vibration Therapy is working for him.

And yesterday he thanked me for pushing him so hard, for expecting him to put in his best effort and for not dwelling on what he can’t do but on what he can.  He’s come to understand that he will feel discomfort during the squats on the machines but that this is no different to what every customer feels.  In many ways he’s simply a regular customer. And the bonus of expecting his best effort yesterday, he asked for and was able to do a fourth squat position instead of the three he normally does.  He left feeling fatigued but mentally enlivened, knowing he’d have to rest for a few hours but would feel more flexible and alert the next day.  This is the benefit for him, not a cure but a way to strengthen weakened muscles and a path to improved overall fitness physically and mentally.

Serious Problems of Ideal Body Weight Formulas

February 16th, 2010

I’m back on track this month with regular workouts and following a well designed eating plan.  I have a goal weight in mind but when I looked back over the personalised plan I’m following I was horrified at the goal weight set for me:  52-70kg.

There’s a wide variation in those figures and at first glance it looks reasonable.  Many women would simply accept the goal, go hard-out in diet and exercise toward the lowest figure and then cry when they fail to reach the target.  Continued food deprivation and yo-yo diets can lead to morbid obesity and so worsen the situation the hapless person finds himself in.

So what’s wrong with that goal?

Simply, it fails to take into account ethnicity and muscle mass amongst other factors.  For me an eventual goal weight of 68-72 is attainable and healthy (and that’s the upper limit of the plan I am following).  The lower limit of 52kg is just too low and could deplete my muscle mass to a point where my bone density would lower putting me at risk of osteoporosis or easily breaking bones.  My metabolic rate would fall and with that my energy level and mental acuity.

My Personalised Eating Plan

The diet and exercise plan I’m using as a guide to plan my eating this year was written specifically for me by a highly respected nutritionist whose advice and articles I value.  It was based on my age, sex, height, weight, waist measurement, and my opinion of my body type which I entered as “muscular”.   The results that came back were fairy accurate compared with the results I get from the Body Composition Analyser machine at Vibra-Train where I work.  The estimated metabolic rate was lower than my actual rate but the BMI measurement was correct. (Note: BMI is another outdated measurement that fails in usefulness because off ethnicity and muscle mass differences).  The report said I am Obese based on my BMI (Body Mass Index).  It then gave dire warnings of health problems that accompany obesity.  These would be enough to scare anyone into eating better and exercising regularly and so are good for people to read although in my case, again they are overstated as my BMI does not reflect my real state.  I know my actual muscle mass percentage from the Body Composition Analyser machine and as it’s high it skews my BMI.

In a personalised diet plan where does the goal weight come from?

Many websites give “Ideal Body Weight” using arithmetic formula that was designed for medicine dosing, (NOT for weight control).  One such formula is that of Dr BJ Devine who in 1974 converted a formula already in use based on inches of height and pounds of bodyweight into metric figures.  It gives ideal (or expected) bodyweight as

Men: Ideal Body Weight (in kilograms) = 50 + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet.
Women: Ideal Body Weight (in kilograms) = 45.5 + 2.3 kg per inch over 5 feet.

These figures suggest a Body Mass Index of about 23 for adult men (this is rather high) and for adult women of 20.8 which for many women is too low and suggest an ideal body weight for most women seriously close to lean body weight (organs, bone, muscle, with no fat).

Although Devine’s formula was updated in 1983 by Dr JD Robinson and DR DM Miller, their formulas still have serious faults.  And even before the Devine IBW formula the insurance company, Metropolitan Life was, in 1943, using medical dosing weight formula to set height/weight tables.

The flaws in these formulas when used for Ideal or Best Body Weight are just too high to be used today.  Years ago on a battlefield or in a hospital when a person’s weight had to be calculated immediately to give dosage of life-saving medications (like theophylline, digoxin, gentomyin) these estimations or expected weight were invaluable but not so today.

What is your Real Ideal Weight?

My advice to women (and men) wanting to know their true ideal body weight is to be very wary of online formula and even ranges on a diet plan made for you.  Your ideal weight is the one at which you are feel well and are active. It’s the weight at which you feel at your best! You know what this is and a quick glance in the mirror shows if you are carrying muscle or fat.  A test using a Body Composition Analyser (a machine that uses a light electric current to take measurements) can be helpful as it gives a printout of your measurements including Body Fat Percentage and Muscle Mass Percentage and an overall fitness score, a starting point to work from and then a repeat test three – five months later to show your progress.  In Auckland Central there is a BCA machine at Vibra-Train, in Victoria St West.

Position Position Position

February 8th, 2010

A reminder to all users of Vibration Machines - Being in Perfect Position on the machines for the whole time period is ESSENTIAL to achieving great results.

In fact you could be wasting both your time and your money if you settle for anything less.  The very people who grumble that “it’s too hard to keep in position” are the same ones also grumble when they don’t see the results they are expecting.

No, it’s not “too hard”, but it is “hard” and that hard work pays off with excellent results.  I don’t know of anyone who can’t do the Vibra-Train Safety Program correctly (we are able to assist those with disabilities of course).

Trainers need to take note: It is not cruel or mean to insist that your clients do the workout program exactly.  They are paying to work-out hard and to get great results!  In Vibra-Train studios we remind customers that the sign over the door says Vibra-Train not Vibra-Massage.