Approximately 70 percent of American adults have too much fat, and this number is even higher (about 80 percent) for people older than 60.
Approximately 70 percent of American adults have too much fat, and this number is even higher (about 80 percent) for people older than 60. In addition to detracting from personal appearance and physical function, excess fat is associated with a number of medical issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, back pain, arthritis and orthopedic problems.
Most of us are aware of our weight, and more than half of U.S. adults (52 percent) are dieting to reduce fat.
Dieting is a very effective means for losing weight. Unfortunately, 25 to 50 percent of the weight lost is lean (muscle) weight, which is both unhealthy and counterproductive. Muscle loss results in a reduced metabolic rate, which makes it difficult to avoid regaining the weight lost through a diet program. A recent study on dieting reveals that almost all successful dieters regain all of the weight they lost within one year.
On the other hand, fat lost through physical activity tends to stay off because exercise does not lead to muscle loss and metabolic slowdown. The downside for most people is the slower rate of weight reduction with exercise compared to dieting. This is partly because strength training exercise concurrently burns fat and builds muscle.
For example, in our 12-week exercise research studies, participants typically lost about 4 pounds of fat and gained about 3 pounds of muscle.
Although the scale shows only a 1-pound weight loss, the actual change in body composition is 7 pounds.
These changes counter the effects of aging and are important, as the average adult adds about 15 pounds of fat and loses about 5 pounds of muscle every 10 years.
Our research studies that incorporated both a basic nutrition plan and a sound exercise program show that participants lost about 8 pounds of fat while adding about 3 pounds of muscle.
The reduced calorie diet plan enhanced fat loss and the resistance exercise enabled muscle gain for the best of both interactions.
A new fat-loss program will be presented in a book by Dr. Caroline Apovian, one of the leading medical doctor/nutrition specialists in the United States. Apovian is a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and is director of Nutrition and Weight Management at Boston Medical Center. She is a nutrition consultant for NASA, as well as co-director of the International Conference on Practical Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity hosted annually by Harvard Medical School.
Apovian’s new diet plan is the best fat-loss approach I’ve seen. Based on numerous research studies, her comprehensive program essentially combines the best features of several diet protocols, eliminates the unfavorable aspects of these diet programs, and provides highly-effective guidelines for fat loss with concurrent muscle gain.
Some of the most critical components of Apovian’s program include unlimited fruits and vegetables; low fat, high fiber, and protein-rich foods; and an exercise program that features time-efficient strength training and aerobic activity.
We will conduct a 16-week study on Apovian’s new program beginning Jan. 9 at Quincy College. We are enthusiastic about this fat-loss program, and are hoping for better results than those attained in previous research studies.
The exercise protocol is consistent with the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, and includes circuit strength training (10 Nautilus machine exercises), interval aerobic training (with brief bouts of cycling exercise), and flexibility training (five Stretchmate exercises).
We will follow Apovian’s diet/nutrition guidelines, and conduct computerized body composition assessments to determine changes in fat weight and lean (muscle) weight during the study.
If you would like to participate in this weight loss study, please attend a presentation from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 5 at Quincy College’s Newport Hall.
There is no commitment necessary to attend this free informational session, but those planning to attend are urged to call 617-984-1716 for seating purposes.
Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., teaches exercise science at Quincy College and consults for the South Shore YMCA in Massachusetts. Westcott has written 24 books on strength training and physical fitness.