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Why Beginners Fail Part 2
Author: Jim Gray
Publish Date: 3/24/2009 3:50:36 PM

This article marks part 2 of the two part article series on "Why Beginners Fail". These articles are intent on helping beginners and some returning veterans understand why they may be having some problems getting back into shape. In the last article I touched on several reason such as: money problems, lack of time, lack of knowledge, and injuries. For the most part I explained some alternatives or courses of action for each. What most of them broke down to was motivation- which was the focus of that article. This article is going to cover demystifying some issues related to "seeing results".

Everyone wants to see results and everyone wants to see instant results- this is only natural as we are beings of “equality” where we believe we should get out exactly what we put in. This is natural and a common measure of success that leads to disappointment with fitness. Sometimes its hard to measure the difference of input/output when both are of two different things.

For one- input is typically food and supplements. This is what people take into account. So when they eat very little and workout they expect some weight to come off. What they may not be taking into account is the reserve of fat, glycogen, and other energy stores that are going to be used long before their recent meal is going to be tapped into. The food you ate- goes right back into storage. Sometimes your body will breakdown simple sugars and use them as a last resort- but if you haven't burned away your stores of energy then these sugars go right back into storage. So how do you beat this? Not all intake is created equal. Protein doesn’t get converted into fat as easily but it can be used as energy. Carbs almost always go right into storage if your body isn't using them. If your body is repairing from a tough workout then some of these carbs go into the repair process along with proteins. Carbohydrates can be found in anything from sports drinks, bread, vegetables, candy, soda, and dressings. So the more of these things you consume- the more you are putting right back into your energy storage. the more energy in your storage the less fat you will burn as your body will focus on the immediate stores of energy before it looks to stored fat. If you are looking for fast results then you should follow the next few rules for weight loss:

  1. Do cardio in the morning, before breakfast or any carbs, when you body has less glycogen in its stores allowing your body to focus more on fat.
  2. Consume fewer carbohydrates, protein, or any other food one hour before working out or during your workout- stick to water during this time.
  3. Try to keep your carbohydrate intake low during the week- but don't knock them out of your diet completely- they do help you repair your body. Be aware of your body's carbohydrate requirements. If you feel weak, jittery, or otherwise disoriented then you should adjust your intake to take in more carbs.
  4. Try to do at least 20 minutes of cardio at a time
Your body can hold up to 2100 units (micrograms) of glycogen. Your body can burn 200 units in 20 minutes of good cardio. Not everyone's glycogen is full all the time. Some people walk around with reduced levels so they may require less cardio to burn away their glycogen. If you are starting your week after a weekend of pizza, Chinese, and soda then you probably have 2100 units compared to someone who only had the pizza might have 1200 units. Staying on a decent diet when trying to lose weight is important to keeping those levels down. Person A, who ate all that food now has roughly 3.5 hours of cardio to do before they are completely glycogen deficient. The nice thing is that your body will start to get into fat stores more-so, the less glycogen you have, but will do so after about 20-30 minutes of elevated heart rate exercise. So you actually hit a fat burning stage after about 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise.

So when one looks at input they should not only think of what they are putting in as non-equal portions of sustenance but they should also take into account how their body is using energy they are putting in. This is output and the next topic of this article.

Output is a measure of what you are getting out of a particular action; in this case- exercise. How intense your workouts are, the duration, and more all account for your output. For instance- horse power is defined as a measure of force over a distance (work). For exercise, it's the intensity of the workout over a duration of time. The harder you work for a longer amount of time is our measure of output for this article. Other factors are how many calories you burn in an amount of time, ect. In essence- these are the same. The intensity dictates calorie burn, and the duration shows us how hard we worked for an amount of time (calories/hour). We're getting to far into physics for this article. Lets forget the conceptual math and move on to the heart of the topic.

What makes output so important is that it is how we get rid of what we are storing. If you remember- we established storage as our primary input, so burning away that storage with exercise is our output. Duration and intensity are important factors considering how our storage works- some might say that duration with low intensity is good. Others might say that high intensity is good for a moderate amount of time. In reality, it all depends on what you can do. If you aren't in the greatest cardiovascular shape then high intensity is not for you, but low or moderate intensity might be. Increase the duration inversely for the decrease in intensity- and vise verse. You should always challenge yourself to increase your overall output (an increase in intensity with the same duration means more output) so you can win the input-output battle. This is where motivation can come into play. Just be sure to do so in a safe manner.

Some people see immediate results in the first few weeks and then these results taper-off and they lose hope and interest fades along with results. The taper occurs when one's body adapts to the exercise load they are putting on it. Your body will become more efficient as you exercise. When this happens- you body will require more output to achieve similar results. Your heart-rate is a good measure of how hard you are working. Imagine your heart rate dictates how much fat you burn. When you are out of shape your heart beats faster burning more fat. When you start to get into better shape, because you are exercising, then your heart rate doesn't get as high during the same exercise- your body is getting more efficient, and thus its burning less energy to do the same thing. This is part of the reason people start to notice their weight loss efforts taper-off after so many weeks, when initial result where so compelling from the beginning.

The second thing is most people are visually measuring their results. Most people look at the scale and look at themselves in the mirror to gauge their results. This isn't reliable but when people see abs coming to the surface after a few workouts, or their waist gets slimmer. What they are seeing is their muscles firming up and reshaping the body. Sometimes as this continues the waste might get bigger as ab muscle further develop, muscles fill in other areas, and muscular development exceeds fat loss increasing the weight they see on the scale. When this happens- people argue that exercise doesn't work or that something is wrong with their diet and/or exercise plan. What's happening is natural. It's also natural to completely transform your body, drop 12% body fat and not lose that much in net weight. How? Muscle growth- its going to happen so these people just need to deal with it. Sometimes I'll hear women say that they don't want to get huge like a guy so they stop exercising or won't doing resistance training. If women don't take hormones then they won't bulk up like a body builder. Its takes a lot of work, and particular food regiments to achieve even half of what they fear. Often times what they are seeing is muscle growing around fat deposits that, with time, will be diminished- its called inter-muscular fat: look it up for more information. In any particular case a person should be happy with whatever their body is doing and not worry about the scale, or what they are seeing in the mirror until some time has passed. The best course of action is to get a body fat percentage done every few months to see how progress is going.

If someone is having issues with seeing a lack of results they should analyze how they are measuring results and whether they are accurately using output to offset their input. There are a lot of articles that offer more in-depth information on these topics and I would suggest learning more about glycogen, glucose, inter-muscular fat, exercise intensity, and female bodybuilding if there are any additional questions.

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