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Question
Posted by: Jenna | 2004/10/20

Fitness doc, please help...what am I doing wrong?

Hi fitness doc

I am really concerned about my weight and I am hoping that you will be able to help me with and answer to my question. Here is my story:
My height is 1.67m and my weight is 68kgs. I think my BMI is 24 but I still feel that is way too high. I have put on about 5kgs in the past few months ever since I have been going to gym. I just don't understand why, I do not feel as if I am gaining muscle, just more and more fat. The embarassing thing is that my body fat percentage is 35% which I know is terrible high. I have been trying to get this down. This is what I do in the gym (everyday): 40mins cardio (walking, running, cycling or stepping), then 15 or 20 mins on the toning circuit or I work with the dumbells (doing lunges etc). My eating is realistic, I eat as healthy as possible and stay away from fattening food. What am I doing wrong? Am I really gaining muscle? Or is my excercise routine all wrong? Please help, it is so depressing working so hard and not seeing any results.

Thank you and sorry for the long story...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

HI Jenna

I see that your question has produced a lot of debate on the forum. Some of it is very good, some not so accurate. I'll try to put forward my opinion, but needless to say, it's not an easy problem to solve. It's not uncommon for people to really battle with this problem, and that tells you that it's not easy, else everyone would be fine!

The keys to weight loss are exercise and diet. Diet is something that I would suggest you see a dietician about. I am not a fan of cutting out carbs of certain foods, I don't think that this is the point to eating well. In my opinion, if you eat everything in moderation and make sure that the total energy content is good, then you are on the right track. It is not the type of food often, it is the quantity, though this is a simplification and so avoiding certain fatty foods is a good idea. AGain, though, I would see a dietician, and try to avoid fad diets and huge miraculous claims.

NOw, as for exercise, the 3 key ingredients are frequency, duration and intensity. Frequency is ideally about 4 to 6 times a week, so you've got this down. Duration is ideally between 40 and 60 minutes, so this is also very good in your case, and finally intensity. I think that this is the big one. I see that you have said that you exercise at a moderate intensity, which is what we often suggest. HOwever, I would suggest that in patches, you take the intensity up, by doing what we call interval training. To do this, I would say that you should break your 40 minutes run down into 8 sections of 5 minutes, and then run 4 minutes quite hard (harder than you usually would run over 40 minutes), followed by one minute rest and then repeat this 8 times. I think that this is a good way to do intense training and this is often the way to reduce body fat in particular.

Now, perhaps the more important thing is the goal. If your BMI is 24, then you are in the normal range, so you will find it more difficult to lose the weight than if your BMI was 30. This has to be understood. That's not to say that you won't lose, but you must be realistic. Now, the next thing is the body fat. The skinfold measurement is the worst or least desired method to do this measurement, because it is too subjective. In australia, they require that you take 1000 measurements before you are considered competent to use them, in South AFrica, you just have to do a short course and you're qualified, so this is the least accurate. The other problem with them is that they are not comparable from one month to the next because of the subjectivity of the measurer. Therefore, the Infra red method of BodyiQ is more accurate, because it is at least repeatable. It has been studied and compared, and it compares favourably to the best method, which is an X Ray scan known as the Dexa.

However, as with any machine, the use is important and so you have to be sure that you are using the equipment the same way.

The final point is the gain in mass. I think that some of this could be muscle. It's not uncommon to gain a few kilograms of muscle mass. Whether it is possible to have 5 kg is questionable, but I would worry less about the scale as about how you are looking and feeling. For example, are you getting fitter? Are you gettting leaner? Have clothes sizes or definition changed over the weeks? In the future, these are the things that I would set as goals and just be patient. I think that the interval training will help you, but you have to really be patient and persevere.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: brozz | 2004/10/22

Hi Salz
you main problem is you skip breakfast. This is vital as your body thinks it is in starvation mode after about 12 hours with no food during the night so it is storing body fat for emergency energy.
Do you do any weight training at the gym.

Reply to brozz
Posted by: brozz | 2004/10/22

Hi Jenna
white flour every 3 weeks is fine but what about other products thst contain gluten eg white bread, processed white pasta.Try cut down on carb servings and increase protein intakeie meats.Do not use body IQ as the results from what i have seenhave been so varied it does not look seem accurate.
Do skin fold test .

Reply to brozz
Posted by: salz | 2004/10/21

hi doc
im 22 weighing 70 i go to gym but still wont lose weight.i dedicate 45 minutes a day to gym,eat only lunch and supper.what \am i doing wrong

Reply to salz
Posted by: Jenna | 2004/10/21

Hi Brozz

Do not eat any white flour, maybe just once every 3 weeks or so. Body fat was taken a few months ago but there is a body IQ machine at the gym which also measures body fat.

Reply to Jenna
Posted by: brozz | 2004/10/20

Hi Jenna
It seems like the diet is alright.Try cuttind out white bread, whitye flour, and all food cotaining gluten for 2 weeks. Also try eating organic friut then slowly cnvert to more organic foods.
When did you have your body fat taken?
What time do you go to sleep?

Reply to brozz
Posted by: Jenna | 2004/10/20

Hi Brozz

My intensiy at the gym is average, not too high since I will suffer from burn out, but not two low either. I definitely sweat it out which might give you an idea. A biokinetisit (spelling?) measured my body fat, and said that if I want to lose weight I need to lower the body fat, which I agree with, but losing that fat is such a mission. Yes, I do have breakfast, yougurt and fruit. Also have midmorning and midafternoon snack which is usally fruit or raw veggies. I drink lots of water as well.

Reply to Jenna
Posted by: brozz | 2004/10/20

Hi Jenna
there could be a range a things wrong,
Firstly on the exercise, the intesity may be too low.
How did you measure your body fat?
Diet- do you eat breakfast. Do you feel hungary before 4 hours after you have eaten.

Reply to brozz

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