A recent NY Times article documented how the vast majority of “Biggest Loser” contestants gain most if not all of their weight back, and sometimes beyond their starting weight. Pretty depressing news for many people. Why is this?? In short, your body has a ‘set-point,’ and the longer you have been a certain weight, the more comfortable your body becomes there, and it will fight to keep that weight. ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants work out (especially with cardio) 7-8 hours per day and eat a low-calorie diet, they lose upwards of 5 to 20 pounds per week!! This appears GREAT in the beginning, however, the body (thinking of survival) does not see this as great! Therefore, the body FIGHTS to return to its ‘preferred’ weight. It will dramatically slow the metabolism, and at the same time turn on the hunger hormones. In the end, willpower loses and the weight comes back on.
How do we get around this?? By losing SLOWLY. One pound of fat loss per week is IDEAL. You may think this is slow, but it amounts to 52 pounds a year! At 1 pound per week, the body will not trigger survival mode; and will allow a gradual resetting of the set-point. The other key is to add muscle. Muscle comprises the bulk of your metabolism. Crash diets (such as the Biggest Loser) sacrifice muscle. By lifting challenging weights, you will build lean muscle (which will NOT make you bulky), and kick start your metabolism for the long haul. It slows your initial weight loss, but increases your long-term FAT loss! We actually had a former Biggest Loser contestant come to Heuser, and he said they did NOT allow him to lift weights, he could only do cardio. This is good for immediate weight loss, but HORRIBLE for long-term fat loss and body composition, complete fool’s gold! Focus more on your waistline disappearing than your scale.
Heuser Health – Calories burned per Heuser Class
100 pound person: 405 calories per hour
150 pound person: 610 calories per hour
200 pound person: 810 calories per hour
250 pound person: 900 calories per hour
300 pound person: 1150 calories per hour
**assuming you’re working HARD!
To lose 1 pound of fat, you must create a deficit of 3,500 calories. Therefore, a 150 pound person could expect to lose one pound of fat after every 6 Heuser classes (6×610 = 3660 calories)(assuming they are not overeating to balance the equation). While a 250 pound person can lose one pound of fat every 4 classes (900×4 classes = 3600 calories). The strength portion (weights) is especially important to long-term weight loss/maintenance as your muscle mass determines your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn 24 hours per day. So, DON’T EVER neglect your strength training in favor of cardio only! If your weight has been stable for a number of months and you add Heuser classes into your life and you maintain the same eating habits that were maintaining your weight, then you can expect to see these types of fat loss numbers. If you improve your eating, you can expect to see even greater results.