Weight loss or control is a common reason to train in Krav Maga. It’s successful at helping people lose weight too. Principally, this is for two reasons. One, it’s easier to motivate yourself to exercise in a class, which is driven by an Instructor and gives you a skill, such as self defence, than it is to do meaningless exercise in a gym. Second, a Krav Maga class is a great place to meet people, people who themselves are motivated and who will help push you along to reach your own goals. My experience with Krav Maga has taught me that most Krav classes, in Bristol or otherwise, are full of motivated, decent people who are only too happy to help beginners.
But there’s truth in what they say: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Good health begins at home, with the choices you make about the things you eat.
Endless books have been written on diets and dieting. But we’re going to keep it simple. It’s about calorie exchange.
You eat calories all day. Everything you eat has a number. Add up all those numbers and you get your daily calorie intake.
You have a basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This is the amount of calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current weight. The heavier you are, both in fat and muscle, the bigger this number will be.
You have the amount of exercise you do in a day. Every task requires energy, measured in calories.
This gives us three variables. Here’s the simple version:
Total Calories In – Total Exercise Done = X
If X is greater than BMR, you will gain weight.
If X is less than BMR, you will lose weight.
There are approximately 9 calories in a gram of fat. Therefore, for every kilogram of fat you wish to lose, you must create a deficit of 9000 calories. It’s that simple. Conversely, if you eat an excess of 9000 calories you will gain a kilogram of fat.
There are other factors at play, obviously, such as the makeup of those calories and the time of day at which you eat them, but this simple equation is the best way to think about weight loss.
How to Tip the Equation
There are two ways to tip the equation in your favour.
One is to eat less calories.
The second is to maintain your calorie consumption and increase the amount of exercise you do. This is the easier way and the longer term way of achieving weight loss goals and maintaining a healthy weight. You body needs more than a healthy weight to thrive; it needs a balanced diet and regular cardiovascular exercise.
It’s not just about reducing calories or increasing exercise. What and when you eat matter too. Here’s some tips.
Eat large in the morning. Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day. Some people say they cannot eat much first thing. Mostly, they turn out to be smokers. Nicotine is a potent appetite suppressant. The rest of it is habit. Your body will adapt to regularity. What seems a chore now will, with diligent repetition, become the favoured norm.
Don’t eat carbohydrates past six or seven in the evening. Carbohydrates are basically long chain sugars. They break down into sugar relatively quickly and if you eat them before bed, when there is no activity, they will lay down as fat.
Reduce booze. Booze is massively calorie dense. A single shot of liquor is about 110 calories. A pint of lager, up to 300. Four pints is half your daily calorie requirement before you’ve eaten anything. And it metabolises as sugar, which turns readily to fat.
Eat more vegetables. A balanced diet is essential.
Use protein powders as an easy way to maintain muscle after high intensity workouts. You should take protein within 20 minutes of hard interval training, to prevent the body breaking down muscle fibres. Pea and Hemp proteins are far, far more healthy than milk based isolates. Taking on more protein calories means less carb calories. A good strategy later in the day.
Exercise all the time. Join a Krav class. Chuck, an instructor in Bristol, commonly wears a heartrate monitor while training and it’s not unusual to see him burn through 1400 calories in a single 90 minute session. That’s going to make quite a dent in our equation.
Keep watching this space for more articles on exercise, health and fitness, and self defence and Krav Maga.