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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

30 pounds of schoolbooks

So I have all these books on the floor by my desk. They are school books which arrived this past holiday week. I don't want to talk bad about my last school, but these books seem harder and they are for a community college. Maybe it's the content: Statistics, Nutrition, Biology (this book alone weighs about 10 lbs), and General Chemistry.

All these books are for pre-requisite classes for the curriculum I am eventually working toward. I've been perusing the Nutrition book and it's rather fascinating. I take this as a good sign that I'm looking in the right direction - I can't put the book down and my class doesn't even start until January.

A morsel to chew on, then:

Did you know that your muscles store about 20 minutes of glycogen? Glycogen is the storage form of glucose which is the fuel you get from carbs and fats and stuff. When you are doing a nice steady walk or jog on the treadmill and are breathing a little more intently (but not panting) and are sweating, you are burning off the glycogen for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, your body expends all the glycogen and the muscles signal your body to dip into the body fat reserves. This is what most overweight people want.

However, the window of fat reserve usage is fairly small. Fat needs oxygen to convert into energy and if you are working out too hard or too little (like yoga), your body uses other forms of fuel instead of fat reserves. So it seems if you want to lose body fat, you do a better job keeping your heart rate in the aerobic zone and working on duration.

To make it even more fun, when your body creates fat reserves, it does so in quantity and in size. The reason a lot of people lose weight and then gain it back rapidly is because the fat molecules shrink in size but you keep the same number of them. It gets complex here, but your body wants to keep a certain set weight it's comfortable with and will tell fat production to begin again when you enter a non-diet phase, explaining why fat seems to fly back on.

This is only one tiny piece of the puzzle. You should lose weight in certain increments and over certain periods of time to help stabilize these effects. I'll let you know more as I learn more.

Finally, you can't work out a specific area of your body and expect to lose weight right there. Fat is broken down in the bloodstream and pulled from where the chemistry tells it to, not from where you are flexing a muscle. Crunch all you want. Once your fat reserves are at a certain level, then you will lose the one-pack.

Hopefully I got all that right - I haven't even started class yet.

Statistics is first, actually, and I would do well to pre-read that book for this accelerated class which starts December 14. I'm anticipating a 95% probability of passing.

More later!

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