As you may already be aware, the NHS have categorised health conditions across two different groups of which present an overall increased danger from Coronavirus.
These are those at “high risk” or “vulnerable” and those at “very high risk” or “extremely vulnerable”.
There is no denying that if you have found yourself to be in either of these categories due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the outside world may seem a more fearful place to be.
Whilst all of the health conditions which would categorise you as very high risk are outside of our scope of practice.
There are a number of conditions within the high-risk category that we help our clients improve, manage, and even eradicate as part of our role coaches in helping people improve their body composition.
These are obesity (BMI of over 40), type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure & management of other conditions where high levels of body fat are a contributing factor.
Let us be clear, the purpose of this post is not to strike even fear into you, during what is an incredibly challenging time for the entire world, but to set yourself up for success so you can:
A) Improve your health to the point at which you would no longer be considered as vulnerable
B) Improve your body composition
C) Have your body & health in a more resilient position if a health pandemic were to happen again or if its effects are prolonged
Losing Weight – Energy Balance
Improving each of the conditions related to lifestyle starts with losing weight.
In order to lose weight you must be in control of your energy intake – this is how much food you eat on a daily basis (typically measured in calories).
Being in control, and aware of your calorie intake is important in order to be able to create an energy (calorie) deficit – this process is vital to lose weight.
The MyFitnessPal app is the most widely used tool to track calorie intake.
**Target calorie intakes can be calculated using many different equations. Which one you use isn’t important, as long as you can see yourself being able to stick with that number consistently, medium – long term, to achieve your goals.
Expending calories via movement on a daily basis is also important.
However, unlike food intake, accurately measuring calorie expenditure at home is tricky.
Using an activity tracker that measures steps, is a more effective and straightforward way of standardising your energy expenditure.
Using this method provides a more than adequate reflection of energy expenditure to help with weight loss.
If you begin using a step tracker, aim to achieve 8-12k steps per day.
If you ever find yourself plateauing with weight loss aim for the higher end of the step target.
Losing weight – Nutrition quality
Changing nutritional quality won’t directly impact weight loss from an energy balance perspective.
You can overeat on nutrient-dense food, just as you can overeat on low nutritional quality food.
However improving the quality of your nutrition is vital too; improve your compliance with a different way of eating, increase vitamin and mineral intake to improve health markers and immune function, stabilise and regulate blood sugar, as well as managing mood emotions and behaviors around food.
Aiming for 80% of unprocessed nutrient-dense food, and 20% of the food you ‘enjoy’ is an easy way to bridge results and overall compliance.
Losing weight – Training
During a period of calorie restriction, it’s important to focus your exercise efforts on resistance training.
The benefits of resistance training are not reserved for “bodybuilders”.
In fact, the benefits of resistance training are very far-reaching for the majority of the population – especially those who are overweight due to it being low impact, full-body stimulating and the most malleable form of exercise known to man.
Resistance training is particularly important for those in a calorie-restricted state due to the way promote it promotes the maintenance and even growth of muscle tissue. This is vital for overall health, physical resilience, and wellbeing.
Resistance training will also have a positive impact on cardiovascular health.
Although traditional ‘cardio exercise’ has seemingly been the backbone of ‘weight loss exercises’ for many years, it should be used to complement resistance training, rather than being the sole form of exercise used.
For those who are overweight and want to utilise traditional cardio, finding a low impact exercise that you can stick with and enjoy is key.