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Health and fitness: New year is time to meet goals

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By Kent Pegg

The resolution season is upon us and many are deciding to make this the year they lose those extra pounds.

Whether it’s a couple pounds or many, the key to successful weight loss is to do it the right way.

I see people everyday who are achieving their goals and shedding those excess pounds by eating right and exercising. This is the right way to lose weight. Crash diets, trendy weight-loss methods and expensive supplements might provide some temporary success on the scale. But, invariably, they will fail and leave you right back the way you started, if not worse.

Even though many of you may, in fact, be rocket scientists, it doesn’t take one to understand how weight loss works. It’s a simple practice of burning off more calories than you take in.

So, what does it take to lose a pound? To lose a pound you need to have a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. That might sound like a lot but if you think about how it can be done, it really isn’t so bad.

There are three ways to get that caloric deficit: reduce calorie intake, burn calories through exercise and add muscle that will consume calories.

If you currently eat 2,500 calories a day, a reduction of 375 calories a day equals 15 percent, and a 15-percent reduction really isn’t that hard for most people. Reducing portion sizes a little, eliminating high-calorie snacks and cutting back on fats and sugars will achieve that goal.

Next, add some more cardiovascular exercise to your routine. Just 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace can burn about 300 calories. Get on a treadmill or an elliptical trainer, climb on a stair stepper, ride a bike or hit the rowing machine and you’ll not only burn the calories but also make your heart and lungs stronger.

Lifting weights is a great way to add muscle to your body. Every pound of muscle burns around 50 calories a day in an active person. That’s just by having the muscle on your body. You’ll burn even more when using that muscle.

Add just five pounds of muscle and you’ll burn an additional 250 calories every day.

If you do these three things, you’ll be able to lose as much as two pounds per week safely and effectively. Imagine that, 25 pounds of weight loss by the first of April, or even 50 pounds by the beginning of summer.

Now is the time to get started. Hit the gym, start lifting and doing cardio. If you’re new to the gym, ask for some help or have a trainer set up a workout program for you. And clean out the kitchen to get rid of those unneeded calories.

This is going to be your year to lose those extra pounds and be healthier than ever. You can do it with just a little work and the motivation of knowing that you will accomplish your goals.

Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center.  If you have any questions, call him at 662-5232.