Using metabolic testing as tool to hit health and weight loss goalsWho wants to lose weight only to gain it right back, or worse, to gain more than when you set out to lose weight in the first place?
Sadly, no matter how much effort and time you invest, most fad diets send you on a road with a U-turn. One of the keys to never heading down that path? Find out what is going on with your metabolism and design a nutrition and fitness plan around it.
That’s exactly what Susan, a 51-year-old St. Louis Park massage therapist and Fitspace client did. And that’s exactly how she dropped nearly 35 lbs. and kept it off.
Metabolic testing is one of the easiest ways to measure a person’s fitness level from the inside out. Strap on a mask, take a rest and a half hour later, a computer spits out a series of numbers. The data reveals where you stand today, and which changes – whether in the gym or in the kitchen – will help you get stronger, lose weight or reach a new athletic achievement.
It’s essentially measuring how well your body breaks down food and turns it into energy. Often on fad diets, metabolisms will slow, triggering weight gain. But with the right plan, you can actually speed your metabolism, even while losing weight. That’s just what Susan did while enrolled in Fitspace’s Ultimate program last year. The 12-week course conducts workouts five days a week while providing individual nutrition counseling.
Here’s the picture Susan’s resting metabolic test revealed: Last May, Susan weighed 201 lbs., with a BMI of 31.3. Her resting metabolic rate, or the energy measured in calories that she needed to keep her body functioning and her organs healthy, was 1,483 calories a day. Adding in calories for exercise and daily activity, Susan could eat 2,112 calories a day without gaining a pound (or, without losing a pound).
Of those calories, 57.5 percent came from burning carbohydrates or sugar. The other 42.5 percent were burned from fat. Not bad. But could be better.
Fitspace registered dietitian Bobbi Horner suggested Susan flip her numbers. Burn more fat, less sugar. Horner said Susan could do so with exercise and by eating more protein, healthy fats and vegetables. It’s more efficient to burn more from fat stores than from a person's limited sugar supply. Horner also wanted Susan to limit her processed carbs such as bread and bagels.
Horner said it was a tough sell at first. Susan couldn't believe how much protein she needed to eat to lose weight, and she really liked bagels. She still does. But Susan eventually took Horner's advice and gave up the crackers, bread, and even the bagels for the most part. And Susan was particularly good at writing down what she ate, which helped Horner identify Susan's tough spots. Horner said Susan also diligently attended workouts. The combination made the weight loss success easy.
"It will work if you do it. It's true. They really have set it up that you will succeed if you do the necessary things," Susan said.
Susan attended about 18 weeks of the Ultimate program. She then continued to work out in small group training classes and then advanced to Ultimate Pro while continuing to see Horner for nutrition advice. She has maintained her weight loss, but would like to lose another 10 lbs.
Twelve weeks later
After completing the first 12-week Ultimate program, Susan took another resting metabolic test. Susan measured her metabolism with another resting metabolic test. Even while cutting out bread and bagels she increased her metabolism. It went from 1,483 calories a day to 1,800 calories a day. She also became a fat burner instead of a sugar burner. Of those calories, 66.6 percent came from fat and 33.4 percent came from sugar.
"She journaled nearly every single day. When I gave her things to work on, she did it. She really put her trust in us and trusted the program," Horner said. "It worked."