Extra weight is a problem that millions of Americans deal with. There are two different types of "weight," the type you gain and the type you use for exercise.
The other day I found myself in some interesting physics discussions relating to the type of extra weight you exercise with. Example: If you are a 200-pound man exercising aerobically, and you stand next to a 110-pound woman who is also sweating hard, do you both burn the same number of calories?
If you climb a mountain without weights in one hour and then climb that same mountain with a 50-pound pack on your back, how do the calories burned differ, if at all? If the person next to you picks up a 10-pound weight while running, is he getting any extra benefits that you aren't getting? If so, what are the benefits?
Also, what is the right weight for you, and what adjustment should be made for bone structure, etc.? The discussions around these questions can go on for hours, but if you follow a few simple formulas, you will be able to put most of these questions into perspective and have a healthy guideline to live by.
First, find your weight, minus clothes, and your height, minus shoes. Multiply your weight by 12 up to 40 years of age and by 10 if you are over 40. That will be the needed calorie intake to maintain your body as it presently registers on your bathroom scale. Years ago, the multiplying number was 15, and now it has dropped as we gain more knowledge about the effect of too much fat on the body. Do the same formula with your ideal weight, the weight you would like to be, and you will have the number of calories you need to give up daily to achieve your ideal weight.
What is your ideal weight? Men start with 106 pounds at 5 feet and add 6 pounds for each additional inch. Women start with 100 pounds at five feet and add five pounds per inch. Checking bone weight and size is easy. Men with a wrist size over seven inches get to add 10 percent to the ideal weight, and women with a wrist size over 6 inches add 10 percent.
Want to find out what your body fat should be? Divide your weight by 2.2. Divide your height by 39.4 and square it. Then divide the first number by the second. It will give you your body mass. Men should have a desirable body mass of 22 to 24 and women 21 to 23. If you are in training, body mass can drop to 13 for men and 16 for women.
Now, back to the 110-pound woman and 220-pound man. In liner tables, the heavier you are the more calories you burn. If you hike the same hill without a pack and then with one that doubles your weight, you will burn twice as many calories. So the 220-pound man next to you will burn more calories if he is moving at the same speed and duration. He will require a larger caloric intake and build muscle and line definition faster with the use of weights. Most people slow down incrementally with added weight, thus slowing the burning of calories and defeating the purpose.
Be aware that using free weights is a surprise to the body, and it isn't distributed evenly over the body as fat would be. Adjust your movements, speed and duration to accommodate the extra weight.
Jerry Vance is certified by the American Council on Exercise and teaches fitness at the Carson City Community Center and for the American Lung Association.