traineo Blog

A blog about what's going down on traineo.com.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year Weight Loss

Happy Holidays from the traineo team!

We’re coming up to the biggest dieting ‘season’ of the year, it’s the time when lots of people set out on a New Year plan to lose weight, get in shape, and vow to make the commitment to improve their health. If you’re one of the folks reading this who is focused on finding a weight loss diet that works for you I hope you find this brief article useful before you get started.

To be honest, selling or marketing the idea of a ‘weight loss diet’ worries me. If you’ve ever tried a diet yourself or spoken to anyone who has tried dieting, its principles and results are focused on quick changes and results. These aren’t concepts that are sustainable over time and don’t fit a strategy for success. For many things in life, a strategy that works well is one that iterates a winning formula. Whether you’re training to run a marathon, building a successful business, learning a new language, or improve your career – being consistent and repeating what works for you personally is the key. Losing and maintaining weight is no different.

A weight loss diet is popular term as it’s what people want – it’s a solution to reach a goal. A diet, by definition, implies a short-term reduction in calorie intake to reach a lower weight. I think this is where many people go wrong. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is about lifestyle and understanding your body. Understanding how to iterate calorie management strategies that allow you to consume less than you burn over a long period of time (negative net energy) and understanding how to iterate these formulas consistently into your lifestyle is critical. Lifestyle is the key term here – if the fundamental formula for your weight loss diet doesn’t fit your lifestyle quite simply put it’s not going to work!

So, when setting out on your weight loss diet this New Year, try and focus on not only finding your personal formula for losing weight but look longer term, look ahead for a strategy that you feel you can iterate over the long term. I think you’re going to find very quickly that this approach will eliminate fad or fashion diets.

You’ll find thousands of people using a successful long-term strategy on traineo. Click here to read about some of the success directly on the traineo forums.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Weight Loss Journal

Keeping a daily journal of any form up to date takes a considerable amount of effort and discipline. A daily weight loss journal is no different and that’s why the vast majority of people trying to lose weight don’t record their weight change over time.

I'm going to simplify things by labeling a weight loss journal as a place to record just your body weight each day without also documenting other things like exercises, how you felt that day, what foods your ate, etc - if you’re already routinely recording your body weight and these somewhere then I bet you’re already successful and have probably already started losing weight – if so, kudos, keep it up! (Click here to see one of our users in action). Also, I’m not suggesting that everyone should turn into ‘type-A’ weight loss journal keepers, focused on religiously recording data, but to encourage you to record your weight frequently as a small experiment over a month or two to see how it effects your weight loss performance.

Traineo is an online weight loss journal with many more tools to help you with your weight loss. If you’re not using traineo as your ‘weight loss journal’ definitely sign up for a free account and get started after reading this.

You’ve probably thought, ‘How can recording my weight in a weight loss journal actually lower it?’ Or, ‘It doesn’t burn calories like going to the gym or reduce your calorie intake like a diet recipe so why bother?’ The value in keeping a weight loss journal isn’t because it gives you immediate results or yields direct returns – a weight loss journal is powerful because it helps you manage and track the performance of your long-term weight loss strategy.

For the same reason it’s hard to imagine any business being successful without a business plan and sales reports to routinely track performance, you’re going to be much more successful if you routinely measure your weight whilst you execute your weight loss plan. Recording your weight each day is extremely objective and ultimately your goal is to effect its change over time by creating a downward trend or maintaining a goal weight. Just like a management team knows to know if they’re strategy is generating profits, you need to know where you are to execute a winning plan. You’ll be surprised at how getting into a routine of recording your weight each day creates a powerful feedback loop between your calorie management strategy and your weight loss goals. It’s one variable each day but it’ll help keep you focused.

Traineo incorporates the power of graphing on top of these concepts. We chose the tagline ‘See Lives Change’ because our mission is to offer visual tools that help people change their lives. With traineo you’re able to compile your data over time and display it all in a very simple weight trend graph, adding traineoPLUS gives you even more management tools that give you incredible insights into where you currently stand and what you need to do to reach your weight loss goal.

Sign-up to traineo then try a risk free 14-day trial of traineoPLUS to see these tools in action – I think you’ll find the information we can provide you enlightening and extremely valuable.

Best of luck with your weight loss goals!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Calories To Lose Weight – ‘The Complete Equation’

One of the common questions I’ve seen discussed in the traineo community are:

What is my Basal Metabolic Rate (a.k.a. ‘base calorie burn’)?


How many calories do I need?

I thought it’d be useful to write a brief piece to help answer some of these questions and also relate them to your weight loss strategy. Achieving consistent weight loss progress towards your long term goal weight is a taxing endeavor and one of the hardest things to do is pinpoint one particular aspect or strategy. Should I eat less? Or, should I exercise more? How much do I really need to do of each of these to lose weight?

My other goal in this post is to highlight that it’s not a singular component that you should be focused on but more importantly a weight loss strategy that focuses on both calorie intake and calorie expenditure – an approach that identifies a ‘complete equation’ for your personal weight loss formula.

What is my ‘Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)’ a.k.a. ‘Base Calorie Burn’?

For many of you reading this, I expect the term Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) will probably sound like a phrase you’d find in a biology textbook but if you’re looking to lose weight safely and quickly it is a useful concept to take on board with you as you embark on your weight loss journey.

In simple terms, Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories you burn per day without activity. It’s a good place to start your calorie management strategy, think of it as your calorie burning ‘baseline’ number that you’re going to add to as you go through the day burning away more calories towards your weight loss goal.

You burn additional calories throughout your day whilst you’re being active - working, walking, exercising, etc. and the calories you burn from these activities are added incrementally to your Basal Metabolic Rate baseline. In a perfect weight loss world, knowing your exact Basal Metabolic Rate would enable you to calculate your Total Daily Calorie Expenditure by simply adding on the calories burned from any exercise or general activity each day.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the starting amount of calories you burn by doing nothing. In practice, it’s useful to think of it as the primary component of your Total Daily Calorie Expenditure.

Total Daily Calorie Expenditure is the total number of calories you’ve burned in a given day. The difference between the calories you eat in a day and your Total Daily Calorie Expenditure is your Net Energy value, which as we’ll discuss later becomes a very accurate proxy for calculating your weight change and thus managing your calories to lose weight.

How do I calculate my ‘Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)’?

The most common method (called the Harris-Benedict equation) for calculating Basal Metabolic Rate uses gender, height, weight, and age as variables to calculate a fairly accurate approximation.

There are a number of online calculators that do this quickly for you. Try calculating yours now at: http://health.discovery.com/tools/calculators/basal/basal.html

Consistent Negative Net Energy equals consistent weight loss over time

Think of your Basal Metabolic Rate as a relatively large chunk of your Total Daily Calorie Expenditure. Basal Metabolic Rate is where your calorie burning starts but the relationship between calories burned and weight loss is incomplete and relatively useless without forming a complete Net Energy equation as follows:

Simply put, having a high Basal Metabolic Rate and burning a large amount of additional calories per day will not necessarily result in weight loss if your total Calories Consumed value is high. Accordingly, reducing your calorie consumption marginally but not creating a negative net energy value will not result in any weight loss over time.

As I explained above, the key variables that determine Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) are your gender, height, weight, and age. Outside of weight, on a daily basis we don’t practically have the ability to control or change these inputs. And of course, weight is the variable we're trying to reduce! For this reason we can continue to think of Basal Metabolic Rate as a relatively static value over time, looking again at the complete equation for weight loss this certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not important, it just means it’s important to include in your daily calorie management strategy.

Using traineoPLUS to find your own Complete Weight Loss Formula

Whilst building traineo as a weight loss tool we’ve been focused on building these scientifically proven concepts into our software. Our weight loss tools focus on the principle of Net Energy and offer a unique and very simple way to determine your historical Net Energy changes (negative or positive) regardless of your Basal Metabolic Rate, calorie consumption, and Total Calorie Expenditure.

With our premium service, traineoPLUS, our aim was to provide the simplest way to understand, build, and execute a successful long-term weight loss strategy. We've learned from our user success stories that long term weight loss requires lifestyle changes that consistently result in daily Net Energy being negative until it hovers around zero as the user maintains a healthy weight. In contrast, weight loss results achieved by reducing calorie consumption rapidly and inconsistently in only short periods of time (by definition a diet plan is exactly this) are short-lived. Our team is continuing to focus on building the best online tools to help you change your lifestyle to reach your goal weight.

If you’re a traineoPLUS user you’re probably very familiar with how we’re providing simple tools to do these calculations and show you exactly how to modify your Net Energy formula to reach your weight loss objective.

If you’re not already a traineoPLUS user I’d like to encourage you to try a risk free 14-day trial by signing up for a free account at traineo.com and clicking the upgrade link – I think you’ll find the information we can provide you enlightening and extremely valuable.

Best of luck with your weight loss goals!

Alasdair McLean-Foreman
CEO and Founder