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Not happy with personal trainer

I met with a personal trainer on Saturday. We were talking about what it takes to lose 1lb. He was telling me I needed to have a calorie deficit below my resting metabolic rate (RMR). I'm fairly certain this is not just wrong, but dangerous to do long term. The RMR is what our body needs just for our bodily functions if we were laying in bed all day. Our true caloric need is based on our activity level and extra calorie burn during workouts. Mine is about 2200/day but my RMR is only 1300/day. To lose 1 lb in a week I'd have to consume net calories of only 800 calories/day based on what he was advising.

What do you all think about what he said? Don't you think he should know better?

Wed. Mar 15, 12:36am

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I know that you should not consume less than 1200 cal/day without the guidance of a physician because you risk malnutrition. Whether or not this is correct is not for me to say without knowing your height/weight/age/activity level, etc... however you seem pretty confident in your assessment of your RMR, so I would definitely trust your own instincts about this person.

My guess? He wants you to see really! dramatic! changes! exclamation point! which you will not see with healthy weight loss. Instead you see a gradual, but constant metamorphisis - not crash, post-baby hollywood starlet type results (ie: back to pre-baby weight in 8 wks). However people who don't see amazing bodies fast are not as likley to continue to justify the cost of a personal trainer. It sounds like he's got his best business interests at heart and those might not coincide with your healthy weight-loss goals.

This is strictly my opinion based on the information provided and a bit of conjecture based on observing friends who want rapid weight loss results (many of whom hire a personal trainer to get fast results).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 1:42 AM

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I definitely agree that you should have a calorie intake should be below your RMR, if you are trying to lose weight.

To lose 1 lb, you need to have a deficit of 3500 calories - there's is no way you can do that just by eating normally (= to satisfy your RMR) and just adding exercise and activity. I just don't think you'll burn that much with exercise and activity, unless you're planning to run a marathon this week...

Your personal trainer is right.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 2:33 PM

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I am not an expert, but I think if you start eating only 800 cals a day you are going to make yourself sick. The body had a way of reacting to starvation of that manner. It wll either one, hold on to the fat because it thinks you are in starvation mode, or two it will break down your immune system and you can be a lot more susceptible to illness. Yes, you do need to lower caloric intake to lose weight, but if you are adding exercise into you life, you can slowly reduce the amount of calories to find a healthy balance that lets you loss weight without hurting yourself.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 2:47 PM

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I think your trainer is wrong, and I would guess that it's because he is getting confused about what you mean when you say resting metobolic rate. I would guess that both he and the 2:33 poster are talking about the caloric intake needed to maintain your weight, which is NOT the same as your RMR. You have RMR correct - it's what you would need if you just sat all day (hence why the test for it has you sit very still and just breath into a machine for 15 minutes). At the most basic level, all you need to lose weight is to have a net deficit: "calories in" are less than "calories out". RMR is just a useful starting point to give you a basic idea of how many calories you need each day to maintain bodily functions like breathing, circulating blood, and digesting food.

It sounds like on an average day for you, your "calories out" are about 2200, so to lose a pound a week, you'd need to have a "calories in" of about 1700.

Eating 800 cals/day is definitely not healthy or sustainable, and maybe I'm cutting him too much slack, but I'd say he's not doing it on purpose, he just is confusing the terminology.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 3:37 PM

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How's it possible you burn an extra 900 calories over your RMR? That is the equivalent of 4.5 hours of jogging a day... Do you burn that much at work?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 3:45 PM

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