Cadence

Best Type of Exercise

54 posts in this topic

I plan on taking 2 "Physical Education" classes next semester. I weigh 90 lbs and haven't really exercised for 5 years or more (other than walking/playing light tennis), but none of these activities were on a consistent basis.

My question is: what would be the best exercise classes to take for me (given my body weight and lack of muscle/exercise)? Since I have not exercised for so long, I get sore really easily, so I don't want to take a weight training class (I don't think I could keep up). Instead, I plan to take a tennis class (for aerobic/cardiovascular exercise) and a Pilates class (for better flexibility etc.), or Kickboxing (for muscular strength, cardio, and endurance). If anyone has any better suggestions, however, I would love to hear them. I plan, in the future, to take up swimming (if you have any comments about swimming, please share), but my school does not have a pool, so I cannot take a swimming course.

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Weight training is by far the best choice in terms of health well-being. It strengthens muscles, connective tissue and bones. As we age these things break down, and building a strong foundation now can do a lot for a better quality of life later on(even more important for women who have less muscle to begin with, and suffer a much higher incidence of osteoporosis). Contrary to popular belief, strength training also does a lot for the cardiovascular system. Last, but not least, it's the most efficient way to look good naked(again, I like to add, contrary to popular belief among women, it does not suddenly make you look like Arnold - which is a very common misconception and the reason why many women stay away from heavy weights).

Soreness can be battled by starting off by training 4-5 days in a row. If that sounds like torture, keep in mind that the soreness fades once you start working the muscles again. Then when you've been at it regularly for a while soreness gets much more uncommon.

As far as keeping up goes, would you be competing with others? I think the point should be to better tomorrow than you are today.

Pilates I regard as trendy and inefficient nonsense. Better flexibility is also achievied by strength training. I also question the use of extra flexibility, unless you're gymnast - or a ninja.

Choosing a specific sport is best done according to what you think will be the most fun. For contact sports, like kickboxing, you might also want to consider a higher incidence of injuries(i've found it to be a lot of fun though, so I encourage you to give it a try if you like the idea).

I hope this was helpful. As you can see i'm very biased towards weight training, and for good reasons, but ultimately it's always a question of what you will enjoy and stick to in the long run.

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Your question is somewhat ambiguous as to what your ultimate goal is. My answer below assumes that you want to materially improve your physical condition.

Pilates is good for their focus on "core" muscles, and so if you have a weak back, it helps strengthen it. Otherwise, I don't think it's very useful to build up strength or muscle mass. To do well, you need to hire a coach and do it 1-on-1, or 1-on-2. It's not something you can do well in a class setting, if my experience is representative of what Pilates really is meant to be.

My recommendation is to take 1 weight lifting regimen, focusing on big muscle groups (see RayK's recommendation for exercise - he hits all the big groups). Add to that one or 2 class a week that focus on explosive strength, such as some real martial arts (in a dojo / boxing club, not at a gym), or sprints, or a class focusing on plyometrics. Many of those moves (clean & jerk, etc) can be integrated in a weight lifting class. Another thing I've used are kettlebells, but they might be a bit exotic / difficult to find. I'm currently taking a class that is a licensed version of the Les Mills body pump (http://www.lesmills.com/global/bodypump/about-bodypump.aspx), and it's VERY effective in combination with a weekly weight lifting regimen inspired by RayK's.

With regard to weight lifting: just start small, build up over time. Make sure you use as much weight as you can cope with and still complete the exercise, and keep pushing yourself - never stay somewhere where you're not challenged. Soreness is a natural byproduct (not to be confused with injury, which is always a small risk). Advil helps, and the soreness will diminish 10X after a couple weeks of exercises. After my first Body Pump classes, I couldn't go up or down stairs for 2 days. Now, I don't feel any pain at all. What I'll say is that I've never seen as much progress as when I'm physically uncomfortable during the exercise. In martial arts circle, they say (and put on t-shirts, etc): "pain is weakness leaving the body". I suspect there's more truth than falsehood in this statement, however macho it sounds.

Also, make sure you eat enough, and that your meal includes enough proteins, with regular red meat (iron) contribution. You can't build up muscle if you don't eat.

Tennis might give you some explosive strength benefits, but I think it's very punishing on your back and joints. Kickboxing is in my opinion useless.

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Pilates is good for their focus on "core" muscles, and so if you have a weak back, it helps strengthen it...

Also, make sure you eat enough, and that your meal includes enough proteins, with regular red meat (iron) contribution. You can't build up muscle if you don't eat.

Cadence, I agree with some of what has already been stated by Red and Joss, but would like to add and clarify a few things.

First, from Joss' post on the subject of protein. The average women only requires around 60 grams of protein per day to maintain her health. But, even if the average person does not get a certian amount of protein they can use the other macronutrients (specifically carbohydrates) to maintain muscle and or to create new muslce. For example, if you take in carbohydrates when your body requires protein synthesis, your body can use the heat/energy from metabolizing the carbohydrates and synthesize proteins. The key to building a strong lean body is not diet, one must first stimulate the body with an intense, rational application of exercise.

In 1975 a study was done by the researchers Alfred L. Goldberg, Joseph D. Etlinger, David, F. Goldspink, and Charles Jablecki of which their findings can be found in Medicine and Science in Sports, Vol. 7,No. 4, pp.248-261. During this study Mr. Goldberg and his colleagues attempted to stimulate the muscles of rats by causing momentary muscular failure. Momentary muscular failure is when the demand momentarily weakens the muscle to a point where function/movement is not capable. The researchers cut the tendon of the gastrocnemius muscle (calf) of one leg of each group of rats. The rats were then exercised to momentary failure and the muscles still grew. The researchers then removed part of the rat's pituitary gland (hypophysis) which is what produces growth hormone. Other groups of rats received alloxan which produced a diabet state, lack of insulin. Another group was placed on a starvation diet and only given water. The end result was that every group of rats, when trained to momentary muscular failure, produced an increase in their muscles.

Man (along with other animals) must move to survive and when man's functional ability (movement) is attacked by training to momentary muscular failure it stimulates an adapatation. This positvie adapatation can only be achieved through intense exercise (weight training) which must be of short duration and done infrequently enough to allow for the change to happen. So, no form of activity that does not attack one's functional capacity will ever bring about the same positive results, not swimming, not pilates, not yoga, not running, nothing. If you want to enhance your body, the most efficient way to achieve it is to train intensely and then reap the rewards, enhanced flexibility and function, enhanced cardio-respiratory, enchanced metabolism, increased bone-mineral density, increased tendon and ligament density, enhanced immune system, increased muscle senstivity to insulin, overall you will have an enhanced body to go out and enhance your life and enjoy activities like swimming or mountain climbing which are not proper forms of exercise they are recreational activities.

I would offer that you do not waste your time taking any classes on exercise as most people have no idea what proper exercise is and hence you will be wasting your limited amount of time while gaining nothing or at most very little. I offer that you take classes on anatomy and physiology so that you will gain a proper understanding of your body and how it functions.

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For example, if you take in carbohydrates when your body requires protein synthesis, your body can use the heat/energy from metabolizing the carbohydrates and synthesize proteins.

Interesting, I didn't know that. That explains why people who follow the "lemonade diet" do not waste away their muscles. I'd been wondering about that.

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At 90 lbs I hope you are a woman. :)

I am currently following RayK's recommendation of a 20 minute session/week of weight training. It is time-efficient and I'm definately seeing gains. As far as I know, women should exercise in the same manner, and unlike a man, they'll probably never be able to look like this http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1680709632/tt0093773 . But nonetheless they will gain the benefits listed above by Ray.

For me, the soreness experienced after the first few workouts were in no way indicative or what they'd feel like later. Even though I increase the weights whenever I am ready for it, and I still lift until failure just like the very first time, the post-workout soreness is much lighter and shorter in duration now.

On a tangent, Ray, do you think that picture is a realistic (multi-year) goal for an average man? I know Arnold used "supplemental" methods in his earlier days but that one is from Predator (1987), for which he shed 30 lbs for the sake of realism.

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I am currently following RayK's recommendation of a 20 minute session/week of weight training.

Good :) His advice works. It helped me to win BJJ tournaments when I used to compete, and it saved me from wasting countless time and dollars on pointless exercises and/or supplemental products (protein, creatine, etc).

It is time-efficient and I'm definately seeing gains. As far as I know, women should exercise in the same manner, and unlike a man, they'll probably never be able to look like this http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1680709632/tt0093773 . But nonetheless they will gain the benefits listed above by Ray.

Women can't look like that naturally, period. Heck, even most men can't look like that without steroids.

For me, the soreness experienced after the first few workouts were in no way indicative or what they'd feel like later. Even though I increase the weights whenever I am ready for it, and I still lift until failure just like the very first time, the post-workout soreness is much lighter and shorter in duration now.

I've found that the degree of soreness post-workout can often be random. (but of course I'm always sore after lifting weights)

On a tangent, Ray, do you think that picture is a realistic (multi-year) goal for an average man? I know Arnold used "supplemental" methods in his earlier days but that one is from Predator (1987), for which he shed 30 lbs for the sake of realism.

Only realistic for the average man who needs to GET TO DA CHOPPA.

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L-C, quick answer, no. :)

Cattle farmers in Belgium were attempting to produce a cow with more lean meat without the need for a larger range area. Over time and with the Belgium farmers constantly using selective breeding of the most muscular cattle they were able to produce cattle with 2-3 times the amount of lean body tissue and hence the Belgium Blue Bull.

http://www.mudphudder.com/2008/11/myostati...nd-muscle-size/

This Belgium Blue Bull stimulated research by a sceintist named Michel Georges at the University of Liege in Belgium. Michel Georges was able to isolate a gene called GDF-8 which encodes the protein myostatin. In the link above you can see the difference in mice that had their myostatin regulator "knocked out" which allowed for 35 to 50% more muscle mass with no exercise nor extra food.

It has been estimated that around 90% of humans carry a large enough amount of myostatin (the smaller amount of myostatin the larger the potential for muscle) and they will never build large amounts of muscle such as that which is seen by people like Arnold and other bodybuilders. No amount of training will allow one to overcome their genetic potential, but that does not mean that we cannot enhance ourselves to our genetic potential, if desired. So, at this time, we now have another reason to get what we can from a rational exercise program and then get out of the gym and enjoy life.

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For example, if you take in carbohydrates when your body requires protein synthesis, your body can use the heat/energy from metabolizing the carbohydrates and synthesize proteins.

Interesting, I didn't know that. That explains why people who follow the "lemonade diet" do not waste away their muscles. I'd been wondering about that.

I am glad you found it interesting.

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In the link above you can see the difference in mice that had their myostatin regulator "knocked out" which allowed for 35 to 50% more muscle mass with no exercise nor extra food.

This should read "nor any special food or diet."

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For me, the soreness experienced after the first few workouts were in no way indicative or what they'd feel like later. Even though I increase the weights whenever I am ready for it, and I still lift until failure just like the very first time, the post-workout soreness is much lighter and shorter in duration now.

After a while it's even common to not get any soreness at all. The worst for me is always after layoffs or when introducing new exercises, but if I train fairly frequently I doesn't matter what I do.

On a tangent, Ray, do you think that picture is a realistic (multi-year) goal for an average man? I know Arnold used "supplemental" methods in his earlier days but that one is from Predator (1987), for which he shed 30 lbs for the sake of realism.

I think it depends a lot on what you mean here. Even with the same amount of muscle most guys will not look like Arnold. He's tall, got broad shoulders, a narrow waist and almost all of his muscles are pretty long - creating good lines.

However, if we're just talking the same amount of muscle in relation to height, then... maybe. If he weighs 30lbs below competition weight there, that would make him 210lbs at 6'2". That should be achievable for most people within a few years. On the other hand, I think he must have been reffering to his off-season weight, and my guess is that would put him around 230lbs or higher in that picture. That's more like 10-15 years, towards never, to achieve that.

To put things into perspective, here's Arnold as a teenager:

http://www.uncoached.com/wp-content/upload...rzenegger_5.jpg

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To put things into perspective, here's Arnold as a teenager:

http://www.uncoached.com/wp-content/upload...rzenegger_5.jpg

And to put things in an even more indepth perspective, here is a link to pictures of my favorite bodybuilder (in the context of his physique) Casey Viator who was the youngest Mr. America at the age of 19 in 1970. Most people just do not have these types of genes and are wasting their time even attempting to accomplish it as a goal while also setting themselves up for failure. Exercise is not a panacea, get what you can from it, then go enjoy that enhanced body.

http://mister-olympia.bganzeige.de/casey-viator.html

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Yep, clearly his late 60's/70's competition shape would be pure fiction for most. Don't think he was competing in the late 80's though, so I'm not sure there were any specific off/on season weights. Interesting facts about myostatin. Are there any negatives to being one of those 10% without (as much of) it? Seems more like a bug than a feature, unless conserving energy was important enough to prevent muscle growth. If that's all it does and did, perhaps it's time to find a way to disable it so we can all get to da choppa.

My father is pretty strong though, and I have much of his build (but a bit shorter at 6'1) so it'll be interesting to see how far I can get before the 'ole genes get in the way.

Hope you'll forgive the semi-OT talk, Cadence, but I believe your question has been answered. Weight training is an excellent type of exercise for both men and women and, when properly done, the improvements it delivers combined with the small amount of time it takes are in my experience unbeatable.

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To put things into perspective, here's Arnold as a teenager:

http://www.uncoached.com/wp-content/upload...rzenegger_5.jpg

And to put things in an even more indepth perspective, here is a link to pictures of my favorite bodybuilder (in the context of his physique) Casey Viator who was the youngest Mr. America at the age of 19 in 1970. Most people just do not have these types of genes and are wasting their time even attempting to accomplish it as a goal while also setting themselves up for failure. Exercise is not a panacea, get what you can from it, then go enjoy that enhanced body.

http://mister-olympia.bganzeige.de/casey-viator.html

Yes, I think one should exercise to live a better/enhanced life, not live to exercise. People can of course put it differently among their hierarchy of values, but it's not an end in itself.

Having made huge improvements to my body over the past years, I must also say that, while I enjoy it tremendously, that's far from the greates value i've got from exercising. It's more like a really nice bonus. It's become more of my little "alone time" where I allow myself a break from everything else and put all my will and focus on a fairly simple and straightforward task. Afterwards it's back to buisness, with better focus and clarity. The whole physical improvement thing has become more and more just to have a set of goals to make things more interesting, while I find the process to be character building. Not that I think I would mind getting to da choppa, but it will never happen and it wouldn't really do anything for me.

Yep, clearly his late 60's/70's competition shape would be pure fiction for most. Don't think he was competing in the late 80's though, so I'm not sure there were any specific off/on season weights. Interesting facts about myostatin. Are there any negatives to being one of those 10% without (as much of) it? Seems more like a bug than a feature, unless conserving energy was important enough to prevent muscle growth. If that's all it does and did, perhaps it's time to find a way to disable it so we can all get to da choppa.

I believe myastatin inhibitors have just recently been ready for human trials(i'm not sure if they have been approved yet). We will probably see that in the future, but most likely not designed for people who just want huge muscles(not that it would stop dedicated bodybuilders from abusing it).

I don't think there are any known adverse side effects. However, an extreme muscular bulk - especially when it's achieved without exercise - would probably be comparable to obesity. It puts a huge strain on the body. When achieved naturally you would at least have the benefits of exercise behind you.

A potential hazard could also be that ALL muscles grow. Maybe not so good if that happens to the heart, or the muscles around the eyes.

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I don't think there are any known adverse side effects. However, an extreme muscular bulk - especially when it's achieved without exercise - would probably be comparable to obesity. It puts a huge strain on the body. When achieved naturally you would at least have the benefits of exercise behind you.

A potential hazard could also be that ALL muscles grow. Maybe not so good if that happens to the heart, or the muscles around the eyes.

I do not know if most body-builders would consider this an illeffect, but here is a picture of a dog that I would consider freaky looking.

http://connect.in.com/myostatin/photos-pos...f72b97bab2.html

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How many hours a week was Ahnold training for that body? Beyond the genetic make up, isn't body building a very time consuming activity?

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Awhile back I enjoyed timing myself on my racing bikes. I trained about three times a week. What I noticed, and was intrigued by, was how rapidly my fitness deteriorated if I didn't train. Three days seemed the limit. Any longer, and my performance dropped; lactic acid was more noticeable.

I concluded that the human body doesn't like to be kept at 'emergency' levels of fitness. That it saw a cost in regards to stress on itself, and 'de-tuned' as soon as the (training) stress levels went down. I now compare the body to machinery. Use it enough to keep it working at the required level to maintain it's function. Too much wears it out, too little and it rusts away.

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I don't think there are any known adverse side effects. However, an extreme muscular bulk - especially when it's achieved without exercise - would probably be comparable to obesity. It puts a huge strain on the body. When achieved naturally you would at least have the benefits of exercise behind you.

A potential hazard could also be that ALL muscles grow. Maybe not so good if that happens to the heart, or the muscles around the eyes.

I do not know if most body-builders would consider this an illeffect, but here is a picture of a dog that I would consider freaky looking.

http://connect.in.com/myostatin/photos-pos...f72b97bab2.html

Pro-BB's would certainly consider that freaky. The calves are just way too small. :)

How many hours a week was Ahnold training for that body? Beyond the genetic make up, isn't body building a very time consuming activity?

I think it may be hard to tell truth from fiction here, but he certainly had a high volume and high frequency approach to training. Perhaps something like 1-2 hours almost daily. However, it should be mentioned that there is no scientific support whatsover for such a training regime. It simply comes from thinking that more must be better, and maybe that's the case for genetic freaks on a ton of drugs. Normal people would not do well on such routines.

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Awhile back I enjoyed timing myself on my racing bikes. I trained about three times a week. What I noticed, and was intrigued by, was how rapidly my fitness deteriorated if I didn't train. Three days seemed the limit. Any longer, and my performance dropped; lactic acid was more noticeable.

I concluded that the human body doesn't like to be kept at 'emergency' levels of fitness. That it saw a cost in regards to stress on itself, and 'de-tuned' as soon as the (training) stress levels went down. I now compare the body to machinery. Use it enough to keep it working at the required level to maintain it's function. Too much wears it out, too little and it rusts away.

You loss was most likely not a fitness loss but instead a neurological one as a true positive adaptation is not lost that quickly and many studies demonstrate just that. For example; after 9/11 I was contacted by the Marine Corps and requested to take a physical and performance test of which I had to run 3 miles. I had not run at all in more than 3 years, but I still accomplished the run in 19 minutes. While in the Marine Corps I usually ran 3 miles in less than 18 minutes, but I consider the above mentioned time not bad for no running. I have a study that demonstrates that activities of such a low level of intensity only stimulate a local response and hence why they do not maintain that response. In other words the intensity of the work/effort must first be intense enough to stimulate a systematic response and if not the response is lost as quickly as it is gained. With that stated, the body will not waste making adaptations to intense responses that take days to perform to give them up agains so quickly, and if it did we would have never survived as a species as we would have been extremely inefficient.

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How many hours a week was Ahnold training for that body? Beyond the genetic make up, isn't body building a very time consuming activity?

I think it may be hard to tell truth from fiction here, but he certainly had a high volume and high frequency approach to training. Perhaps something like 1-2 hours almost daily. However, it should be mentioned that there is no scientific support whatsover for such a training regime. It simply comes from thinking that more must be better, and maybe that's the case for genetic freaks on a ton of drugs. Normal people would not do well on such routines.

Was he "using" at the time of that early photo you posted? There's quite a difference between his Olympia days and the later movies.

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Thank you to all who have posted. Ray, it is very interesting and valuable to hear that the best type of exercise is to push yourself until muscle failure (if I'm understanding correctly). I'm desperate to begin exercising; I am currently so weak that I get tired from sitting too long. I didn't exercise for most of my life because as a teenager all I was concerned with was my appearance, and not my health, and since I was already very thin and HATED exercising, I didn't think that I needed to do it. Thankfully I have discovered the importance of being objective early in life, before my muscles start to deteriorate. :)

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How many hours a week was Ahnold training for that body? Beyond the genetic make up, isn't body building a very time consuming activity?

I think it may be hard to tell truth from fiction here, but he certainly had a high volume and high frequency approach to training. Perhaps something like 1-2 hours almost daily. However, it should be mentioned that there is no scientific support whatsover for such a training regime. It simply comes from thinking that more must be better, and maybe that's the case for genetic freaks on a ton of drugs. Normal people would not do well on such routines.

Was he "using" at the time of that early photo you posted? There's quite a difference between his Olympia days and the later movies.

I don't know, but I don't think he was. He doesn't show any signs of steroid use in that picture, and at that age(if i'm not mistaken he was around 18 there) he should have been able to make fantastic gains naturally.

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How many hours a week was Ahnold training for that body? Beyond the genetic make up, isn't body building a very time consuming activity?

Arnold has stated that he trained 2 to 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, but that is not needed by anyone.

During May of 1973 at Colorado State University's Department of Physcial Education an experiment was conductted of which Dr. Elliot Plese surpervised which has come to be known as the Colorado Experiment. Casey Viator (and Arthur Jones) trained a total of 12 times over a 28 day period of which the average workout lasted just 24.8 minutes. At the end of the 28 day experiment Casey Viator had increased his body weight by 45.28 pounds while also losing 17.93 pounds of body weight which translates to a total muscle gain fo 63.21 pounds.

Now, both of these men are genetic freaks and hence most people will never have anything near their returns, but it does not take much thought to realize which one is the most efficient workout.

http://www.musclenet.com/coloradoexperiment.htm

Scroll down the page in the link below to the photos of the experiment.

http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/casey_viator.html

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Thank you to all who have posted. Ray, it is very interesting and valuable to hear that the best type of exercise is to push yourself until muscle failure (if I'm understanding correctly). I'm desperate to begin exercising; I am currently so weak that I get tired from sitting too long. I didn't exercise for most of my life because as a teenager all I was concerned with was my appearance, and not my health, and since I was already very thin and HATED exercising, I didn't think that I needed to do it. Thankfully I have discovered the importance of being objective early in life, before my muscles start to deteriorate. :)

I hope you achieve your goals, please keep us informed.

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During May of 1973 at Colorado State University's Department of Physcial Education an experiment was conductted of which Dr. Elliot Plese surpervised which has come to be known as the Colorado Experiment. Casey Viator (and Arthur Jones) trained a total of 12 times over a 28 day period of which the average workout lasted just 24.8 minutes. At the end of the 28 day experiment Casey Viator had increased his body weight by 45.28 pounds while also losing 17.93 pounds of body weight which translates to a total muscle gain fo 63.21 pounds.

The highlighted word should read body "fat."

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