Here’s the secret to weight loss: Eat less calories and move more. That’s it! Nope, this strategy won’t make magazine headlines for being able to get your body ready for bikini season. It’s just not as flashy. Sure, there are other variables such as optimizing hormones at certain times by doing certain types of training, sleeping right, and eating the right things at the right times will help you there as well, but the major part of losing weight is eat less and move more. The concept is so simple, but putting it into practice is not. Should you be doing certain types of movement? Should you be weight training, doing cardio, or both?! Should you be eating eggs, or are those bad for you now? Or, maybe you can eat just the egg whites? It’s hard to navigate the world of fitness and nutrition. It seems like everyone is an expert, yet you see different answers to the same questions all the time. How do you know who or what to believe?
Sustainable Weight Loss
If you’ll allow me to rant for a brief second, I do not like “challenges” or any program that says you’ll drop X number of pounds in Y number of days/weeks/months. In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, these types of programs do not establish sustainable habits for most of us. They just don’t. And, it can be so disheartening when someone trying to follow this program doesn’t reach the promised outcome. Now, off of my soapbox and back to how to lose weight. The best way to lose weight and establish a healthy lifestyle is to start incorporating strength training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition changes to your life. The recommendations for cardio is 5 or more days a week at a moderate intensity; at least 30 minutes each day. You can also perform at least 20 minutes of vigorous intensity cardio 3 times per week.
How Much Cardio?!?!
Yep, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 5 or more days per week if you’re participating in moderate intensity levels to achieve fitness. You can cut down the time and frequency if you perform vigorous exercise. Don’t worry! You don’t need to start at that level, especially if you haven’t done anything for awhile. Start at a lower intensity if needed, start with a few days a week and build from there. Is doing thirty minutes at once difficult? Break it down into mini sessions throughout the day. Do two 15 minute bouts if you want to; even three 10 minute bouts. It’ll still have the same benefits for your heart and it will still burn calories! You’ll get to doing thirty minutes at once! Build on these simple principles: Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. When you’re comfortable at a certain level, increase the difficulty in ONE of the variables until you feel comfortable at that level. When you’re feeling really good and ready to get fancy, you can start throwing in some HIIT workouts. These types of workouts are proven to actually burn Calories for a longer time after your done with your exercise session. But, don’t worry about those workouts until you’re comfortable with doing a little bit of steady state movement. Performing regular bouts of cardio is important for both fitness and achieving weight loss.
What About the Weights?
Weight lifting is also an integral part to losing weight. Your resistance training session burns calories. Having more muscle on your frame burns calories. It’s not a huge difference, but it is still a difference. And, resistance training is important in preserving muscle tissue while losing weight. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working your major muscle groups 2-3 times per week for achieving fitness. Your weightlifting sessions don’t have to be multiple hours long. To get your body to adapt to change, there are multiple variables within strength training you can manipulate. The first variables that comes to my mind are adjusting the volume and intensity of the weight being lifted. I can discuss this and the other variables in the future. There’s a lot we can change with your weightlifting to get your body to change after all! Try weight training with 2-4 sets of each exercise; performing 8-12 reps per set. Focus on using compound movements when you train. These movements use more muscle, expending more energy. More energy equals more Calories.
Don’t Forget the Nutrition!
Most of us will not achieve the goals we’re looking for without making adjustments to our diet. This doesn’t mean going on a diet. This means making sustainable changes to our eating patterns to help us be more healthy. Don’t cut out the foods you love! Just moderate the foods that you love. Again, if we’re consuming more Calories than we’re burning, we will gain weight. If we burn more Calories than we consume, we will lose weight. Again, there are other variables that can affect this, but it is a general rule of thumb. If you’re looking for guidelines to begin changing your eating habits, a great resources is check out is https://www.choosemyplate.gov/. When making changes to your diet, try making small changes. When you feel comfortable with that small change, make another small change. They’ll end adding up and making a huge difference in both how you look and in how you feel!
Well, I know this isn’t everything, but hopefully it at least gets you on the right track. Don’t worry about following the latest exercise routine or nutrition fad. Everyone is different, and above are just the basics. Again, things with both exercise and nutrition can get more complicated, but don’t forget the basics are this: Calories in versus Calories out. That will make a huge difference in your success.
“Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and… : Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.” LWW, Oxford University Press, 2011, journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx.