So you've decided to lose a few pounds. You've got your reasons ... a recent photograph, upcoming social event, or that medical check-up you've been avoiding. You'll feel better as the weight comes off and you may experience improvement in your health. Knowing that diet and exercise are important, how do you get the most out of a new fitness routine?
Make a plan. Weight loss results from reduced caloric intake and/or increased caloric output. Consider the impact of both diet and exercise on reaching your desired goals.
Look honestly at your diet and identify needed changes, especially sources of empty calories. Reducing excessive sources of sugar, fat, and alcohol in your diet, will benefit your body and promote a lifestyle that is not based on deprivation. Set a measurable goal related to your diet, make that behavior a habit, then consider making your next change.
Exercise is necessary to make your goal a reality. Exercise burns calories and boosts your body's metabolic rate following the workout. Effective weight loss workouts maximize post-workout burn through interval training, split session workouts, and overall increased activity. This plan includes all of these strategies. You may also include them in your own program to maximize weight loss.
Intervals: Interval workouts include brief bursts of high effort throughout your workout followed by periods of recovery. Utilizing recovery periods, enables you to work at a greater intensity. Include a low intensity warm-up, periods of increasing effort and recovery, and a low intensity cool-down. Working at the upper end of your abilities results in dramatic gains in fitness and maximizes post-exercise calorie burn. Jump-start your program for weight loss by adding an interval workout to your current weekly routine.
Split-Session Workouts: Energy consumption increases during recovery following workouts. Capitalize on this potential through split session workouts, essentially working out twice in one day. If each workout is done at sufficient intensity, you will experience increases in your metabolism during two periods of time.
Overall Increase in Activity: The final means of losing weight through exercise is to increase your overall activity. Losing one pound requires a deficit of approximately 3500 calories. Considered strictly in terms of your workouts, this number can be daunting; however, being more active during your recreational time and building activity into your daily routine, can dramatically increase overall calorie burn. When the numbers add up and you become more aware of the damage those stops at the office candy dish are doing, they can dramatically improve your success in losing weight.
As you develop your routine, set your date for re-evaluation in 4-6 weeks to determine both your successes and your areas of needed improvement. Sticking to diet and behavioral changes and seeing any sort of a weight loss is a significant victory. A reasonable weight loss is between .5 and 2 pounds per week. In your first month of a new exercise program, you may be simply determining what a reasonable rate of weight loss is for you. Set goals, complete your workouts, and let the body you want follow.