Monday, September 8, 2008

Weight Loss- Exercise

First question to ask yourself-

Do you exercise? You say, "Well yeah, I go jogging and run or whatever every so often..."

Second question-

Is it doing anything for you?

If your answer is no-you probably aren't working out correctly.
First, make sure your diet is in tip top shape. That is ESSENTIAL to make sure your body can perform at it's best during your workouts. Second, remember: going to the gym doesn't have to be a grueling ordeal. It should be a part of your day to look forward to. It's a time for self improvement, making your body stronger and healthier. It can be almost meditative if you let it be.
I'm not asking you all to become triathlon athletes/bodybuilders, that's just silly. You all have lives and other important things going on. But, if you want to stick with an exercise program, whether it be for weight loss or any of the other numerous health related benefits, you need to MAKE TIME! Exercise doesn't work if you're just thinking about it. Schedule it into your day. Even if it's just ten minutes, make it happen.

If you are new to exercise or are a beginner, get the images of Richard Simmons and sequined spandex out of your head. Nobody's going to make you wear sparkly gym wear. Just be comfortable. Whether you plan to work out at the gym or at your own home, make time.

Sometimes, it's easier for someone just starting, who is maybe a bit out of shape, to begin a new program at home.

Also remember- you need a plan before you start. Get a piece of paper and write down exactly what kind of workout you are doing on what day. You can't go run on the treadmill and prance around the gym floor, picking up a weight in between conversations and think you got a great workout when you barely broke a sweat! That is where I would recommend keeping a notebook handy to help you keep track of 1.) what exercises you did, 2.) how many sets and reps, and 3.) how you feel throughout and after.

Search the web, buy fitness magazines or whatever you please, but find a good basic workout plan. I guarantee if you go to the magazine rack at the grocery store and look, you will find plenty of different options for your reading pleasure. I recommend Muscle & Fitness and Muscle & Fitness Hers. These are awesome magazines for someone who really wants to get into it! An amazing book I would recommend EVERYONE to read is the Abs Diet by David Zinczenko. It is a very thorough book for someone who wants to have a plan made for them that has been proven to work. It will show you how to eat, how to exercise, and it will entertain you all at the same time! I will post a few meal and workout examples from the book in later discussions.

THE WORKOUT PLAN

Now the fun begins....
Do cardio. ie: running, biking, walking, elliptical, etc...Everyone thinks this is the only way to burn fat. Not true. It is good for you, and it does burn fat, I'll give you that. But, if you really want to amp up your fat burning and make your gym visits worth it, you need to lift weights!

Ladies..you can lift weights. You don't need to be afraid of bulking up and looking like a man. In fact it is virtually impossible for you to do so, because of your hormones. Men tend to bulk up bigger and faster because of their testosterone. So unless you're a woman taking steroids, lifting weights is only going to make you tighter, toner, leaner, and hotter! And forget those wimpy little 5 lb pink dumbbells. Lifting heavier weights challenges your muscles to become stronger and more "toned". Don't be afraid to workout like a guy! Sometimes, better results come from doing so! :)
Not to mention, lifting weights turns up the heat on your metabolism, causing your body to burn more calories just to keep that newly built muscle alive. Meaning more weight loss. When you lift weights, it not only causes you to burn calories while you work out, but you will also burn calories for hours after you leave the gym! Pretty awesome stuff! This means you are burning fat like a mother to show all the effort you put into toning the muscles underneath. Pretty simple equation.

Lastly, listen to your body. Don't try to be Hercules right off the bat. Start out slowly to prevent any injuries or stress to your body. Doing this will help you stick with it too. If you run 50 miles and lift weights for an hour and a half your first day, chances are you aren't going to feel up to going back to the gym for quite a while. Don't get me wrong though- you want to challenge your body, that's what makes changes, but keep in mind that you have limits too.

Also, remember not to focus on the numbers. Stop weighing yourself everyday, it will only depress you. It is also not a good indication of your health and fitness. In fact, throw your scale away. I weigh the same now as I did in high school, but I am a heck of a lot smaller and more toned than I was then. Muscle weighs more than fat, so take that into consideration. Gauge your results by how you feel and how your clothes fit. If I were to still be hung up on the numbers on the scale, trying to achieve that "perfect" weight, I'd probably look anorexic. Sometimes, that ideal weight you have in mind is totally unrealistic for you. And remember, this doesn't happen in a week. Patience is the key here. Stick with it for a few weeks and the results will amaze you! Once you begin to see the transformation your body takes for the better, you'll never turn back! :)

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