Talk about an exercise in frustration. Recently, a few studies have come out saying exercise won’t necessarily help you lose weight. Another study says your genes determine if you have what it takes to get fit. And still other studies say an obesity gene is at fault for your bulging tummy. So does all this mean you should just give up and accept your flabby fate?
Not so fast. Most experts agree that it takes a combination of exercise and a healthier, lower-calorie diet to lose weight. Plus exercise is a proactive way to prevent gaining weight in the first place. Exercise also is critical to keeping off any weight you lose. And exercise is a vital part of overall health. People who exercise regularly significantly lower their risk for heart disease and diabetes, and are less likely to develop cancer.
What’s Standing in Your Way?
One reason some people don’t lose weight despite hitting the treadmill regularly is that they overcompensate for their exercise with more calories consumed. After the gym, they may stop off at Starbucks for a grande caramel latte thinking they can afford the extra calories because they worked out. They don’t realize that those calories may surpass what they actually burned off. Or they may be hungrier as a result of exercise so they eat more.
The bottom line is it takes a calorie deficit to lose weight. That means you need a combination of burning more calories through exercise while cutting more calories in your diet.
Tip the Scales in Your Favor
If you’re having trouble losing weight even though you’re exercising, it’s time to take a closer look at your eating and exercise routines and shake things up.
1. Get aerobic. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging and cycling will burn the most calories. Aim for 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week.
2. Don’t overestimate your calorie burn. You may be burning fewer calories than you think when you exercise. Remember, just sitting watching television can burn 70 calories an hour. If you walked for an hour at a moderate pace you may burn roughly 250 calories. That’s just a 180-calorie difference in an hour.
3. Keep track of what you’re eating in a food diary. You’ll not only be able to see how many calories you’re actually taking in, but you’ll also recognize eating patterns. You may notice that you tend to scarf down handfuls of M&Ms after your workouts. That’s a calorie-packed habit you’ll want to nip in the bud if you want to lose weight.
4. Mix up your exercise routine. If you’re doing a lot of cardio workouts, add some strength training to your routine. Strength training is important because it builds muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the greater your resting metabolic rate is, and the more calories you burn at rest each day. But don’t get over confident. Just because you’re burning more calories from muscle doesn’t mean three scoops of ice cream will simply melt off.
5. Try interval training to boost results. Studies show you get more results in less time with interval training. In interval training, you work out in alternating intensities, working very hard for a few minutes followed by a few minutes of recovery time. Intensive bursts of exercise build stronger muscles than traditional workouts and create a higher metabolism for hours afterward.
6. One big dose of exercise is not enough. Don’t work hard for 30 minutes and then be spent for the day. It’s important to incorporate more activity throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away. Get up from your desk frequently and walk around. All these activities add up to keep your metabolism humming and calories burning. Our bodies are designed to move.
7. Keep hunger under control. Exercise can fire up your appetite and cause you to grab whatever is most convenient. When hunger strikes, be prepared with low-calorie, high-nutrition foods or drinks handy.
Maximize Your Efforts
Reliv’s Slimplicity® Weight Loss System is an ideal partner to help you maximize your workouts to reach your weight loss goals. It starts with a calorie-controlled, satisfying shake for lunch combined with Accelerator capsules before each meal that help boost your metabolism, burn more fat and control your appetite. The plan includes a pedometer to encourage walking, a food and exercise journal and ongoing support so you can stay on track as you lose weight — and keep it off.