Losing weight and becoming healthier is always a hot topic especially this time of year. It is amazing to see how many advertisements and products that exist for this purpose alone. In reality, losing weight and getting fitter couldn’t be easier. Here are 3 simple steps you can take to begin a road to a healthier you.
This is listed first because it really is that important. I have seen triathletes (myself included) put in 15 hours of exercise a week and still gain weight. Exercise alone will not cause weight loss. You will improve your cardiovascular system, bone density, and a myriad of other things. However, in order to lose weight you must go into caloric deficit. This simply means you must burn more calories than you consume. I often joke that the single most affective exercise is the “Table Decline”. This is where you always say no or decline the offer of more food.
A big misconception out there among many is that they believe in spot reduction. They feel that if they do a lot of abdominal exercises they will lose weight around their midsection. This is simply not the case. You lose weight over your entire body. Another big misconception related to strength training is that you will build so much muscle so quickly and in effect gain unwanted weight even if it is lean muscle. Again, not going to happen and even less likely if you are avoiding isolation type movements and exercises commonly done in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The final piece to the fitness puzzle is doing cardio. Cardio workouts really are only limited by your imagination. You can row, bike, swim, run, walk, climb, skate, etc.. It is pretty much limitless. If you are moving then you are doing cardio. Really only 30 minutes a day of cardio are needed depending on intensity levels.
Usually most out there are able to get 2 of the 3 steps down. However, for some reason it is difficulty to get all three at the same time. Many endurance athletes have the nutrition and cardio down pretty well but don’t lift weights out of fear of becoming too heavy which is counterproductive in endurance sports. The weight lifters have the nutrition and strength training down but don’t do cardio out of fear of losing size. This maybe all well and good if you are attempting to compete in a certain event. However, most just want to be healthy and look good. If you are one of those then create your routine to include small changes in all three of the above areas (Nutrition/Strength/Cardio). You don’t need to train for more than an hour per day (30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes strength). Then make small changes in your diet. Remember, this is a lifestyle change so you are creating a new life here. This take time and consistent effort. Too big of changes too early most often are well intentioned but not sustainable.
I hope this helps you get on a better road to health and fitness. Inside everyone is a healthier body dying to get out.