[Image source: Aberdeen Probing Ground]
When I’m taking a fitness session for a client, whether it’s my morning boot camp group, a corporate group, or a sporting team, one of the most common questions I’m asked is, ‘What Exercises Should I do to Lose Weight?’
Losing weight is hard. There are so many factors that influence weight loss. Some of which are, why you need to lose weight, why do you want to lose weight, and do you even need to lose weight.
The first thing I tell people who want to lose weight is to look at their diet. Losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Most people look to exercise when they want to lose weight. This is great. Exercise is certainly beneficial to losing weight. It makes you feel good and you do get changes in your body morphology. However, the biggest changes in body morphology and more importantly, health, come from improving your diet.
My suggestion is eating a diet primarily based around vegetables. I’ve been doing this for the last 2 years and not only do I feel extremely better, I’m a couple kilos lighter (I was already a healthy weight) and my thinking is much clearer. Even my skin is clearer. In fact, I’m so in tune with my mind and body now that I can notice the difference, both mentally and physically, when I consume something out of my norm, or that isn’t ideal for my body.
A typical day of eating for me:
The first thing I do when I wake up is drink 1L of water. Sometimes this takes me five minutes and sometimes it takes two hours.
Breakfast: Omelette - 3 eggs, a handful of spinach, 1 mushroom (quartered), garlic, grated cheese.
Morning tea: I find the omelette fills me up and I don’t eat morning tea, but if I do, it’s usually a snack cup of nuts and a banana or a carrot. Carrots are really filling.
Lunch: Leftovers from dinner the night before in most cases. (See dinner).
Afternoon tea: I personally don't eat afternoon tea and opt for an early dinner instead. See Morning Tea for some good afternoon tea options.
Dinner: Some sort of meat dish with vegetables and sometimes rice or potato. For example, chicken curry with a rice and quinoa mix, lamb shanks with cous cous and steamed vegetables, pumpkin and spinach risotto with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, Mr Potato Man, etc.
NB. If I was vegetarian, I’d eat the same dishes just minus the meat.
At the end of the day, it’s about eating heaps of vegetables. Challenge yourself to eat vegetables in every meal and drink, drink, drink. Drink all day long.
Diet is the foundation. If you want to lose weight, commit to changing the way you eat. If you want results faster though, and you want to tone and strengthen your body, add exercise. The release of hormones and neurotransmitters in response to exercise will also leave you feeling good, you’ll feel like you’re making progress towards your goal faster, which will enhance your motivation, and you’ll strengthen and tone your body.
What Exercises Should I do to Lose Weight?
- 3x high intensity workouts a week
Incorporate strength exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups and pull ups with high intensity exercises such as skipping, skaters, high knees and jumping. The hallmark of high intensity workouts are that they alternate intense bursts of anaerobic activity with short periods of rest or less intense activity. These are good workouts to join a group as they can be tough. High intensity workouts burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time and your body continues to burn calories after you’ve finished. High intensity workouts increase mitochondria, muscle strength, as well as flexibility and elasticity of the arteries. As a result, it improves your blood pressure and enhances your endurance, which carries over to your cardiovascular workouts.
- 3x long cardiovascular workouts a week
A study out of the University of Sydney found that high intensity workouts don’t have a ‘fat furnace’ effect like cardiovascular exercise does. The study showed that high intensity exercise burned primarily subcutaneous fat, which means fat just beneath the skin. Aerobic exercise is actually better at burning visceral fat. That’s the fat that surrounds the organs and the more dangerous place to store fat. Choose your preferred types of aerobic exercise - walking, running, cycling, swimming or using the elliptical, and do that for one hour. The more intense you go, the more calories you’ll burn; however, exercising for an hour is hard for most people. Alternate your intensity so that you can continue for the whole hour. For example, if you like to run, walk when you need to so that you can keep moving for the whole hour. The key is to remain active for at least an hour.
Example Weekly Exercise Schedule:
Monday - High Intensity
Tuesday - Cardio
Wednesday - High Intensity
Thursday - Cardio
Friday - High Intensity
Saturday - Cardio
Sunday - Rest
Losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Eat vegetables in every meal and eat when it suits your body, not your schedule. Exercise six times per week with three days dedicated to high intensity workouts and 3 days dedicated to one hour of cardiovascular exercise.
What else would you like to know about weight loss?
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