Weight loss can be a challenging task no matter how experienced you are in the field. Even seasoned athletes can find it extremely difficult to cut weight to meet a certain criterion. If you have led a sedentary life and have been struggling with weight for many years, it’s difficult to develop that momentum to take the first step. Starting is the most challenging part. Once you have the ball rolling, it is much easier to keep it going.
The other problem is finding the right information. With the internet completely flooded with conflicting diets and training regimens and different professionals preaching different strategies, it’s hard to pick the right strategy. The best solution is to stick to the basics. The things that everyone agrees on. Once you see results, you can start moving to advanced techniques. Here is what you need to know.
Maybe you are trying to get in shape for the summer, maybe you want to get ready for a friend’s wedding, or maybe you have just had it with your weight problem and just want to change how you look as quickly as possible. There is nothing quick about weight loss. Especially when you are starting from a stage where you haven’t had a very active lifestyle.
If you just want to lose a couple of pounds or even 10 pounds, it’ll still take at least a couple of months, if you want to do it while maintaining health. If you are looking to lose 20-40 pounds, give yourself a year. If you want to lose more than 50 pounds, a year is a minimum you should aim for.
Working out might seem like a challenging part of losing weight but changing your diet is actually much harder. Exercising is about adding behavior to your routine but changing your diet is about modifying a habit, lifestyle, and routine that you have developed over the course of several years. The experts agree that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. Diet is something that you need to manage all day, every day. You will only be working out once or twice a day for an hour or less at each interval. But you are constantly fueling yourself, giving in to cravings and being enticed by things you know you shouldn’t be eating. If you can overcome the dieting, you will have won 75% of the battle.
Just modifying your diet alone will give you results in a matter of weeks but if you want to see results even faster then add in cardio. This can include any kind of cardio that you enjoy, as long as it increases your heart rate and keeps it at an elevated level for several minutes continuously. Different forms of cardio do have their own pros and cons and it largely depends on your personal situation. Some people prefer to use the elliptical vs treadmill because their knees can’t take the beating from walking or running on the treadmill. Similarly, if you have access to a pool you might enjoy swimming more than you enjoy the elliptical. If you like being outdoors you could go for a hike or for a walk in the park. There are lots of options to choose from. See what suits you with your current weight and lifestyle and start from there.
Cardio is excellent for cardiovascular health. Generally, people who are overweight don’t have the best cardiovascular health and it is quite challenging for them to perform other exercises. Doing some kind of cardio will help rectify this problem. During cardio, you will also burn some calories, but that is not the primary focus.
Through weight training, you can burn far more calories, even if your aim isn’t hypertrophy. The more a muscle needs to work, the more energy it requires, therefore more calories are burnt. Just walking doesn’t push your muscles too hard as compared to squatting your own body weight. In particular, strength training has been found to be the most effective at burning calories by taxing muscles. Since you are working with heavier weights, it is far more taxing on the body, even though you are doing fewer reps. Initially, you can start off by just doing exercises with your own body weight. As you develop strength and stamina you can move on to using dumbbells, plates, or machines.
If you want to improve the functional strength and performance of your body, start an active sport. Football, basketball, hockey, swimming, cycling, or anything else that you prefer. The only limitation to training with weights is that you are performing movements that aren’t very natural. They are excellent for targeting a specific muscle but that isn’t exactly how you use that muscle in everyday life.
When you exert your body in a sport, you perform all the moves that your body is designed to do. This helps to train not only the muscles and joints but even the finer ligaments and tendons in your body. This also develops your nervous system and improves flexibility, range, reach, and many other things in the body that are used in day-to-day life.
Just as important as training and dieting are getting enough rest. When you exert your body and reduce how much fuel it is getting, you also need to give it the time it needs to recover and rebuild. This happens during sleep. Ideally, you should be getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Sleeping at the same time every night will also help give your body the routine and rhythm it needs to recover more efficiently.
When you cut down on your calories you often also cut down on the number of nutrients your body is receiving. This can lead to all kinds of problems and deficiencies and undermine the progress you make with your training. To keep things at the optimal level you should consider using some supplements such as multivitamins, healthy oils, protein, and amino acids. This will ensure that your body is still getting the fuel it needs to produce all the building blocks that are essential for your body. It will be far easier to stay within your caloric deficit while still getting all the nutrition you need. Also, make sure you are getting in enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Give yourself time and stay consistent with your strategy, it will pay off as long as you don’t quit.