When trying to lose weight, dieting alone can cause you to lose both fat and muscle. The loss of muscle can lead to you putting the weight back on, as you have reduced your metabolism and your future fat burning potential. The solution is to strength train, at the same time making dietary improvements. This will mean you’ll lose fat and keep it off.
2. skip your morning jog
Is low intensity cardio your only form of exercise? If it is, this can cause you to reduce your muscle mass and your future fat burning potential. Read more about why long duration cardio may be more of a hindrance to fitness in my blog here. Add some strength training and high intensity intervals so you can get fit and stay lean.
3. transition faster
A strength circuit has you transitioning quickly through a group of strength exercises, one after the other. A strength circuit should be your go-to workout. They are fantastic for getting fit, toning and defining your muscles, losing or maintaining body fat levels and boosting energy levels.
4. get more bang for your buck
Low intensity exercise or activity needs to be done for 30 minutes or more for health benefits and over 60 minutes for effective weight loss. If you’re lucky enough to have this kind of time each day it can be an enjoyable and energetic thing to do each day. If you don’t have this kind of time, but want to feel great, try instead to lift your intensity. 15-30mins of high intensity exercise (cardio or circuits) where you’ re puffing and your heart rate is approximately 70% or more of your maximum (220 – age), is ideal for this.
5. 24/7 fitness
No, I’m not going to tell you to join a 24 hour gym! Activity is considered any movement you do during the day from wake to sleep. A great way to measure this is by using a pedometer or step counter. Exercise is time you spend consciously and purposely trying to get your heart rate up and challenging your muscles. Alternating these each day is ideal for health and wellbeing.
6. are you getting enough?
For general health and wellbeing 10,000 steps or 30 minutes of light exercise a day is ideal. Alternatively, two high intensity workouts per week will do the trick. Anything more than this is a huge bonus and will have you firing on all cylinders.
7. bend and stretch
Stretching is great for supple muscles and relieving tightness in joints. Exercise can make you tight and stretching is a great way to balance things out. Try to do 60+ seconds of stretching, after exercise when your muscles are warm, to increase flexibility and relieve tension.
8. change it up
Do the same activity or exercise every day and your results will quickly plateau. Your body is challenged by a physical stimulus it is not accustomed too. This may mean running or walking further, lifting heavier, cycling faster or finding a way of lifting the intensity another notch. When your body is challenged it continues to adapt and improve.
9. burn fat while you’re sleeping
Low intensity, single-paced cardio burns fat for only the time you exercise. So, if you run around the park for 30 minutes, you will be burning fat for 30 minutes. Strength training causes a micro break down of your muscles, and can lead to a raise in your body’s metabolism (your energy burning) for hours and even days afterwards.
10. understand the difference between core and abs
Think of your core as giving you posture and a smaller waist. Think of abs as giving you defined and rippling six-pack muscles at the beach. A combination of both is important. A core exercise is any movement that challenges you to maintain posture, and an abs exercise is any move that flexes your abs against a resistance (gravity is an example of resistance).
11. get short and sharp
H.I.I.T. is High Intensity Interval Training. Try one of these: 10 sets of stairs with a walk down recovery; 10 running or cycling hill climbs with a slow down recovery; 50m in the pool with a 30sec break x 10; 200m on a rower with a 40sec rest x 10; 100skips with a 30sec rest x 10.
12. get primal
Primal movement based training is how good trainers look at exercise. Rather than pick exercises out of a hat when programming a workout, choose a range of movements that are different and compliment each other. The different main movements our bodies do are push, pull, squat, lunge, bend, twist and spinal flexion and extension. Each strength or circuit workout you do should include a majority of these movements.
13. get holistic
Don’t just do bicep curls at the gym or train just your chest for an hour – training one body part at a time just won’t get you toned fast. Train your whole body to get your heart rate up for fitness gain and to train your body in real life movements.
14. push yourself
The no pain, no gain analogy is too simple to be taken too seriously, but for great physical results you should look to continue to challenge yourself in a safe and commonsense manner. Set yourself five goals – things you can’t do now but would love to do in the future. Gradually raise your level of training until you can achieve these inspiring objectives.
15. mix things up
The overload principle relates to ways you can challenge your body to encourage positive physical adaptation. Here are some examples: more reps, more sets, more weight lifted, cardio further, cardio faster, reduce the stability that you train on, change the grips you use to hold weights and increase the range of your movements. Stay safe, but see it as more interesting and effective to look for fun and challenging ways to up the ante.
16. The F.I.T.T. principle
Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type. This is a training principle, which can help you plan your exercise routine. It says that if you change the frequency of your training, the intensity of your workouts, the type of training your do or the amount of time you spend working out, you can expect a change in the results you obtain from exercise.
17. don’t reward training with food
One of my favourite sayings in the health game is ‘you can’t out train a bad diet’. This means if your diet is bad, no amount of training is going to help you overcome the calorie mountain you are consuming to lose body fat. Doing a workout and then feeling like you earned a sweet food or drink is a common and unfortunate habit. Try to compliment your training with a diet that is healthy and nourishing most of the time.
18. ignore diet fads
Carbs are not bad for you, fat is not a creation of the devil and protein is not the magic bullet you have been looking for. It’s all about balance and consistency. Choose a range of minimally processed foods, balance your meals with good carbs, healthy fats and protein and get your daily dose of fibre.
19. water works
Our body’s cells are mostly made up of water. If you are dehydrated you are starving each and every cell in your body of water. If you think of a wilting plant, that is what your cells are doing if you’re dehydrated. Get in the habit of drinking a minimum 30mls of water for every kilogram you weight (e.g. a 60kg female will need 1.8L minimum)
20. expending energy creates energy
Often I hear people say they are too tired to be active. This is like saying I’m too hungry to eat. Expending energy creates energy. Start off slow and build your activity and watch your energy levels soar. Eating well and nourishing your body will also greatly assist.