Exercise must be a major part of any decent weight loss plan. It is the fastest way to speed up a slow metabolism and it brings enormous physical and mental benefits to the process. Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of today is the under-estimation of the enormous mental benefits of exercise. Hopefully in time these incredible benefits will be made more widely known.
There are 2 forms of exercise you need for weight loss – aerobic (cardio) exercise and probably the most important form of all but unfortunately the most neglected of all – toning exercise. I still meet people every day who try to lose weight without any exercise at all! These 2 forms of exercise are absolutely vital to your weight loss and each bring their own unique benefits to your plan.
A greater problem is getting people to make sure they are doing both forms correctly, because it is not just a matter of doing any old exercise at all. Indeed there is a very thin line between success and failure. Here below are the keys to making your exercise really successful for weight loss.
Aerobic (cardio) exercise – the ideal is 4 sessions per week of 50 to 60 minutes. Anything below this isn’t enough for significant weight loss results although you will get plenty of other benefits. The exercise needs to be continuous all in 1 session and not broken into smaller sessions. It also needs to be at the right level to make you fitter which means you must be nicely breathless throughout. My rule is: If you can walk and talk easily you are not going fast enough for real weight loss results! If you are not losing weight on 4 x 50-60 mins sessions per week, then more exercise is normally not the answer, you need to look again at your food plan as it may not be as good as you think!
Another key is that you must review your pace every 10 sessions and ideally increase it, otherwise due to your body adapting you will no longer be breathless enough for further progress. I often meet people who for the last 12 months have been walking the same distance in the same time and I hate to have to tell them that the real weight loss benefits stopped months ago! Warming up is critical i.e. build up slowly for the first 5 minutes to allow your heart and body to prepare properly. Cooling down is equally critical i.e. going slowly for the last 5 minutes to allow your body to clear lactic acid and other wastes and to lower blood pressure gently so that you feel good afterwards and will recover faster for the next session.
Toning exercise – this is the greatest metabolism changer of all and the most neglected form of weight loss exercise. 2 sessions per week is plenty and you should concentrate on toning the major muscles groups of the body – chest, back, front thighs, back thighs, butt and stomach! About 8 exercises will cover this and you should do 2 sets 15-20 repetitions for each exercise (2 sets of 30-40 repetitions for stomach exercises). First of all make sure that your technique is right and then the key is that the resistance you use should make sure you get the ‘burn’ or muscle ‘ache’ for the last 5 repetitions of each & every exercise.
So please cross check your weight loss exercise against the keys above. Every point mentioned is very important and makes a huge difference. I remind you again that there is a very thin line between success and failure.