The Fastest Way to Lose Weight Through Exercise

We are continually back and forth on this blog trying to find the best way to lose weight and shed pounds. We do it through research, discussion and feedback and invariably never come to a definitive conclusion. However, there is a group of scientists that believe that they have found the absolute fastest way to lose weight through exercise alone.

Before we go any further, let me first emphasize that, as you know, I am no fan of “get rich quick schemes” when it comes to weight loss and dieting. In my world they don’t exist. However, just like in any other walk of life, some methods and systems work better than others so for the sake of argument, let’s assume that I’m on board with this philosophy..for now.

Scientists studied individuals who were tasked with 3 twenty minute exercise bike sessions per week for 12 weeks. The researchers found that a high-intensity 8-second bursts of exercise, followed by a 12-second period of low intensity work and on and on repetitively causes the subject to lose more weight than a 5-6 hour weekly jogging regimen. Apparently the biochemistry behind this phenomenon is based on a group of hormones called catecholamines which get released into the bloodstream in large amounts when using this training schedule. Their effect is to force the body to burn abdominal fats as energy and also to reduce lactic acid levels in the muscles enabling the subject to prolong the workout and reduce muscle pain.

If you’re any kind of expert on fitness training you will recognize this method for what it is and that’s High Intensity Interval Training or (HIIT) which, in its crudest form has been around for decades. Marathon runners use a very primitive form of interval training to prepare for their races (that involves much different time intervals and intensity levels so don’t think that what we’re talking about today will turn you into a marathon runner – IT WON’T).

Despite the simplicity of the approach, and it is easily done, there are some pitfalls to consider. The research was only carried out over a 12-week period because the body tends to break down after such an intensive level of training. As we have discussed before, consistent weight loss and dieting is a state of mind that needs to be adopted as an attitude going forward and not just over short periods to achieve temporary goals before tumbling away back down the hill.

My own personal opinion is that this type of HIIT can be attempted over that short 12-week period but in fact after that, the subject simply must revert back to some kind of dieting control and exercise program. The HIIT should be seen as a way to give an already well established weight loss focus a swift burst of progress to encourage additional focus and to increase motivation. This is obviously not a way for the average dieter to suddenly begin to think about weight loss and exercise,

Lose 5 Pounds in 10 Days

As you know, I’m not a huge fan of the “miracle” fat loss program where you shed a ton of weight in a very short period of time, only to see it return in a month because the “basics fundamentals” aren’t being followed. However, here are some tips that you can use to lose 5 pounds in 10 days if you have to get your “Beach Body’ rolled out for summer.

1. Ban white bread and pasta.
Pretty much a given that we eliminate starch and carbohydrates almost exclusively here and these two items are the biggest culprits.

2. 30 minutes of high-intensity gym work
Getting the heart rate running fast for half an hour a day will allow the body to start burning fat for energy once the carbohydrates are reduced. Gym work is the quick way to do that. Try to make this work involve push-ups and pull-ups – 40 a day for each is ideal.

3. Drink ONLY water (except for #4)
Water is the elixir of life and we’ve advocated that consumption regimen many times, but for this quick-fix schedule, water needs to be the only liquid. Drink as much as you like. It’s tough but this is Boot Camp!

4. Drink a cup of coffee before your gym work-out.
The extra energy from the caffeine will intensify your work-rate where you will feel the extra benefit.

5. Try to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep every night
Somewhat of a strange request here but the additional rest will give you more energy during the day and for your work-out. The plan here is to reduce carb intake and maximise fat burning activities.

6. There are no cheats in this plan!
I know we’ve discussed “Cheat Day” but we’re on a tight schedule of only 10 days here so there are no breaks! In fact, you need to pick a food that you’re going to eliminate during this period.

7. Don’t begin to weigh yourself until the start of the final 5 days
This diet is a crash course and the body will take a few days to get accustomed to the new routine. Most of the weight will actually get burned off in the last few days so weighing yourself from Day 1 will only serve to destroy your confidence.

Whether you are able to lose 5 pounds in 10 days is entirely up to the individual. It might be that many people decide that 10 days is too short a period of time and that a longer period is required. That is OK, but remember – just because you lengthen the duration of the schedule, the intensity MUST not drop. It is the vigor with which this plan is carried out that’s the key and NOT the length of time it takes to complete.

Try to have fun with this and I hope it’s of some help to those of us trying to snuggle into those Speedo swimsuits!

6 Things You Can Do to Organize Your Weight Loss Program Now

We’ve talked many times on this blog about weight loss becoming a state of mind rather than just deciding not to eat certain types of foods and to exercise more. Like anything else, if you don’t set a routine, your best intentions will dribble away slowly. Here are 10 ideas that will allow you to organize your weight loss program. (I always recommend you work a program like Weight Watchers as well)

1. Be sure to set an exercise schedule
Your exercise routine should be like a work task. It should be organized to be completed in the most efficient manner, producing the best results for the least amount of time spent. What this means is set a routine. Determine what time of day you will exercise. If you are disciplined, it will become second nature before too long. That is what we want.

2. Eat SOMETHING for breakfast
Many of us forget or just wake up too late to eat anything before we go to work. While we’re not advocating sitting down to a full meal of eggs, pancakes and the like, it’s very important to get something into your stomach in a morning. Try to drink a glass of orange juice with a granola bar. This will prevent those hunger pangs at about 10.30am that force a trip to the snack machine.

3. Pack a lunch
One of the worst routines that we all suffer from is the “where are you going for lunch today” syndrome. If you are to see quick weight loss results, you cannot eat out regularly at restaurants, especially at lunchtime. You must control your calorie intake and that can only be done by taking a lunch to work. It’s tough, but maybe what I would do is set maybe a Friday as your day for eating out with colleagues or friends. You’ll find its cheaper this way too.

4. Bring snacks for the afternoon
Along with foregoing restaurant lunches, we need to also pack a snack for the afternoon surge around 3.30pm. Stay away from the snack machine. The bag of $1 chips sitting in there will cost you a ton of unwanted calories and just cause more hunger pangs.

5. Cook in quantity
Planning your evening meals will also help keep you on the straight and narrow in your weight loss endeavors. Roasting a turkey at the weekend and then splitting it up through the week for evening meals with a salad, say, is an excellent way to restrict your calorie intake while at the same time making sure that you are getting sufficient nutrients to your body. Think ahead with all of your meals and you will be fine. Don’t let your stomach decide what’s for dinner tonight.

6. Plan to drink water
In my last job, I was banished to a new satellite location that had just opened up in another town and all we had was a water faucet, and a coffee machine. As I don’t drink coffee during the day, I was sentenced to drink tap water for the whole of my work day. I can’t tell you how much weight I lost unintentionally and how much money I saved. Water, and lots of it, never did any of us any harm.

By no means are these reminders going to immediately trim inches off your waistline, but what this will do is organize your weight loss to make sure that you are focused on what is important and that is your body’s health. This will also help you become successful with your weight loss plan so that you are able to feel that much better about yourself in the long term.

How to Lose Weight the Old Fashioned Way

Let’s face it. There are literally hundreds of diet plans and exercise regimens available today that will drop the inches off any waistline given enough time. Some are affordable, some are not, but either way, if you are really committed to the cause, it is relatively straight-forward to lose weight the old fashioned way.

Losing weight is truthfully just simple math. Provided that the calories your body uses for energy is more than the total consumed through food and drink in a day, then your body will lose weight. It is at times, a little more complicated than that but basically that format will start you off on the road to weight reduction. As a rule of thumb, for every 250 calories that you burn over and above what is consumed each day, in a seven day period, the body should lose just over 1lb in weight. The trick with this regimen is to position your levels at points where the body doesn’t decline because of a lack of nutrients and where too much exercise doesn’t cause injury to a stressed metabolism.

Calorie intake should be pegged at about 1250 per day, along with an hour of exercise with 20 minutes of that vigorous. This should be a benchmark to start work from. Reducing fat, sodium and starch intake will also help as fluid will be lost at a greater rate than normal. Along with that, you must consume a healthy amount of water per day, about 6-8 eight ounce glasses will make sure the body stays hydrated properly.

Focus on eating 5-6 times per day and dispense with the huge meals, especially after 7pm. Food groups should be fruit, vegetables, fish and lean meats such as chicken and shellfish. Soda has to be eliminated, even in diet form, and can be substituted with soy products. Whole grain cereal and bread will maintain roughage levels and help to prevent intestinal problems especially during the period immediately after the new regimen has begun. Processed foods should be regarded as ‘Kryptonite” as their nutritional value is appalling and they contain a huge amount of sodium.

Measuring serving amounts is a great tool for understanding exactly how much food a person consumes on a daily basis. Many dieters are horrified once they start to record their food intake as the comparison to what had been the norm for them, is now so much less. As we have talked about before on several occasions, what we are looking for here is to change the culture of eating and poor exercise. Tracking your numbers in this way daily helps to create that confidence and encouragement that we sometimes need to sustain us through the dog days of any weight loss program.

If we can follow some of these guidelines, we can eliminate some of the excessive cost involved with structured diet plans that involve the purchase of large amounts of pre-packed food, and embark on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

As we can see, it isn’t hard at all to lose weight the old fashioned way. You just have to earn it.

Dieting or Exercise for Weight Loss: Why not both?

Many people have long held the belief that exercise has to be a part of any weight loss program and that it forms a more important part of losing weight than anything else, including diet. However, recent studies have shown that for the long-term, exercise on its own is not sufficient to lose weight consistently. So dieting or exercise? Why not both?

For me personally, I’ve always felt that exercise is essential to any weight loss program that is going to show success over time. No matter how many calories you drop, if you cannot burn them during the course of your regular day, then your body will find a way to store those chemicals as fat and add to the poundage. However, recent studies have shown that dieting seems to provide better results.

The theory is that control of calories is much more of a realistic and achievable target than an exercise program that involves trips to the gym, along with strenuous and sometimes difficult work-out sessions in uncomfortable environments. Human nature being what it is suggests that we are more likely to throw in the towel on the gym membership before we start eating the chocolate cookies again. A lot of this, to me is common sense, but I guess in order to scientifically prove the theory, researchers had to travel to deepest Africa and subject an ancient tribe to all kinds of weird experiments with “tagged hydrogen and oxygen molecules”, GPS sensors and strict diets to track how fast they burnt calories and also how far they traveled on their hunting expeditions. All too much for me.

Basically, I maintain that a stringent weight loss plan has to have BOTH a dieting and exercise component and that the successful people that lose the significant weight are typically those who manage to find time, and the willingness, to do both. I always found that dieting came relatively easily but that the exercise, unless a ball was involved, had to be structured. The old exercise bike in the garage along with the headphones just wasn’t enough to float my boat for long enough to lose any noticeable pounds.

Weight loss is a state of mind and not just some schedule that’s written on a calendar or an entry in a personal trainer’s daily log. It is a commitment that needs to be made not just to achieve the goal of losing your target number of pounds, but extends into your activity habits for the rest of your life. I’d rather all of this hard work and sacrifice actually led to a healthier, and happier life. The intention is not to go grab a double cheeseburger once I break the tape of my weight loss target. It is to continue on beyond to maintain a constant healthy weight, and with that in mind, at least for me, both dieting and exercise need to form a solid partnership in my weight control schedule.

Paying for a gym membership? Pay for a personal trainer too

Many people as part of their weight loss program include a gym membership in order to add some structure and discipline to their routine. A great idea, but for people like me, I need some extra motivation to push the envelope on the days following a late night out. If you’re paying for a gym membership, make sure you pay for a personal trainer too.

Far too many times, the best intentioned of folks that really want to lose some serious weight start off like gangbusters. They follow every little twist and turn of their diet schedule and they religiously complete their workout routines to the second. All seems to be going well and then suddenly, the wheels start squeaking. Maybe you’ve had a long day at work and feel extra tired, or you had a late night out and can’t quite rise to the alarm at your customary 5.00am. Either way, these are the dark days of weight loss programs. Typically, anyone can follow a diet and exercise plan for a couple of weeks, but when you hit “the wall” for the first time, the boys easily get separated from the men.

It’s for this reason that I highly recommend you invest in a personal trainer when you enroll at a gym. The benefits are huge, and not least, quite simply, you have a motivating force standing right next to you when things start getting tough. For me, being an older male, I’m not able to put the same amount of vigor into my workout routines as I used to say 20 years ago. When I rode the exercise bike at home, the minute I started to get tired, I’d hop off the bike and tell myself that “I’ll make it up tomorrow”. Guess what. You won’t. The situation is very similar to going to school. If it wasn’t for teachers, we might still be walking around with our knuckles dragging on the ground.

If you can find a really dedicated personal trainer, your progress will feel so much more accomplished. Your trainer will set up a plan that is co-ordinated for you, your routine, and your body frame. He or she will monitor your progress and set daily and weekly goals which will add that extra little bit of bite to your routines. There’s no doubt that there will be times where you grow to hate that personal trainer, but it is all part of the focus in getting that weight off permanently. Additionally, you have someone who you can bounce questions off regarding diet, general exercise and any other health matters that don’t require a medical professional.

The extra cost of a personal trainer might be considerable in some cases depending on where you live, and may as much as double the outlay for the gym alone, but trust me, it is worth it over the long haul.

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