Regular exercise is essential for your health, and can also help you to lose weight, feel better and tone-up. Being active reduces your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers.
Exercise increases your life expectancy and even improves your mental health. OK – I’ve given you some pretty good reasons to exercise! But what about exercise for weight-loss?
The first thing you need to realise is that weight-loss is 80% diet. Much as I love exercise, and I love helping people to be more active, you need to understand this basic fact. If you exercise without fixing your diet, you’re not going to lose much weight.
If you get your diet right – get rid of junk food, sugar, fizzy drinks, bread & pasta – exercise will really help you to look and feel great. The right kind of exercise can also really help to accelerate your weight-loss. To put it in simple terms: If you eat clean and train mean, you’ll get lean!
How to Exercise
One of the problems people have with exercise, especially when they are just starting, is that workouts feel so long and boring. Maybe you go for a long walk, or you slog away in the gym on the treadmill or bike. This kind of exercise is pretty uninspiring and takes up loads of precious time. There is another major problem with this kind of workout – when exercise is too easy, it won’t do you much good. To get the maximum benefit from your workout, you need to stress your body – moving yourself slightly outside your comfort zone.
If you really want to kick-start your metabolism, you’re better off exercising in short, intense bursts. Exercising in this way boosts your metabolism and increases the amount of fat you burn in the hours following your workout. You can drastically increase your fitness (and burn excess fat!) in this way by exercising for just 15-20 minutes four times per week. We run specially designed bodyweight circuits that really help you to switch your metabolism into fat-burning mode – but you can apply the principles of short intense bursts to almost any type of exercise.
Walking for Weight Loss
Walking round the block at an easy pace won’t stress your body much – and the benefits of this kind of exercise will be minimal. Luckily, you can make your daily walk much more effective. Pick the pace up for short bursts of more intense exercise – your body will be working harder, and you’ll get more benefit from your exercise.
After first warming up (by walking at an easy pace for 5 minutes), walk really hard for a brief 20 second burst, then rest for 10 – 20 seconds. Repeat this 8-10 times, and then treat yourself to a longer rest (maybe a minute) before doing the routine again. When you’ve done this, try repeating a third or even fourth set of bursts. Here’s the sequence:
- Warm-up by walking at an easy pace for 5 minutes
- Intense burst: 20 seconds hard walking or running
- Short break: Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat 8 intense bursts, with 10 second breaks
- Take a one minute rest
- Repeat the previous sequence four times
- Warm down by walking at an easy pace for 5 minutes
Remember: the intense bursts should feel hard! Your total workout time will be less than 30 minutes, but you’ll have completed a super-efficient exercise session. This type of exercise causes your body to adapt rapidly – your heart will become bigger & stronger, with a better blood supply. Your muscles will become more toned and your bones will become stronger – and you will see results within weeks. If you’re new to exercise, try this session twice per week, with lots of recovery time between sessions.
When you’re doing your short 20 second burst of intense exercise, you should be working really hard. You shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation, and you should be pretty glad when the 20 seconds is up. It should feel hard – but don’t worry, it’s only 20 seconds!
Resistance Training for Weight Loss
Walking, running and cycling are not the only ways to lose weight. Resistance exercise, using either weights or your own bodyweight are an excellent way to kick-start fat metabolism and tone-up. I use this kind of training extensively as part of the TurnTrim system, and it achieves fantastic results.
You can do bodyweight training with very little equipment, incorporating exercises like press-ups, squats, lunges and running on the spot. If you get the timing right (remember: short, intense bursts!) this kind of exercise can be a super-effective way to tone-up. Combined with a good diet, it’s also a great way to encourage your body to burn fat.
If you get down to your local gym, weight-training is also a great way to tone-up and lose fat. We recommend free-weights rather than weight-machines – exercises like squats, overhead press, deadlifts and barbell rows. These exercises give you a whole body workout – you’ll be fitter, leaner and stronger. Free-weights are a great way for both males & females to tone up – and we’d advise you learn these exercises safely by booking a session with a properly qualified instructor.
Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to be more active – and to add a bit of intensity to your workouts. I love exercise, and I love to help people be more active – it’s really satisfying to see people become fitter, stronger and slimmer – regardless of their age or starting level of fitness. If you need extra help with your weight loss, we have a range of services that can help – including specially designed exercise classes!