If you were to ask any health expert how to lose weight fast and what the two basic fundamentals of weight loss were, they’d tell you they were: diet and exercise.
Exercise is extremely misunderstood when it comes to losing weight, yet when it is performed correctly, it can really speed up the process and improve your health no end.
But just what is it about exercise that makes it so beneficial? Sure, it’s easy to sit here and tell you that exercise is healthy, but why is it healthy? What does exercise do for you that makes it healthy, and how can you use an exercise and fitness routine for your weight loss program? Let’s find out.
Health Benefits Of Exercise
To begin with, we’re going to start by looking at some of the main health benefits of exercise. These include, but are not limited to:
Yes, we’re as shocked as you are, but yes, it turns out that exercise is in fact the best way to help you to lose weight. Who knew, right?
When we exercise and exert ourselves physically, our bodies of course need energy to perform the various activities we’re performing. This energy comes from calories we consume as well as those found in stored body fat. The more physically active we are, the more calories we burn and the more weight we will lose.
One of the biggest risks of obesity is heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer in the world, and what’s even more frustrating is the fact that it can be avoided by following a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Exercise is beneficial for the heart and cardiovascular system as it reduces blood pressure, it lowers LDL cholesterol, it improves circulation, and it strengthens the heart, making it more effective.
Improved Mental Health
Have you ever noticed how, after exercising you feel fantastic? You’re full of energy, you’re in a great mood, you feel alert, and you just feel happier and more content with life.
Exercise promotes the production and secretion of endorphins and other happy chemicals that improve your mood and improve your mental health. Exercise can potentially be a fantastic natural treatment for mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Exercise Boosts Your Energy Levels
If you ever find yourself feeling tired, lethargic, and fatigued, exercise is perfect.
Studies have found that regular exercise can increase a person’s energy levels significantly. Exercise boosts the metabolism, which in turn generates more energy for you, whilst burning off more calories in the process.
Should you work out at a gym or at home to lose weight?
People often wonder whether it’s more effective to train at a gym, or to simply exercise at home. Here’s a look at some pros and cons of each.
Gym Pros & Cons:
- More equipment
- Great atmosphere
- Plenty of variety
- Access to personal trainers and experts
- Can get busy at times
Exercise at home Pros & Cons:
- Save time
- No large crowds
- Save money
- Do your own thing
- Listen to your own music
- Potential lack of space
- Lack of equipment
- Hard to get motivated sometimes
- Can get boring
Well that’s a brief overview for and against training at home or at a gym. The main takeaway should be to stay focused on your weight loss goals we set and exercise regularly. You must be stronger than your excuses and it’s when you feel like skipping your training the most that you absolutely must get up and do that 5 minutes. This will boost your self-esteem and you’ll develop the mindset of a winner.
How To Lose Weight Fast – Cardio Training (HIIT or Steady State)?
How to lose weight fast: Exercise is a critical component of any weight loss program and when we think of exercise for weight loss, we think of cardio.
Cardiovascular exercise is incredibly beneficial for the heart. In fact, the word ‘cardio’ is derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘Kardia’ which literally meant ‘heart’.
Lately, more and more people have been performing HIIT as part of their cardio workouts, but is HIIT more beneficial than steady state? That’s what we’re going to attempt to find out right now.
What is HIIT?
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a form of training in which individuals alternate between periods of slow and steady exercise and fast-paced high intensity exercise. The individual performing the workout will perform a short burst of slow and steady exercise, following by high intensity fast-paced bursts of energy for a number of different rounds.
A typical HIIT workout is over in far less time than a steady state cardio workout, as it typically lasts just 15 – 30 minutes on average.
Benefits of HIIT
Saves time – HIIT workouts are over in no more than 30 minutes on average. In fact, the average workout lasts just 20 minutes. During this time, you can burn off as many calories as you would with a one-hour steady state cardio session.
Burns calories – Just because HIIT workouts are over quickly that doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective. HIIT workouts are incredibly physically demanding and in just 20 minutes you can potentially burn off more than 400 calories.
Not only that, but because it is so physically demanding, your metabolism increases after the exercise is complete and you burn off more calories than usual, even whilst in a rested state. This is known as the afterburn effect.
Keeps things interesting – We wouldn’t exactly call HIIT workouts fun, unless you’re a sadist, but we would say that they keep things interesting.
A typical steady state cardio workout performed on a treadmill is boring. You’re literally going at the same pace, looking at the same view for close to an hour. With HIIT, you’re constantly changing the workout, so things stay fresh and exciting.
Sample HIIT Workout
• After warming up, get onto a treadmill, set it to a very slow pace, and walk for 60 seconds.
• Now, increase the speed and sprint as fast as you can for 40 seconds.
• Turn the speed to low, walk for 60 seconds, and repeat for as many rounds as you can fit in in the space of 20 minutes.
What is Steady State Cardio?
Steady state cardio is basically a continuous cardio-based workout performed at a moderate speed, for a long duration of time. Typically, a steady state cardio workout will last 45 – 60 minutes.
Benefits of Steady State Cardio
Easier – Steady state cardio is much easier than HIIT, making it ideal for beginners
Better on the joints – Walking at a steady pace on a treadmill, or outdoors, is much easier on the joints than sprinting on a hard surface.
Burns calories – Steady state cardio is still cardio, and it is therefore great for people looking to lose weight.
Sample Steady State Cardio Workout
• After stretching and warming up, either go for a long walk outdoors, or jump on a treadmill and walk at a steady pace for around 45 – 60 minutes. It’s that simple.
Well that’s an overview of cardio training and the difference between high intensity intervals and steady state cardio. In the next part we will look at ramping up your exercise efforts and add resistance training into your weight loss plan.
The Importance Of Resistance Training To Lose Weight
Exercise is hugely beneficial to us for a whole variety of different reasons. When it comes to weight loss however, people generally tend to think of cardio which we covered in the last chapter.
Whilst cardiovascular exercise is indeed very effective for burning fat, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of resistance training. Resistance training with weights is so beneficial, yet many of us overlook it for fear of getting “too big” and “too muscular”.
Here’s a look at why resistance training is so beneficial for our health and well-being in general.
This is, ironically, the one aspect of resistance training that puts some people off. For some people, been big and muscular is very appealing, but for others, not so much. The reality is that weight and resistance training will build lean muscle if you’re consistent, but if you’re worried about looking like an enormous 280-pound bodybuilder then please don’t as that simply won’t happen.
What will likely happen however, is you will gain a few pounds of lean muscle which will help you to look better and also help protect you from injury.
People still seem to be amazed by the fact that resistance training does in fact help promote fat loss.
If you lift weights and train like a bodybuilder, you will build muscle which could cause you to gain weight. The weight you gain is muscle, and this is what people struggle to realize.
Resistance training is a form of exercise that promotes fat loss. You’re still burning calories when you exert yourself. Not only that, but as you increase your lean muscle mass your metabolism increases so you burn off even more calories than usual.
If you want to burn fat and get leaner, resistance training is great.
Great for the bones – As we grow older, our bone health often begins to deteriorate. This is where resistance training is so useful.
Resistance training has been found to help strengthen the bones and protect them from age-related damage as we grow older. Resistance training can help to strengthen the bones and prevent conditions such as: Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis.
Reduced risk of injury – When you engage in any form of physical exercise or exertion, there’s always a risk of injury. Resistance training, however, has been found to help reduce the likelihood of you suffering an injury.
Resistance training helps to build up the muscles and strengthen the bones, muscles, and joints, offering them an element of protection. Put simply, a small and frail body is far more susceptible to injury than a lean and muscular body.
Bodyweight Training VS Free Weights To Lose Weight
If you prefer not to train with weights and keep things ‘natural’ there are a ton of bodyweight training exercises that are just as challenging. In fact, certain bodyweight exercises are so difficult that even people who have been training with free weights for years can’t do them.
Planche pushups, front levers, V-sits, pistol squats, etc. are some of the most difficult bodyweight exercises in existence. If you can do them, you can rest assured that you will be strong and lean.
There are hundreds of bodyweight exercises and variations that will keep you busy for a long time. By the time you master them, you’d have reached your weight loss goal and be hard as nails.
It’s next to impossible to get bulky with bodyweight training. So, if that’s a concern of yours, bodyweight training has your name written all over it.
To see a variety of bodyweight exercises, all you need to do is go on YouTube and search for these exercises and try them out. Always be safe and approach the training in a sensible manner.
It would be good to mix bodyweight training with free weights. Neither is better than the other. The goal here is to work your muscles and it doesn’t matter which method you choose as long as you get there.
Many people feel intimidated going to a gym and would prefer to train at home. Others find it a hassle and some even balk at the cost of the gym memberships. Some folks are even put off at having to use machines that have other people’s sweat on them
The good news is that your muscles do not care where you work out. So you can either get free weights and train at home or just do bodyweight training in the privacy of your own home. Just make sure resistance training is part of your workout regimen
When you lift heavy weights, your body exerts and the muscles get a hard workout. When you’re trying to lose weight, your resistance training should mostly comprise of full-body workouts.
Unlike bodybuilders who train one or two body parts a day, you should be doing several different exercises that target muscles all over the body.
A sample workout would be like the one below.
Sample Bodyweight Circuit – Do 2X or 3X per Workout
Deadlifts – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Push-ups – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Squats – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Hanging leg raises – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Burpees – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
Lunges – 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest
By doing the workout above, not only would you have targeted several different muscles in the body but the minimal rest would have made the resistance training workout take on a cardio nature.
So, you’ll be toning your muscles and improving your stamina at the same time. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Not only that, but the workout will be exhausting and put you in calorie burning mode for several hours after your training session is over.
This will help you burn more calories overall and lose weight faster than you ever expected. In the next part we will look at getting proper rest and recovery which is an essential part of a weight loss plan.
Rest and Recovery – The Importance of Rest Days
In order to burn calories and lose weight, you need to really be pushing yourself in the gym whilst training. It’s no use going to the gym and simply going through the motions when training. In order to get the most from your training, you need to get serious.
However, a crucial, and often overlooked element of any weight loss training regime, is rest and recovery. Rest days are just as important as training days, in fact, some would argue that they’re more important.
Here’s a look at why rest and recovery days are so important.
Aids in Recovery – After you finish a grueling workout, you’ll probably have noticed how your body aches and you feel sore. This is because you’ve literally damaged your muscles through training.
In order for the muscles to repair themselves, you need to rest. When we rest, our bodies repair the damage we caused when training, and they rebuild the muscles even bigger and stronger than they used to be.
Prevents overtraining – Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as overtraining, and if you push yourself too hard, too frequently, you do indeed run the risk of overtraining.
Overtraining means that you are literally doing too much exercise and are not allowing your body to catch up and recover.
Overtraining can result in muscle wastage, it can suppress the metabolism, it will leave you feeling tired, sore, and lethargic, and it can potentially result in you gaining weight. When it comes to working out, rest days are just important as training days.
Prevents injury – When exercising, there’s always a risk of injury, no matter how careful you are. If you’re training too frequently however, your muscles and joints are far more susceptible to injury.
If you are constantly putting your muscles, joints, and tendons under pressure when training, they will weaken and become more vulnerable.
Rest days, however, allow various parts of your body to recover and to become bigger and stronger once more. If you’re looking to avoid injury rest and recovery days are extremely beneficial.
Improves athletic performance – If you’re going to gym seven days a week, training for hours on end, you’ll find yourself physically and mentally drained and burnt out.
As you’re so tired you won’t be able to perform at your best because you’ll be so tired. Taking a couple of rest and recovery days each week however, will help you to replenish your physical and mental energy so you get more done in the gym, or wherever else you choose to exercise.
Conclusion – Final Thoughts On Losing Weight Permanently
Losing weight is not about following fad diets and making small changes here and there, it’s about a total lifestyle overhaul.
There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss, but like anything in life, the more you know about it, the easier it becomes.
To help make your weight loss journey that little bit easier, we’re now going to wrap things up by sharing a few tried and tested tips for losing weight and improving your fitness in a safe and controlled manner.
Start today – Have you ever noticed how people complaining about wanting to lose weight will always claim to be starting their diet and healthy eating regime on a Monday?
It could be a Wednesday and the individual wanting to lose weight would still claim to be starting their diet on a Monday. This is usually so that they can stuff their faces for the next several days as a final blow out, as they may call it, which means that they usually gain even more weight.
Stop looking for excuses, stop waiting until Monday, and instead, start your diet and fitness regime today. The sooner you start and get off the mark, the sooner you will start seeing results.
Consider your long-term goals – Another thing you can do to ensure that you lose weight and stick to your healthy lifestyle is to consider long-term goals.
Don’t just think about how much fat you want to lose, consider your long-term goals as well. Where do you want to be a year, two years, five years from now? Is your weight loss sustainable and are you willing to change your lifestyle instead of simply crash dieting and yo-yo dieting?
Change your lifestyle – If you’re serious about getting in shape and staying in shape, it’s essential that you change your lifestyle.
As mentioned, there is no quick fix for weight loss, and unfortunately, when most people lose weight quickly, they soon revert back to their old ways and gain the weight back, plus a little bit extra.
If you change your lifestyle however, that won’t happen. You will learn healthy recipes and healthy habits that promote health and longevity, and help you to keep the weight off.
Have fun – Finally, if you are ready to commit to obtaining a leaner and healthier body, you need to make sure that you have fun and enjoy yourself. So many people out there follow diets that literally make them miserable, and then they wonder why they cheat or quit.
When you commit to getting in shape, try to have as much fun as you can. Remember, the basic fundamentals of how to lose weight fast: Eat healthy foods you enjoy, perform exercise you enjoy, and if you aren’t enjoying yourself, look for things that you can do to turn that around.