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Weight loss tips

Looking back on all the running I did I certainly know what it's like to have that runner's high. Running for me was really addictive, but I now see that I could have gotten physically fit without all the assorted pains and excessive time spent running each week.

My workouts now are 4 times a week concentrating on using free-weights, cables, stretches and the occasional 20 to 30 minutes on the treadmill. Each workout is between 40 minutes and an hour, not the 10 to 12 hours I used to spend running each week. This gives me more free time to do other things, while giving me a full-body workout.

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So what should you do if you want to lose weight, keep it off and get physically fit? Researching fitness information I came up with many fat loss and weight loss tips. Here are twelve tips focusing mainly on fat loss.

Eat Smaller and More Frequent Meals

Keeping your metabolism up and running is a key to losing weight and keeping it off. How to do that is simply eat small portions 4-5 times a day. Your body stores fat. When you eat large meals two or three times a day, your metabolism slows down and your body wants to retain as much fat as possible, burning muscle instead, not knowing when the next meal is coming. Eating small amounts frequently speeds up your metabolism and keeps your body burning fat, not muscle. Remember that your body burns muscle more efficiently than fat, so you must do the things that burn fat.

Take in Less Than What You Burn Off

This one is pretty obvious, but you have to burn off more calories than you take in each day. There are free calorie counters on line, which you can use to give you an idea of how many calories are in the food you eat. This will take a bit of work on your part to calculate daily what your caloric intake is, but it may be worth the effort. As far as how many calories you use up each day is not so easy to calculate. Cardio machines give you calorie burning numbers but these numbers may not be accurate, so focus on the 12 tips.

Change up your Food Groups

You will lose weight easier if you not only eat smaller proportions, 4-5 times a day, but vary your diet. Eat less carbohydrates like bread and pastas and more lean sources of protein: chicken and turkey breasts and fish. Whey-based protein powders do well, also. I do differ with some experts, who include fruits, which are carbohydrates, as foods to eat less of. Fruits are good sources of vitamins and many supply our body with anti-oxidants. Of course, vegetables, especially fresh ones, should be a part of everyone's daily intake.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water helps to reduce fat, and it keeps our bodies hydrated, which is especially needed in hotter and dryer climates, like where I live in Arizona. Two to three liters is the recommended amount. For those of you who are like me and think in ounces the equivalent water intake is about 68 to 102 fluid ounces - approximately 2-3 quarts daily. Drink the water frequently throughout the day.

Think in Terms of Fat Loss not Weight Loss

What is important is not so much how much you weigh, but how much fat you carry. We have different bone structures and body types. We cannot change our body type or bone structure, but we can alter how much fat we carry and how we look. And remember: Muscle weighs more than fat. So as you diet, work out and gain muscle and lose body fat, your weight may not change much but how you look and feel will. Remember that this is more about losing body fat than just a weight loss program.

Stop the Long and Boring Cardio Sessions

This is one I wish that I had known about when I started working out. Longer is not necessarily better. It is more important to vary the intensity of your cardio workout. Do a couple minutes on a cardio machine at your base level and then 30 to 45 seconds at your max. This way you will burn more calories. Using a treadmill or elliptical will also reduce stress to your joints vs running on hard surfaces.

Do Full Body Compound Exercises

When you go to a gym or fitness center you will invariably see people working on specific parts of their body: chest, biceps, triceps, legs, back, shoulders. Understand that there is nothing wrong with this if you want to improve on certain body parts. However the consensus now is that by doing full body compound exercises like overhead presses, dead-lifts, pull ups, push ups, squats and other full body exercises that work more than one muscle group, you will get better overall results.

Free-weights and Cables

Why should you use free-weights and cables over machines? You are forced to balance weights and coordinate muscles and have a greater range of motion, which means more muscles worked effectively and more calories burned.

Get a Cardio Workout with Weights and Cables

Getting your metabolism up and burning fat can be accomplished not only by using a cardio machine, but by doing 10-15 reps of an exercise, waiting no more 30 seconds to one minute to do the next set of reps and continuing until you have done 5 to 6 exercises in your workout routine. Normally each exercise should consist of 3 sets of 10-15 reps. If you can't do this amount, then reduce the weight until you can do the sets and reps and maintain good form. Bad form will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and in combination with more weight than you can handle can lead to injuries. Be sensible.

How Many Times Should You Workout?

Once or twice a week is not enough and 6 or 7 times a week is likely too much and can cause fatigue and burnout. Plus your muscle groups need time to repair. But 3 to 4 times a week is about right for most people, unless you are an athlete. You should alternate your workouts to give the muscle groups you worked time to recover. Muscle is torn down during a workout and is built up upon rest. So if you do an upper body workout one session, you could do a lower body workout the following session.

Follow a Structured Program

Set the days and times of the week that you will dedicate to your workout. Get into a routine. Join a fitness center or gym if your budget allows. Working out at home can work for some, but unless you are very dedicated, reduce the distractions and have the right equipment and space, home workouts tend to fail. How many people do you know that have treadmills, exercise bikes and home gyms that are sitting unused? Probably quite a few. Going to a facility allows you to get away from those home distractions, has a multitude of exercise and cardio equipment to help you vary your workout, and people that you come to know and workout with. Hooking up with a workout buddy may be of help to keep your resolve up. Just be careful that if your buddy does not go on a workout day or quits working out that you don't use his or her absence as an excuse for you not to workout.

Set SMART Goals

        • Specific

 

        • Measurable

 

        • Attainable

 

        • Realistic

 

        • Timely

Goal setting is very important if you want to get results. To help you in setting SMART goals and reaching them, you may want to work with a certified trainer. Many fitness centers will give you a free one-time analysis and set up a program with you. However if you want to get better results, you may want to pay for workouts with a certified trainer. Not only will the trainer ensure that you have good form, the proper weight and do the proper exercises to meet your goals, but they will vary the program when necessary and provide feedback on your progress. Some trainers will even put together a diet for you and recommend supplements. Using a trainer will mean more dollar outlay but can be very rewarding. And once you have reached your goals, you may continue workouts on your own with only an occasional need for the trainer to vary your workout programs. And while you are losing fat and weight, it is likely that you hit the dreaded weight loss plateau before you reach your goal. Don't be discouraged.

Now go out and get physically fit and have fun. Remember that you didn't get in the shape you are in today in two or three months, so plan on a step by step approach to reaching your goals with focus, a reasonable diet and a fitness program that you can commit to 3-4 times a week.

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