First, is diet.
*Healthy food and drink choices.
*Keep the right balance of healthy protein/carbohydrate/fat intake at a 30/40/30 ratio in any given meal or snack. Read the book “Enter The Zone” by Barry Sears, PhD for more information on this.
What type of exercise is best?
*Aerobic: Walking, power-walking, jogging, swimming, biking, dancing, most sports. Start with walking (use a pedometer) and build up to 10,000 steps per day. Or aim for 5-6 hours per week. The more you put into your walking, like carrying weights, pumping your arms, or power-walking, the more benefit you get. But don’t worry if you simply walk. You are still doing a great job of burning fat. Start slow and build up – listen to your body.
*Anaerobic: Weight lifting, resistance training. This type of exercise is aimed at muscle building. Remember, increased muscle mass equals increased fat burning, even while you’re watching TV or sleeping (bonus). This is also great for bone health. Start slow and build up – listen to your body.
*Stretching, flexibility, deep breathing: Yoga, Pilates, and Qigong are excellent activities.
*Exercising in water has the added benefit of natural resistance, so increases muscle strength. It is less stressful on your joints. Consider this especially if you have a chronic health condition, are recovering from an injury, or are obese. Even if you’re none of these, water fitness is fun.
*Which is better for fat burning? This is very complicated and beyond the scope of this post. Let’s just say that balance is key. Some of each type of exercise is best. Mix it up. This also keeps you from getting bored with the same routine. But again, if walking is all you can handle, that’s terrific.
What intensity level is best?
*During lower intensity exercise the majority of energy comes from fat. This is because the body can get the fat from storage areas to use as energy as it needs it. Think slow and steady.
*High intensity workouts tend to bypass fat stores for energy and go after the more easily accessible blood glucose and glycogen for fuel. This is because it’s “quick and easy” fuel and during high intensity workouts the fuel supply must keep up with your body’s need for it. So the more intense the workout, the less likely your body will use fat as its primary fuel source. But, in the long run you do burn lots of fat as your metabolic rate increases.
*Depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise, you get additional benefits of “after workout fat burning”. High intensity exercise raises your metabolic rate and it takes a while for your body to return to its normal rate. During this winding down period your body still burns fat at a higher rate. So, the more intense or longer your workout, the more free fat burning “points” you earn.
*What’s the right intensity level for me? While walking you should be able to carry on a conversation with a little effort, but no huffing and puffing.
*How long? How often? Start slow and build up. Listen to your body. Do what feels comfortable. Never overdo it. This doesn’t mean you should never “push” yourself, just do it sensibly. Mix it up with a change if you’ve reached a plateau. Always give your body time to recuperate and rebuild muscles between workouts.
NOTE: Check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise routine, especially if you have any health concerns.
Come and join me on my weight loss journey! I’d love to have you along!
Have an awesome day!
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