A few people have asked me recently if I could recommend one thing to my clients to lose weight, what would it be? While there’s no magical solution to transform your body overnight (sorry guys, but change does take time), there are a few key things you can do that will have a guaranteed impact on your physique.They asked for one thing, but I’m going to give you three. Ideally, you would do a combination of all of them, but even adopting one of these habits has the power to change your body.
While I disagree that cardio is the end-all be-all to lowering your body fat percentage (you can spend hours upon hours on the elliptical and still technically be “skinny fat” a.k.a low body weight but high fat mass), cardio does play an important role in weight loss. Especially if you’re just starting out with an exercise routine, cardio is important to increase your cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. The recommendation is to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Better yet, try to mix it up and do a little bit of both moderate- and vigorous-intensity cardio to keep things interesting and your muscles guessing.
2. Weight lifting
There seems to be a common misconception that lifting weights will make you bulk up like a bodybuilder. There’s a reason why bodybuilders spend so much time in the gym lifting crazy heavy weights – it take a LOT of work to get jacked like that. Adding resistance training with free weights to your workout routine will only help your fat loss process. Not only does it help you tone and define your muscles, building lean mass while you’re reducing your overall fat mass, it also helps boost your metabolism so you’ll continue burning calories for hours after your finish your workout!
3. Counting calories
Speaking of calories…. This seems to be the one that people struggle with the most, but it’s really the most fundamental to weight loss. Losing weight essentially means burning more calories than you consume, and the only way to be sure you’re doing that is to calculate just how many calories you’re consuming each day. You can calculate how many calories you should aim to consume each day by using a simple online resting metabolic rate calculator. Keep of journal of what you eat for at least a week to get an idea of how many calories you typically consume on an average day, and then make the necessary tweaks to try to reach your daily allotment. MyFitnessPal.com is a really useful tool to help you track and manage your caloric intake on your phone, so you have no excuses! It’s important to note that not all calories are created equal. You can hit your daily max eating only junk food, but that won’t get you the results you want. Try to get your fill on nutritious “real” food with the proper breakdown of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Even adopting just one of these habits will have an affect on your body composition, but hitting the trifecta will earn you the best results. If you’re hesitant about biting off more than you can chew, start small. Try counting your calories for a week and making the appropriate adjustments before introducing a cardio or weight lifting routine. Or next time you finish your treadmill sprint at the gym, hit the free weights for a bit. Making small, sustainable changes will bring about lasting results.