Weight loss and Exercise...A Beautiful Partnership

When you want to lose some weight, it is tempting to try to separate weight loss and exercise into two separate options.

Far too often I am asked about the merits of the latest fad diet or a certain weight loss supplement or some looney fat loss scheme or device cooked up by an industry that knows people will pay money if they think they might get something for little or no effort (aka...exercise).

You see the ads everywhere. Magazines, television, billboards and the internet are filled with promises of fast, painless weight loss (many pounds per week). Just pay some money and watch the fat dissappear effortlessly.

The unavoidable truth is that to lose weight or even just to maintain the healthy weight you have takes not only a nutritious, balanced diet, but a regular exercise program. The food you eat is the fuel and the exercise you do puts the fuel to use by building a healthy, strong body. Weight loss and exercise are the perfect partners and shouldn't be separated.

I'm not suggesting you hit the gym for hours each day, but there are a few simple exercises you can start today.

To begin your weight loss and exercise program, try 10 minutes of warm-up, say, running in place or jumping jacks, and some light stretching to prepare yourself and then go on a 20 minute walk if you are not used to exercising.

Work up to more strenuous exercise slowly. It is extremely important not to overdo it, no matter how ambitious you feel at first. Muscles not used to working hard are easily injured and nothing will sap your motivation quicker than an injury. A little soreness after a workout is normal and requires a day or so to recover, so give it a break for a day after your first session and get back at on the third day.

So now you have started your walking program every other day, warming up to start each session. Now it's time to start with some light weight training, using 5lb, 10lb, then 20lb weights. Curls, squats and other exercises are simple and you'll soon move up in weight as your stength grows.

After a few weeks it is time to graduate to a 10-minute jog every other day. As it becomes easier, move up to a 20-minute jog, then 30-minutes etc.. Once you hit an hour-long run, you're into the serious workout category but listen to your body and don't overdo the high impact sort of exercise or your joints may suffer. A treadmill offers less impact than pavement and an Elliptical trainer is even easier on the joints.

Time and the weather are two big excuses used as reasons not to exercise. Perhaps the biggest time saver and excuse-buster is to have some home-fitness equipment of your own. A few dumbells and a barbell are not too expensive and, though a treadmill or elliptical trainer can cost quite a bit (many online sites offer payment plans) having one at home saves a drive to the gym or a run in the rain and snow.

I admit I am a little biased toward the option of hiring a personal trainer to get yourself started. A good trainer can be a great motivator and will ensure you start with a suitable weight loss and exercise program for your goals and will also keep you advancing at a healthy pace.

To lose weight you must keep your metabolism stoked so it is important to alternate cardiovascular exercise with strength training, as I suggested at the beginning of this article. It doesn't matter if it is running, cycling, skating or swimming or something you enjoy more. Alternating the cardio exercise with strength training will tone and build fat-burning muscle and will counter the tendancy to lose muscle through too much cardio exercise. Beware that cardio alone, over a period of time can cause a loss of muscle tissue and as muscle burns more fat even at rest, you want to keep all you have and build more. Make sure your weight loss and exercise program contains some of each.

As you get into the routine, you may or may not actually lose weight. If you're not obese but merely overweight, you may not see much change in the scales initially. Muscle weighs more than fat, so as you reduce fat deposits the difference can be made up by gains in muscle mass. Don't pay much attention to early losses, they may well be due as much to water loss as anything else. What you are doing is re-shaping your body.

But as you reduce excess body fat and tone muscles you'll experience many side benefits beyond a more attractive body. You'll feel better overall, be more energetic and should experience a heightened mood. You'll be far ahead of those who don't realize that weight loss and exercise are inseparable.

Feel good about it. You worked hard for the results.

Consider an online personal trainer for weight loss and exercise


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