Exercise will aid in weight loss but it has many more benefits. Physical activity helps release anxieties and elevate tension. Endorphins are released and therefore your mood and frame of mind are changed for the better. Your confidence will increase and as you become fitter and stronger your cardiovascular (heart and lungs) well-being improves.
The weight loss side of exercise works by burning calories. It also helps you build, strengthen and maintain lean muscle which keeps your body burning fat, not just during your workout but also post workout (after).
Remember - fat is energy. The best way to lose it, is to use it!
When it comes to exercise, I have always been taught the “F.I.T.T.” acronym. It stands for:
- Frequency - how often you exercise
- Intensity - how hard you exercise
- Time - how long you dedicate to a workout
- Type - what type of exercise you perform (strength training or cardio)
I am going to roll it all in together and explain all of these things. The first thing to remember is that anybody beginning an exercise program must start with low-intensity workouts. A good indication when beginning is the talk test - being able to hold a conversation comfortably whilst working out. Once you feel comfortable after several weeks, you can slowly increase your intensity to about 80% of your maximum heart rate (85% when really fit). To maintain your intensity follow this quick calculation.
220 - age _____ = ______
Multiply the above answer by .08 = _____
Now you can take your pulse throughout a workout. The quickest way to do this is to count the beats for 6 seconds and multiply that number of beats by 10. Sometimes during a weight circuit workout, it may go about this. This is fine as large muscle groups are being worked too. After a while you will be able to judge things for yourself, if it's too easy - increase it. If it’s too hard or your form is compromised - decrease the intensity.
You will continue to evolve as your ability changes and you continue to get stronger and fitter. You just have to know when to increase your efforts.
If this all seems too confusing or time consuming, using the PRE scale is another way of monitoring your intensity. I encourage you to the PRE scale when doing cardio. Understanding how your body feels is crucial in your fitness and weight reduction training. Training at your maximum PRE of 10/10 for the entire workout, whether it be cardio or strength training is unrealistic and potentially dangerous. It is more achievable for you, while training to build from a PRE of 6/10 and hover around a PRE of 8/10. This means you have room to increase the intensity to a 9/10 or 10/10 before rewarding yourself with a recovery of PRE 6-7/10. The exercise program associated with this book, and I will explain why.
There are 3 possible sources of energy your body can burn during exercise; carbs, fat and protein. The body does not like to use protein as energy, usually as a last resort. This leaves carbs and fat, and depending on the intensity your working at will determine what source of energy your body uses. Training at high levels of intensity forces your body to use carbs as energy because it is easily converted into energy in a short amount of time. Training at a low intensity where your body does not need to be as efficient, it will draw more on fat calories for fuel.
So the logical thing to do would be to train at a lower intensity, do you think? Well no! The reason behind this is that a greater percentage of fat calories may be burned during high intensity exercise, here is an example; in an 1hr 30min of low intensity exercise you may burn 100 calories, roughly 80% burned will be fat which means you burnt 80 fat calories. In the same amount of time doing high intensity exercise you might burn 300 calories. It is estimated that around 33% will be fat calories, meaning 100 fat calories have now been burnt. See how it works - Low intensity means a greater percentage of fat burnt but you’re burning so a lot more calories with high intensity workouts, not to mention you’re still burning more fat calories with high intensity workouts as well as the 200 calories from carbs you just burnt as well!
What you will find as well is that the high intensity workouts also shock the body so that post workout, your metabolism stays elevated and continues to burn extra calories afterwards.
Changing the type of machinery (cardio or weight) will prevent your body adapting to your exercise program and slow down your weight loss. If you do the same exercise day after day, week after week, your body will become resistant to the benefits exercise has to offer. This becomes discouraging and also very boring for the mind too! Try all of the equipment on offer; Treadmill, Stepper, Rowing machine, Bike, & X-trainer. Learn how to do all of the weight exercises as well.