Fitness and Weight Loss
Fitness and weight loss should go hand in hand right ? Your weight is determined by the number of calories you eat each day minus what your body uses. Everything you eat contains calories, and everything you do uses calories, including sleeping, breathing, and digesting food. Any physical activity in addition to what you normally do will burn those extra calories. So losing weight is balancing the number of calories you use through exercise and physical activity with the calories you eat – you need to burn more calories than you consume each day. But what you eat and how you exercise can make all the difference too.
Making physical activity a part of your daily routine is the key to successful weight loss and improved overall health. Regular exercise is an important part of effective weight loss, it helps to control your weight by using excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat. Research also shows that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of several diseases and conditions and improve your overall quality of life. To determine the best type of exercise programme for you, talk to your personal trainer who will design a programme that is right for you.
When it comes to burning fat, body composition makes all the difference. Muscle burns calories more than fat, even when at rest, so the more muscle mass you hold, the better. But you don’t need to build big muscles, by simply toning up and changing the balance of your unique body composition from less fat to more muscle will help with weight loss.
Resistance training is the best way to build muscle and a strength training programme, specifically designed for weight loss, combined with a cardio routine will help you lose weight and develop muscle tone rather than bulk.
You will burn calories faster when you exercise at high intensities, but your body burns fat stores more efficiently when exercising at low to moderate intensities. If you aren’t fit enough to really push yourself, a lower intensity workout is ideal. It can take the form of any exercise you like that gets your heart pumping – a gym session, running outdoors, a bike ride, swim session. You’ll know if you’re working in the aerobic fat burning zone if you feel like you’re doing exercise, but it will be relatively comfortable, if you can hold a relatively short conversation without gasping for air you’re in the right area. Again your personal trainer will advise on the most effective form of exercise for you.
Your body uses nutrients in different ways, so it’s helpful to be aware where your calories come from. Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source and it’s the nutrient the body favours to fuel exercise, but too much can lead to weight gain. Protein helps to build muscle, and more muscle leads to a higher metabolism. The body also burns more calories metabolising protein than it burns to metabolise carbs or fat in a process known as the ‘thermic effect’ of food. Fat, in moderate amounts, supports vitamin absorption and helps manufacture hormones, but eat too much and there’s little the body can do with it other than store it. So when it comes to losing weight alongside an exercise programme, you need to work out your total energy expenditure and ensure your calorie intake is less than you are able to burn, it can be as scientific as you want to make it, but online calculation tools give you a rough idea of how many calories your favourite activities will burn will help.
Regular physical activity can
- Help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your HDL (good cholesterol), and lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.
- Reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Help to prevent and control type 2 diabetes by reducing body fat.
- Help prevent back pain by increasing muscle strength and endurance and improve flexibility and posture.
- Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with ageing.
- Improve mood and the way you feel about yourself and is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to manage stress more effectively.
It does not matter what type of physical activity you perform – competitive sport, going to the gym, running or cycling or household chores and gardening all are beneficial.